Nov 04 2019


Many both on the Left and amongst the Irish and Scottish nationalists have welcomed the break between the Tories and the DUP, following Boris Johnson’s perceived cave in before the EU, over the border. They believe that the road to Iris reunification is now open. This article from Socialist Democracy (Ireland) argues from a much more cautionary stance.



– an Irish perspective


Boris addresses DUP conference during his now abandoned ‘No Surrender’ days.


Over the years of the  Brexit campaign the Tory leadership have been careful to avoid any explanation of the goals of the project. One element,  anti-migrant sentiment and racism, was already in progress following Theresa May’s former leadership of the Home office. For the rest, democracy was defined as never questioning the thin majority of the Brexit vote. For May, “Brexit means Brexit”. Johnston’s mantra was “get it done”. Now the proposals put forward by Boris Johnson are finally beginning to clarify the details of the class divisions on which the process is built.

The first clarification is that the struggle is essentially an English civil war with everyone else reduced to the role of spectator. Theresa May puts forward a soft Brexit. Europe agrees. Boris Johnson puts forward a harder Brexit. Europe agrees. The internecine struggle continues in Britain.

Although Boris and his friends continue to dodge the consequences of Brexit, arguing instead that any deal is better than no deal or that we should get things done without considering the consequences, the changes to the agreement spell out their aims. Britain will leave the customs union. Rules about a level playing field will be moved from the legally enforceable text to the meaningless initial policy statement.

These changes reveals the main goal of Brexit for the right wing. Conciliation of racism alongside abolition of workers rights and a sweatshop economy that will “make Britain great again”.

The area of greatest concern to Irish workers is the new proposal around the status of the North. Mainly this is a fudge and so it is designed to sow confusion, but it is possible to work out the details.

The main focus is on the Democratic Unionist Party. Their discomfiture is seen as good news for nationalists and as bringing a United Ireland closer. This view is based on a superficial analysis and a strong concern in Irish nationalism to avoid any scrutiny of their own role. In Westminster the elevation of Boris and deepening divisions leave the DUP as one voting bloc among many. This is a much more realistic portrayal of their status than the deference  shown them by an overly cautious Theresa May.

However the key thing to understand is that the Good Friday Agreement did not put the DUP in charge, despite a raft of concessions to keep their support, the outcome of the Good Friday Agreement was to leave Britain in charge, something made evident by three years of undeclared Direct Rule and a recent Westminster decision to implement changes on abortion and gay rights over the head of the DUP.

The new Brexit drive sees Britain and the North of Ireland leaving the EU while the 26 county state remains inside. Presenting this as a step towards a United Ireland is perverse.

Once we blow away the impressionistic fog the central element of the new deal in relation to Ireland is that the backstop is gone, replaced with a ramshackle fudge directed by the changing needs of the Westminster government.

This change was enabled by Leo Varadkar.  He talked tough and wrapped the green flag around himself.  He had unwavering support from Europe but, as Brexit drew nearer, the role of the Irish capitalist class, described by the poet Yeats as to:” fumble in the greasy till, and add the halfpence to the pence,”  reasserted itself. To avoid economic discomfort Varadkar tossed away the backstop, accepting that the six northern counties would leave the EU with Britain. The DUP complaint is about a border in the Irish Sea. This obscures the fact that there will be border checks in Ireland also – the only promise is that they will not be on the border itself.

The best way to understand the unfolding events is it an episode in an ongoing political disintegration.

The European project is in decay after a decade of austerity and ongoing stagnation. Europe’s chief concern is to make sure that Britain is not rewarded for Brexit and that other states are dissuaded from leaving. This strategy has been successful but at the price of a sharp move to the right by Europe as a whole. Its conciliation to racism and national chauvinism means that the strategy of “ever closer union” is now dead.

The British ruling class responded to austerity  by conciliating the forces of racism and reaction. No one questions the economic damage that this strategy will do. It’s necessary to press ahead with it if the Tories are to maintain the support of growing right-wing forces. They hope that a sweatshop economy will  increase profit rates and secure their rule.

The Irish economy has been summed up by many commentators as essentially a tax haven. Politics is a sink of corruption, with one commentator satirically remarking about a recent protection racket that he did not see why the gangsters should not avail of the same impunity granted to every other sector of Irish society. Government policy is  centred on supporting transnational capital, the European Central Bank, and the vulture funds. The economy overall is heavily skewed towards transnational corporations, with a dual economy of majority transnational and minority local firms. The overall effect is that the outcome of Brexit would lead to a 6% decline in the transnational economy. However the minority native economy would sink by almost half in the event of a hard Brexit. Faced with this possibility the class interests of Dublin capitalism come to the fore and blowhard language about facing up to the British vanished.

Sinn Fein emerge as simply dependent on local capitalism, echoing Fine Gael. They support the deal using the same fevered arguments as the Brexiteers – having a deal is better than no deal.

The emergence of the DUP as an appendage of British imperialism caused more of a stir because they were able to talk themselves up as the power behind the throne in Westminster. Now they are only one right wing bloc among a stew of such Tory groups. The refusal of a unionist veto over the terms of Brexit is a terrible blow to them, but the idea that the unionist veto could extend over all of Europe was totally implausible.

