A Scottish Podemos

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Cat Boyd explores the potential (and process) for a new party in Scotland, this piece refers to a long term plan for Holyrood, not for Westminster 2015. 

For over 700 days, the people of Scotland were hammered by a fear campaign, made up of Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, and of course, The Labour Party. If the working class were the only ones to vote in the independence referendum, there would have been a Yes vote on September 18th. In Scotland’s poorest areas, all of which are traditional Labour heartlands, the argument for independence to create a socially just Scotland was won. A Yes vote became a revolt against the alienation of the British state and the British economy.

All analyses’ of the referendum result have agreed that there is a linear relationship between unemployment, poverty and a higher yes vote. That relationship is much stronger than, for example, the difference between men and women or between SNP areas and Labour areas. Four out of the six poorest constituencies in Scotland voted yes.

The voter turn-out was so high because for once how you voted actually mattered. The referendum proved that when people are given a vote which genuinely makes a difference to their lives and to those around them, they reached out and not only voted but shaped the entire substance of the debate.

Working-class people in Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire and Dundee are now acutely aware and have made it explicitly clear that Labour does not improve living standards and the continued commitment to austerity if Labour wins in 2015 has caused the party’s traditional base in Scotland to collapse. For two years, Better Together told people in Scotland that we would lose our jobs, homes, pensions, and that the cost of living would rise. Yet, over one and a half million still voted yes: so many in the poorest areas voted yes. In spite of this fear, people had hope.

The real cutting edge of this debate was democracy; about disengagement, disenfranchisement, the so-called “missing million”. Well, the missing million aren’t missing anymore, and it is a safe bet to say that they won’t be voting for the Labour Party anytime soon. 70% of those voting Yes ranked what is essentially the principle of “home rule” as their primary reason for their decision.

Gordon Brown has whipped up the notion that Scotland can achieve home rule with a no vote. But very quickly, we’ve seen the cracks appear within the Labour party on this very issue. Labour cannot deliver on this basis. In the same way it cannot deliver on social justice, it cannot deliver democracy for those who have been shut out of the political process for decades.

The movement for change must remain, and in the context of a No vote, we must demand Home Rule for Scotland, not the devolution of austerity from Westminster to Holyrood. David Cameron is quickly trying to consolidate Conservative power in Westminster. His promises of devolution mean devolving the axe. There will be no increased revenue intake or new borrowing powers for Scotland. But again, this goes beyond an economic argument: Home Rule is the notion that people in Scotland can at least make decisions over their domestic affairs.

For those of us on the left who campaigned for a Yes vote, our case for independence was not that it was a vote for a flag but a vote for radical transformation of the lives of ordinary people in Scotland. That is as relevant today as it was on the 18th of September. We won the traditional Labour Heartlands, and we’re not going to give them back to Labour without a fight. The battle for ‘Red Clydeside’ has only just begun.

Paul Mason (writing in the Guardian last week) is right: there is a generation of young people looking for a political home. And there are also thousands of working -class Yes voters looking for a political home, too: They wont find it in the SNP nor in Labour.

Because, for me, what we need is a further expression of the amazing, youthful energy of the grassroots independence movement. This must be a political expression which captures the very essence of the fight for democracy that shaped it. None of our existing organisations are capable of doing that; so we need a new radical party. If the left fragments again into its constituent parts, then it will let down all those new activists who have created the most incredible social movement that Scotland has had for decades. And if we want to keep the debate about democracy flourishing in Scotland, as we have seen over the past 2 years, then we must create a more diverse polity in Scotland with the views of those who want to radical redistribution of wealth and power properly represented, not just in Holyrood but rooted in communities.

To do this we will look for inspiration from home and abroad. We need to learn from the likes of Podemos in Spain who emerged out of the Indignados movement and is currently unseating the Spanish Labour Party all over the country. We need to tap into the old labour radical traditions of the Independent Labour Party in Scotland who, led by Keir Hardie then James Maxton, had a vision for Scottish home rule to create a socialist Scotland and eradicate poverty and hunger.

Labour have given up the right to their own history and now, we will reclaim the best parts of that radical tradition. It was not nationalism, nor Scottish identity, nor certainly the SNP that powered the momentum behind the Yes campaign. The truth is that the movement for Yes was powered by class politics. And as the Labour party has turned its back on these ideas, we will challenge them on it in the heartlands, and undoubtedly, we will beat them.



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169 replies

  1. Absolutely Cat.
    “We need to tap into the old labour radical traditions of the Independent Labour Party in Scotland who, led by Keir Hardie then James Maxton, had a vision for Scottish home rule to create a socialist Scotland and eradicate poverty and hunger. Labour have given up the right to their own history and now, we will reclaim the best parts of that radical tradition. It was not nationalism, nor Scottish identity, nor certainly the SNP that powered the momentum behind the Yes campaign. The truth is that the movement for Yes was powered by class politics…”

    • You won’t get anywhere by splitting resistance to the British state. Get behind the structure of SNP that has given us the platform to kick on from to the next referendum (2020?). If there are bits of the SNP party or policies you don’t like, join it as thousands of others are doing and change it from within. Don’t allow the British state to divide and rule.

  2. Reblogged this on Radical Independence Dumfries & Galloway and commented:
    “We need to tap into the old labour radical traditions of the Independent Labour Party in Scotland who, led by Keir Hardie then James Maxton, had a vision for Scottish home rule to create a socialist Scotland and eradicate poverty and hunger. Labour have given up the right to their own history and now, we will reclaim the best parts of that radical tradition. It was not nationalism, nor Scottish identity, nor certainly the SNP that powered the momentum behind the Yes campaign. The truth is that the movement for Yes was powered by class politics…”

    Reply ↓
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  3. I agree with what you have said. However i think that the best course if for us to use the SNP as a vehicle for change. We should unite under that political banner until we get a satisfactory result from Westminster. Right now we need a united front, 1 cohesive political thrust particularly when their ‘vow’ s falling apart and more comes out on how people are realizing they were intimidated and lied to.

    I have my own ideas in an Independent Scotland and it doesnt involve politics or parties, as these are really out of date. However we need to give the SNP the power in the short term to deliver us the best deal for Scotland.

    • We will gain what we need by remaining united. If everyone from YES encourages one more yes we will have 75%

    • I agree with you David. Although Cat’s article was good, to head along these lines is to play into the hands of the big parties. We must put party politics behind us for the minute and get behind the SNP. Once we achieve independence that is the time to decide what kind of government we want to rule Scotland. If we fragment into different parties for independence we are lost. Westminster thrive on divide and rule and they are masters at it. We will be hit with the old Labour rhetoric ” you must vote labour to keep the Tories out” and we will also be offered bribes. We all know it is nonsense and the only way Westminster will sit up and listen is if we send down SNP MPs to London. So let us please stick together behind the SNP party

  4. Keir Hardie died in 1915, along with him any semblance of socialism in the labour movement, in Scotland, with a few notable exceptions. They have since then kept the working class, poor, poorly educated and as voting fodder. As was amply demonstrated during the independence campaign and their resistance to it.

  5. Looks like splitting the Yes vote between the SNP and whatever you propose as a new radical party to let Margaret Curran back in……….. Do you not agree that there is a need for a ruthless and discliplined pact between SNP, SSP AND SG to place candidates (including well respected Independents) at every level to break Labour in this generation? The membership of these parties are soaring this week……..we need to get real and quick……..May 2015 is just around the corner

    • Yes, this is the route I favour, because SNP have the apparatus and they do have discipline, and whilst they may not appeal to all, they leave the British parties standing when it comes to intellect and performance. If SNP, SSP and the Greens had this pact to evaluate and put in the approp candidate for the that area, with the pact or umbrella of being pro-Indy – that means they go to WM with that pact in mind, and all represent Scotland’s best interests down there in the meantime. I DO think the priority should be to oust every single Labour clown out, and there is a VERY strong voice to do that coming from the 45% – I think they feel that is the best use of their time. I have read the back story to the Podemos, and its great, but we only have 8 months, so the proposal would have to move very fast, but hopefully work in tandem with the idea of getting all pro-Indy into WM next year.

  6. it wouldn’t be a split of the yes vote, i’m talking only about holyrood.

    • Cat, the SNP, Scottish Greens, and the SSP, all stand for Holyrood elections so it would be splitting the pro-independence vote. By the way, thanks for all your and the RIC’s efforts and work in the Yes campaign.

      • This party would presumably want to include 2 of those three parties muttley. But in any case the Yes vote is split. Its a pluralistic movement.

      • @John L

        Both the SNP and Scottish Greens have the policy that you can only be a member of one party. Not sure about the SSP, but they are probably the same. Yes, the independence movement is split, in that there is 3 pro-independence parties. I still have no idea why the establishment of a fourth party, another one of the left, is going to be of any benefit whatsoever. There is a real danger of it becoming like the Life of Brian.

    • I’m with you. We need something that is different from what we’ve got and something that reflects the energy and creativity that have characterised the referendum campaign.

      There will be no new powers before the election in May. So the result of that election will be crucial in shaping the context post election. So there is an argument for working together to get as many pro yes MPs elected to Westminster, but while that is going on we need to start building on this concept of a radical new way of doing politics to political home for the generation of you people.

      For the Scottish Parliamentary elections there can be no argument against a pro-independence of the left. The SNP can’t maintain a majority for ever; their fortunes will wax and wane, and with tax raising powers they may well move to the right to stop Ruth Davidson’s Tories from making headway with promises of tax cuts. There needs to be a broader base of pro indy parties at Holyrood and a Podemos type party would fit that bill.

    • SNP on the first ballot, left pro indy coalition on the 2nd…

  7. This is a dangerous tactic just now. Listen to what Tommy Sheridan is saying ! Everyone should unite behind the SNP now to achieve independence or at the very least home rule. THEN and only then should we split into different political ideologies. Scotland’s freedom must be secured first. The next General Election in 2015 and the Holyrood elections in 2016 should only field one candidate in favour of independence. We must not split the vote ! United we stand, divided we fail.

    • Miranda, we are not going to get independence now for many years. It was a fluke that the referendum happened, and the idea that the British state will just hand out another mandate because lots of people want it is wishful thinking.

      • The pro-independence parties need to be pushing for the maximum amount of power for Scotland in the UK system though. The general election is only 6 months or so away. We need to keep pushing for change, and putting pressure on the unionist parties to deliver on their promises. Independence is off the table for the foreseeable future, so I am not sure why you are mentioning it.

  8. Reblogged this on This Little Earth and commented:
    A superb statement of purpose from Cat Boyd.

  9. What do you mean when you say working class? Anyone that has to sell their labour to survive? Or something else?

  10. I believe this is the first article I’ve recently read that talks about class politics and its continued influence in life in the UK. Cat was spot on to identify the four poorest local authority areas in Scotland supporting independence. I think it will be interesting to reflect on what issues these populations identified in the debate as being the most meaningful to them. The triumvirate of class system, poverty and beliefs will tap into social and cultural memory. Things like having a voice, meaningful vote, self determination are crucial to wellbeing and possibly link to, historically at least, of the socialist labour movement. It would seem that a political party new or existing would have to pick up these threads and show people how they will continue with participative politics and how this will influence policy and strategy across health, welfare, education and business to name a few.

