Left Unity will call for a ‘yes’ vote if a second independence referendum in Scotland goes ahead.
Next week the Scottish Parliament, with its SNP-Green majority, will sanction the call by Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon for a second referendum, triggered by the passage through the Commons of the government’s Brexit Bill. However it is far from clear that Theresa May will allow a second referendum, at least in the foreseeable future. Obviously a ‘yes’ vote for independence in the middle of the Brexit negotiations would be a dire political embarrassment for the government and massively complicate the process.
In the June 2016 EU referendum Scotland vote 68%-32% for Remain. There is no democratic mandate to take Scotland out of the European Union, and leftists and radicals in Scotland are right to resist it.
Some socialists in Scotland have expressed caution about tying a second independence referendum to the issue of EU membership. And it’s true that the mass sentiment for independence, especially in working class communities, is based primarily on rejection of Tory and New Labour austerity policies, for which there has never been a Scottish majority. Nevertheless the Scottish vote for Remain (68%) was much higher than that for independence (44%).
However it is likely that the most of radical and progressive Scotland will get behind the fight for the referendum and a ‘yes’ vote. The Scottish Independence Convention, which includes the SNP, Greens, Scottish Socialist Party and the Radical Independence Campaign, met last weekend and agreed to mobilise in preparation for a referendum in late 2018.
Jeremy Corbyn is right to say that Labour will not oppose a referendum call in the Commons, but Scottish Labour is once again shooting itself in the foot by saying they will oppose it in the Scottish Parliament next week. The Liberal Democrats will oppose it in both Scottish and Westminster parliaments and could take that opposition into the House of Lords: in the Lords they have 102 unelected peers, while the Green have one and the SNP zero.
It may well be that Theresa May will just tough it out and refuse to allow another referendum. There will be a political price to be paid in Scotland, but that hardly matters in the overall context, since there is only one Scottish Tory MP and the Conservative Party did not benefit at all from Labour’s collapse in Scotland in 2015, in fact it lost votes.
Left Unity supports Scottish independence as a basic democratic right, and will back all concrete moves towards it, including another referendum.
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