Independence and its Prospects: Real change central, says Fox

Speaking at the Scottish Socialist Party’s National Conference in Glasgow today, Saturday 18 March 2023, SSP National Co-Spokesperson Colin Fox said:

“We support independence in part because we believe it will weaken free-market capitalism here.

“But the independence movement is in crisis and has been for some time.

“It faces above all a crisis of leadership. Nicola Sturgeon proved herself unable to deliver majority support for Independence or a coherent strategy for delivering it. And the three candidates to succeed her as First Minister are even more ‘challenged’.

“The independence movement has shown itself incapable of answering all the important questions facing it for some time.

“Why could it not deliver majority support for YES? Where is the persuasive economic case for independence to solve Scotland’s chronic economic, social and political failures? And if, as the Supreme Court judgement concluded, there is apparently no Parliamentary road to Independence, where is the alternative strategy?

“The Independence movement under Nicola Sturgeon was unable, it seems, to draw the conclusion that we must now develop an extra-parliamentary strategy. Its naïve and endless calls for ‘unity’ were empty because it’s not ‘unity’ the Independence movement needs most of all: it’s clarity.

“It desperately needs answers to those central questions posed. And in thirteen years it has failed to answer any of them.

“The Scottish Socialist Party remains committed to an independent socialist Scotland and a modern democratic republic. But we realise the YES side can only win if it can persuade Scotland’s working-class majority they will be economically, socially, and politically better off, and that at the same time independence means profound and far reaching change in the way Scotland is run which puts people and planet first.

“I see little change in the present landscape around this debate regardless of who wins the SNP leadership. Real change means breaking with today’s ingrained poverty and inequalities, and building majority support for Yes via a transformative message.

“With the inevitable demise of ‘Corbymania’ Labour has taken a sharp turn to the Right, embracing Union Jack inspired patriotism, the free market, NATO, and big businesses control of our economy.

“I expect this path to continue in the run up to the next General Election. The attitude of Keir Starmer and his team must disgust those with any shred of socialist belief within them.

“Paradoxically, this move to the Right by Labour presents opportunities for the SSP. Our party enjoyed its greatest successes against a failing New Labour government as people rejected its privatization, widening inequalities and warmongering.

“Our presence on picket lines, strike rallies, fuel poverty protests, anti-war gatherings and independence marches shows the best of the Scottish working class that there is an alternative.”