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19 February 2014


Robin Carmody

Further to earlier discussions on this issue, I note on Facebook that our old friend Ken "The Exile" Bell, the embodiment of reactionary socialism, has now moved to Edinburgh and become an active supporter of Scottish independence.

Which I think says something about the overall character of the campaign, and a very great deal about the difference between Scottish and modern English conceptions of "the Left".


I remember the Exile as being creatively abusive but not his actual political stance.

There's a sane post on Socialist Unity on the currency issue with reasonable suspicion that an independent Scotland would not be the socialist republic that left campaigners have as their far off vision.

Robin Carmody

Bell's position was, and is, a combination of Old Labour class-warrior politics with sexism and xenophobia. Maybe the price that has to be paid for a more left-wing social consensus is a greater occurrence of reactionary socialism (in that enough people are always going to be reactionaries that, if socialism or something close to it is to be the norm, reactionary socialism will *have* to exist).

But as stated elsewhere, I tend to agree with George Galloway (a rare occurrence) that an independent Scotland would have to become *less* socialist than it is now: it would be unable to escape the economic dominance of England, and as England would inevitably have moved more to the economic right even than it is now, it would find itself under pressure to cut its social programmes and free university education, maybe allow again the sale of council houses, and so the things many Scots cherish most, and feel are being undermined by the power of Tory England, would actually be undermined - England would move to the right, obviously, but Scotland would also have little practical choice but to follow, thus actively going against the expectations of many independence supporters. Did John Wight write that SU piece? I know he's against independence.

I also know that, as a New Zealander, you think there's a certain erroneous revisionism to the "not us, guv" line of some independence supporters re. the role of the Scots in British colonialism (you are, of course, in a better position to see through that than anyone except possibly a Canadian). You will know from your own national history that the treatment of the Maori by the Scots was by no means any better than the treatment of the Aborigines by the English; listen to some SNP supporters, and you'd think it was.

It's not that I respect the British state as it stands - I suppose it's just an example of "keep a hold on nurse" (at least from my own perspective).

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  • Rosie Bell

    Some song writing, some verse writing and too much blogging about culture, politics, cycling and gardening.

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