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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.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Scotland's Road to Socialism

This is my shameless plug for a new book, Scotland's Road to Socialism: Time to Choose. I contributed a chapter, but no royalties! The publication is timely as the STUC debates constitutional change in Perth today and the interim report of Scottish Labour's Devolution Commission will be launched at the Scottish Labour conference, starting tomorrow.

This is a follow up from the 2007 book of similar title. Much has happened since then. The financial crash, austerity economics and of course a referendum on independence. The book includes 24 concise chapters from authors, who come from different parts of the left in Scotland, who outline their own answer to the broad question "Is there a Scottish road to socialism?"

The Editor, Gregor Gall, has managed to pull together contributions from most shades of opinion on the left in Scotland. Well kent faces from Scottish Labour, Greens, SNP, Communist, SSP, ISG and others tell, an often personal story, of their road to socialism in Scotland. For readers outwith Scotland there is little that could be described as purely parochial in this book. There is no sense of aggressive nationalism and little about entirely Scottish solutions to our national problems. There is also much more about the purpose of constitutional change, rather than the mechanisms that tend to dominate debate in the Scottish media. As ever on the left, the different roads are primarily tactical routes.

My own chapter starts with my personal journey, because we are all the product of our environment, followed by a section on Scotland and socialism. Not the only author to draw on our history, even if drawing different conclusions. I then examine independence and devolution, and how these different roads might lead to greater social justice. I conclude that political will is more important than mechanisms. And that is not a task that can simply be left to politicians and political parties. If we want a Scotland rooted in social justice that tackles inequality, then we need to build a consensus among our fellow citizens. Creating the political environment that gives electable politicians the confidence to take forward radical policies.

Every reader of this book will find as much to disagree with as to support. There is no effort to build a consensus, although there are some common themes. As the introduction highlights,  both sides of the constitutional question need to focus on the probabilities rather than the possibilities - hard nosed and realistic assessments rather than fights of fancy.

You can order a copy of the book through the SLR press. I understand it will be up shortly.

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