  11. I am not sure of the need for the establishment of another independence supporting political party. We already have the SNP, and the more radical Scottish Greens, and the Scottish Socialist Party. I am not sure why radicals and socialists could not join and campaign for the latter two in particular. If there is yet another independence party set up, then the chances of splitting the pro-independence vote rises significantly, and is hence completely counterproductive. Three pro-independence parties for a nation the size of Scotland must surely be enough.

  12. Tend to agree John – the movement must stay united and the 3 parties should agree on and stand behind a Scotland YES candidate for each constituency in the 2015 election to avoid splitting the vote
    (See what the irish nationalist and republican parties did to get bobby sands elected as MP to Westminster and what effect that had worldwide).
    Advise cat’s radical group to continue campaigning on the ground to mitigate coming austerity as much as possible and to try and link up with YES councils etc to introduce whatever initiatives they can to improve people’s lives while preparing the way for the election campaign,
    Afterwards all the different YES parties can campaign for seats in the Scottish parliament, each standing on their own manifesto.

  13. Sorry Cat! You have been indoctrinated by the Labour Party that believed or put it about that the SNP are Tartan Tories. I’ve been in the SNP now for 38 years and I am far left of centre! The SNP is a vehicle towards Independence and that is all. It is a social Democratic Party in its own right and is the only vehicle that can deliver Independence. So don’t divide and rule, PLEASE!

    • The SNP are to the left of Labour. Don’t think that’s really deniable. But they don’t represent radical change.

      The campaign was crucified in the campaign for proposed corporation tax cut. A solid left could have said they’d support it but only if companies paid living wage, workers representation on board, and basically extract a cost from business that enables workers… Another vision of what independence means isn’t a bad thing. Presenting a view of a constructive opposition to the SNP which was not the Labour Party and their rabid hatred of them would be healthy.

      Why do you think the No campaign spent the entire campaign conflating yes & SNP? They were calling it anti democratic. I don’t know if that worked but they stuck with it for a reason.

      • i think the conflation of Yes & SNP was aimed to link both SNP & Yes with the possibility of a neo liberal agenda similar to Westminister’s from SNP post independence

        – or even a worse austerity than Westminister/red tories from SNP post indy.

        To keep labour vote, and make Yes seem meaningless to poor. Furthermore could have been true if corporation tax came with ‘wage restraint’ , further cuts etc

  14. You dismissed the SNP in one sentence and I don’t see the justification for it in the article itself.

  15. never mind the queen is happy

  16. i don’t want to divide anything, all I’m arguing for is a political expression of the radical left movement that built up over the last few years, its more about realignment and renewal. and its about holyrood. if we’re going to unseat labour in scotland, there needs to be a good vehicle for doing so. thats all I’m saying 🙂

    • Are the Scottish Greens and the SSP not part of the radical left movement? Why create a new party when you already have these two already? The SNP defeated Labour in 2011 to get the referendum on independence.

    • I can’t believe the negativity on this. It’s as if people didn’t experience how radicalised and energised people in areas where previously there was no hope became. People who are opposing this are saying politics as usual, and are effectively removing a way of keeping those people in areas which actually vote by a majority for yes engaged. Scotland will never become independent by relying on the SNP alone. This referendum showed that. The cautious approach didn’t work. It was those people the SNP were chasing with their policies of keeping the queen the pound and NATO who voted no. The only way Scotland will ever become independent is if we fire up the people who have a track record of taking risks. Not the cautious folk of Angus Aberdeenshire and Murray. These are supposed to be SNP heartlands but they were all solidly no. For those who can’t see this then that’s fine but don’t stand in the way of those who want to take the spirit of the radical campaign forward.

      • Unfortunately you do not recognise that the majority of people in Scotland are conservatives with a small c. A radical campaign for independence has a very important role. However, there has to be ones that try to assuage those who have fears of radical change.

      • Conservative people don’t vote to leave a stable state and set up a separate state however much you try to persuade them. If it hadn’t bee for the activity of RIC in the West of Scotland and Dundee this referendum would have been a disaster as we did not get the numbers needed elsewhere. The whole idea that you can persuade conservative small c people to do something revolutionary by trying to appeal to their conservatism was the central contradiction in this referendum campaign.

        I agued all along that the British State was not going to stand by and let Scotland have a reasoned discussion. It was evident from before the Edinburgh Agreement that they would use every means and every deception to stop Scotland from voting for independence. This is why appealing to small scale conservatism is always going to lead to a no vote if we ever get a referendum again because conservative people don’t take risks and this was what Westminster could build on. If we don’t have an on-going experience of a mass political movement achieving goals for ordinary people there will be no belief that vested interests can be over come.

        The importance of Cath’s suggestion is that we need to galvanise society with a mass participative political movement. As she says above this is not about slipping this is about realigning otrgher parties on the left may well join in on this if as I suspect it is successful. Many people applauded Robin McAlpine’s piece in Bella this week, but in that piece he said we need a political vehicle that reflects these ideas and I don’t see any of the present parties fitting that bill. Yet when someone makes a concrete suggestion in response to that clearly stated need everyone shoots it down.

        I can guarantee one thing which is that a majority of Catalans will vote yes in their unofficial referendum. We need to learn from them and build a mass movement not a top down party.

    • Both a left alliance of parties that don’t stand candidates against each other, or one broad party would make sense, but the second would be harder if these posts are an indication.

      If for instance the SSP & Sheridan/Solidarity were to stand against each other for the next Holyrood election it would make both look extremely bad, and probably not just split the vote, but damage the overall credibility of socialists in working class areas, as the previous split did . I think basically because the split was not mainly about different ideological perspectives, as splits in socialist parties normally are.

      SNP policies re (no) progressive tax reform, low company tax, low wages, very basic social welfare, privatization rather nationalization of green energy, reliance on dirty energy such as oil, support for TTP – a transnational trade agreement that cedes national sovereignty to corporations- etc do not appear concerned with redistributing wealth or addressing poverty, or protecting the environment.

      Also the SNP does not seem associated with participatory democracy within the party, let alone from working class or trade union members, or allies , so people who are from that background need a vehicle

      like CB says.

    • I think you are in danger of over-exaggerating the importance of the parliamentary road to socialism. Ideas and radicalism are always led by movements outside of parliamentary politics, and the politicians follow.

      Look – we have already got two left parties following the agenda set out in James’ Scotland Yes book. We have no non-aligned radical people’s movement. I am proud to be a member of RIC and the Greens. If you force me to choose I will leave RIC. And so will every SNP and SSP member of RIC. That IS dividing the movement. Political parties compete with each other for members and votes. It’s what they do. Something like RIC can unite the left. .

      I love the idea of a non-aligned RIC able to mobilise thousands at the drop of an email to support workers or communities under threat. I will enthusiastically join with that. But as a member of the Greens I will campaign hard against any Radical Indie Party. (RIP?)

      Which is better for the movement?

      • I agree Chris. Strikes me that this is just divide and rule, and it is coming from the pro-independence side as well, which makes it worse. The RIC did brilliant work during the referendum campaign. However, if there is yet another pro-independence party of the left established, then most Scottish Greens, SSP and SNP members of RIC would have no option but to quit.

      • Chris, i did not at any stage say RIC should turn into a political party.

  17. No new parties please. John Page is right -; a ruthless and disciplined pact between the SNP, SSP and SG. ‘
    The war cry ‘DESTROY SCOTTISH LABOUR should be used at every opportunity, every meeting, on every piece of propaganda. And be prepared for some street fighting.
    FM Salmond was too nice a man a good politician but he pandered to the middle classes. Tommy Sheridan should be the heid kicker for any coalition. Deputy FM Sturgeon continue to woo the women’s vote.

    • Outback, there’s no such thing as ‘SCOTTISH LABOUR’. The Labour Party, which does exist, certainly needs to be extinguished in Scotland for Scotland to flourish. “Let Scotland flourish by telling the truth”. This is impossible as long as politics is contaminated by a party and media nomenclatura addicted to pathological lying.

  18. Podemos for participation model with primaries.

    Syriza model for bringing all strands of the left and radicals together under one banner. Basically a loose coalition. Women for indy, RIC etc put up candidates for primaries as well as SSP greens etc. Let the people decide who they want to vote for… Just the small matter of getting parties to agree… And a common policy platform (common weal could be the basis?)…

    There’s seats for Westminster the SNP can’t win imo. A broad left movement could because they would need to harvest bulk of working class vote SNP can’t get v labour. Like it or not lots of soon to be ex Labour voters won’t vote SNP because it’s tribal with them. Quid pro quo with SNP where they get support for all in seats they stand in, and same for left coalition in other seats…

    Being subsumed under the SNP does not appeal. At all. They’ve governed mostly well, but their policies are not for radical change. Which was my, and plenty others, reason for a yes vote in the first place…

  19. Make sure that Yes voters in the Labour heartlands don’t go back to that utterly corrupt party. And make sure they remain motivated for the fight for independence.

    But do not seek division. Do not cause anti SNP feeling like Labour do. Even Tommy Sheridan has put aside his political differences with the SNP in the cause for independence.

    For all those who support independence, the next priority is to fight together for 59 pro independence MPs at Westminster in 2015. And I want them from all the Yes campaigning groups, not just the SNP.

    For more than 300 years, Westminster has ruled us by dividing us. Please let us prevent them from doing it yet again.

    Let us bury all our differences for the main goal of an independent Scotland sooner rather than later.

    • Ceding all power to the SNP gives them carte blanche to claim possession of the whole movement. It can’t just be one party as the political vehicle for independence. What happens if the SNP go wrong? We watched labour doing it, it’s hardly out of the realms of possibility that the SNP start forgetting their entire point.

      • If you read carefully, this is what I wrote:

        “And I want them from all the Yes campaigning groups, not just the SNP.”

      • I was actually agreeing with you 🙂

        Just can’t get out the habit of arguing, so didn’t present it correctly. Apologies.

      • There is already in existence three independence supporting parties, the SNP, the SSP, and the Greens. Two of these are on the left. Why do we need another pro-independence party of the left, when there is two already existing, both of which are increasing their memberships?

      • Muttley79

        I’m not arguing for any new parties, I’m arguing for an umbrella organisation which encompasses the existing ones. And if you read my suggestion above, I’m saying it shouldn’t just be traditional political parties which should be putting up candidates for them, it should be any part of the movement who can gather enough support to win a primary. That opens up a space where RIC could nominate someone to stand in a Glasgow seat who could have a base support there even though they’ve never been involved in party politics for example. Women For Indy could nominate one of their members. And I think the primary suggestion is important for that reason. Leave a space for those who don’t want to work within a party structure, or whose party couldn’t get them elected themselves, but who imo would be hugely electable have a chance to tap into a grassroots movement where they can serve the people.

