Pam Barker | Director of TLB Europe Reloaded Project
Just in case it gets missed, we’re issuing a humour warning for the first three paragraphs of Tommy Sheridan’s excellent piece.
As Sheridan deals with Brexit below and the significance for Scotland, here is Labour MP Kate Hoey’s piece from 2015, before the Brexit vote, about why leaving the EU is a very good idea: Labour MP Kate Hoey: Why leaving the EU is a left-wing move. And one memorable paragraph:
The reputation of the EU has fallen sharply among many on the Left. The sight of the EU establishment imposing unprecedented levels of austerity on Greece was a real wake-up call. This was not a benign political institution guaranteeing social protection and international solidarity, but an unaccountable force bringing crippling pain on a people who cannot hope to repay the loans that are recapitalising their banks.
ER has published extensively on the utterly immoral state that ordinary Greeks have been left in as a result of the EU’s nasty, neoliberal policies. Remember that Greeks expressly voted in the so-called left wing Syriza party under globalist financial shill Alexis Tsipras to stop these very policies. Sheridan briefly describes the economic miseries of life for millions of ordinary Britons below, but what has been the EU’s response to this? To sit by and approve – as it imposes another round of impossible-to-ever-repay debt to private banks that ordinary Greeks have to service while they lose jobs, pay more and more tax, lose public services to private corporations, and receive massively reduced pensions.
For a taste of the problem in the UK, see UK in Breach of International Human Rights, Middle Britain becomes the ‘new poor’ as poverty stalks the nation, and Staggering Poverty: British Kids Stuffing Food Into Pockets to Avoid Going Hungry.
John Wight in a piece for RT said the following recently:
Because whether under the flag of the EU or the British Union Jack, this anti-people economic model, so beloved by the financial industry, global corporations, and their political and mainstream media cohort, is the real monster than needs to slayed.
All of which makes you wonder what the real agenda of the British Labour Party is if they’re willing to give people a 2nd referendum on Brexit in the hopes of reversing it. Ioan Ratiu’s excellent monograph titled The Milner-Fabian Conspiracy: How an international elite is taking over and destroying Europe, America and the World explores in detail how decades of Fabian-controlled Labour party policy, starting from before the inception of the party, have been in service to the global financial class. If you count yourself on the Left, it’s time to read this book.
Which means what for ordinary people? That the two-party system is an elite trap designed to harm the ordinary Joe Blow by design. Both Labour and Conservative support the forced mass migration of illegal migrants from Africa and Asia that ordinary people don’t generally want but that the global financial class do.
Opportunity Knocks. Brexit Means Exit From the Abusive British Union
This column can exclusively reveal why Theresa May failed to turn up for a series of interviews with the UK’s major broadcasters yesterday prompting an unprecedented joint formal complaint to Downing Street about the shameful lack of access and public scrutiny of her actions.
Mrs May was escorted to Birmingham Central Police Station in Snowhill Queensway and subjected to a stringent set of controlled drug tests after suspicions were raised by a couple of alert undercover officers that the PM, known for her ‘naughty’ anti-farmer tendency to run through fields of wheat may have been under the influence of illegal mind-altering substances passed to her via the Beluga Caviar she was tucking into at lunchtime. The ever-reliable investigative website Bellingcat issued conclusive proof within less than an hour of the news spreading that a highly decorated Russian spy, posing as a Caviar connoisseur, had actually laced her Beluga jar with the unknown substance. However, the drug tests proved inconclusive and Bellingcat was forced to issue a defiant climb down saying ‘there may not be any proof but according to our exhaustive research it was definitely the Russians wot done it’.
