Tuesday, 15 December 2015

When your enemies agree ....

I am finding it interesting how the left wing groupings are agreeing with the right wing groupings in Scotland just how dangerous the currently dominant SNP are for democracy in Scotland. 

Their reasoning for this position on the SNP is as far apart as their politics but this does not mean the 'angst, sturm und drang ' they both feel is any less gut wrenching and I believe it comes down to the fear their style of politics is dying a death in a Scotland where competence is always more highly rated than hubris.

The left wing argue the SNP dominance is not good for Scotland because they do not have a seat at the table. In this they blame Labour for tarnishing the image of socialism as being 'Fir ra wurkers, pal' and killing it stone dead with Blairism or was it Sheridanism, to the point it is seen by many Scots as a 'Beyond the Fringe' movement residing out there, in the gloom to the far left of the Greens. In Blairspeak the left in Scotland are so far off Scotland's political map, at present, that all the triangulation in the world is unlikely to bring them home. These are the major problems RISE faces; lack of electoral credibility, as a group, and their unreconstructed Marxist politics which few Scots believe in. I will return to the problems of Marxist politics, within Scotland, later in this piece.

As for the right, their fear focuses mainly on their wallets and the impact a successful middle of the road SNP will and is having on their claims 'austerity is the only economic cure'. To understand Westminster's thinking on austerity you need to go back to the emergence of the English Empire in the aftermath of the Dutch Wars of the 17th Century and the Seven Years War with France and Spain at the start of the 18th Century, long before the term 'British Empire' had even been thought of. England managed to out build and out arm the Dutch, French and Spanish as a result of the economic invention of tradeable Government Bonds (debt) which offered fixed returns to purchasers of this debt coupled with the creation of the Bank of England to handle all trading in English Government Bonds (debt). Whereas by the early 1700's France was stony broke and the English pirate raids on Spanish Gold ships from the Caribbean was sending Spain much the same way, the English Government of the day was magicking capital from a potentially bottomless pit and the City of London became Westminster's chief funder. In return, English Governments agreed to a policy of what we would now call, 'light touch regulation', regulation which has resulted and still results in any number of disastrous financial crashes of companies trading in the City of London to this day. A City of London which was kept wealthy by UK Government borrowing for war and conquest over the next 200 years, as the British Empire they funded grew like topsy while many of their trading monopolies laid a stranglehold on the world's economy in the manner that global companies like Shell or BP still do. It was one such 'City' monopoly on tea and Westminster's protection of this monopoly which allegedly drove the British American colonies to rebel against and secede from the UK in the 1770's. A position which grows ever similar in a modern day Scotland which is increasingly having enough of Westminster's high and mighty claims while using Scotland's positive cash flow to the UK Treasury to pay for the current Westminster Government's ever growing debt. The only way the City of London can survive is if Westminster makes all us plebs pay for it. Labour would increase taxation while the Tories cut all aspects of public service provision from the Military to those dependent on welfare - it is one or the other if the City of London and the UK economy are to struggle along. Austerity or tax rises - take your pick.

Where the SNP are a real danger to this capitalist monolith, on which all Cameron and the rest's pretensions for London and Westminster lie, by only going and proving 'austerity' is not the only answer. The different approaches lie between the City of London's capitalism 'raw in tooth and claw, the devil take the hindmost' and John Swinney's more considered and socially responsible capitalism based on a real understanding of Adam Smith's 'A Moral Treatise' and the more famous companion book, 'The Wealth of Nations' neither of which would recognise nor argue for the near fascist approach to capitalism of Thatcherism. We frequently talk of the Scandinavian way of dealing with 'wealth creation' but few understand what we so respect is the Adam Smith form of capitalism in play where a work force is valued and not merely the bottom line on a spread sheet. An experiment first put in hand at New Lanark to great effect. This is the social democratic economic model at the heart of the SNP, the Adam Smith model where capital and people have equal importance, a model constantly bashing heads with the 'devil take the hindmost' capitalism of Westminster. SNP economic policy is based on the Adam Smith concept of capitalism that ethical business will fund the public need for health and welfare because both sides recognise the mutual benefits of doing so. Government's purpose is to facilitate this mutual benefit to both parties.

This is where the Marxism of the left comes up against the hard pragmatism of the ordinary Scots who are happy with wealth creation as long as they see the benefits. Marxism is simply the obverse of the coin which has 'raw in tooth and claw' capitalism on the other side. Marxism is just as aggressive political theory as Thatcherism but instead of a market 'knowing best' capitalist kleptocracy, it is a nomenclatura knows best autocracy. Instead of the City of London dictating political policy as happens at present, the Marxist Party leadership dictate political policy and in both cases society is excluded because it 'does not understand' these deep questions which need answered on its behalf. The end result is inevitably the same as Thatcherism, the poor still get shafted and the middle class pays the price with either their wealth or their lives or both, depending on the interpretation of Marxist philosophy decided on by the leadership.

The real danger to the old fashioned, dogmatic split between the UK's political left and right is if the SNP succeed in transforming Scotland to an Adam Smith form of economy by creating a truly social democratic Scotland, after all; just where does it leave them to exist?

As the political and economic gap between an inherently social democratic Scotland and increasingly right wing, capitalist England grows ever wider, at an ever faster rate, just where does this leave the Union?

How do you compete with SNP policies that appear to meet ordinary people's needs and expectations for the government of Scotland, time and time again?

As the people of Scotland grow more confident in the competence of the SNP Government acting in the best interests of Scotland, where does it leave the left and right in Scotland except to agree how dangerous the SNP are becoming, for their own selfish reasons and hopes for long term survival. 

It would be more honest if the left, right and their pundits simply threw their hands in the air while bemoaning what's to do - the SNP have most of the best policies. They will not, so look out for the next SNP baaad story, it will be along shortly.

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