        And some people will simply not vote SNP if there’s no change in their policies on stuff they disagree with (I may be one of them). You can’t unite the country round one vision of political policy, there needs to be a space for other visions. These visions don’t need to be mutually exclusive in every area (ie the Greens, SSP, and SNP all agree on independence) but policy distinctions between them are not a problem, they’re an asset. Plenty people were persuaded not to vote Yes because they watched the SNP being unable to explain adequately why a Corporation Tax cut was in the white paper (I know it was there to incentivise companies staying here and not fleeing to London, but that incentive got the Yes campaign precisely no support from businesses who flocked to decry it, and it left a gaping hole in the defence when talking about social justice). You think if there was a strong united left campaign in tandem with the Yes Scotland one they would have been campaigning on a Corporation Tax cut? They would have been able to present an alternative. In fact, the left wing parties tried to during this campaign, RIC, Colin Fox, Patrick Harvie, Tommy Sheridan et al all said they weren’t in favour. But it was entirely ignored by the media.

        If you’ve got more than one vision of what independence means, that’s a good thing. If you’ve got more than one policy direction that’s a good thing too.

        In fact in an ideal world, if you’re just talking about getting independence as the only goal, a credible centre-right alliance in favour of it would be the ultimate game changer. Tories voted against independence by a 90% margin. That’s way beyond the margin the No camp won the entire referendum by. Change a third of them to a Yes vote and we’d now be planning our independence day in 18 months…

  20. At the risk of being ridiculed, I was sceptical of claims that the vote was rigged. Then I saw this video… http://youtu.be/tKcWyKyE1hQ Whatever happens, in my opinion, splitting the yes vote would diminish the movement.

  21. With proportional representation in an independent Scotland, we can have as many parties as we want.

    The media ruthlessly exploited the policy differences between the SNP and other parties and people like Patrick Harvey and Jim Sillars fell into their trap.

    For the 2015 Westminster election, we should not have any policies on anything except full independence for Scotland, and only one pro independence candidate in each constituency.

    We have played nice but now it is time to outsmart the unionists.

    With 45% support already almost guaranteed, we will surely succeed.

    Let us make sure that the 2 poorest constituencies that voted No support a Yes candidate in 2015. By the way which constituencies were these?

    • It’s only pr to an extent. You still need circa 10% of the list vote for any representation. If SNP are being heavily voted for on the regional paper and they win lots of constituency seats the main beneficiaries are the unionist parties…

      Needs to be a strategy I agree, but best electorally for pro indy is people splitting their vote between SNP in constituency votes, and other entity on regional ballot. In my opinion obviously.

    • I was excited that we were appearing to have a united strategy for success. No one was saying that the SNP was going to deliver radical change that many of us,but not all of us desire.
      The lead article did sound divisive. Later Cat said she was not proposing a new party. Not sure what she was proposing then. If she wasn’t then we don’t have a problem.
      Please encourage as many people as possible that have engaged to join one of the existing pro Indy parties. Then for two elections only in 2015 Westminster and 2016 Holyrood everyone votes SNP regardless of Party membership. In the meantime RIC should act as a unifying force of the left arguing for a better Scotland.

  22. “If the working class were the only ones to vote in the independence referendum, there would have been a Yes vote on September 18th.”

    Oh, I see. So the middle class just don’t count, then?

  23. Sorry Cat I think this view is old Labour socialism, no offence but I think that’s past it’s use by date. I’m NOT SNP (I find myself saying again!) the Yes voters were quite mixed that I canvassed. I saw some data about trends but nobody knows for sure because voting in this Ref was in secret! When I was canvasing I found ignorance was the biggest factor not poverty (and if you’ve got nothing hope is appealing). I blame the MSM for backing the WM elite and confusing the voters. On the doorsteps in my town I never got a decent answer as to why people said NO, only sound bites from News coverage. No voters did not read up, they are dependent on TV. More Yes voters I met were not poor (relatively speaking) but they were more empathetic, better read, well travelled and broad minded. I think staying with SNP (as Tommy said) makes sense until after GE. To get a democratic, and more equal society we need to use an independent media to educate the No 55% to see the vision of the Yes 45%. Many pensioners feel well off and are, compared to younger ones in insecure jobs, zero hrs/wages, insecure housing and lack of opportunities. We will sort this out, we will find a way to forward. The main thing is NOT to let WM and Labour win!

  24. Until you have the power to effect a proportional representation system in electoral politics, then, yes, you need to unify somehow in order to get that power. Probably SNP is the best vehicle but it is hobbled by being part of existing political setup. Perhaps you need two-fold approach: ordinary political activism in ongoing electoral processes, but also a unified media outlet dedicated to marshalling support and awareness of independence-related issues and advocacy, which need not be aligned with any particular political organisation or process. Indeed, such an initiative/organisation should exist independent of any such political agencies. Start with creating a privately funded (monthly donations/fees) media group including video, audio and print. Organise it somehow. Fund it. Manage it.

  25. To fight Westmonster elections next year The YES45 Alliance must meet with the SNP and work out who stands where but there has to be that double strand of some SNP some YES Alliance.
    The YES Alliance would include SSP, RIC, Greens, Indie-LAB, Common-Weal, Women for Indie, Nat Collective, Bella, Wings and should include Business for Indie & Tommy??
    but ALL candidates stand under the unifying powerful brand of YES or YES 45 or YES Movement.
    Candidates Like Cat, Jonathan Shafi, Jeanne Freeman, Dr ??? Whitman, Pat Kane,Robyn McAlpine,Elaine Smith, Alan Bissett and the actor Brian Cox would go well in Dundee.
    Winning seats in 2015 would break the back of Labour sending SNP plus YES Alliance members to London to fight for sovereignty. We dont have much time!

    • Do we get to elect any of these candidates?

    • I agree – we don’t have much time! No-one is saying anything I disagree with here, but now isn’t the time for too many niceties because we must capitalise on the energy of Yes and 2015 is too good an opportunity to miss. We need to unite behind some key principles.
      Imagine a scenario where a Yes Alliance has the balance of power in a Westminster hung parliament. It isn’t so far fetched! Enough to burst Cameron’s stomach ulcers, that.

  26. Ok, why not treat the elections differently ?

    May 2015 General Election is too soon to do anything but support the SNP to combat unionist parties. Realistically, It’s the only vehicle we have with enough strength to cause some damage. It’s 50k plus membership is a real force and despite the disappointment of the referendum, many people do realise that they have done not too badly with Scottish welfare despite austerity cuts – certainly far better than Labour.

    They attract voters from a fairly broad spectrum of the left and centre right and their MP’s know the ropes at Westminster. If the unionist pledge of devo – whatever is dropped (as expected) then more Labour voters may be more inclined to support the SNP as they recognise the policies, the people and the make up of the party (make use of Denis Canavan and other ex-labourites calling for a labour defection to the SNP will help tremendously)

    After that, lets see what develops as we head to 2016 in Holyrood. In the meantime, RIC, Women for indy, Tommy and his crew etc can be developing strategies, party alliances, structures and candidates if they want to actually stand.

    My concern is that the broad Yes campaign loses it’s wild, untamed slightly chaotic nature. That is what makes grassroots and that enthralled the public. Adding to many committees, structures. leaders etc could damage that vitality.

    Discussion is key – not blame, we all have to make compromises, we all have to work for the greater good of our general campaign, even though we all have different ideals, each stage at the beginning requires us to be as solid as possible to take on the unionist machine.

    We can’t do everything all at once all at the same time – that will surely only weaken us. We lived under the Yes banner happily aligned to the SNP for a greater good and we just failed to manage our dream. It’s a good combo for 2015 Westminster I think.

  27. Divide and conquer. That sounds like a throw away sound bite. It’s not. Anyone in the Westminster establishment reading this article would be rubbing their hands together. Thankfully – on this ocaassion – you’ve got it way wrong, Cat. Any semantical hogwash about ‘podemos’ is just not going to cut it. I don’t know if you wrote the article prior to the SNP’s membership increasing at a rate that will have had David Cameron choking on his Cheerios? – but if you take a moment to reflect, you’ll realise that the strategy alluded to in this article is perilously flawed. Any lingering links to Labour (in any guise) should be expunged from your mind. We need a coherent and established driving force. That happens to be the SNP. Get on board and push together. Independence is not as far away as you think, and it’s young dynamic people like you who will be the driving force behind it. Don’t let yourself be infected with a Bernard Ponsoby type virus – just admit you mis-judged this one; get back on track; and start pushing for independence with the whole of Scotland – and that’s with the SNP as its centre point.

  28. The political landscape in Scotland has changed for ever, so why do people want to cling on to the past?

    How many people out there did I hear say “I’m voting Yes but I don’t support the SNP” now all of a sudden because 25,000-30,000 people have signed up (a great achievement) its let’s all back the SNP no matter what hmmm, I think people need to take a step back and realise that 1.6 million people voted Yes and 2 million voted No. so 30,000 uptake in membership is a drop in the ocean. Have people forgotten the SNP message to the Labour voters of “vote Yes and reclaim your party” these people do not want to join the SNP (not the majority of them anyway) never mind the 60% of Labour voters who voted No. What we need now is a new type of political machine to fight for the values of the people and become a real force against the Labour party in Scotland(Westminster is different)

    The time for a new party is now. Everyone out there have to understand that it was the politics of the left and the chance of a more democratic country that got a lot of people to vote Yes not the SNP vision or white paper. Regardless of party politics all the pro Yes parties would unite again to fight for a Yes vote and if we have a strong Political Left force in the mix next time one that has overshadowed or in fact crushed the Labour party and taken over its place then Independence will be all but assured but if we simply carry on with the same parties we have now then nothing will of changed. It was thanks to the efforts of the left that discussion and agenda of the pro Yes movement was based around social justice fairness and a more equal society with a redistribution of wealth and the re-nationalisation of the transport and energy industries. I don’t hear the SNP calling for that right now does anyone else?

    • ‘Everyone out there have to understand that it was the politics of the left and the chance of a more democratic country that got a lot of people to vote Yes not the SNP vision or white paper.’

      And it was possibly this that put a lot of middle class, generally liberal people off the Yes vote, and they happened to win the referendum.

      Lots of people don’t seem to realise that their own personal vision also has drawbacks. There’s a Ying-Yang to every argument. While your words may ring true with a certain mindset, it may also discourage those from say, Business for Scotland, into supporting your new party.

      A broad spectrum Yes campaign backed by a centre left SNP ( easily the most democratic of all the main parties in Scotland) could not convince middle Scotland to vote Yes, what chance do you think a radical new left party calling for independence will have ?

    • @Radical Strategist, you are ignoring the 3000 people who have joined the Scottish Greens, and the 2000 who have joined the SSP since the referendum. Why have you only mentioned the rise in the SNP’s membership? Why do you want to further divide the Scottish left; as there are already left wingers in the SNP, the SSP are explicitly left wing, and the Greens are in a similar position? You are intent on focusing on the SNP. There are three parties who support independence already in existence. You say the time is right for a new left wing party. Why not join the Scottish Greens or the SSP and make these already existing parties stronger?

  29. last thing we need to do is split into fractions – Divide and conquer is what the Unionists Anonists would want.
    By all means have a focus group within the SNP that looks at youngsters needs – but not a separate party

    BIDDIM

  30. “Labour cannot deliver on this basis. In the same way it cannot deliver on social justice, it cannot deliver democracy for those who have been shut out of the political process for decades.”

    Cannot is the wrong word as it suggests something they are unable to do. I suggest that the correct word is wont as they are surely in it only for themselves.

