'Class, Nation and Socialism: The Red Paper on Scotland 2014' is a new book by the Red Paper Collective. It is focused on the constitutional debate, but has a wider application in the battle of ideas for a fairer Scotland.
I was at the book launch tonight together with many of the long list of fellow contributors to this publication. They include politicians, trade unionists and academics who have contributed a chapter on their own area of expertise.
This is a book about the politics of social and economic change rather than constitutional change - the politics of class, not nationalism. There is plenty of vision and ideas, but laced with a pragmatic view of the possible, not the improbable. It also seeks to do what is often missing in the current national dialogue – putting the debate in a UK context. In the introduction, Owen Jones sets out why the outcome of the current debate in Scottish politics has clear ramifications in Britain and elsewhere.
I have contributed two chapters to the book. Not sure how I got talked into that and apologies to my loved ones for the lost Easter holiday! In the first, I challenge the neo-liberal economic orthodoxies that drive the constitutional position of most of those on both sides of the debate. In the second, I deal with energy policy and offer a different way of delivering our energy needs.
As the book has some hard messages for both nationalists and unionists, we expect criticism from all sides. That’s fine, even if it would be better if they read it first! This book challenges those who look to constitutional change rather than political change. Posing nation against class is a blind alley which will only reinforce Scotland’s exposure to the power of multinational capitalism. If there is to be a lasting settlement for devolution, the status quo cannot be the only alternative. Along with the Labour Movements in other parts of the UK we should explore the best constitutional solution to enable fairer redistribution of wealth and greater democratic control of our economies.
The Herald ran a series of articles on the book this week and I have written a summary for the forthcoming edition of Scottish Left Review. The book ,as they say, is available in all good bookshops or through the website.