A thorough internal investigation was immediately carried out by West Midlands Police, a completely new concept for that force, and the route of the false alarm was traced to DI Jock MacDonald who had only recently transferred to Birmingham from Govan CID in Glasgow, Scotland, 6 months ago. He had heard the PM say something which gave him probable cause to act. He noted it in his notebook for all to see. She had stated in public soon after lunch that she, quote; “looked forward to Conservative leader in Scotland, Ruth Aitken, becoming the First Minister of Scotland soon”. Jock couldn’t believe his ears. He had lived in Scotland for the previous 42 years. He knew how absolutely despised Margaret Thatcher was in Scotland and yet Ruth Aitken has never even managed to match her derisory vote percentage, despite the British Biased Corporation’s (BBC) manipulated narrative and constant promotion of Ruth through cosy chats that are presented as interviews. Anyone who thinks Ruth Aitken will ever become Scotland’s First Minister is plain daft or under the influence of mind altering drugs. Jock thought it was the latter. Hopefully the bold Theresa will appear today for the broadcast interviews she had to rubber ear yesterday and answer when she will put her robotic script and accompanying dancing to the side and admit she is in office but not in power.
The reality is, UK incorporated is in a mess.
Millions are desperately struggling to get by on low wages with real terms increases at their lowest since WWII. Employment is less secure and more onerous with millions forced to cope with zero hour contracts and multiple jobs. The retirement age is being made higher while access to affordable child-care and decent housing is a constant challenge. The gap between rich and poor, high paid and low paid is now at unprecedented levels and amounts to obscene and unacceptable inequality. While the pay of top bosses increased by an incredible 11% last year, ordinary workers’ pay didn’t even match inflation with average increases of only 1.7%. It would take an average worker 167 years to earn the annual median pay of a top 100 FTSE boss — up from 153 years in 2016. It is quite literally immoral.
While British Bosses benefit from top rate tax cuts, British poor people are subjected to welfare cuts like the Bedroom Tax. Local Government services like elderly care and community care for the disabled and mental health sufferers are cut to the bone while classroom sizes rise and school budgets fall, cutting educational opportunities for working class kids. That’s why it makes me sick to witness adults at the Tory Party conference fawning over and cheering privileged plonkers like Jason-Rees Mogg and Boris ‘buffoon’ Johnson. What planet do these people inhabit? These posh boys couldn’t give a damn about ordinary workers. They think they are better than the working classes because they were born into wealth and haven’t had to struggle a day in their lives. Malevolent May heads up this band of robbers for the time being, but her authority is almost non-existent. She and her Scottish lieutenant are ruthless in their desire to create a society where big business can do as it pleases and the rich accumulate even more wealth and power. Some suggest there is such a thing as a ‘good’ Tory, but my life experience teaches me that is rare breed. I’m with the late and great Scottish author, Ian Banks:
“I’m not arguing there are no decent people in the Tory party but their like sweetcorn in a turd; technically they kept their integrity but they’re still embedded in shit.”
All of which leads me to my appeal to Scotland’s actual First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon (pictured below), as we approach what will be a massive demonstration for Scottish independence in Edinburgh on Saturday (ER: today, October 6) organised by the grassroots All Under One Banner group.
I have not yet mentioned Brexit, the issue which dominates British politics right now and exposes the deep divisions within the ruling class and the Tory party about Britain’s future. There is a solid and rational left-wing case for Brexit based on the undemocratic and brutally neo-liberal nature of the European Union. It has nothing to do with immigrants or mythical banana shapes and everything to do with the usurping of sovereign power by faceless bureaucrats intent in imposing free market economics down the throats of all EU nations.
I am an advocate of that view and promoted it alongside other socialists and trade unionists in June 2016. It wasn’t the anti-EU position given any media space and Scotland as a nation voted convincingly against Brexit, 62% to 38%. The SNP fought the May 2016 Scottish election with an unequivocal manifesto commitment that read; “the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum… if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will.”
The SNP won that election with 46.5% of the constituency vote share. Alongside the elected Green MSPs, Scotland elected a Parliament with a majority of representatives for independence. On March 21st last year Nicola moved Motion S5M-04710 which sought the support of the Parliament to approach Westminster to trigger IndyRef2. She was in top form and said;
“It is worth being clear: that manifesto commitment, combined with the result of the Scottish election—which returned a pro-independence majority to this Parliament—and the outcome of the EU referendum, gives the Scottish Government an unquestionable democratic mandate for an independence referendum.”