  31. On the YES Alliance (?) SNP, Greens, SSP ticket? Am I missing something? can someone answer me this. Surely “No” supporters will vote tactically in 2015 for Westminster if this arises i.e. Tories voting Labour, Lib Dems voting Labour (and adds potenitally to 55%)

  32. ok am I missing something here folks with the SNP/Greens/SSP block vote for Westminster 2015. What’s stopping the NO side tactically voting? Tories/Lib Dems to Labour, plenty of cases of it down south.

    • There is always that potential, but can you see these parties (cons and libs) urging their membership to vote labour? This would be political suicide in Scotland – would they want to have no representation in the Scot Govt, i doubt that very much. They will vote along party lines or their own allegiances. A soft under belly that would be easy to attack.

      • And Labour have just announced that they will cut the £250 winter fuel allowance. Now the No/Tory voting pensioners will be asked to vote Labour in order to ‘stop the nats’.

        I doubt it.

  33. Cat, Interesting read. I’ve just spent the last hour or so going through all the Westminster seats and there are seats the SNP can win, others they can’t. I really do hope that everyone can agree and not dilute the pro Yes candidates vote. Have my doubts, though.

    A fair few of the seats, imo, can only be won with strong independent candidates; Ross/Skye/Lochaber – East Renfrewshire – Kirkcaldy/Cowdenbeath – Coatbridge/Chryston/Bellshill – Edinburgh West for example. Now these seats differ quite dramatically in their make up and voting patterns, so different types of candidates would be required.

    In terms of numbers I work out 34 seats could be won by the SNP and the rest by independents/other parties. (Of course I’m basing this on a full wipeout which is unlikely, worth going for)

    RIC’s ability to get the vote out in areas where people don’t normally vote contributed hugely to the majority Yes votes and I hope that work continues for the GE regardless of who the most likely winning candidate is.

    I’m not a member of the SNP, never have been, but with so few months to go I think we need to be pragmatic and support those on the Yes side, most likely to win, next May.

    Then it’s all to play for in 2016.

    Alison Balharry

    • Oh and one other thought, there’s a real chance the SNP will lose Perth and North Perthshire, think they’ll pull back the other seats where SNP voters clearly voted No.

      • Albalha
        My “to do” list for today includes creating a spreadsheet for all of Labour’s Westminster seats in Scotland and adjusting for a 35% swing away from Labour and 75% turnout with the previously missing votes and the Labour swing added to the sum of SG, SNP and non Labour left. The purpose of this would be to see how many Labour Unionists would be ousted by a single candidate representing those involved in the Yes campaign
        (My interim findings suggest real progress is possible……….but only if we are united)
        Cat
        I do understand where you are coming from……..much good work was done by RIC to energise the disengaged…………but stressing only that is to downplay the lifetime of activism of members of the SNP and the commitment over many (often difficult) years of SSP activists committed to a Scottish Socialist Republic
        I live on Arran. Despite its demographic being very problematic for Yes (age and wealth distribution) Arran voted 60/40 for Yes………..due to a great campaign by the local SNP activists. I was never a member………but I am now

        Rather than waste time on new parties which reminds me of the scene from the Life of Brian we should redouble our efforts to purge Scottish public life of the pink Tories who (in the words of the recent excellent post in Wee Ginger Dug) manage the expectations of the workers on behalf of the elite while enjoying a lifestyle not warranted given their lack of talent

    • That is exactly the sort of analysis needed.

      We need the SNP, SSP, SG and pro-indy independents to co-operate, and not run against each other in 2015. Which mostly seems to mean that the SNP need to admit where they won’t win, and let the candidate more likely to win run uncontested.

      Egos will be brused. But it’s for a good cause.

      What’s wrong with the SSP for a party of the radical left?

      • Illy,

        Here, in my view, the seats the SNP are unlikely to win, may the best candidate from elsewhere get a free run. sadly not convinced, we’ll see.

        Aberdeen South – Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath – Dumfries and Galloway – NE Fife – Orkney and Shetland – Caotbridge/Chryston/Bellshill – Edinburgh West – Edinburgh South West – Glasgow SW – Dunfermline West Fife – Rutherglen and Hamilton West – Ross/Skye/Lochaber – Edinburgh North and Leith – Glasgow North – Berwickshire/Roxburgh/Selkirk – Dumfriesshire/Clydesdale/Tweedale – East Renfrewshire – Edinburgh South – East Lothian – Glasgow NW – Glenrothes – Paisley/Renfrewsire North – West Aberdeenshire/Kincardine – East Dunbartonshire

        • Hi
          If you are right then in these seats, if there is a pro independence candidate who has the chance of winning, then the SNP should agree to stand down. However in the central belt with all the YES voting Labour supporters and the many disillusioned labour supporters I believe there is a good chance of victory for SNP candidates.
          Regards
          Eddie

      • @eddie – Hopefully this appears below Eddie’s comments.

        Re central belt seats, a couple of examples re my thinking, with his huge majority I’m not convinced that I Davidson in Glasgow SW can be unseated by the SNP, however in M Curran’s Glasgow East seat with a similar percentage majority I think they can. Increased turnout will be needed of course, 54.6% and 52.3% respectively.

        I’m basing my thoughts on what has happened, where and how people voted on the 18th and at the last GE. Of course just my thinking, sure others, particularly in the SNP, may well disagree.

        Alison

    • @Albalha

      In regards to the 2015 general election; it is important to remember that the Scottish political scene has been transformed since the last general election. The Liberal Democrats went into coalition with the Tories. I would be amazed if they are not hammered in Scotland, they can certainly expect to lose most of their seats. I cannot see the Tories doing well, given the MSM in Scotland will be going after them from now till the election, as they will want to see their beloved SLAB doing well. However, in some of latter’s heartlands they have just voted against the wishes of their parties’ leadership, and voted for independence. This creates opportunities for the independence movement, which is going to have to campaign for more powers within the UK political system for the foreseeable future.

      On the other hand, first-past-the-post is not a good system for the SNP, Greens, SSP etc. Therefore, unfortunately unless some great and spectacular co-ordination and tactical voting is developed between the pro-independence parties, I see only modest gains for these parties, particularly the SNP, who have the most resources. I hope I am wrong. Expectations need to be realistic, otherwise people may get disillusioned and frustrated in time, at the lack of progress since the referendum last week.

  34. As a middle-class over-65 supporter of independence, can I urge that we need to take in some of the 55%, not focus on a core within the 45%? The best hope for the Westminster election next year will be if the SNP fight on a platform of demanding a fully federal solution. That could bring in the support of some Lib Dem and Tory voters to add to the 45%. Demanding a re-run of the independence referendum less than a year after the last is not going to get majority support.

    As to the Holyrood elections, under the less-than-ideal system we have, it’s the list vote that matters, not the local constituencies. The SNP – unlike Labour – came to understand that, and it’s how they managed to get their overall majority in 2011. If the Yes vote is too fragmented, fewer Yes MSPs will be elected.

    [The solution longer term is to change to STV like we have for council elections, where your vote gets transferred to your next preference(s) if your favourite candidate isn’t elected – and where you vote for individuals not party lists.]

  35. PS Having mentioned that STV is the best system of proportional representation, I should have flagged up the 2017 council elections. I know they’re a long way off, but they will offer a superb opportunity for grass-roots activists to start building the democracy they want, from the bottom up.

  36. *sigh* i feel like I’m going to have to repeatedly comment with this: I’m not talking about westminster in this article. only holyrood.

    • Cat,

      Re my remarks I understood your point, mine is merely to ask all players to cooperate for the GE, may the best Yes supporting candidate be given free rein, in fairness I think it’s the SNP who’re least likely to play ball, we’ll see.

      My current obssession is May 2015, find it difficult to see beyond that just now! With unheard of cooperation there’s a chance a loose coalition of ‘Yes’ MPs could hold the balance of power.

      Alison

    • Given the amount of people not getting that (myself included) you should probably have made that a good deal clearer.

      Add to that the fact that everyone is concentrating on the Westminster election as “the next fight” and you’re going to have a lot of people misinterpreting you.

      Plus, what’s wrong with the SSP?

      • Illy read Cat comment above this is about realignment not splitting. I get the feeling that most people commenting can’t see beyond the present set up to what we could unleash by learning from the experience of other struggles like Podemos

  37. No. We don’t need this – whether at the moment or at Holyrood. This kind of thing would be best post-independence.

    We need to get behind the SNP at the GE and then support who we want on the progressive left at Holyrood.

    • Correct, both Tocasaid and tartan fever. We need different strategies for the General Election in 2015, and the Scottish Election in 2016. Time is short, and as Tommy Sheridan has suggested we all need to support the S.N.P as far as the G.E is concerned, and then work out a different course of action for the S.E, as they are vastly different beasts.

  38. Agree with much of Albalha’s comments. We do not need a new part right now. After the 2015 GE perhaps. Just a note of caution on Podemos. They are a Spanish nationalist party and are campaigning against Catalan independence. We might be able to learn something from their structures etc but we should not think of supporting them.

  39. I don’t think vehicles are enough – and we don’t want to exclude small c conservatives.

    If we’re going by the Ashcroft poll (and it seems to be holy writ now, especially on the age split) then the biggest weakness for Yes was economics, specifically currency.

    There needs to be thought given to how Scotland would launch its own currency – if Iceland with 300,000 people can do it, so can we. In particular, we need to show how we would create the financial reserves to underwrite the currency (around £30-40 billion?), the central bank itself could be contracted from a private bank.

    • Interestingly the final Yougov figures don’t find such an extreme age split:

      Age – Yes/No
      16-24 – 49/51
      25-39 – 55/45
      40-59 – 47/53
      60-64 – 45/55
      65+ – 34/66

  40. Pick your ‘enemies’ one by one Cat. At the moment I think your ‘enemy’ is the unholy alliance between the unionist parties and in particular the Labour Party. Diminish their power in Scotland by uniting behind the SNP as Sheridan suggested and you can create a political force in a Yes Alliance that will cause Cameron a bloody heart attack, not just an ulcer.

    The time for creating different political parties in Scotland is after independence not before.

  41. We need to unite, not splinter off. Back SNP until devomax achieved, then push for more left policies.

    • And if Devo Max isn’t achieved? If the SNP turn out to not be able to get more than say 40% of the vote for Westminster and First Past The Post works against them? And the chance to create a radical leftish force in politics passes? Where would that leave us.

      My lifetime has been spent watching Labour descend into a bad copy of what they once were. At one point they were the obvious choice for transforming society. It took 20 years since they started changing from that before they were not utterly entrenched in power across the whole of Scotland, and the work for achieving that in nowhere near complete. I don’t much fancy watching the same happening with the SNP. There has to be alternatives to political parties who are in power.

      I’ve zero problem with co-operation with the SNP. I like plenty they’ve done. But they can’t be the only people advocating for independence. If they are to be, one scandal or one incompetent government could finish the independence movement. Political resilience can only be built by differing views being present on the same side of the general argument.

