I’ve pontificated already about why I believe Scotland should be an independent country. That was rather a scattershot set of reasons, talking about why I felt it was right for Scotland to be independent. But I do have other reasons.
I’m thirty-three years old. Since my birth, I cannot point to a single thing that the Westminster government has done that made things better for me. I suspect this is the same for most people of my generation whose parents weren’t rich enough to sign them up for heroin and double-buggery at a private school.
Bugger the case for Scottish Independence. What’s the case for the Union?
- Destroyed mining as an industry, leaving thousands unemployed
- Destroyed shipbuilding as an industry
- Transitioned to a “post-industrial economy” that replaced industry around the UK with bankers in the City of London.
- Sold off social housing, making it harder for people in need to get a home.
- Introduced Section 28, banning the “intentional promotion of homosexuality”.
- Privatised core utilities, including the gas, electricity, and water companies.
- Brought in the Poll Tax, giving poor people the choice between eating and voting.
- Privatised the railways.
- Presided over Black Wednesday.
- Run the most obviously corrupt government ever while preaching of a “back to basics” campaign of Victorian moral virtue
- Scrapped the student grant, replacing it with a series of loans that leave those who need them to survive at university in ridiculous amounts of debt.
- Introduced tuition fees, meaning people who want a univeristy education must pay £1,000 a year.
- Introduced “top-up fees”, allowing universities to charge £3,000 a year. All of them do.
- Presided over a “post-industrial” economy where more and more skilled jobs require degrees, thus forcing more and more young people into debt — or out of looking for jobs that are “above them” — entirely.
- Introduced NHS privatisation under the Private Finance Initiative.
- Brought the UK into illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because the American government said so.
- Introduced the Winter Fuel Allowance, admitting that people freeze to death in an oil-rich country.
- Trousered millions upon millions of pounds from the taxpayer in illegally-claimed expenses.
- Presided over the banking collapse, requiring millions of pounds of American money to bail out failing British banks.
- Presided over the worst recession in living memory.
- Imposed ATOS assessments on the sick and disabled, finding people with crippling and life-threatening conditions “fit to work” and stoppign their benefits.
- Increased tuition fees to £9,000 a year.
- Scrapped the EMA, forcing many young people out of education because they can no longer afford it.
- Introduced the bedroom tax, punishing the sick and disabled and those who do not have the ability to move to a non-taxable home.
- Demonized “benefit scroungers” despite the vast majority of benefits being pensions, and the vast majority of what is left being paid to people in work.
- Privatised the Post Office.
- Sped up the creeping privatisation of the NHS.
Those are just the highlights.
I can think of one thing that the Westminster government has done that classes as “good” or “for the benefit of everyone in the UK”.
- Introduced civil partnerships, then same-sex marriage.
With that track record, from all three parties in Westminster, why would I trust any of them not to screw the country up?
Meanwhile, the Scottish Parliament has:
- Scrapped prescription charges.
- Re-nationalised private hospitals.
- Built new social housing.
- Paid off the bedroom tax for everyone in Scotland.
- Prevented further privatisation of NHS Scotland.
- Abolished Section 28.
- Introduced one of the most progressive gay marriage laws in the world.
- Scrapped tuition fees for Scottish students going to Scottish universities.
- Introduced free personal care for those who need it.
- Introduced free public transport for people of retirement age.
- Introduced the right to roam, and new opportunities for community land ownership
The Scottish Parliament has also done some bloody stupid things. However, it’s policies have benefited the people of Scotland against millionaires and Tories.
“But Stew, isn’t there a socialist case for the Union? I thought you’d be all over that.”
The only “socialist case for the Union” springs from the idea that Scottish independence is a national concern when socialists should be working for the benefit of working people around the world.
In other words, if a dock worker in Glasgow and a dock worker in Liverpool are both getting screwed over by management, it’s an immoral diversion from socialist principle to support a campaign that would improve the lot of the Scottish worker without also improving the lot of the English worker.
In other other words, fuck the Scottish worker, there’s people worse off elsewhere. But surely, by that logic, you should say: fuck the English worker. Don’t you know there’s kids working in Chinese sweatshops?
This is a narrow-minded abrogation of actual socialist principles. Repeat after me: The perfect is the enemy of the good.
I mean, who is going to listen to socialists in the UK? Not the Labour Party, who famously said “bugger that” when they scrapped Clause 4. The Tories? Don’t make me laugh. The Lib Dems? Spineless Tory-apologists with delusions of relevance. UKIP? Tories who don’t bother hiding the racism and homophobia inherent in conservative politics.
You can either help the dock worker in Glasgow and not help the one in Liverpool, or you can not help either. Anyone who picks the second option is putting principle above people, and thus can safely be ignored as a frothing lunatic with no exposure to the real world.
Some people claim that the Bank of England, as lender of last resort, bailed out the British banks. These people are wrong. The BoE couldn’t do anything. It was American bank bailouts that saved RBS et al. ↩
The Tories have not exempted the NHS from the TTIP. By not doing so, American healthcare giants can bid for NHS services that should be public. Labour started the privatisation of the NHS, and have only called for it to be “put on pause” or “slowed down”, not reversed. ↩