Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Better late than never? #Indyref round-up

As a resident of England, on one level this is none of my business: Scotland has the right to self-determination without interference from South London. But this the most important issue facing the whole of the UK in a very long. The thought that Scottish people might become foreigners, that the UK I live in might not include Scotland, is an appalling one for me. I like the fact that the UK - Britishness - has become (however unevenly) an expansive, inclusive civic identity, that includes more than one nation. The one-nation-one-state logic that has driven the reshaping of the world since 1918 has been nothing short of catastrophic; that, after a century of nationalist wars, we should be erecting new borders is shocking to me.

Here are some things I've read that resonate with how I feel on this topic.

Rosie Bell has a great post on the Neverendum atmosphere:
I'm not one of the energised embracing a new discovery of politics - I'm disgruntled that my life has been taken over by nationalistic politics. Because that's what it is. There hasn't been much in the way of outright anti-Englishness but scrape one of those heralding the new iScotland with its guaranteed-in-the-constitution social democracy about well, what if it goes wrong and the answer is, if it's a mess it's OUR mess. Our being this part of the British archipelago.
David Grant, in a similar heartfelt vein, writes on why he's voting No. Ian Jack's lament for Britishness is also moving. One of the most eloquent cases for No comes from Carol Craig in the Scottish Review. Alex Massie discusses his multiple identities here, in another good piece. Always wise, Kenan Malik asks independent from what and for what?

On the left, JT White at Third Estate has a good critical piece, arguing that there is a case for "red patriotism" but for the Union rather than for independent Scotland. How Upsetting has a powerful critique of the left's fall down the rabbit hole of nationalism. Sam Wetherell has a very sophisticated take on the imperial amnesia and petro-politics at the heart of the Scottish nationalist fantasy. Sunny Hundal also picks up on the petro-politics issue, in his criticism of the fossil fuel hypocrisy of Green No advocates.

From an English perspective, Nick Cohen attacks nationalist posturing. It's behind a paywall, but David Aaronovitch has a brilliant piece on what links Alex Salmond, Nigel Farage and Russell Brand. Chris Deerin also argues that Salmond and Farage are Better Together. Jamie Reed punctures the myth of Tory England. John McTernan opposes the politics of grievance. You can find more of this sort of stuff at my Paper here.

Of all the left groups, the AWL is closest to my views. Their slogan is reduce borders don't raise them. Their Dale Street demolishes the "Marxist" arguments for independence in Critique (great final sentence: "Perhaps Critique would benefit from having more Crimean Tartars and less Scottish nationalists on its editorial board?") as well as George Monbiot's cod psychology Yesism ("English writer living in Wales writes article for London paper calling for a yes vote on 18 September. English writer living in Wales writing article for London paper denounces Westminster arrogance towards Scots. English writer living in Wales writing article for London paper dismisses millions of Scots as psychologically damaged. You couldn’t make it up."). Which us, which them? is good too.

Dale Street's pieces are also published by Socialism First, which (although it has a few tankie contributors) makes a strong case for a socialist No. Red Paper is another example of socialist anti-independence analysis. UK Work Together presents the trade unionist case for No. These are among the websites collected in libertarian socialist sci-fi legend Ken McLeod's round-up from May. Ken's own take is here.

Finally, taking a neither Yes nor No position, here are two anarchist perspectives: one from Edinburgh and one from Glasgow. From the former:
Hope lies not in trying to create new labour aristocracies or the international solidarity of left nationalists, but in uniting workers struggling from below.