I am disappointed by Douglas Alexander’s examination of the case for Scottish independence (“Scexit is a mistake”, TNE #235).
The reason why Scotland wishes to build a new relationship with the rest of Europe is that we see a future of three and a half years of increasing isolationism and free-market liberalism espoused by the Tory party, working as it does to serve the best interests of the political elite, not the ordinary people.
I would call on the Labour Party to join hands with the progressive parties in Scotland and support our call for self-determination. Our joining with the fairer and more progressive northern European economies would follow.
Douglas Alexander demonstrates why Labour in Scotland is very good on the past and very poor at offering solutions for today and tomorrow. The case he puts for Union is the same case that’s been put since the 1970s and ’80s.
The debate in 2021 is about Scotland’s place in the world and whether it wants to stay tied to the free-market extremism and social backwardness of the Tories; risk buying into a Labour party that has abandoned fighting for European integration and not won at Westminster in 15 years; or carve out its own future?
A Scotland that can follow Ireland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway in finding ways to be a small country that works for its people, its businesses and its political culture.
I read and reread Douglas Alexander’s article. It seems that his message to Scotland is twofold: 1) If you thought Brexit was bad then just try leaving the UK; and 2) The solution to a lopsided UK is to stick with it and try to change it.
I didn’t see any reference anywhere to the democratic will of the people living in Scotland to determine their own future.
Is something worth defending simply because it is ancient? Time to move on.
Dumfries and Galloway
For independence supporters, Douglas Alexander’s article is encouragingly misguided. Whereas Tory Unionists helpfully alienate Scots with their contempt for independence, those on the more thoughtful left are wedded to the old, subtly insulting narrative that it is all about internationalism v separatism; multi-culturalism v populism, diversity v identity politics; solidarity and collaboration v nationalism.
Much as I am reluctant to give opponents of Scottish independence a hand, the real questions they should be addressing are: 1) Is Scotland a nation? 2) If being a nation means anything, is not one sign of nationhood the ability as a nation to choose for itself, including which other nations it wishes to freely ally itself with?
And 3) Can the Union be truly said to exist when the internal imbalance of power means it has long since ceased to act as a functioning democracy?
Does Douglas Alexander not know that Joe Hill’s song There’s Power in the Union is singing the praises of trade union membership, and has nothing to do with the political union of the UK?
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