Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A modern democratic Scotland

This may be jumping the gun just a wee bit - given that we have yet to negotiate the Indpendence Referendum and a campaign that will see the British State unleash every dirty trick in the book to keep control of our country’s resources - but we really should start thinking about the kind of Scotland we want to see after we have retaken our independence.

Independence is the normal status for a nation.  It will give Scots the power and the right to govern our country in our interests, and not before time.  For over three-hundred years we have been a very subordinate partner in a British Union that removed power from Scotland and handed it to a ruling elite in London.  Don’t be taken-in by the facade of democracy that allows us to vote for Members of the British Parliament – the so-called United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is run by, and operated in the interests of the British Establishment, at the head of which sits the English monarch.  No amount of devolution will change that fact.

Within the current constitutional settlement we have a devolved parliament in Edinburgh, but that legislative body is entirely subservient to both the British/English parliament in London and the English monarch, Queen Elizabeth II (she’s the first Elizabeth Scotland’s ever had, so how come she’s Elizabeth II).  Every Member of the Scottish Parliament – democratically-elected by the people of Scotland – must swear allegiance to “Her Majesty the Queen, her heirs and successors” before they are allowed to take their seats.  Should any MSP decline to take such an oath, they would not be allowed to sit in the Scottish Parliament.  So much for a modern democracy!

Once we retake our independence and the right to govern ourselves, we really should drag Scotland into the 21st Century.  In a modern democracy there can be no place for unelected heads of state who live opulent and privileged lifestyles, paid for from the taxes of men and women, many of whom struggle to survive from day to day.  Today, if anyone tried to sell that idea from scratch, they would be told in no uncertain terms where to go.  Can you imagine: “Right, here’s what we’ll do.  We’ll pick this one family and we’ll all chip-in so they can live in a palace, maybe even two or three palaces.  Then we’ll give them an income that makes them amongst the richest people in the world, so they will never have to worry about a bill or how their children will be looked after.”  Aye, right!

In an independent Scotland we also need to put in place a social and political structure that prevents unscrupulous capitalists from gaining control of the nation’s economy – they would only bankrupt us again.  Take a look at history: the current collapse of capitalism is far from being the first.  Every time the capitalist system has crashed, ordinary working men and women have had to bail them out.  The lesson we should take into our modern Scottish democracy is that capitalism doesn’t work.

So, we definitely need to take control of our own country, and to do that we need to vote for independence when the SNP Government gives us the chance in its Referendum, probably around 2014.  But, when the dawn breaks on Independence Day, let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past.  There is no point in establishing an independent Scotland just to build a Scottish version of the failed British model. 

Our modern, democratic Scotland should be a fair and equitable society that puts people before profit.  Our new country for the 21st Century should be a democratic Scottish republic.

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