Cat Mackay spoke to filmmakers Don Coutts and David Hayman about their 2018 documentary Slavery: Scotland’s Hidden Shame. Coutts and Hayman travelled to Sierra Leone and Jamaica, bringing to light facts about the Scottish ruling class’s central role in the horrors of the slave trade.
SR: Were you commissioned to make the documentary, or was it your own idea?
A widespread perception that Nicola Sturgeon’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis has been better than Boris Johnson’s shambles seems to be convincing growing numbers of people in Scotland to break from the United Kingdom. Six polls conducted in 2020 have consistently shown support for independence hovering at over 50 percent. And while Johnson’s approval rating stands at minus 39 percent, Sturgeon’s is at plus 60 percent. In 2019, new support for independence was registered mainly among people who opposed Brexit.
The general election looked very different north of the border. Bob Fotheringham outlines the dynamics of independence, the disappointment in Scottish Labour and the anti-Tory feeling that shaped the result.
Politically, the difference between England and Scotland could not be starker.
The Tories won 47 percent of the popular vote in England. In Scotland the SNP won 45 percent with Labour at 19 percent and the Tories on 25 percent. How can the difference be accounted for?
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.
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.
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.
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.
The first Scottish Labour conference with Richard Leonard as its leader took place in Dundee last month. Delegates were treated to speeches from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, shadow chancellor John McDonnell, as well as Leonard, who all put forward a bold, radical and socialist vision for Scotland.
The SNP’s reign as the dominant force in Scottish politics lost ground last year in both the council and general elections. In May they failed to gain outright control of any one council. In June their majority in the Scottish Parliament was reduced from 56 seats to 35.