The SNP is promising a referendum in 2023. What an irrelevant waste of time and energy that would be, but it’s their alibi. As the regional government of Scotland their excuse for not delivering (as capitalism won’t let them) has been that their hands are tied and that their promises can only be able to be honoured after separation. Basically, the SNP is just another reformist party angling for support on a programme of reforms and even styles itself on the Scandinavian social democrats. Should Scottish sovereignty eventually be established the nationalists will discover that they cannot legislate away the problems of capitalism. No country in the world, no matter how independent or rich in resources, has yet succeeded in eliminating poverty, unemployment, insecurity, etc. Separatists and unionists share the complete acceptance of capitalism and hold a blind belief, despite all the evidence, in their ability to tame it. Capitalism's problems are the result of non-social ownership of the means of life in the field of social production: more diversity of government or of ownership cannot alter this fact. Nor can the national identity or location of the legislature have much effect on our standard of living.
Scotland, whether independent or united with England, is divided into classes, as is society elsewhere. It is this division which accounts for the existence of the evils from which the Scottish workers suffer. English rule did not account for the fact that the depopulation of the Scottish Highlands led to the congestion in its industrial slums. The Scottish chieftains themselves turned out their own clansmen in order to make way, first for sheep and later for deer, in order to fill their own pockets. The notorious Duchess of Sutherland, for example, had 15,000 people hunted out in the six years 1814-20, and called in British soldiers to enforce the eviction. The political union merely facilitated the development of capitalist robbery with violence.
Thus the history of Scotland, while differing in detail from that of England, followed the same general course. By their divorce from the soil, a nation of peasant cultivators were converted into wage-slaves, exploited by a class ready to convert the world into one gigantic market. The forces of competition thus let loose may be held in check to some degree by national legislatures, but no final solution for the havoc they create can be found along such lines. The problem is essentially an international one, and must be internationally solved. That, however, calls not for nationalist parties, but for parties in all countries which clearly recognise the common interest of the workers of the world, namely, to achieve their emancipation as a class.
What it all boils down to, is that the SNP just don’t understand the world around them. It is time to reject the notion that there are "Scottish problems” which apply exclusively to Scottish workers and which can be solved by an independent parliament of their own. The Socialist Party echo Robert Burns desire for the day 'That man to man the world o’er shall brothers be for a' that”. This will be a fact when the world's wealth, owned in common, can be utilised for the satisfaction of all mankind.
The Socialist Party does not want nor care about Scottish independence (any more than we care or support a “United Kingdom” or an “independent Britain” during Brexit) so it’s not our business to advise those who really want this how to best go about getting it. But we do want world socialism and do know that the way to further this cause is to advocate it and it alone and not seek support on any ‘minimum’ programme of reforms. That way, support for a socialist political party will be support for socialism and not for something less. When a majority for this has evolved, socialists would have no fear of a referendum on the single question of “Capitalism or Socialism?”
The Socialist Party’s aim is to abolish masters of every nationality and to organise the production of wealth for their common good.