Home » News/Views » SNP record condemned as strikes grow

SNP record condemned as strikes grow

The large strike and cost of living crisis rally on 1 October in Glasgow city centre included RMT, Unison, EIS, CWU, GMB and supporters. Photo Workers.

Despite all the other current problems, Scottish nationalists continue to pursue their aim of disuniting Britain. Yet in Scotland workers are more worried about the economy and the standard of living – worries shared across Britain…

A recent opinion poll suggests that only 7 per cent of Scottish voters think that holding another referendum on separating Scotland from Britain is among the most important issues on their minds. The poll, conducted by Survation and published on 6 October, revealed, unsurprisingly, that the cost of living crisis was at the top of the list of priorities, followed by the problems of the NHS and rising energy bills.

This came out two days ahead of the SNP annual conference in Aberdeen. In her speech, the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon doubled down on their policies with a renewed attempt to break up Britain and rejoin the European Union. There was no recognition of her administration’s appalling record – just empty promises of a bright future and sniping at the woeful UK government.


But organised workers are increasingly taking aim at the SNP and Scottish Greens coalition in Holyrood and in city councils. The public mood is turning against the focus on a separation referendum. Significantly, over 70 per cent of respondents in the poll indicated their preference for a closer working relationship between Scotland and the UK government.

One reason that so few people in Scotland currently consider independence to be a priority is the dim view they take of the feeble attempts of the devolved government to tackle the cost of living crisis.

About a quarter of respondents said this administration was doing everything possible to address the matter. The great majority thought it had performed poorly in handling a wide range of issues: the economy, the NHS and social care, transport, ferries and local council funding.

The results of the poll suggested that barely a third of voters supported the bid to hold a second referendum on leaving the UK next year. And when asked how they would vote in such a referendum with the question “Should Scotland remain a part of the United Kingdom or leave the United Kingdom?”, 59 per cent said “remain” with only 41 per cent saying “leave”.

Fantasy economics

Pamela Nash of Scotland in Union pointed out that instead of accepting the decisive referendum result on 2014, the SNP First Minister had, in her conference speech, spent most of the time “agitating again for the break-up of the United Kingdom, dragging us back into a toxic and divisive debate. If this conference has taught us anything, it is that, from the very top, the nationalists’ campaign for separation is as aggressive and incoherent as ever.”

Nash pilloried the “SNP’s fantasy economics on pensions” and their view that a hypothetical separate Scotland could claim compensation and payments from the “UK pension pot”.

In contrast to the fantasies of the SNP and Scottish Greens, what is urgently needed is a united call from workers across Britain for a national plan to avoid economic meltdown.

Since 2008, Britain’s finances would have collapsed if our British pension funds had not provided the government with credit by buying gilts (government bonds). At one point, until the Bank of England intervention, it looked like Britain’s capital markets were about to implode along with the occupational pensions that so many workers rely on.

The lure of the EU

With the re-emergence in the UK government of long term EU supporters like Jeremy Hunt, appointed as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the wake of the September mini Budget chaos, the SNP and Scottish Greens may take comfort from having such friends.

They seem to relish the vision of the EU, an organisation which has the capitalist class’s beloved “four freedoms” enshrined in its treaties and has a constitution committing all members to a “highly competitive market economy”, as well as a disregard for the sovereignty of member nations.

With such an allegiance to capitalism and its inevitable course of intensifying exploitation, it is not surprising that workers in Scotland, especially those now embarking on campaigns to protect wages and conditions, have included the SNP and Scottish Greens in their focus.


As it turns out, the SNP and Scottish Greens’ dream of rejoining the EU is yet another fantasy. Scotland has a deficit more than double the 3 per cent limit required for membership. Its deficit of 7 per cent is over six times higher than that of Britain as a whole.

Meanwhile, Scottish public services are protected to an extent through the pooling and sharing of resources across the UK. To achieve membership of the EU, Scotland would need to dramatically reduce its deficit, requiring deep spending cuts and steep tax rises – a cost of living crisis on top of a cost of living crisis.

‘However Sturgeon tries to spin the figures, the result is always the same – Scotland needs Britain…’

However Sturgeon tries to spin the figures from Government Expenditure and Revenues Scotland (GERS), the result is always the same – Scotland needs Britain. These statistics were developed to support the independence case, but fail to do so. It does not wash with people to say that the figures are not accurate or that they are better than last year or that they don’t show the true picture for Scotland after partition.

Sturgeon’s bullish proclamation that the second referendum attempting to remove Scotland from Britain would take place on 19 October 2023 is now stuck in the mud. Her own most senior law officer, Scottish Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC, refused to sign off on the draft referendum bill in fear that it may have exceeded Holyrood’s powers.


In response, Holyrood asked for the question to be referred to the national Supreme Court. Could Scotland hold a legally watertight referendum without British government consent? The British government’s chief legal adviser on issues of national importance described the bid to hold a second independence referendum as “not an opinion poll, but an attempt to break up the Union.”

The Court has deferred its decision for months. And it may even decide that the question is incompetent. Thus the timetable for the proposed unapproved referendum has been thrown into confusion. This should give the people of Britain extra time and opportunity to reinforce arguments against the break up of Britain.

The building of British unity, integration and solidarity is essential for survival in the current crisis, as is the assertion of our national interest. There is a strong democratic mandate for such a course. The people of Scotland exercised their right to determine their own destiny in the 2014 referendum. The outcome should not be described as “once in a generation” – a recipe for continual re-runs.

And the majority who voted at the 2019 general election did so for parties which want Britain to stay united. And a far greater proportion of the population voted in that election than voted in the 2021 Holyrood election.

No matter what the political makeup of the British parliament, it has the duty and responsibility to hold the UK together. Workers in national trade unions must see their own unity reflected in governance at the national level and demand that the government of the day exercise its functions.