  42. If history teaches us one thing it is this ,the Left always defeats itself,no need for the establishment to ever do a thing.
    We only need to look at the history of our Scottish Parliament to see how the left managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
    Please ,please do not do it again ,listen to Tommy Sheridan on this one occasion,
    Do not split the YES Vote for some idealistic notion of socialist nirvana, now is not the time to split.
    The Left’s time will come in the Independent Scotland , there may even be an opportunity at Holyrood 2016 for the left to make advances in the communities you have mentioned in your article.
    The British Establishment Parties will pick us off and stop the Independence movement dead in its tracks if you at this stage deploy another Indy Party.
    The way ahead is clear hold the Unionists to account on their false promises of Devo Max ,Federalism .
    This as we all know is pie in the sky lies, unite behind the SNP for 2015 they are Scotland’s best hope in Westminster election.
    Please ,please do not let history and leftist ego destroy Scottish Independence and the hopes and dreams of all of us on the left..

  43. I think there may have been a strong case for this two weeks ago. But I think the boat has now been missed – people who were going to join parties have done their joining.

    I do however think that serious conversations between the SNP, Greens, SSP and RIC/ISG folks and others about 2015 is a good idea and conversations between the latter groups about Holyrood 2012 would be sensible. If they (we – I’m a Green member) could be crafted into a Podemos style movement, great. Otherwise, the absolutely last thing the left needs is another party.

  44. I have to agree with many of these commentators. My fear is that the YES movement splinters into a purely nationalist contingent and a loose conglomeration of left-wing organisations for whom the notion of nationalism does not sit comfortably. I breathed a sigh of relief when Tommy Sheridan said he would back the SNP at the next UK election. That’s got to be the right decision. For once in history, let the left-wing parties unite and watch the right-wing splinter and consume themselves. A YES Alliance led by the SNP could probably take 29 seats at the election in May, maybe more. That could well be the balance of power and the political capital that entails. Haud thegither!

  45. my point: we need a political expression of the *movement* in Holyrood- that will be something new because it doesn’t exist already. the radicalisation and burst of energy were people who recognised that the indy ref was not politics as usual. i don’t know how we can expect people to go back to politics as usual without a huge dropping off of “people power” momentum. my idea was that we need a way to maintain the energy, radicalism and diverse polity in 2016 with the referendum off the table. i’m definitely no suggesting that we create “just another left wing party”, hence my deliberate use of podemos (came from a movement). i am also not the only person saying this, there are others out there who are looking for something else too. finally, on a personal and political level, i don’t think RIC should become a political party- it is a social movement, which needs to stay.

    • I entirely agree with you for what it’s worth.

      How about an umbrella organisation covering the movement? If RIC, or Women For Independence have someone they think would be a good candidate for a constituency, put them up for a primary where the people decide who should stand for election from the group. Same with any other group which signs up to a core set of values (independence, Common Weal seem the likeliest parts). The difficulty I think would be in getting the Greens, SSP etc to agree to the loss of their autonomy that this would entail for them when it comes to elections, but a broader movement where their political ideas were being represented and actually having some power behind them seems a reasonable pay off for that.

      That imo would be a way to keep people engaged. It would reach out to let those not involved in a movement to be involved in selecting who should stand for election to represent them.

      If we’re serious about democracy, anything that can democratise politics has to be considered as far as I’m concerned.

    • Noble aims, but doomed to divide the left in Scotland. Only a broad socialist movement including yes and no voters would be likely to provide a proper people’s mandate for a more socially just society, in which the working class would not be further shafted by neoliberalism. Once this was achieved perhaps you could decide if full indy was necessary, but the Scottish people are unlikely to ever vote for a new bourgeois state based on a neoliberal plan and fuelled by nationalism. The SNP’s indy-lite would never do. Only a plan based on socialist aims and re-distribution could ever ensure the working class wouldn’t be caught between greedy corporations, UK financial institutions, EU austerity and the next capitalist crisis. In order for that plan to be realistic there must be a foundation – only a unified left could provide this.

      The problem the article refuses to acknowledge is that indy-lite was the SNP’s show, especially when rather than challenge the SNP’s plan for low-tax, low-wage economics the RIC foolishly attempted to graft their agenda onto that of the nationalists, tacitly endorsing their white paper and it’s capitalist model of iScotland-lite. You failed (understandably) to co-opt the nationalist movement and for every person who became interested in socialism there were three new bravehearts. Apparently the SNP’s numbers are swelling, something which would’ve happened either way. Basically the SNP will never provide a sensible route to any sort of true independence or true self-determination. Attempts to fuse socialism and nationalism invariably only lead to more nationalism. The idea that Scottish people are fairer, more just and more progressive looks pretty much like any other nationalism once you drape it in a Saltire.

      Without a unified left the working class will have been given a brief moment of attention only to see a divided left focusing on nationalist fantasies which condemn the working class to be endlessly manipulated and misled as to who and where the real enemies are. Instead of rejecting the will of the Scottish people we should now be focusing on the shared struggle of the working class.

  46. v interesting and definitely worth exploring. it reminds me a little of the Syriza model, which should seriously be looked into. the process of all of this is so crucial. you’re bang on the money when it comes to democratising politics- this has to be key to any long term plan. i don’t think that people who got politicised at this time want to join anything where they’re going to have to tow a “party line”- yes, we want independence, but its not just one issue for the next few years, i think we need to be talking about other policies too, making the ultimate demand for home rule whenever possible and making sure there isn’t just devolution of cuts. i think thats why we need RIC as a social movement right now also.

    • You think maybe we should talk about other policies too? Really? How could anything possibly be more important than making sure we co-opt socialism for the sake of nationalist aims?

  47. also, bearing in mind: Robin McAlpine has basically said this same thing… “Is there a party ready to adopt the kind of policy agenda above and really make a push for the voting demographics that win elections for socially democratic parties? We’ve got only a few months to make that decision. I am currently a long way from convinced.”

    • No single left wing party is in the position to take it forward. And I’m not sure anyone would argue otherwise.

      But time is pressing. I’d like to see the SNP and my suggested broad left pro indy consensus party start to negotiate splitting which seats each go for in Westminster. There are seats the SNP simply will not win if it’s left to them. The left might not either but they’d have a better chance. I wouldn’t be talking about aiming for a 50/50 split between the two, but who is best positioned to try and take the seat. There’s a lot of Labour seats which a left-wing pro-independence insurgency is going to be more palatable for people to switch to than the SNP. There’s also a quid pro quo that goes along with that. Committed SNP voters would be voting for the left in some seats, but the left would be voting for the SNP in the rest. And the grassroots would be asked to support both.

      And try to win 59 Scottish seats. Falling short is fine, but everywhere should be given an alternative to the Westminster consensus.

    • Cat you need power before you can change anything ,short term all of us in the 45 need to support SNP at Westminster election.
      It is only a few months away and there is no time to start another Party or movement that could be ready to make a difference in May 2015.
      We need to remove as many Unionist MPs as possible and keep our foot on the throat of Westminster.
      If we let up for an instant the British Establishment will crush us in an instant.

    • Cat I totally agree. We need to look beyond the present set up and fit the vehicle to the movement and not the movement to existing political structures as others are determined to push (ram) on this thread.

  48. I think this is a problem that Labour, never mind the Conservatives, would kill to have, but:
    – the “heartland” SNP constituencies voted no
    – overlapping with this, the ABC1s voted no (59%)
    – but C2DEs were more yes (50%)
    – former Labour heartlands were voting Yes

    The dilemma for the SNP is does it move leftwards to capture and hold these former Labour areas at the risk of losing its previous heartlands?

    This is where a broader movement might be better (Scottish Conservatives for Yes?) as a party can’t stand on a single policy, but will need to also be setting out positions on tax/spend/priorities.

    • The SNP are competent, but they’ve been used by people on both the left & right to kick the other side over the years (as have the Lib Dems in Scotland) and it hasn’t necessarily been primarily about support for independence which has driven their support amongst all who vote for them.

      So in my opinion there’s a pro independence vote, and then there’s an anti-Tory/Labour vote which the SNP have been very adept at picking up.

      I think we can safely say that when 45% of people are in favour of independence, I think the SNP might start getting a bit of a reduction in their protest vote from those who have been voting for them but who don’t support independence. Shouldn’t matter too much at Westminster elections, but it will have a bearing on Holyrood I think.

      The SNP can stick to the strategy they have had which is being to the left of Labour on social justice, but sticking with a fairly formulaic non controversial interpretation of economic policy which is within a pretty narrow spectrum of consensus across the UK parties. As long as they’re hoovering up seats and votes they’ve not got much reason to change it. Anything other than that is a gamble.

  49. Rather than Podemos, it would be far more instructive for the pro-independence left in Scotland to look at how the equivalent movement in the Basque Country operates. In both Basque and Spanish parliamentary elections the various parties of the pro-independence left (the main ones being Sortu, Aralar and Eusko Alkartasuna) enter as a coalition (Amaiur in Spanish elections and Bildu in Basque elections). In the 2012 Basque elections Bildu won 25% of the vote, second to the ideologically more ambiguous/centre-right Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) – this left/right distinction is not so clear between the Scottish Yes parties. That result was quite something given the fact that a legal ban on Bildu was only lifted by the Spanish Constitutional Court in May 2011. But it was testament to the social strength of the Basque pro-independence left – the same goes for Basque nationalism generally. You are not just a voter of a party but a member of a community. This, I believe, was part of our downfall in the referendum; the social movement came too late (a couple of years is not a long time when you consider the izquierda abertzale has been around for decades). So, in my opinion, building the social movement rather than creating more political parties will help us going forward, at least until there is any significant ideological divergence between the existing Yes parties. As others have suggested, forming a Yes coalition, which could include independent candidates, based on a set of core principles and objectives would be the wise move for now.

  50. Division only works for the conquerors.
    All that’s needed now is that we stick to the critical path that defines our goal i.e. all MSP and MPs selected and elected to represent Scotland put their country first before party.
    On the 18th Sept we got close. By my arithmetic -always suspect – we only needed two hundred and one thousand to win and that was playing under Westminster rules and the SNP playing defensive and restrictive broad church tactics.
    The next game is played away and the tactics there must be to make the next Westminster parlaiment an even greater rat-bag of conflicting interests that it already is. For that to happen Scotland needs a real fighting 50 in there and contesting every issue.
    While it would be unreasonable to expect them to win any – other than a possible draw on a few – if nothing else it would be valuable experience for them and a subject lesson on how not to run a country. Whilst,only by default you understand, induce those that represent England to demand independence from these tiresome and rebellious Scots.

  51. Noble aims, but doomed to divide the left in Scotland. Only a broad socialist movement including yes and no voters would be likely to provide a proper people’s mandate for a more socially just society, in which the working class would not be further shafted by neoliberalism. Once this was achieved perhaps you could decide if full indy was necessary, but the Scottish people are unlikely to ever vote for a new bourgeois state based on a neoliberal plan and fuelled by nationalism. The SNP’s indy-lite would never do. Only a plan based on socialist aims and re-distribution could ever ensure the working class wouldn’t be caught between greedy corporations, UK financial institutions, EU austerity and the next capitalist crisis. In order for that plan to be realistic there must be a foundation – only a unified left could provide this.

