It is one of those weird paradoxes that only this upside down neoliberal world could create. The Scottish National Party’s divisive and diversionary referendum is not about Scottish independence at all, but about a new form of dependence. It is not about the proud assertion of socialist nationhood, but about breaking up the nation of Britain and the devil take the hindmost.
A truly independent nation controls its own currency, controls its own waters and borders, establishes its own defence and security and foreign policy, mints its own coinage, controls its own sovereign parliament and takes a seat on the world’s key bodies, most notably perhaps the United Nations. Even very tiny genuine countries such as Malta with only about 300,000 inhabitants could achieve these things in the past, where genuine nationhood has a material and viable base.
The SNP in its lengthy referendum document ‘Scotland’s Future’ argues that if free from the nasty clutches of Tory controlled Westminster, Scotland would be free to implement a good Old Labour strategy of public services, progressive taxation, no nukes and progressive social policies.
But to achieve this it argues it must embed itself more deeply into the key bastions of capitalist power – the European Union and NATO. It argues that the Queen must remain the Head of State and the good old pound sterling of the UK must be its currency. In other words rather than being a part of one country interdependent with the other two parts England and Wales, it will become more dependent on the political structures of finance capital. Rather than becoming, as it claims, more democratic and closer to the Scottish people it will become more subservient to the forces of neoliberalism who respect no nation and see a quick buck in everything.
The very idea that the EU would permit Scotland to pursue its own growth and public service based economic policy is an absolute illusion. If it did this Scotland would instantly fall foul of the EU rules of membership. It would be out of the frying pan and into the fire. All of Scotland’s services and resources would be more readily available to the market.
Under the SNP version of dependence masquerading as independence they might get rid of the bedroom tax, but they would end up in the bed with a much bigger devil. They might promise better childcare but youth unemployment under the ravages of EU austerity would shoot up. They might get rid of the repulsive Tories for ever, but the unelected EU Commissioners and their pay masters in the European Roundtable of Industrialists which runs the EU are much much more deadly.
The EU regional policy which underpins its economic strategies has long dreamt of a Europe of competing economic ‘zones’ replacing former democratic nations.
This is precisely what the SNP offers up to European Finance Capital. And in the horrendous new resource wars for oil and gas breaking out between the EU countries, let no one think the oil and gas reserves off British waters in Scotland would fuel a growth of Scotland’s real economy and infrastructure.
Scotland has been a brave part of Britain providing so much of our economy and culture and skill and thought. To see it enslaved by the spivs of the EU would be a tragedy indeed. We cannot let it happen.