Independence and Solidarity

by Elias Blum

Some people voted No to Scottish independence in 2014 because they thought that Scotland’s presence in the UK would act as a moderating influence; as an act of solidarity towards people south of the border, who would be saved by Scotland from wicked Tory Governments. Others voted No because of a fear that an independent Scotland might not be able to retain membership of the European Union. They were both very wrong. It was obvious to me, even in 2014, that England’s course was a set on a lurch to the anti-European right; that the next step would be a Tory government, and then the European referendum.

Now it appears that Scotland really does have a chance to act in solidarity and to save England from its more destructive and rapacious elements. But to do so, we need independence.

England today is undergoing a profound identity crisis, which it cannot overcome until its English identity is separated from its post-imperial Britishness. Brexit, with all its pleasing fantasies of renewed global dominance, is just one manifestation of this identity crisis, an act of self-harm that reflects the deep and inarticulate inner pain of a imperial identity without an empire.

By becoming a normal European democracy country, and by pursuing a set of social and economic policies that benefit ordinary people rather than a tiny economic elite, Scotland can show a different way of coming to terms with the past. In other words, Scottish independence is not an act of betrayal (as some of the left used to call it), but rather has the capacity to be an act of solidarity with our neighbours south of the border.

For the fact is, while Scotland is not big enough to save England with her votes, Scotland could be brave enough – and good enough – to save England by her example.