Yesterday at the STUC we launched the Red Paper Collective folder 'Power to Scotland's People', or as I prefer, Devo Left for short. The full paper was published in the Morning Star.
The independence referendum debate so far has largely focused on process and powers. There has been little debate on what extended devolution or independence is actually for. This paper seeks to start that debate from a socialist perspective.
There is no point having new powers if we are simply going to swop Neo-Liberal unionism for Neo-Liberal independence. As I have argued in another posting, the track record on actually using existing devolved powers to promote social justice is not strong. So would it be any different with the economy or other powers?
Under independence or extended devolution big business in Scotland remains dependent on City institutions, reflecting the long established economic and monetary union with the rest of the UK. A situation that the SNP does not even seek to change with plans to retain the pound and EU membership and therefore outsourcing much of an independent Scotland's monetary and fiscal powers. The limited aim of shifting jobs from England by cutting Corporation Tax, Scotland the tax haven, isn't much of a socialist vision!
Devo-Plus and Devo-Max are also predicated on either cutting public spending or meeting existing levels. American levels of taxation will not fund Scandinavian levels of public services, so talk of following a Nordic model is meaningless unless we grasp this essential reality.
Devo-Left argues that the the options so far miss the crucial dimension of class politics and the redistribution of income and wealth. Power for a purpose should be the driving the constitutional debate and this paper at least starts that debate.