The Point
Last updated: 27 June 2022. sky thinking for an open and diverse left

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Editorial: A Victory Already Won...


It won't be too long at the time of writing this editorial before the Fifty Days to Go mark is reached.

18th September will be on us before we know it, and the YES movement should go into that last 50 day period proud and with all guns blazing; on the ground, in the meeting halls, in the streets and pages of the press, in the TV studios and in social media.

NO - whose sole tactic has been to scare the scareable from day one - are giving out big hints that they've done enough to save their precious Union, but with one last huge effort - including an effort we've yet to see in full flight from the official leadership of the campaign - this is a battle that can be won.

The polls, taken in total, indicate that a 4 to 6% swing in these final weeks of the campaign - a period which will still be twice as long as a General Election - could see Scotland vote for independence, and wake up the world.

In other editorials and other places The Point has been critical of some aspects of the official campaign - the lack of big spending by YES in critical opinion forming stages; the timidity of certain sections of the SNP leadership in both taking on NO arrogance, and putting forward the economic case for independence in terms the majoriy of voters can readily understand - but now is not the time to navel gaze over potential or past lost opportunities, but to gird our collective Lion for the final push. If just 1 in 10 of those voters currently not convinced can be brought over to YES in that final 50 days, we will make history, and free our nation to a better future through the ballot box.

There is an important sense however, in which a victory has already been won, in which a new nation has already been concieved and is in gestation.

The YES nation has awoken to its historic task, has embraced thousands of new political activists, has seen ordinary men and women of all ages from all parts of the country, from different poltical parties and traditions and, often, from no previous political background or experience at all, coming together in an unprecedented grass roots campaign which is unmatched. Even the huge anti poll tax campaign which got rid of Margaret Thatcher - the so called Iron Lady - over 20 years ago, has been dwarfed by YES. Thousands of citizen Scots who had never organised anything poltical in their lives before have suddenly found themselves organising street stalls, public meetings, canvassing, YES coffee mornings, rock gigs and ceilidhs, protests and demonstrations.

In traditional campaigns in the past it has been the cadre of political activists and leadership who have made the slogans, designed the poster, forced the agenda - not so with the YES movement. Go online any night of the week and you'll see that for yourselves. A new generation is being trained in what is needed to take on the might of the British State, its corporate backers, and its servile right wing media. A new generation has discussed not just independence, but independence leading somewhere else, somewhere away from Thacherism and neo-liberalism, somewhere towards a modern left social democracy in which genuinely radical left ideas are up for grabs as common currency. They have discussed public ownership, and the living wage, green politics and social housing, nuclear disarmament and the means and forms of democracy. These gains must not, and will not, be lost - regardless of the referendum result.

A new nation is first of all made in the collective imagination, and once so made, is not easily unmade.

The barbarous con man David Cameron has already been seeking assurances that 'even a narrow victory' will be the end of the matter. The Scottish Secretary aka 'colonial governor' Alistair Carmichael has said a NO vote must ensure that ' the question is never put again'. How about that for democracy?

YES can and must win on September 18th. But the idea that the Union clinging onto Scotland, against the will of the most radical and active section of the population, would be anything other than both a phyrric and temporary victory needs to be grasped by both sides in the struggle. 

All out to win for YES - absolutely. However, a NO vote would simply ensure that demands for political parties to promise a referendum on devo max in their 2016 manifestos (the real version, not the pretendy version) became deafening and unignorable. Young YES activists would take it hard at first, of course - as would we all - but they would quickly realise, that as time naturally takes its toll on an older generation who have always lived with a British identity, their time will inevitably come again - perhaps within as little as 10 years.

In all of these important ways a victory has already been won that can't be taken away. Beyond helping to secure a YES vote in the referendum, the task for the left in Scotland is to build on that 'already won' victory. It is to try and maximise support for a new left consensus, with a radical socialist core, to the left of the the current Scottish Labour Party and SNP - while still being able to reach out and work with the best left elements of both.

There is more than one article in this issue of The Point where left thinkers in Scotland are trying to grapple with this issue.

Our own position is clear: we support a single left electoral alliance or platform for the 2016 Scottish Elections around a common program, such as, for example, the Common Weal program developed by the Jimmy Reid Foundation. We believe that electoral platform should involve those in the Radical Independence Campaign, the SSP, the Greens,and Solidarity, as well as independent left leaning activists and thinkers.

Wishing does not make it so, of course - and such a thing is not in our gift. But we consider it to be in the best objective interests of the majority of Scots and it is what we will continue to argue for and promote.

But let's end by going back to the observation that opened this editorial: 50 days or so to go, and winning just 1 in 10 voters who are not yet convinced about Independence could see a stunning outcome: one that would reverberate for years, not just in Scotland and these Isles, but across the face of the planet. And like the apocryphal American Football coach whose team is down by just a single score in the last quarter we say:

Team Scotland, find a way. Win.

Just win.







External links:

Bella Caledonia

Bright Green

George Monbiot

Green Left


The Jimmy Reid Foundation

Richard Dawkins

Scottish Left Review

Viridis Lumen