The Scottish Socialist Party welcomes the publication of the Scottish Governments Independence White Paper ‘Scotland’s Future – Your Guide to an Independent Scotland’. We believe it is a comprehensive and timely addition to the most important debate the people of Scotland have faced in decades.
As partners in the ‘Yes Scotland’ coalition the Scottish Socialist Party shares the Government’s commitment to Independence and belief in the immense benefits it can bring the people of Scotland.
We commend the White Paper’s commitment to social and political democracy, prosperity and fairness. We believe it reflects the social democratic aspirations of the people of Scotland and we particularly welcome those sections; providing universal free childcare for pre-school children, scrapping the hated ‘bedroom tax’, removing Trident nuclear weapons, growing Scotland’s economy and population by welcoming those who wish to come and live here, returning Royal Mail to public ownership, introducing a written constitution, providing seats for worker directors on company boards, supporting greater environmental protection, promoting greater energy efficiency and extending much needed social protection to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.
The White Paper sets out a clear vision of Independence that unquestionably represents very significant advance for the people of Scotland.
We also welcome the commitment to reduce gas and electricity bills by 10% per annum after Independence but would like to have seen the Scottish Government go further given the publics very real concern over these bills and re-iterate the pledge it made in its 2007 manifesto to eradicate fuel poverty in Scotland completely.
We would also liked to have seen a commitment to take the renewable energy industry into public ownership – just as the Scottish Government did recently with Prestwick Airport - and to return our gas and electricity supply industry into public hands as we believe both measures are concomitant with pledges to achieve greater economic prosperity, social democracy and fairness. The SSP also prefers the approach Norway took to its oil and gas resources in taking them into public ownership rather than privatising them.
The Scottish Socialist Party advocates an Independent socialist Scotland. And like many Scots we favour a modern democratic republic. There are inevitably therefore some proposals in the White Paper we do not support such as reducing Corporation Tax, entering a ‘Sterling Zone’ for our own currency, NATO membership and retaining an un-elected, unrepresentative monarch as our Head of State in our new, modern, democratic Scotland.
Nonetheless, we wholeheartedly agree with the view expressed in the White Paper that ‘Decisions about Scotland will be taken by the people who care most about Scotland – those who live and work here’. And in that spirit we fully acknowledge that all the issues in the White Paper should and indeed will be decided by the people of Scotland themselves in the first elections to our newly Independent Parliament in 2016.
For our part the Scottish Socialist Party will continue to highlight the significant advantages Independence brings to Scotland; no more Tory Governments, no more Trident missiles, no more ‘bedroom tax’, returning the Royal Mail to public ownership and above all self-determination for the people of Scotland at last – all in all a much more attractive prospect than the one we currently face.
The Scottish Socialist Party remains focused above all on winning a resounding ‘Yes’ vote in the 2014 Referendum and we continue to work alongside all our partners in the ‘Yes Scotland’ coalition to secure that pre-eminent objective.