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It mostly covers my work as UNISON Scotland's Head of Policy and Public Affairs although views are my own. For full coverage of UNISON Scotland's policy and campaigns please visit our web site. You can also follow me on Twitter. I hope you find this blog interesting and I would welcome your comments.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Devo Left

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.


  1. I like 'power for a purpose' even if I might not support your 'purpose'. There has been far too much in the media about the referendum procedure and what powers are needed. No real case has been made for what the Scottish Parliament would do with these powers since they have made such little use of the ones they have!

  2. We will never grasp a socialist Scotland by staying in the union. Lets vote YES first and argue for what sort of Scotland second. Can't be any worse that what we have now.

  3. You will never get a socialist country if you always want to split those that are willing to have a government that is for the people.If we get independence then be part of the government,as if your looking from the outside you wont be of any use to us common people.