What led to this change of opinion? Most importantly; the realisation that the independence debate is merely a conflict of interest between the Scottish schismatic caucus and the wider British bourgeois class, hidden behind a veil of civic nationalism. The interests of the Scottish bourgeois class were hidden in plain sight; retaining the monarchy, wishing to re-join the imperialist European Union and entering a currency union with the UK, these were all nebulous aspects of the debate with the SNP remaining relatively narrow-minded and tight-lipped in regards to these issues.
Scottish independence wouldn’t fracture the British imperialist state in any meaningful fashion, especially if the SNP wish to form a currency union and retain the monarchy. What it will do: is create a relatively weak autonomous Scottish bourgeois class. So why then, would they risk creating conditions that could potentially lead to their upheaval? False consciousness. They know that the Scottish workers won’t take advantages of said conditions; the SNP has their claws firmly planted in the Scottish political scene, so much so that their social-democratic policies are considered radical. Social democracy is, and always has been, the enemy of socialism. Historically, it is used as a means of silencing any irate workers movements, for instance, the introduction of the Welfare State, whilst greatly improving the lives of British people, destroyed the communist movement in Britain as it was believed that radical change could be achieved through the ballot. This sentiment is still shared by many British ‘communists’ today, and the SNP’s growth is but another example of social-democratic interference.
Now; I’m not rejecting the introduction of any policies that will improve the lives of British workers, I welcome them. What I do reject, is the social-democratic politicians that implement them as they beguile us into believing that there is no alternative to capitalism and that reformism can bring about significant change. This is what class consciousness is, to understand that we are being played constantly by the bourgeois government, that any policy that is implemented is advantageous to the ruling class just as much as, or to an even greater extent, than the working-class. The independence movement, although encapsulating the entire Scottish demographic, was hijacked by the SNP which meant that their programme for independence was the one that represented the holistic YES movement; other viewpoints from a socialist perspective weren’t really taken into account by the media or the general electorate. This is why I advocated independence initially; I believed that there could be a genuine drive for socialism post-independence; I believed that the SNP were just a means to an end, until the 2015 General Election that is. The landslide victory for the SNP and the political cult that has been fashioned around the party shows such a deep reverence amongst the Scottish electorate, the SNP is the party that is going to rule over Scotland for the foreseeable future, independent or not. Therefore I regard it as folly for the struggle of the British workers to be severed when it would serve better interests as a unified one. We must remember that the Scots are not an oppressed people at the hands of the English; the imperialist British Empire was the construction of the Scottish and English classes alike. There is no elitist cell in regards to the colonisation of one particular nation over another, but a single British bourgeois class that must be concurrently confronted by a single British proletariat.
Not only was the Scottish independence debate weak from a Marxist perspective, but also from a liberal bourgeois vista. First of all, entering a currency union with the UK was an idiotic proposal; Scotland wouldn’t really be independent if it had fiscal autonomy, but no monetary power. The interest rates and lending power would be controlled entirely by another country, what sovereignty does the reader call that? It’s a recipe for disaster, as the Eurozone has so perfectly demonstrated. It is unlikely that a currency union would’ve been rejected by Westminster – but in the event that it was – what was the SNP’s plan? They made no mention of establishing a Scottish currency with a publically-owned central bank, all other options are folly. Use the ‘dollarisation’ approach and use the pound without Britain’s permission? Join the Eurozone and have our interest rates set by the European Central Bank?
Let us go on to the next flaw in the SNP’s bourgeois argument: membership of the EU. Personally; I believe that the interests of Britain, not just Scotland, would be served best outside of the European Union. It is a corrupt, bureaucratic organisation that was created by capitalists in order to provide as large a market as possible for corporations to oppress and exploit a greater number of people. The EU cannot be reformed; it can never be used to benefit anyone other than the current ruling class, although, it is clear to see why then, the SNP wished to rejoin it. It would allow a new Scottish bourgeois class to hit the ground running. Now, my personal judgment aside, the SNP again had no plan if Scotland was refused entry to the EU. There was no guarantee that the independent nation would be granted access, and if they did, it could make for a long and arduous process such as recent applications has shown and membership could cost Scotland an extra £2.5bn per year. Not to mention the issues in regards to the Schengen Agreement and the fact that countries like Spain are strongly opposed to Scotland’s entry into the EU because it could influence the Catalonian separatists in their own country. Ultimately, the SNP hastily assumed that they would gain entry into the EU, and they had no alternative plan if membership was refused.
Now let’s get to the logical inconsistency of the monarchy; an independent nation needs constitutional sovereignty to make it a truly ‘democratic’, as far as bourgeois democracy goes, nation. The SNP holds a nebulous stance on the monarchy; I’ve yet to meet a member who isn’t a republican, the call for many independence supporters is to establish an independent Scottish republic. Now, Salmond is a royalist and he declared his support for the Queen and her heirs to remain as the *unelected* heads of state in an independent Scotland. There is republican sentiment within the SNP, but it is being drowned out by the royalist leadership.
The proposals brought forward by the SNP would not provide any significant change for the Scottish people, it would only detract from the unified British working-class movement and the sheer magnitude of the false-consciousness amongst the Scots means that the fragile Scottish ruling class wouldn’t be tested or challenged in any meaningful way. I know that the SNP isn’t the only voice in the ‘YES Movement’, and that the questions that the nationalists are hesitant to answer have been answered by socialists like myself and many others, but the matter of independence has been firmly monopolised by the nationalists, and their argument is the only one that is being heard and their proposals are what will take Scotland into the new dawn should she become independent. This is what I failed to take into account when I campaigned for an independent Scotland, but in hindsight I realise that only one path exists for it, and it’s not one that I wish to tread.