The Point
Last updated: 02 August 2019. sky thinking for an open and diverse left

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Radical independence; Britain is for the Rich, Scotland can be ours

aaa Rad indy demo


Liz MacDonald of the Radical Independence Campaign (Highlands) outlines the progressive left case for independence.


By voting Yes for Scottish Independence on the 18th September 2014 we will begin the most challenging and exciting journey ever undertaken in our nation’s history. A journey hoped for, dreamt of, and worked towards by many courageous Scotsmen and women who could see the possibilities and potential for radical change.

It was John Maclean in 1923 who said, “The social revolution is possible sooner in Scotland than in England. The working-class policy ought to be to break up the Empire, to avert war and enable the workers to triumph in every country and colony. Scottish seperation is part of the process of England’s Imperial disintegration and is a help toward the ultimate triumph of the workers of the world.”   Maclean could see that Britain was for the rich and that Scotland could be ours.

A Yes vote will mean that those who live and work in Scotland can begin to evolve as a people, to end our national isolation, to begin the task of creating a country with peace and social justice at its core, to look forward to a future of our own shaping.

As Maclean foresaw, it will also mean a final end to the British State and its imperial past. The historian Thomas Babington Macaulay boasted that the British ’have become the greatest and most highly civilised people that the world ever saw.” Yet Britain has one of the most violent and uncivilised histories of any European country, having slaughtered, enslaved, destroyed, conducted atrocities and appropriated vast tracts of other peoples countries over centuries. The notion that the British empire was ‘great’ and that the British people were in any way superior to any other is a myth which allowed the British ruling class to maintain their exploitation of people the world over.

aaa john maclean-revsoc

And yet, what do we hear from the No Campaign on a daily basis – in just the same way as other peoples were denigrated in the past, so too Scotland is described as too small, too poor, too weak, our oil resources too volatile, our population too full of scroungers, whingers, benefits dependent. Only the UK with its ‘big broad shoulders’ and its superior everything  is capable of being in charge. Independence is full of ‘risks’ and ‘uncertainties’ we are told, but for whom ? 

Do we really want the certainty of continued child poverty in the face  of millions more public money being spent on replacing Trident,  the certainty of yet more benefit cuts, the certainty of a low wage economy,  the certainty of ever poorer public services, the certainty of no retirement until you’re 67(that’s if you’re lucky enough to have a job),  the certainty of our children never being able to have a decent house, the certainty of  being  the ‘unhealthy man of Europe’ and the certainty of death at an earlier age than the rich ? 

We need courage and hope to end these existing appalling certainties.

As Hugh MacDiarmid stated;

“When was anything born in Scotland last,

 Risks taken and triumphs won.”

So let us not be under any illusions as to who this battle is with and what it is about.  Each day that goes by sees the emergence of the various sections of the British Establishment otherwise known as the British ruling class, lining up to say NO to our democratic hopes and aspirations. Big business, the super –rich, the banks who sold misleading information, the finance houses, oil corporations, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the establishment political parties with safe seats to lose, unaccountable think-tanks, the newspapers owned by 5 very rich men,  all tell us the same thing – say NO to change which would threaten their power to continue sucking the wealth out of our country.

Does it not look amazingly familiar to the “parcel of rogues “ who sold Scotland down the river back in 1707? A wealthy elite who were prepared to sell their country for a few hundred pounds, dukedoms, pensions and privilege. The difference is that back then, the rioting crowds could do little against the forcing through of the Treaty other than gathering in the streets, burning the Article of Union (Dumfries), banging drums, occupying buildings and throwing stones. This time every person has a weapon of equal power - the vote!

On Referendum Day each person over 16 will stand equal in terms of their ability to shape the future of Scotland. No matter their wealth, the elite have only one vote each - they are few, we are many!

Labour MP Ian Davidson revealed his contempt for the Scottish people when when he recently spoke of the need to deal with independence supporters by “bayoneting the wounded “.

The crassness of such a statement stirs painful memories  here in the Highlands when we recall the  merciless slaughter of the wounded at Culloden by the Duke of Cumberland, an act of utter barbarism intended to  destroy finally  a people and culture who dared to rebel  against the British state.

That such a statement can be used after all these years and after so many devastating wars gives us insight into the mind of those who seek to defend privilege.

Fortunately, our independence struggle to-day requires us only to turn out and vote in order to take control of our own future – no blood, no death, no political parties, no individuals, just an idea whose time has come.

A Yes vote in September will mean that Scotland will be able to address its own affairs and be able to participate on an equal footing with the other nations of the world. We can seek to be truly internationalist in our outlook –developing progressive friendships on a world-wide basis and not merely restricted to those who happen to be members of that elite and intensely pro-capitalist organisation, the European Union.

It will mean the opportunity to take control of a new Scottish state to ensure that production and distribution is organised to meet the needs of the ordinary people.  Land taken from our people must be taxed to the hilt in order to force it out of the hands of international speculators. Energy production must be publicly organised to be both clean and to meet need. No child or adult life should be constricted and crushed by poverty. No person in oil-rich Scotland will go hungry. A complete restructuring of our institutions and methods of government is required. The possibilities for change and new ways of doing things are endless.

aaa RIC Hayman Quote

Underpinning it all, however, must be the full involvement and participation of the Scottish people. The idea that democracy consist only of turning out to vote once every five years is ludicrous and discredited. New methods of engaging the population in informed and educated decision making must be explored.  Let us seek deep and meaningful democracy in our new Scotland by unleashing the creative potential of our people. The alienation spoken of by the late Jimmy Reid as “the feeling of despair and hopelessness  that pervades people who feel with justification that they have no real say in shaping or determining their own destinies”, must become a thing of the past.

A long time ago the ancient Greeks created an idea called democracy meaning “rule by the common people” as opposed to autocracy, “rule by one person” and oligarchy meaning “rule by the few “. Democracy was seen then as a way of curbing the excessive power of the wealthy. 

Yet in Britain to-day state power is in the hands of an elite group of millionaire old Etonians who will never know, or care, how life is lived by ordinary people. Their role is to maintain the power of corporate Britain and to increase their wealth. 

The Scottish people of this generation are uniquely fortunate to have the opportunity to break this stranglehold and to take back their country by ticking a box. Each man and woman needs to know that they hold immense power to do good on the 18th September. 

Let’s make sure we do!

aaa RIC logo     aaa Brit for the risch

Elizabeth MacDonald


External links:

Bella Caledonia

Bright Green

George Monbiot

Green Left


The Jimmy Reid Foundation

Laurie Penny

New Left Project

Newsnet Scotland

Richard Dawkins

Scottish Left Review

Socialist Unity

UK Uncut

Viridis Lumen

Wings Over Scotland

Word Power Books