Previous blogs (besides, perhaps nostalgically?, renaming Gordon Brown as George Brown - another entirely different but equally dismal Labour figure) have pointed out that a major and unique popular movement has been built in the struggle for independence in Scotland and that It is inevitable that this movement will continue in some form beyond the vote on the 18th. It will characterise politics in Scotland for some time to come.
Voting will be close. Huge numbers of Scots will vote and that fact is of tremendous significance for what happens next.
Should Scotland vote yes, then a mass movement will be needed more than ever to help remove the obstacles to real independence, to real equality and to real security. The negotiations with Westminster will be like peace talks in the middle of a battle. Moving Trident will take enormous resources that Westminster will insist that Scotland pays. Struggles will need to take place against punitive price hikes, big business blackmail and EU and US recalcitrance. The terrible (and deliberate) mistake of the Obama machine, to demobilise the huge groundswell of support and community action immediately following his electoral victory, predetermined the paralysis of his regime and his inability to remove the Congressional obstacles to all and any reform. If the vote is yes in Scotland, the movement, with its first task of rising to the leadership of the whole nation, is utterly indispensable for progress towards true justice to continue and be consolidated.
Should the majority vote no, then the movement for change, equality and self determination, the yes campaign, has to force 'devo max' as far as it will go and be ready, at the first signs that Scotland is being bent yet again in an undemocratic direction by a Westminster government, to raise the banner of independence immediately. It is complete hogwash that the September 18 vote has to be a final decision that, for the next 300 years, guarantees union. While it is true that independence needs decades to finally show its merit, being as it is, the beginning of the process (as all pro independence leaders now loudly claim) on the other hand the Scots have already seen 300 years of union within the UK. A vote for independence is the start of a new period that will need time to flower. Staying in the union is just a continuation of current and historical experience, of Westminster politics and City of London economics, an experience that goes deep and is very well known throughout Scotland.
Yet, what's this? The Westminster parties are all promising real change in the direction of Scotland's needs in the event of a no vote. It is their main prize offered to Scotland's no voters. There will be change, they say! And because of previous disappointments with such promises made in the past (Thatcher said her regime would be better for Scotland than devolution in 1979, when a majority voted yes, which was a lie worthy of Goebbels) this time change will come in months! That at least is Gordon Brown's claim. Well, so be it. That is certainly something that can be judged, even dismissing Brown's fantasies, in a matter of years and does not require decades, let alone centuries. The assessment of whether Westminster has delivered the change they have promised needs to be made by the people of Scotland. And such accountability requires the maintenance of a movement of the people testing whether they are advancing towards equality, good living standards and security. It will become very clear, very quickly. And if it turns into another piece of baloney as some might suspect, then Scotland will need a new referendum as quickly as possible.