I have decided to start blogging again, which is now my 3rd blog. I have been meaning to do this for quite some time, and have been encouraged to do so by many, though the last catalyst was actually a family member who told me that I should be doing more political writing. Hope you enjoy reading the first effort. Here goes;
The Scottish National Party has dominated political debate in the last decade culminating in an extraordinary electoral result in 2011. It had been coming and certainly the runes were there for all to see. It has been said that 2012 was a bad year for the Party, and whilst there have been a few bumps as should be expected for a party which has been in power for five years, its polling and electoral performance still outstrips that of 2007.
Still firmly camped in the Social Democratic Centre Left in the European tradition, it has not been challenged adequately in the Scottish Parliament from the left, and with a Labour Party fixated in its Cuts Commission, cheered on by the Tories – who are using it to bash the Labour Party in Wales, it doesn’t look like it will be.
The positioning of the unionist parties into sharing the same vision on welfare, the economy, and the role of the public sector opens I believe many opportunities for the Party and the Yes Campaign for Independence. Rather than different visions of Independence being a hindrance, it exposes the narrowness of the No campaign, and how little can change by being part of the Westminster system.
The Tory led Westminster Government’s efforts on the economy have demonstrated that austerity is a failure, and that rather than growing the economy to cut deficit, cutting public spending is growing the deficit.
The recent proposed changes to redundancy legislation, which cuts the statutory notice to 45 days, will inevitably lead to more unemployment, and a culture of short term employment. A deregulated labour market will encourage large employers to close operations in the UK, in times of difficulty, as it is easier to sack workers here than elsewhere.
It is my hope that in 2013, the party develops some of the following in its thinking and vision of Independence;
(1) Tax and Economic Growth
A progressive taxation system and a starting point a comprehensive review of all taxation, to help make the tax system fairer and more progressive, with less reliance on regressive taxes. Alongside this an economic strategy founded on growing the economy, and developing this narrative as an alternative to austerity.
(2) Extending the Social Contract to Non Devolved Areas
As part of the above of course, and moving into areas like employment law, as a means of securing long term employment and encouraging fairness at work. Some of the strongest economies in the world have better employment rights than the UK.
Developing themes of stronger regulation on energy and fuel prices.
(4) Tackling Poverty
The Westminster’s Government’s Welfare Reforms will be disastrous for the poor and disadvantaged, as well as harming the overall economy, as a recent Glasgow City Council paper alluded to. Tackling poverty and developing policies such as a Citizens Income will contrast positively against the current Westminster thinking.
(5) An International Agenda based on Justice and Peace
The UK Government’s foreign policies in the last decade from entering from entering illegal wars and provide military aid to regimes who have a cavalier attitude to human rights is a disgrace. Independence provides an opportunity for a different approach, and one based on the protecting human rights. In Europe, a positive outlook rather than the Tories whose price for staying in will be an opt out of the social chapter, based on fairness and opportunity will ensure Scotland is welcomed into the EU with open arms.
These are of course only my suggestions, and I will play my small part to help develop similar thinking.
All in all, I firmly believe there is a lot to be optimistic about the SNP and the Independence Campaign, into what many consider to be a defining point in the party’s history.