On Monday Novara Wire published this article by Nicola Seth-Smith. Seth-Smith sought to highlight why those in England should care about this year’s referendum on Scottish independence and some of the more radical possibilities of any vote to leave the union. Below, Adam Ramsay makes his own contribution as to why those in England can’t ignore this year’s electoral events north of the border.
1. The debate is thrilling.
This isn’t about bagpipes or Bannockburn or creating new borders. It’s about challenging the British state and neoliberalism; and bringing government closer to people. Whatever the result, the chat in Scotland right now is the most exciting and hopeful I’ve ever come across. If you want to be lifted out of the burnt-out depression at the bleakness of coalition England, just jump on a train north and breathe in the debate.
2. The movement is strong.
The two radical independence conferences (2012 and 2013) have each brought together around 1000 people, seriously discussing how to remake Scotland after any ‘yes’ vote. That arguably makes them the biggest political force in a country of 5 million (the equivalent of getting a conference of 10,000 radical activists to a conference in London). If the ‘yes’ campaign triumphs, they’ll likely be hugely influential in the newly independent Scotland. Debates on radical policy like the basic income aren’t the preserve of academics but with a view to what any new government after 2016 should be seeking to deliver. It’s the most exciting movement in the UK right now. Don’t miss out.
3. A good example can be a powerful thing.
Can you imagine an English speaking country, attached to England, which didn’t keep attacking workers then blaming migrants? An example can be a powerful thing.
4. Britain needs to be broken.
The break up of Britain would rip open a hole at the centre of the stagnant British establishment: the final end of the biggest empire in human history. If radicals in England work out now what to do with this opportunity – just as Scots are – it could be exciting. If not, it’ll be another opportunity squandered.
5. Bye Bye Dave.
David Cameron would probably have to resign as the Conservative and Unionist grandees turned on the man who not only failed to win in 2010, but also lost the union.
6. Scottish Labour.
Independence would mean no more right wing Scottish Labour MPs who, with their constituents unaffected by their votes on the most regressive legislation, can dilute any English Labour backbench rebellion (cf £3000 top up fees and foundation hospitals, passed only because of Scottish Labour MPs).
7. A constitutional change for all of us.
Whatever the result of the referendum, there’s likely to be some kind of constitutional re-ordering of our island as a result of all this. That opens up big opportunities for the English, Welsh and Northern Irish – so long as you pay attention.
8. Your country may be about to stop existing.
This is a referendum about ending the legal existence of the country you live in.
9. Your main cash cow might be about to walk away.
The rest of the UK is significantly subsidised by Scotland and its oil (Scotland is about £4000 per capita richer than England, Wales and Northern Ireland). Without the Scottish subsidy, there will be some serious questions to answer about the utter failure of the neoliberal economic model in what remains of the UK.
10. Bin the Bomb.
CND are backing independence because they think it means the end of Trident – there is a distinct lack of other places to keep the missiles. It’s also worth noting that around 60% of the SAS is rumoured to be Scottish. Without Scotland, the British imperial project will be significantly hampered.
11. It might actually happen.
Since the launch of the Scottish Government’s White Paper on independence, the polls have tightened.
12. You’ll be very welcome to join us.
Wanting to live in a country which welcomes immigrants – and being fed up with Westminster rhetoric towards new Scots – is a major theme of the ‘yes’ campaign. So, yes, if you want to move north, you’ll be made very welcome.
Adam Ramsay will be joining Nicola Seth-Smith and Aaron Bastani as they discuss Scotland’s #Indyref this Friday on Resonance 104.4fm from 1pm. You can also listen live to the broadcast online here.
Follow the conversation on Twitter on #NovaraFM.