Scotland: one prediction right

Back last June, I made some rash predictions about the UK and globally (

The first was that “the Scots will narrowly vote no to independence, reducing the uncertainty about the break-up of the UK for another decade. This will be a relief for British big business. Alex Salmond and the Scottish Nationalists will use the narrow defeat to get more concessions on tax-raising powers (already promised by the Conservatives) and will look for another vote down the road.”

The vote NO was decisive on a large turnout, but Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city, voted YES to independence.  That suggests a significant anti-Tory and anti-political elite vote, probably from the younger voters.  The economic case for an independent Scottish capitalist state  that would benefit working people compared to the Union was weak at best (see my post, .
But the mood of opposition and disgust at the UK’s governing circles was strong and expressed in the size of the yes vote.

The major parties have promised extra tax and spending powers to the Scottish parliament and a continuance of the so-called Barnett formula for the distribution of central government expenditure to the regions.  Scotland already gets a higher share of spending per head than elsewhere.  So, in effect, the new powers (to be rushed through the Westminster parliament by Robbie Burns night on 15 January) mean that Scotland will have ‘home rule’ in all but name.  This could lead to moves for similar regional powers for Wales, Northern Ireland and even the English regions.  This is a creeping federalisation of the state in the UK.

Also, the failure of the Euro leaders to revive the Eurozone economy, provide more employment and rising real incomes for the majority is breeding fragmentation of European politics, both in a falling share of the vote for the major capitalist and social democratic parties, and in calls for independence by Catalans, Flemish Belgians and Romanians in Hungary etc.  We shall see where it leads.

My other – very rash – predictions are still pending – Conservatives to win in the May 2015 election; the British people to vote to stay in the EU in a referendum in 2017; a peak in global growth in 2015; a fall in the rate of profit in all major economies from then; a new slump in 2016 or so.



6 thoughts on “Scotland: one prediction right

  1. I suspect Cameron may come in for some flak now from his own side after he promised so much at the last minute – the 10% margin in the referendum indicating that the polls overstated the strength of the ‘Yes’ vote towards the end of the campaign (although this was the gap predicted a year ago). At the end of the day many pragmatists in the SNP have always hoped to get greater devolution and it looks like this is what they might get (if the Tories don’t start frantically back-pedalling).

    If any party has to really do some soul-searching, it is surely Scottish Labour, whose official pro-Union position was clearly rejected in the cities of British industrial decline like Glasgow and Dundee. These are also the heartlands of traditionnal Scottish Labour support.

  2. This is where numbers conceal more than they reveal. The No figure generally represented people who were opposed to change, many if not most, change in any shape or form.

    But when forty-five per cent of a high turnout of a registered electorate declare that they are prepared to abandon their primary, legal national identity any government should be worried. This is no small matter.

    In the White paper the Scottish Government was pledged to remove Trident nuclear missiles and Vanguard nuclear submarines from their Clyde bases knowing that Westminster may be impossible to overcome opposition to siting them elsewhere in the UK. It proposed a Constitutional Convention to establish a written constitution and the creation of a sovereign wealth fund to manage the oil and gas revenues.

    The political, economic and military establishments would have faced great challenges if these policies were implemented. The Labour Party is often imagined to have carried out enormous reforms. But on this occasion, like many others in the past. its so-called reforms are only exercised to stop even greater changes from happening.

    The massive discursive exercise that has occurred has taught a lot of people about the exercise of real power.

  3. I do hope those pro union leftists who claimed to be fighting against nationalism and for workers unity will now grasp the opportunity to argue for a workers parliament as opposed to an English one.

    1. As a rash guess, Catalonia will stay part of Spain. Catalonia feels more of a separate nation from Castilian Spain then Scotland does from Britain, and historically it has been more radical than central Spain. And being one of the most prosperous parts of Spain, it has a better chance of being a successful independent state than Scotland did. But on balance I don’t think it will happen. The Euro leaders will oppose it furiously and not support Catalonia joining the EU and the Eurozone which it will have to do to prosper. So the only possibility is if the euro collapses. That could happen in a new deep slump but we are not there yet. But you never know. As the narrow Scottish vote showed, antagonism towards austerity and neoliberal policies could produce a nationalist reaction. Ironically, the current Catalan provincial government is just as neoliberal as Madrid.

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