Independence ‘at any cost’ and under any set of conditions is a profoundly dangerous idea, and there is no shortage of historical examples to help us understand this. There are, as I have said umpteen times in the past, different kinds of independence. Sure, it’s an extreme example, but North Korea is an ‘independent’ state, but there are few in Scotland today would prefer the conditions of life for the vast majority of North Koreans to life in a political union with England.
Scotland’s independence is a question of justice, and no injustice can last forever. Having come to see the nature of the injustice of British rule, we have come to know that final defeat is impossible. No matter how many defeats – no matter how crushing, in the end Scotland will be free. Our efforts now are not so much a contest against unionism. The union is already dead. Our competition is against future generations of the independence movement. We must rob them of the glory by ensuring that freedom is won in our generation, to our glory and immortal memory.
We must also commend Alex Salmond on the grace with which he resigned. He appealed to the membership not to follow him, saying that he would – at the soonest opportunity after he has cleared his name – reapply for membership. In doing this he has put the cause of independence and the unity of the party and movement before his own personal feelings of anger and humiliation – which he must no doubt be feeling. In expressing his love for the SNP and the independence movement he said that they have been the defining commitment of his life...
Where does this mindless obedience lead us? We know fine well where this behaviour leads; history teaches us all we need to know, and this is precisely why we refer to the defence of “only following orders” as the Nuremberg defence. This leads to the deprivation of civil and political rights, the creation of categories of political crimes, and to the exact same thinking that brought us the re-education camps and concentration camps of the totalitarian and authoritarian régimes of the not so distant past – and this is no facile comparison.
Governance in Britain has been reduced to a regime of fear, threats, and intimidation. Nothing other than the scale of the operation differentiates this from a mafia-like protection racket. Bad government of this ilk is what’s wrong with the world. The protest vote and the rise of the right are born out of people’s frustration at this carry on.
Given what we know of what the Grenfell Action Group was campaigning for in the years prior to the fire, we have to ask – given where they placed the blame for their predicament – if, given the choice, they too would have considered voting for independence from Westminster.
A truly just society is a society in which the social and the procedural are reunited in common purpose, where the law serves the demands of social justice. Justice in this sense is where people, both as individuals and as communities, take priority over claims to wealth, property, and power.
Every social crisis is the result of the conditions that govern society remaining as they are and functioning as they were intended. This is true in the case of racially motivated police brutality because the structures of law and order – as the hard edge of the hegemon – are inherently racist.