Scotland

Marching into the dustbin of history?

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Recent Loyalist riots and disturbances in Glasgow and a subsequent ban on Orange and Republican parades in the city have the shaken the image of Scotland as a modern, inclusive democracy. Mark Brown considers how revolutionary socialists should respond to recent events.

On 30 August of this year an Irish Unity march by the James Connolly Republican Flute Band through the working-class community of Govan in the south-west of Glasgow descended into chaos as it was attacked by hundreds of Loyalist thugs. Smoke bombs and other missiles were thrown at the Republican marchers in what can only be described as a Loyalist riot.

Brexit poses problems for independence

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The response of many in the independence movement to the decision of eight Labour MP’s and three Tories to split from their respective parties is to bemoan the ongoing British political crisis brought about by Brexit, and to use this as further proof of the need for Scotland to split from the UK.

Scotland: business versus working class interests

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Demonstrations involving thousands of people from different parts of Scotland, organised by All Under One Banner (AUOB) calling for Scottish Independence, culminated in an Edinburgh march of 100,000 in October.

There is a growing impatience among the rank and file of the independence movement at the lack of headway by first minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish National Party (SNP) leadership to announce a date for a second referendum, even though the Scottish government has a mandate from the Scottish parliament to do so.

Fighting austerity fuels independence

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We were told the sharp fall in the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) Westminster seats last year was proof that Scots had rejected independence. Not so, according to the latest British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey released in June.

It said the increase in support for independence in the 2014 referendum “has proven to be much more than a short-term phenomenon”.

Despite the SNP vote dropping from 50 percent to 37 percent between the 2015 and 2017 General Elections, with 21 fewer seats, there was no corresponding slump in support for independence.

A positive message from Scottish Labour

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Most people on the left in Scotland will welcome the election of Richard Leonard as the new leader of Scottish Labour. Clearly identifying himself as a socialist, though not as a “Corbynista”, his vote represents a major step forward for all those looking to see Labour become a party in Scotland which challenges the Tory agenda of austerity, cuts and the scapegoating of refugees and immigrants.

A new terrain for socialists in Scotland

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The outcome of the 2017 general election in Scotland was altogether more complex and contradictory than in England and Wales. The election result saw the forward march of the SNP — in power in Scotland since 2007 — not just halted but thrown sharply into reverse. The party went from 56 to 35 MPs, with leading figures such as Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson losing their seats to the Tories.

Be more specific

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Bob Fotheringham’s piece (Scottish front, June SR) has been largely vindicated by the election results. He was right that their record in office would damage the SNP, and also that the Tories would be the main beneficiaries.

The big surprise was that Labour also made significant gains at the SNP’s expense. Bob is right to say that Labour’s manifesto, “way to the left of anything being considered by the SNP” (with the important exception of Trident), resonated in Scotland.

Time to hold the main parties to account

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In the wake of the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, the Scottish National Party swept all before it. At the 2015 UK general election it won 56 of Scotland’s 59 seats, taking half the popular vote.

The 2016 Scottish election confirmed the SNP’s dominant position, winning 47 percent of the vote and giving it just short of an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament.

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