Repeal the Union
The Tories, UKIP, Liberal Democrats and Labour have all refused to recognise that Scotland voted, as did Northern Ireland, to remain in the EU. This is the one fact that every democrat, never mind socialist, should recognise and defend.
As socialists we should be campaigning for a Great Repeal Act. Not the one the Tories want for Europe, but the repeal of the 1707 Act of Union. At a stroke the Scottish Parliament and people would secure their sovereignty and hence the right of the Scottish people to decide for themselves whether to remain in the EU and maintain free movement and existing workers rights or not. It is their decision. Only the Tories and the other English inspired chauvinist parties would deny it.
Repealing the Act of Union does not rule out any closer relationship with England. It does not as such preclude any decision to be part of a new republic. On the contrary political action from ‘England’ to end the Union makes genuine internationalism possible. Indeed it is a precondition for it. This is a policy for the international working class, not some opportunism designed to help Corbyn win the general election. It is too late for that. The die is already cast on Labour’s Manifesto.
It seems like only yesterday that I stood as a Republican Socialist in Bermondsey and Old Southwark against Simon Hughes and Neil Coyle. Since Coyle won his seat he has become one of the Jeremy Corbyn’s chief tormentors and back stabbers. I stood as the first anti-Unionist socialist candidate in England. I started my campaign in Glasgow, one of the best places to highlight the need for English anti-Unionism.
On May Day 2015 I launched the “Manifesto For Democracy” outside the parliament calling for the Palace of Westminster to be closed down before it fell down. The democratic message was well received by those who heard it. But it wasn’t a vote winner. The opportunist politicians were fanning the flames of English chauvinism not least Simon Hughes in his infamous article in the London Evening Standard. Cameron himself played the anti Scottish card a big factor in his victory.
The good people of Bermondsey did not support my campaign with their precious votes. I don’t blame them. Somebody claimed that Cameron got the most votes in England and I got the worst. I felt it was a neat juxtaposition of the past and the future. In a conservative country the past is way more popular than the future.
A year later the past was in the bin, no doubt making a small fortune for services rendered, only to be replaced by something even worse. I am pleased report the future is making steady progress not least when Left Unity adopted an anti-Unionist stance.
Many more socialists have rejected the 1707 Act of Union. I am not surprised that one of Queen Anne’s vilest Acts is now hated and despised by anybody who has thought about it. There are hardly any communists and no real democrats left who don’t condemn it.
The 1707 Act of Union secured stability for the ruling class at home and the bloody profits from slavery abroad. Queen Anne abolished the Scottish parliament because she did not want it to be used as a platform for rebellious subjects. She wanted to secure the future of the monarchy as a protestant institution. All this was tied up by bribery and access to slave plantations in the West Indies.
This law was intended to make sure Scotland would never have self determination. Scotland would be welded to England ‘forever’. There was no getting away from it. Scotland could only be represented at Westminster where Scottish MPs would be a permanent minority. In 1998 the arrival of a Scottish parliament undermined the 1707 Act. It blew a hole in the great ship ‘Britannia’. Now we can see the water flooding in.
Little did I realise that there would be a referendum within a year of the last general election. Brexit has given a new boost to Anglo-British chauvinism. In these conditions supporting this law is ignorant and short sited and amounts to political scabbing and a betrayal of the working class. It is not good enough to keep quiet or hide in a corner. A general election is a time to expose the poison of Anglo-British chauvinism which is slowly killing the English left.