    The problem Ms Boyd refuses to acknowledge is that indy-lite was the SNP’s show, especially when rather than challenge the SNP’s plan for low-tax, low-wage economics the RIC foolishly attempted to graft their agenda onto that of the nationalists, tacitly endorsing their white paper and it’s capitalist model of iScotland-lite. They failed to co-opt the nationalist movement and for every person who became interested in socialism there were three new bravehearts. Apparently the SNP’s numbers are swelling, something which would’ve happened either way. Basically the SNP will never provide a sensible route to any sort of true independence or true self-determination. Attempts to fuse socialism and nationalism invariably only lead to more nationalism. The idea that Scottish people are fairer, more just and more progressive looks pretty much like any other nationalism once you drape it in a Saltire.

    Without a unified left the working class will have been given a brief moment of attention only to see a divided left focusing on nationalist fantasies which condemn the working class to be endlessly manipulated and misled as to who and where the real enemies are. Instead of rejecting the will of the Scottish people we should now be focusing on the shared struggle of the UK’s working class.

    • As opposed to?

      I’m fairly left wing. And I’m getting a bit pissed off with the revolutionaries who didn’t want independence for Scotland because it wasn’t the right form of independence. And who seem to think that real radicalism means subjecting yourself to anti-people tory government.

      When is this socialist vision coming to the UK? Or worldwide? Because I keep seeing references to solidarity with others being an argument against Scottish independence when as part of the UK we’ve watched living standards plummet, where the safety nets laboriously built are having ever more holes cut in them, where the poor are demonised, and where the rich are insulated from their mistakes by our wealth. And the Tories & Labour are neck and neck re who forms the next government. Both of whom will continue these policies.

      The vote for independence was a vote to make our own decisions. What came after that would depend on what the people decided. If that would have been socialism we’ll never know. In part because we’ve had “socialists” propping up the corrupted British state dreaming of the international revolution which they think is just round the corner which will cure all. Despite there being zero evidence for it.

      • When is your socialist (nationalist) vision coming to iScotland? Certainly not when you put a mark on a peice of paper. You are making the icing for a cake which isn’t half baked yet. The SNP were always going to win when socialists are backing nationalists with a neoliberal plan. The Scottish people did not vote for a neoliberal plan. In socialist terms and sheer common sense backing the nationalist escape route was always a flawed and dangerous plan – to starve your granny for social justice is illogical. Socialism seeks to break down the barriers which separate workers, not divide them. When the working class has been united it’s produced a mandate for great things to happen – unions, the NHS, miner’s strike etc. If you’re ultimate aim is to redistribute wealth and put capital and the means of production back in the hands of the workers rather than the bosses, then that has to form the basis of any change. You have to accept that the SNP plan wasn’t accepted democratically and think of a different one.

        I actually think your cause would be furthered by uniting with the working class people of the UK and spreading proper socialism far and wide, that way if an independent socially just (ie socialist) iScotland seemed viable, you might get your precious yes vote. It’s socialism first, however you cut it. You can’t expect an egg to start clucking. Sheridan says vote SNP. The SNP say they can be like Ukraine and just declare independence if we get increased devo & the SNP have a big enough number of seats, an insane and un-democratic way of faking and manufacturing consent. Any voice the working class had is being forgotten as so-called socialists flounder around trying to decide how they can best further the nationalist cause, relentlessly and bitterly refusing to accept that they should be uniting with all left-wingers and fighting for the rights of the working class.

      • Constant slurs (nationalist) isn’t an argument.

  52. Targeting Labour seats in the General Election through the most viable means is the obvious priority. But beyond the General Election, what’s happening in the Scottish Parliament? Who are we wanting to be pushing for change? For home rule, not only as a means to independence but at a means to mitigate the punishment we will receive from Westminster. In this, we need a party that has the potential to reach beyond the 45%, to reach the 97% that registered to vote. The high registration was itself a call for change isn’t recognised within the current political parties and the PR system in Scottish parliament can allow for this. I feel the level of engagement we have seen from people previously deemed apathetic needs to be recognised through building a new system of representation through an new party from the ground up.

    • Nobody disputes that ,indeed I would suggest most of us agree with that.
      However in the real world the next hurdle is Westminster 2015 ,without a doubt our strategy has to be to remove as many unionist MPs as possible and keep the pressure on Westminster to honour its pledges to Scottish voters.
      The best way of achieving that is to get the 45 to support the SNP candidates for Westminster.

      • In terms of Westminster, the best would be for all 1.6 mill Yes voters to simply boycott those elections rather than play along. A well organised boycott would say far more. Only vote for Holyrood SMP’s.

  53. I agree with Nick that the Basque Country provides us with many rich lessons – we should be sending regular groups of activists over there to study and experience how independence is a complete social movement, with social spaces in every town, feminist organisations, ecological organisations, the pro-independence left trade union federation. We’re going to have at least a few years before we can achieve another independence referendum, and frankly we need it – we need to build the kind of infrastructure that can mobilise a majority to vote Yes.

    However, I believe Cat is absolutely right that there needs to be a new, open and completely democratic expression of the Yes movement that speaks directly to the needs of the working class who voted most solidly Yes. Other people have alluded to how we analyse this vote, here’s my thinking. Britain will ALWAYS be able to mobilise the banks, Asda, the BBC, the Queen, MI5 etc. etc. against the independence movement. People who are scared of losing the wealth they have are never going to be won over by us soft peddling the social change we want to see to trying and convince them that all the institutions they hold dear are wrong and lying. Wealthy areas voted with 90% + turnouts. Poorer areas where Yes won also experienced incredible increases in turnout, but we’re talking jumps from around 50% to around 70%. That’s still amazing, but it’s not enough to withstand the onslaught of the wealthier voting for continuation of the status quo.

    So you could either draw the conclusion that we need to be more moderate to win over these voters. Or you could see our problem was that we didn’t motivate enough of our core vote to turn out in favour of something they could clearly see would make their lives better. We need to see those kind of 90% turnouts in Glasgow and Dundee if we’re ever to hope of winning a Yes majority. So we need a party that puts this across clearly in a way people can get behind.

    If such a party were launched soon (like this year) there would be plenty of time for it to engage in grassroots action on the issues that the newly politicised communities care most about, while initiating a totally open discussion about the way forward for the Yes movement. Nobody is proposing standing a new party in Westminster in May. But what we do need is a serious discussion about how we get radical left voices inside the Scottish Parliament the year after. We have suffered the consequences in the years the SSP have been absent there. Beyond that, perhaps even more important is building local community power and demanding direct democracy via the local elections the year after.

    We need this not because the left wants to feel big and important, but because a serious analysis of the referendum shows we must win the working class in greater numbers if we ever want to win.

    A new organisation should learn from the Basque pro-indy left and Podemos in basing themselves very much at the local level primarily. We must keep the spirit of mass activism and street politics alive, and we can do that on taking action on the issues care about now. Let’s make poverty, welfare reform, fracking, climate change, the attacks on people with disabilities and immigration policy in to independence issues – because they all are. We also need to learn from the mass canvasses that door to door, face to face conversations are the most effective way we have of mobilising. Base local groups a lot on the way ACORN and other community organisations operate in the US. Go into an area, knock ever door, learn what people most want action on and then get moving. These methods have won countless immediate gains in people’s lives in the US.

    What’s most important is that any new party doesn’t claim to be the revolutionary leadership, or say “my way or the high way.” The example of Podemos is of a party that is completely open, all their discussions are online and public, and you don’t have to be a member to participate. We would recognise and respect the tens of thousands joining the SNP and other parties as a way forward, and would have close discussions with everyone in the Yes movement. But currently the people who voted Yes, the disenfranchised working class living in cities and small towns, do not have their interests represented in parliament. That must change

    Having said all this, I would ask everyone to note that this hasn’t been a proposal from Cat to dissolve RIC or transform it into a political party. A credible left voice at Holyrood and council level is just one of the things we need to do. Take it back to the Basque pro-independence left – we need a broad based social movement. We need to create a new media, physical social spaces, and radical pro-independence movements around all issues that will be pressing before we can achieve a majority in another referendum. RIC’s in a good place to help with these things, and has enough work to be getting on with. It’ll be a nightmare trying to get all these things done at once, but fortunately there’s tens of thousands of people right now who are angry, want independence, and are looking for the way forward. Not every single one of them sees the only solution as joining the SSP.

    Here are some articles that influence my thinking that I recommend:

    On building the social movement base:

    http://novaramedia.com/2013/07/turn-out-dont-burn-out-four-suggested-projects/ (change UK to Scotland for this one

    http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2014/09/19/wipe-your-eyes-on-your-feet/

    On Podemos:

    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/07/the-syriza-of-spain/

  54. We were denied our freedom by immigrants. The story in the Herald today makes it clear that a majority of the Scots-born voted for independence, yet immigrants tipped the balance in favour of No.

    Socialist ideology favours immigrants. So we really don’t need more Socialist claptrap about an international brotherhood united in class war. If we are to win our freedom, we need less of it.

    • Don’t start all that UKIP pish please. We fell short and did not convince enough voters in Scotland to support and vote Yes. That is it period.

      • Rubbish. Immigrants stole our freedom from us and you don’t want to talk about it because it conflicts with your goofy Socialist ideology. So we now need to convince an ever-increasing proportion of Scots to support independence to make up for the ever-increasing proportion of immigrants in the population, something the SNP, incidentally, welcomes.

        It is an historical injustice of epic proportions that immigrants to Scotland, most especially English immigrants, have succeeded in denying us our freedom.

      • This is the sort of pish you get from UKIP, BNP, Britannica, or any of the crazy far right parties. Give yourself a shake. Your posts are revolting.

      • Sure. Let’s keep the red flag flying and we’ll all live happily ever after in enslaved Scotland, arm-in-arm with our brown-skinned brothers from across the seas.

      • You are now moving onto out and out racism territory.

  55. And in the colony of Helensburgh the Yes vote could only attract 19% of the electorate. The selfish, I’m alright Jack’s were prevalent here despite a very slick and professional campaign by the Yes people. Around 2000 sailors who had postal addresses in the Churchill Estate voted No en masse, despite the fact they actually live in England for most of the year. That is something which should be addressed next time round. Meanwhile in nearby West Dunbartonshire they were weighing the Yes votes, especially in some of the housing schemes around Clydebank.

  56. Spot on, Cat. The ILP is to me the natural collecting pot for those wbo don’t want to join the SNP or the Greens but do want to support independence – Labour for Independence, SSP, Common Weal, etc. All three parties would be social democratic in nature and left of centre to varying degrees.

  57. I have finished my analysis of the 2010 results for Scottish Labour MPs
    If 35% of Labour voters switched to a single Indy candidate along with previously disengaged voters getting the turnout to 75% then every Labour seat bar two would fall to Indy
    In many cases Labour would fall with a swing but no increased turnout

    The referendum result was heartbreaking but if we continue the process that has been underway for months now to engage the disempowered and to exploit the anger at Labour, then an electoral pact in May 2015 could put Labour in the same place as the Tories

    A good bit of investigative journalism into SLAB MPs on expenses, multiple houses, families employed, outside interests would also be valuable ahead of May 2015

    That pact should consist of SNP, Scottish Greens, SSP and well respected Independents all pledged to fight for Scotland at Westminster and to sign up to a fastidious code on expenses

  58. I wonder if we could have a comity agreement between the pro independence parties, SNP, SSP, and SG, so they they do not all field candidates in the same constituencies? Let’s say that in constituency A the SNP field a candidate, in constituency B the SSP field a candidate and in constituency C the SG field a candidate. This would allow each candidate to run with the vision of her/his party, all under the YES meta-vision. Then when elected each could represent the vision for which his/her constituency voted. I wonder if this would be a strategy for the 2015 Westminster elections?

