Jack Conrad’s timely article in Weekly Worker came out against a Second (EU) Referendum. Last Saturday the issue was raised at the Radical Independence Conference in Edinburgh in favour of Scottish Ratification Referendum in 2018, or at least before March 2019.
The very words “ScotRatRef18” are anathema for Jack. He has no sympathy for “Scotland” because it is nationalist and not British. He fails to recognise the danger of the EU ratification process which will impose an anti-working class Tory Brexit. He claims that for communists a ‘referendum’ is beyond the pale, perhaps because he fears working class people voting on political matters will only end badly.
Scotland voted by 62% to remain in the EU. This, of course, has no political meaning for the British. Pretend it never happened and roll your British tanks over it as if it is not there. The Scottish people have no right to self determination and ‘British Exit’ reminds the forgetful. Don’t forget Northern Ireland either.
There is no Article 50 in the British Unionist constitution, as Anti-Unionists in England keep reminding everybody. As Queen Anne said in 1707, this Act of Union is forever. There is no legal way out of it. It is true Cameron gambled that he could defeat the rise of Scottish democracy by allowing the 2014 referendum. He won, only just, and kept his job. But not before he had made the present Queen more than a little anxious for her throne.
After the defeat of 2014 the idea of a second Independence Referendum (Indie Ref 2) is for the birds. I have taken to calling it IndieRef34, sadly as I am unlikely to be around in 2034 to join in. There is no way after Brexit that the British Crown will allow Scotland to have another Indie Ref for at least twenty years.
Yet Scottish self determination remains a live issue because of Brexit. Now the issue is whether Scotland can be forced out of the EU against its democratic vote to remain. Even an intelligent Unionist can realise that if Brexit ends badly there will be a permanent in-built grievance that the rights of the Scottish people were trampled underfoot by English votes combined with the political force of the British Crown.
Of course there is a ratification process for the EU treaty. There are only three candidates – the British Crown (Ministers etc) or the ‘Crown in Parliament’ (Westminster) or the people through a referendum. If Jack rules out the latter then in the real world he is choosing by default the Crown or Westminster. This is why ScotRatRef18 is not simply a Scottish issue but a UK wide RatRef issue.
I should add for clarity that I do not support the slogan of a ‘Second Referendum’ since it implies repeating the first one. It is a dangerous obfuscation, which will only benefit UKIP and the far right by alienating that section of the English and Welsh working class who were misled into voting to leave. I agree with Jack there should be no truck whatsoever with the nasty, vile and disgusting second EU referendum.
The last point refers to Jack’s principled objection to referenda, citing the ideas of Karl Kautshy. His method is to counterpoise the ideal of socialist democracy to the dirty business of bourgeoisie democracy. Once the proletariat is in power there will be no need for general elections or referenda because life will be permanent voting every day. Set against the real capitalist world we live in, socialism has no need for any kind of bourgeois voting, from dodgy elections to dickey referenda. The ‘case’ for boycotting bourgeois democracy is not confined to referenda.
Workers demand wage increases in the fight against poverty pay. Without real democracy, workers demand the right to vote on this, that, and the next thing. Nowadays when the Council decides to bulldoze your estate and build mansions for absent Russian oligarchs, it has become fashionable to demand mini-referenda on the council plans. Referenda are more prevalent than most recognise.
Why should working class people, the ignorant mob and their friends the great unwashed masses, be allowed to interfere in the royal prerogatives of Crown and Parliament? Why should they be allowed to vote for or against the Tories dirty little Brexit deal? If Cameron had taken Kautsky more seriously we wouldn’t be in this Brexit mess in the first place and he would still be Prime Minister!