And then, in anticipation of the arguments which followed, she said;
“There is an important point here for those who seek to question that mandate. To suggest that an emphatic election victory, on the basis of a clear manifesto commitment, and a parliamentary majority on an issue do not provide a mandate begs the question of what does and runs the real risk of undermining the democratic process.”
“I do not consider that to be right or fair. The future of Scotland should not be imposed upon us; it should be the choice of the people of Scotland.”
The Scottish Parliament voted by 69 votes to 59 to support that motion with a complimentary Green Party amendment. The democratic mandate for a second independence referendum is solid. On the issue of timing the motion specified Autumn 2018 or March 2019 at the latest to coincide with the UK Government’s Brexit timetable. Nicola said clearly:
“It is also important that the choice is made while it is still possible to choose a different path in a timely manner.
My judgment is therefore that the latest date for that choice to be made should be around the time that the UK leaves the EU—in the spring of 2019. That is the timeframe that I ask Parliament to endorse today”.
The Scottish Parliament did endorse that timeframe. On behalf of the Scottish Parliament Nicola wrote to Theresa May on March 31st last year to clarify the Parliament’s intention;
“…In these very changed circumstances, the people of Scotland must have the right to choose our own future — in short, to exercise our right of self-determination.”
Indeed I noted the importance you attached to the principle of self-determination in your letter to President Tusk.
As you are aware, the Scottish Parliament has now determined by a clear majority that there should be an independence referendum. The purpose of such a referendum is to give people in Scotland the choice of following the UK out of the EU and single market on the terms you negotiate, or becoming an independent country, able to chart our own course and build a genuine partnership of equals with the other nations of the UK…”
“…You confirmed to me on Monday, and repeated in your letter invoking Article 50, that you intend the terms of both the UK’s exit from the EU and of a future trade deal to be agreed before March 2019 and in time for ratification by other member states — in other words, between the autumn of next year and the spring of 2019. As you are aware, this is the timescale endorsed by the Scottish Parliament for a referendum.
As I have said previously, if the timetable you have set out changes, we will require to consider the implications for the timing of a referendum. However, it seems reasonable at this stage to work on the basis of your stated timetable…”
Things could not be clearer for Scotland and our First Minister. She has led from the front on this issue of a Brexit deal against the expressed wishes of Scotland justifying a new referendum on independence. It is clear that although the case for independence is much bigger than membership of the European Union, the fact that the NO campaign in 2014 explicitly stated that the only way Scotland could stay in the EU was to reject independence is now exposed as a lie, alongside scores of other lies like threats to pension payments, security for shipyard jobs and several other Project Fear myths.
Supporting independence does not mean supporting membership of the EU but it does mean giving Scotland the right to make that decision. The independence movement is bigger and more important than any political party or individual, but the SNP is the political leadership of the cause and my appeal to Nicola Sturgeon is to continue her wise leadership and show again her mettle in the face of typical unionist attacks by announcing at her Party Conference in Glasgow next week that IndyRef2 will be held in March next year.
She not only has a cast iron democratic mandate for the referendum, but she has the opportunity of facing down a divided and thus weakened foe. The British Establishment are in a mess at the moment. They are at each other’s throats over Brexit. Hell mend them. Strike while the iron is hot I say. Use the mandate. Name the date. We rose from 23% in 2013 to 45% in 2014. We are sitting on 47-48% support just now. We can rise to 60% with a bold, informed and confident campaign over the next 6 months. Don’t allow the unionists to recover Nicola, ring the IndyRef2 bell next week and let’s win Scotland’s independence and freedom in March next year.
Opportunity is the banner headline at the Tory conference and May insists Brexit Means Brexit. Well, the opportunity for Scotland is that Brexit means Exit. Exit from the corrupting, restrictive and abusive union which holds us back from realising our true potential as a progressive and friendly independent nation. Go for it Nicola.
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