  59. Keeping together a ‘pro-indy’ alliance is going to be difficult? Why? Because the SNP, the biggest constituent and the most important constituent in the alliance is committed to something contradictory, i.e. running the institutions of the British state, those same institutions it accuses of having a democratic deficit. This means that the Scottish Government will pass on austerity measures to local councils. I’m not saying SNP members should adopt illegal budgets – that wont happen – but also unlikely to happen is for them to explain the nature of the democratic deficit. Instead their councillors and MSPs will talk about ‘tough decisions’, ‘competent government’, etc. In time this will split the pro-indy movement.

    The reality is that the independence moment has passed. We now need to get used to the idea of pursuing a radical agenda within a devolutionary framework, something the SSP successfully did over a decade ago. Independence will be there in the background. Of course. But it’s time has past. The British state will simply not allow another referendum for at least a generation.

    As for Cat’s article. I’m sympathetic, and I like the idea of a movement that unifies parties as opposed to a new party. But my advice would be don’t opt for an explicitly for a socialist/old labour movement based on a romanticised view of the working class.

    This ignores the extent to which socialist ideology is in crisis, both it’s reformist and revolutionary variants, and also the fact that ideological projects are not electorally popular.

    Many working class people, especially those with mortgages (now the majority of people!) voted no out of fear of interest rates, difficulties borrowing money, etc. I understand that. The radial left stopped talking that constituency along time ago. I’m not saying we abandon the poor but we need to build a triangulation between the poor, better off workers and progressive middle class people.

  60. The SNP have the political apparatus to further advance the independence cause. Of that there is no doubt.
    But something happened during the last few months of the campaign. The vote became much more than a vote for independence and self determination.
    Somewhere along the line, a notion of a new nation developed. A new nation and a new government built “by the people, for the people” to quote a phrase.
    A nation whose government empowered by a new constitution works for the betterment of all the people and demands that the people fully engage in the politics of the land. A powerful social pact.
    The most powerful concept, IMHO, behind a new constitution, is the concept of freedom.
    We have all seen the effects of austerity cuts on our country. And by this I mean the whole UK as governed by Westminster.
    It is not just greed which has led to an ever increasing wealth gap. It is a political and governmental mind set which blames the poor for being poor, the uneducated for being uneducated, the homeless for being homeless.
    Instead of a government built round a social pact for the betterment of its people, we have governments which actively encourage a society which works for the interests of the corporation.
    UK plc is a concept which I have always found repugnant in its profound disregard for the past, present and future tax payers who actually paid for the infrastructure of the country.
    Make no mistake. There is no plc in this land which can make any profit without the infrastructure paid for by you and I.
    So how can there be freedom in a nation where the education system is so woefully inadequate. Where the best health care goes to those best placed to pay. Where corporations pay little or no tax but enjoy all the benefits of the state paid for by the people.
    New concepts such as the 1 percent, Occupy, have all been ignored by the Main Stream Media and eventually crushed.
    I remember one young man being interviewed outside St Paul’s during the Occupy period. He was trying to explain his frustration in a country which had marginalised, disenfranchised and eventually cast him on the scrap heap. He was portrayed as a sponger and a waste of space. He had let his country down.
    On the contrary. His country and government had let him down.
    I thought, what chance did this young man have when every government decision had set him up to be a failure?
    The bed room tax is a prime example of this warped thinking.
    One thing that the referendum taught me, is that the old political terms: left, right, socialist, Tory, labour, lib dem, constitutional monarchy, capitalism, free markets etc are historical baggage which we have to stop using.
    We need a new language for 21st century politics which frames a moral and political philosophy which gives all or citizens the freedom to advance themselves. Not just the 1 percent.
    I, and am sure, many others, saw these ideas starting to form in the YES campaign.
    It became more than the single issue of referendum. Independent Scotland was a chance to close the history books and consign them to the rubbish bin. A new book was there to be written!
    For me, it is vital for my children that this small flame is not extinguished, but is nurtured and grown.
    Is this best done via the SNP?
    I think the Indy movement has outgrown the SNP. It has morphed into something new.
    It needs an ideological framework which has to be articulated at every opportunity in a new language.
    But the SNP has the infrastructure and very many talented and dedicated people. It is a party which is waiting for a raison d’être post independence.
    I will be signing up as soon as I can!

  61. FYI – I have joined the Labour party this week.
    I voted SNP when I was younger but have voted Labour the last 17 years.
    This week and the last few months have taught me that the Silent Majority need to be active in politics – not just the 44.7%.
    Since the referendum result there is now talk of declaring independence by other means (UDI) and possibly another referendum if SNP have a majority in 2016.
    Don’t you guys get it?
    Over 2 million scots want to keep the union!
    The yes vote was supposed to be about “getting the government we vote for” – that democracy in Scotland is being ignored.
    The referendum has given the democratic result that we voted for.
    Now you guys are choosing to ignore the will of the majority of Scots.
    This nonsense about a Yes alliance forcing independence or declaring another referendum is an affront to democracy!
    Please give it up for the good of the Scotland.

    • They have yet to realise that the nationalist movement is a fool’s errand

    • The majority of Scots voted for independence. Non-Scottish residents of Scotland gave victory to the No campaign.

      • According to the Yougov post-referendum poll Scots (by birth) voted Yes/No 49/51. Scots by choice of residence voted 24/76. Assuming that is true, and there are around 400,000 English, Welsh and Irish-origin people in Scotland (think number of English-origin is around 370,000) then that certainly helps a winning margin – but it is their country too.

        (Other EU nationals voted Yes/No 41:59 in that survey, so maybe some concerns over EU membership status?)

  62. Cat the idea of a Podemos style party is pretty good -but they aren’t a party founded upon a struggle for national separation. They respect the will of the people (including Catalans) but if you want Podemos it should be about socialism and nothing else.

  63. Cat Boyd, I agree with you – a party from RIC is a must and Podemos have really shaken things up in Spain. The PSOE (Spanish New Labour) are seriously worried, so worried that their leader was spinning a story the other week that Podemos were going to go into a coalition with the PP (the Tories), which is obviously a lie.

    Those who think that everybody should join the SNP are being naive. That’s not how it works – keep it plural, keep it diverse, and a Scottish Podemos would keep all those people RIC contacted engaged in politics. If you can’t build a new country, build a new party.

    This idea of “national” movements, that everybody should join the SNP, is the kind of homogeneous thinking which puts people lots of people of “nationalism”. You can share the vision of an indie Scotland and disagree about other things. Where is the problem?

    Go for it, Cat Boyd…

    • And, please, not a name with the word “socialist” in it, Cat.

      All that language is dead, we need fresh ideas and new language to fight for a fairer society, and new faces like yourself Cat Boyd. Guys like Tommy Sheridan talking about Trotsky with Andrew Neil the weekend before the referendum are a sure-fire way of losing votes and leave the Left looking like deluded, romantic folk who cling to the past…

      Podemos (which means We can in case anybody didn’t know that) understood that, and, by the way, they have made far more progress as a political party in just a year than the indignados movement they sprang from ever did, despite their thousands and thousands of demonstrations and sit-ins…

      A new left is exactly what we need, and it can be international in its reach too….

      • Douglas thanks for the insights into Podemos and I totally agree with you.

      • Their Euro MPS also have the commendable ethical policy of returning a large chunk of their salary of about 3,500 Euros a month back into social causes. Their policy is to earn no more than three times the minimum wage, which is about 600 Euros a month in Spain, so they are collecting 1800 a month and handing about the same figure back to social causes.

        Yes, they put their money where their mouth is. You have to commend them for that.

  64. “nor certainly the SNP that powered the momentum behind the Yes campaign”

    I agree that the SNP probably aren’t the radical party of the left you’re looking for, Cat. We’re social democrats rather than socialists, but I’m glad your focus is on 2016 rather than 2015 for obvious reasons. I do have some thoughts to add.

    I grew up in one of our deprived council estates. The son of a 16 year old single mum, I was later adopted – losing a distinctly Gaelic name and obtaining a Welsh one in the process – but my financial circumstances never really changed. The only thing that saved me was getting kicked out of the local school and being sent to one in the nearest middle-class catchment area – they kicked me out too but, being soft-minded liberals, they kept letting me back in. Education was and will always be the fulcrum of my political ideology.

    I struggled through Uni with no support and then managed to find myself a decent job, not in Scotland but in Denmark: a genuinely classless society. It was in Denmark that I learned to loathe the class language of the UK and recognise how absurd it was. For me, acknowledging class is tantamount to admitting defeat since it assumes that there will always be a working class and, these days, when we say working class we really mean poor. No, for me there is rich and poor and in between we have a passive majority: those who don’t have a big enough stake in the wealth of the nation to care about influencing politics at the top and who aren’t poor enough to desperately want change. Some of them voted yes and some voted no; a few were passionate but, in general, not to the same extent as the rich or the poor.

    For me, the language of class is anathema. You can’t win a class war, because no matter how many of our people are living in poverty, they aren’t the majority. And it sounds too often as if the so called middle-class are doing just wonderful, when in fact most of them are up to their eyes in debt too. They can access cheaper credit because they have a modest income, but they’re still in hock (often more so). The more important point is that THEY HAVE SOMETHING TO LOSE, whereas the poor don’t. Better to engage with them and try to show them what life is really like in our schemes than to highlight a schism, I’d say. Most have no real idea, and most would care more if they did. These people fear socialism because they’ve been brought up to fear socialism. They’ve been reared on a Tory (and now Labour) narrative that real socialism is a threat to their way of life. Anything other than moderate and temperate language intimidates them. They’re under the spell of the neo-liberal consensus. A new party of the radical left would frighten them.

    I can roughly remember a quote from a famous Danish environmentalist who was advising Obama soon after he came to office: when asked by a journalist why he still preferred Denmark to his home from home, he answered (and I’m paraphrasing), “the thing about Denmark is that it’s very hard to get rich, but it’s even harder to get poor”.

    I look at what works. Denmark works very well. It has the smallest gap between rich and poor in the developed world and, supposedly, the happiest people. I remember a friend warning me about walking through a supposedly rough area in Copenhagen and me relentlessly taking the piss out of him afterwards. It’s broadly social democrat – even the party of the right are called “Venstre” i.e. “Left”, and they’re way to the left of Labour. Despite those stats I’ve just mentioned, Denmark also scores as one of the easiest places to do business in the world and employees have genuine influence on the working environment and on things like redundancy. Living there had a powerful influence on my politics and reinforced my belief that the party best placed to deliver social justice in Scotland is the SNP. That aside, I know that we’ll never have social justice in a dependent Scotland and I know that the SNP is the best vehicle we have to become independent.

