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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


The Neverendum

THE SUPREME Court’s verdict that the Scottish Parliament does not have the competency to legislate for a second independence referendum without the consent of the Westminster parliament was hardly surprising – least of all to the Scottish nationalists who tabled it in the first place.

Three Tory Prime Ministers have turned down previous SNP calls for another referendum. Labour is equally opposed. Only last week, Labour’s Henry McLeish, who served as First Minister from 2000–2001, rejected calls for a referendum, telling Sky -: “This is not the time to be taking these big political and constitutional decisions, it is a time for making devolution work and for the independence campaign to be side-lined.”

Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish government, says she’s now going use the next general election as a de facto referendum on independence and continue to push for Scottish independence. But this has been rejected by the Scottish Labour, Conservative and the Liberal Democrat parties, who all say they will not take part in any SNP plan to treat the election as a single-issue vote.

The SNP won the lion’s share of Scotland’s seats in the House of Commons – 44 out of 59 – at the last general election in 2019. But their overall share of the vote was still only 45 per cent, which clearly doesn’t give them a mandate for any unilateral declaration of independence. It was more or less the same for the Scottish devolved government elections last year. Although the Scottish parliament is elected by a mixed system of voting that includes a form of proportional representation, the SNP and their Green allies still only took 49 per cent of the vote – although that did give them 70 seats out of a total of 129 in the Scottish parliament.

The Scottish Parliament was set up by the Labour Government in 1999. It has played an increasing role in the developing Scotland and, under Labour leadership, it used some of its powers to pass modest reforms beneficial to the working class.

Following the collapse of the Scottish Labour Party in the 2015 general election at the hands of the SNP, the nationalists have been successful in deluding many people that they are a left wing party.

The SNP claims to be a social-democratic party but it is essentially a bourgeois liberal platform that in recent years has embraced the NATO alliance. Its neo liberal economic policies and their failure to use tax raising powers already devolved to the Scottish parliament reflect the true nature of the SNP.

Behind the traditional nationalist demand for independence is the call for an independent Scotland within the European Union that simply reflects the demands of a section of the Scottish bourgeoisie who believe their interests are better served through greater integration with Franco-German imperialism.

The degree of local autonomy won by the Scots is, in itself, no guarantee that the national traditions and culture of the Scottish people will be developed, nor will it automatically lead to the strengthening of working-class power. But the creation of national institutions in Scotland has been a positive step.

The New Communist Party has long recognised the rights of the Scottish nation to full national self determination. We support Scottish demands for the right to preserve and develop their culture and national identity. We support their right to possess and control all the physical and other resources present on their land and territorial waters. If there is another independence referendum we will, of course, say YES.