Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Anniversary of the Union - another unwanted birthday!

The Scotsman recently asked me for my views on the 300th aniversary of the act of union. The article can be found by following this link:
or you can read the full version here.
The 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Union allows us to take stock of Scotland's relationship with the 'United Kingdom'. The Scottish Socialist Party view is that the union should now be ended and replaced by an independent, democratic, republic.The Union was born of bribery, the threat of military force and the naked self interest of the merchant classes who lost their shirts on their reckless Darien adventure. It was imposed by a privileged minority against the fury of the common people who burned copies of the Treaty in public.Far from the glorious golden age, the myth so beloved of unionists, 1707 set Scotland in the role of junior partner in the bloodstained British Empire.Undoubtedly some Scots grew rich trading and supplying the sinews of military might. But for the average Scot it meant military service or grinding poverty in the growing industrial slums.These evils were only alleviated by the growing working class movement at home and the liberation movements-starting with the Irish-abroad.Then as now what Burns called "the parcel of rogues in a nation" took the London shilling and from 'North Britain' loyally served the empire.The same representatives of the merchants and banking classes earnestly proclaim Scotland's so called 'union dividend' and attempt to convince us that without the UK Osama Bin Laden would be in Burntisland and we would all be in abject poverty.The truth of course, is entirely different. The union is holding Scotland back economically and politically, held hostage to another social agenda altogether. Should the Tories win the next Westminster election that dichotomy will be shown to be starker still.Scotland also urgently needs the break with British militarism, to close the trident bases and strike out in a new direction.Just as at the enlightenment Scotland can be a beacon of hope to the world offering economic security and ecological sustainability at home and peace and friendship to the world.

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