    So, in summary, all I’d say is be wary of creating new divisions between yourselves and those in the middle. We need them to vote Yes next time around. A little more courtesy for the SNP wouldn’t go amiss either because the SNP most certainly powered the momentum behind the Yes campaign. Without them there would have been no #indyref i.e. they gave the Yes campaign the initial push. Before their victory in 2011, there was only inertia. And let’s not forget that the momentum began to grow again after the FM played a blinder in the second debate. I know there was a need to create distance between the SNP and others during the campaign in order to get voters hostile to the SNP onside but that’s something that should go out of fashion quickly now. It’s possible to diverge on ideology and policy without effectively holding one’s nose in the process. The Yes movement need to support each other now more than ever because, no matter what we’d like to believe, we find ourselves in the weakest position we can find ourselves in having just lost a plebiscite with no follow-up on the horizon.

    p.s. I’ve very happy to see you taking the campaign forward and wish you and RIC all the best going forward. I’d be more than happy to campaign alongside RIC or an RIC party in future.

  65. Without the SNP there would have been no Referendum. We must them now, so we can take this all the way. The grass roots can continue to transform the campaign into something greater, that’s for sure, but the SNP is best placed to represent Scotland’s interests at the parliamentary level.

  66. I just hope that the left don’t do what they’ve so often done in the past i.e. fragment and divide their own vote (and, in doing so, fragment the vote for home rule or independence). There has always been competition to prove who can be the better socialists and the result has been a litany of splits, failed parties and the husk of the Labour party that now espouses Conservative ideology.

    History is not simply the study of the past; if it goes unheeded it becomes a projection of the future. Sadly, every new generation of socialists believe that no previous movement was quite like theirs. They’re wrong. Socialist history looks much like the history of our country; a catalogue of uplifting moments, all too fleeting, followed by deep despair (usually caused by infighting or vested interests). I’m not saying this to criticise the ideology; the ideology is perfectly legitimate even if I don’t fully subscribe to it. It’s lack of patience that inevitably sees these movements fall apart and/or fade into obscurity.

  67. As an SNP member I personally would prefer a complete rethink of the name and branding of our party. After 80 years of “nationalism” it’s now time to embrace the enthusiasm and youthful exuberance of the many who made the YES CAMPAIGN such a delight to be part of.

    The 2014 Indy Referendum is over, we may have lost the ballot, we have however achieved a remarkable and more significant victory, we have awakened a new widespread political sector, thousands of well-informed activists who are able to see through the spin deployed by Wasteminster and recognise the stale and corrupt uninspiring politics associated with the London oxbridge elite.

    This period of reflection creates an fresh opportunity to consider a new name and brand replacing the old SNP with a more modern name that truly reflects the vision and imagination stirred by the Yes Campaign. Nicola Sturgeon has an incredible opportunity to grasp the leadership of the party and sensationally mark a new era in the our renewed journey toward Independence.

    I urge Nicola and the new SNP leadership to embark on a thankyou roadshow taking an opportunity to embrace this idea and listen to suggested names and consider new branding options. Lets begin our new Independence campaign with a fresh and inspiring modern 21st century image.

    We have rebranded before , this time a complete and visionary overhaul is essential.

  68. Reblogged this on charlesobrien08 and commented:
    Democracy needs honesty from the politicians.Lie and there was no democratic vote.

  69. Fair assessment of what drove the YES campaign but the practical reality of givng the SNP the power it needs over the next 10 years (if need be) infers that that party is the most direct route to indy. Other pro-indy parties exist but they are small and not likely to achieve much in political terms. The 2015 general election to Westminster will only be good for Scotland if we send a majority of SNP MPs. That’s it.

  70. There is one common denominator in all those calls to a “new radical party” or a “mass party”: we never see any demonstration of the fact that a new party would do better than the older one. This hypothesis is always assumed, in some form of blind optimism.
    Personally I’m not convinced at all by this idea. Maybe some ad-hoc collective would make sense, on some medium term (longer than the Yes campaign but shorter than the life of a party), but it probably doesn’t deserve to dissolve the already existing parties.
    Because what is a party? In the bourgeois point of view a party is mainly a way to get a label for the elections, which can perfectly be done through coalitions (like the Popular Front in the 30’s in countries such as France or Spain) and shouldn’t make miracles except if the electoral scores sum up to more than 50%. In the marxist-leninist point of view a party is an organisation which lives on a longer timescale than the various campaigns it participates too, maintains the experience of the past struggles, and give this experience back to the social movements in the next struggles, within some coherent analysis. In this case the party is not supposed to be a long-term mass organisation, although it should be able to attract the masses when the time of the revolution comes. Mass organisations are for instance trade unions, strike commitees, communes/soviets, collectives (for instance pro-palestine, or in support of migrants), reformist parties (in an era where there still existed), and so on. And then replacing a real party by a larger party with an ill-defined political orientation would usually be a bad idea. You can have a third definition of what a party should be, or many others, but I think you have to keep your definition in mind, and make it relatively explicit when you try to prove that a new party is needed.
    More concretely, this idea of a new radical mass party is not new at all. It has been obsessing most of the trotskist organisations for a few decades. The IST (SWP in England) has spent some time theorising the fact that the altermondialist movement was the kernel of the next revolutionnary party, then changed its mind a bit and did the same for the anti-war movement, now I’ve heard them speaking about this idea of ‘Scottish Podemos’ as well, and their entrism has never led to anything stable and convincing. This has also been tried on the side of the USFI, with a huge failure in Brasil when the PT turned against the working class, and a moderate failure in France when the LCR turned into the NPA (the party hasn’t grown any bigger and his political orientation hasn’t really changed, which is rather fortunate since it could have been much worse). For some time people were enthousiastic about Rifondazione, but we don’t hear any more about it (although the crisis would have been an opportunity for them).
    The only two relatively successful attempts on the long-term, at least the only coming to my mind, are o Bloco de Esquerda in Portugal and Die Linke in Germany/RDA. Both of them being fueled by a relatively recent communist tradition, which is not the case in UK/Scotland. And both of them are still minor parties, not really more influent than SSP and Scottish Greens (although Die Linke benefits from the decentralised aspect of Germany). If they had more influence they would probably end up exploding like the Brasilian PT anyway. And the BE have already had a few problems with some of their members supporting the social-traitors and their cuts. A problem which regularly arises as well in the Front de Gauche in France (whose history is still too short and too uncertain to be counted as a success, and once again rely on a skeleton of communist bureaucracy which doesn’t exist in UK). Those organisations cannot live on the long term and push the political consciousness of the working class further, because they are based on a pile of political ambiguities. Not openness, ambiguities. The best they can do is freezing those ambiguities and surviving.
    On the side of Podemos, the first question is once again will it be able to live for more than a few monthes, will it be able to live longer than the Indignés/Indignados/Indignats? Then, the second point is that we must realise than the radical left in Spain was some complete mess of many separate organisations which were not very different (I’m comparing with France where everything is cleaning classified on an obvious left-right axis). For instance in Spain (I mean without even taking into account Catalunya and Pais basco) I remember the USFI section was divided into tendancies of two tiny mini-Podemos. Some reorganisation was needed and I don’t think the creation of Podemos resulted in any loss of political analysis or diversity. But what is true for Spain is not necessarily applicable to the whole world.
    In Scotland building a new radical party would mean nothing else than fusioning the SSP and the Greens, into a Red-Green alliance (which actually is already more or less what the SSP is, they are far from being orthodox marxist-leninists). It would be possible because the Greens in UK are not bounded to the Labour like the vassalage relation EELV has with the French PS. But would we gain something ? I’m leaving aside the question of having a MSP, because a coalition doesn’t necessarily need a new party (and because having a MSP is not very important by itself). Anyway we can’t just naively sum up the individual scores, there will be people willing to vote for the Greens (or SSP) but not for a common list (in France I’ve seen that a lot with LO-LCR, although their orientations are much closer than SSP-Greens). There will also be people willing to join one of them but not willing to join “both”. On the other side we’ve seen tons of people joining those parties in the last days (even more than to the SNP, in proportion), having two different parties doesn’t seem to be a problem. The political division between those two is pretty clear and makes sense, that’s not an artificial organisational issue. But in the same time they have shown during the Yes campaign that they are able to work together when it makes sense, that having two different parties is not an obvious handicap. By the way, having two independent structures able to work together, isn’t it relatively similar, conceptually, to the idea of an independent and internationalist Scotland? Uniformisation seems far away from the values of the Yes.
    Finally, what about the possibility of attracting new non-politicised people in the “Scottish Podemos”? Would a rebranded SSP-Green alliance attract more non-politicised people and lead them to activism? We have no evidence of such a thing in the rest of the world. This might be true when you start from an alliance of a huge number of tiny organisations (like the Spanish Podemos), getting rid of an ununderstandable mess and building something kind of new, but it’s not true when you just add a few components. The caricatural example is the NPA in France, which made an alliance with itself and just changed its name, hoping than everybody would come now that the frightening “communist” word was gone (and regular rebrandings are also a strong Lambertist tradition). It didn’t happen. The truth is that non-politicised people are non-policitised, so they will not avoid your party just because you’ve used this or that word in the section VI of the declaration of the XIIth congress of your party, they are much more flexible, a virgin territory ready to be filled with precise ideas. What is more important for them is proving that you exist and that you do something, then you convince them in heat of the action (in trade unions and other mass organisations/actions), and only afterwards, when they get some experience, they will start to settle to some precise political tendency.

  71. Cat,

    There is no class war. If you want one, you need to create it. A lot of people who are working class do not know it, and everyone thinks there is some poor sod is below them cheating the system. Does class form social bonds these days? Can your movement change that?

    If you really want to stop nationalism, it is likely that British nationalism is the real killer for change. There is also the left-wing socially conservative people that might have been put off by independence. The SNP has moved beyond nationalism as the sole driving force behind independence. It just seems that its goals are reasonably broad-based. Independence offers space for a wide spectrum of people that want radical change; a way to promote Scottish identity, radical politics, decentralisation. It is a movement. it does not matter if you are Scottish, British, English, socialist, or vulture capitalist. The SSP are socialists and see independence as a mechanism to bring socialism. That’s coherent but not popular. The Greens want to stop environmental catastrophe and see independence as a mechanism to do that. That is coherent.

    You don’t like that idea of throwing your lot in with one of them.

    I can see scope for a Radical Independence Coalition, a range of groups like the Greens and SSP campaigning for radical social and ecological change which can be acheived through independence, but it would be a coalition and a movement who do not feel represented elsewhere.

    Creating a new party has to have some concrete basis, a real movement. If this is just an opportunity to grandstand at Hoolyrood I doubt it will be very successful. Reclaim public space, get local communities involved, or offer something concrete and offer some kind of plan to acheive these goals. Having a banner with ‘Radical’ on it, will fail. Radical Independence worked because it was clear; we want radical change and independence is the answer. If you want radical change in the UK, explain how it can be done. Pointing to PODEMOS and saying we want some of that won’t work. We are not Spanish, we don’t live in Spain, and our politics and cultural life is different. Why not just ask PODEMOS to stand for elections here?

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