Colin Fox, national co-spokesperson of the Scottish Socialist Party, has welcomed the publication of Scotland’s Future, the Scottish Government’s 670-page white paper on independence, as “a comprehensive and timely addition to the most important debate the people of Scotland have faced in decades”.
In a six-point response published by a nationalist news website, the left-wing party asserted its belief in the progressive potential of independence and commended the Scottish Government’s “commitment to social and political democracy, prosperity and fairness” and a vision of that “unquestionably represents very significant advance for the people of Scotland”.
At the same time, it highlighted its advocacy of an “independent socialist Scotland” and a “modern democratic republic”, and said: “There are inevitably therefore some proposals in the White Paper we do not support such as reducing Corporation Tax, entering a ‘Sterling Zone’ for our own currency, NATO membership and retaining an un-elected, unrepresentative monarch as our Head of State in our new, modern, democratic Scotland.”
Despite this, the party agrees “with the view expressed in the White Paper that ‘Decisions about Scotland will be taken by the people who care most about Scotland – those who live and work here’”. Its statement affirms: “In that spirit we fully acknowledge that all the issues in the White Paper should and indeed will be decided by the people of Scotland themselves in the first elections to our newly Independent Parliament in 2016.”
The statement reflects the sentiments of speakers at Saturday’s Radical Independence Conference in Glasgow, where over 1,000 delegates heard Yes Scotland chairman and former Labour MP Dennis Canavan urge left-wing activists: “Do not be sidetracked. Keep your eye on the ball. Concentrate on winning the prize because that prize is within our grasp.”
The conference brought together sections of the pro-independence Scottish left, from the Scottish Socialists and Scottish Greens to smaller groups like the International Socialist Group and Republican Communist Network.
Fox spoke in its opening plenary, describing independence as “the progressive option above all because it offers change, a chance to replace the neo-liberal elite with the honest, social democratic aspirations of the majority”.
He said it would free Scotland from “the handcuffs of the British ruling class”, and shake “the very foundations of their power structure, their influence and control”.
And despite the evident ideological differences between the Scottish Socialists, Scottish Greens, and the ruling SNP, all three have indicated they’ll continue to participate in in the cross-party Yes Scotland campaign for a Yes vote in next September’s referendum.