The cry is that this is the beginning of the end for partition. The truth is that the existing petition of concern, that gives unionism a veto over nearly all political issues, would have had to be modified to produce a functioning administration. The Good Friday Agreement has multiple safeguards around “equality of the two traditions” that would protect Unionist interests. In any case a genuine movement in opposition to partition is required as opposed to the current Sinn Fein playacting within the terms set by Britain. The claim to be the leading unionists in Ireland could credibly be made by Irish capitalism, who have made it absolutely clear that nothing as simple as a majority vote, even one confined to the North, would be enough to assure a united Ireland.

The main evidence against the united Ireland hypothesis is it has not arisen in the current debate. The Tory Party has put the DUP firmly in their place, but there is no suggestion of leaving Ireland. As indicated above, Dublin surrender of the backstop increases the political force of partition. Now Sinn Fein whisper about a border poll, but as this is at the whim of the Secretary of State it has no weight.

The overwhelming effect of the Brexit circus is to mobilise the right while confusing and demoralizing the left and the working class. The latest proposals by the British government are starting to dispel that confusion and expose the real aims of Brexit; accommodation to racism and a suppression of working class rights.

That greater clarity should help move the opposition from parliament to the working class and from European austerity versus British austerity to the struggle for a European solidarity based on the needs of the working class.




This was first posted at


also see:-





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Oct 27 2019


Below is the leaflet handed out by the Campaign for a European Republican Socialist Party at the Radical Independence Conference, attended by 500 in Glasgow, on Saturday, October 26th.



Our Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) must not think that IndyRef2 will be a repeat of the 2014 referendum, this time with victory. ‘Brexit’ has changed the dynamic. On one side, the Scottish people voted to remain and will be forced out of the EU against their will. On the other side, English nationalism has become a political force, galvanised through ‘Brexit’, to defend British sovereignty represented by the Crown-In-Parliament.

Once England, Scotland and Wales are outside the single market and customs union a major economic barrier is raised in the minds of voters. A new economic Hadrian’s Wall will frighten or be used to frighten Scottish voters against leaving the British Union. Even if this only affects five or ten percent of voters this  might still make a difference.

Catalonia and Greece have shown that the Scottish people should neither trust nor rely on the EU (i.e. Germany and France with or without the UK). The EU does not support national self determination which would undermine its alliance of states.

With the rise of English nationalism, the Scottish people will have to choose between and ethnic (anti-English) nationalism or civic republicanism. In 2014 the SNP stood on the ‘civic’ side but rejected republicanism or popular sovereignty by calling for Independence under the British Crown (and the Bank of England) with the Queen happily ensconced in Balmoral Castle visited by Alex Salmond.

RIC has to rise to the new situation and be more ‘up front’ and militant in its advocacy of Scotland’s republican democracy. It has to win the nationalist movement and the SNP to popular sovereignty as expressed through republicanism and national self determination. It cannot do this if its hides its democratic republican programme under a bush.

The Tories have signalled their intention to make the next election about the threat to British ‘democracy’ posed by Labour’s support for referenda on leaving the EU and IndyRef2. Labour is a loyal Unionist not a republican party. Although John McDonnell MP said he would accept a decision by the Scottish parliament for IndyRef2 this caused a storm and cannot be relied on.

In 2015 general election the Tories played an English nationalist card about the threat from the SNP which put Ed Miliband on the defensive and clinched Cameron’s victory. Expect the same again. Scotland’s republic cannot rely on the EU or Labour anymore. The experience of the Catalan republic is instructive.

Scotland’s future republic, as represented by RIC, must be built from the ground up in every village, town and city. It must openly advocate building links with republicans in England, Ireland and Wales and importantly the working class movement in England

Campaign for a European Republican Socialist Party


See link to the Emancipation and Liberation blog on Contradictions of Brexit and Scottish independence


The Campaign for a European Republican Socialist Party supports the Catalan Republic in its struggle for democracy and freedom and calls on the working class across Europe to build a party of European unity and democratic revolution.

How to join our campaign?


If you want to get in contact or join our campaign please email us at:


 for more from the Campaign for a European Socialist Republic see:-




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Oct 22 2019


Allan Armstrong sent  this article to Conter, on September 13th, hoping  to open up one of the debates on the Left in relation to Scottish independence, before and during the Radical Independence Campaign conference in Glasgow on October 26th. There has been no acknowledgement of this article by the Conter editor, despite Allan being a member of RISE, Conter‘s main sponsor. This seems to reflect a unwillingness, highlighted at the founding of RISE, to discuss controversial  issues.

However, since then articles have appeared in Conter, or by RISE members writing for CommonSpace, which have been pro-Lexit. Allan’s article was written in an attempt to ensure that a fuller range of Left opinion was addressed on a specifically Socialist site claiming  to promote wider debate. This could then contribute to  the best traditions of RIC, where such controversial issues have been openly debated. A Left that is afraid to debate issues, in a democratic and respectful manner, is doomed to irrelevance.

Fortunately, both Socialist Resistance ( and bella caledonia ( have now posted this article. 




To date articles in Conter addressing Brexit have concentrated more on the neo-liberal opposition, and those on the Left perceived to be tail-ending this section of the British ruling class. There has been no real analysis of the aims of the hard right and national populist advocates of Brexit, whether the Boris Johnson-led Tories, or the Nigel Farage-led UKIP and now his Brexit Party. Brexit  has not been adequately placed in the context of the global rise of right national populism, highlighted by Donald Trump’s ‘Brexit, plus, plus, plus’, US presidential electoral victory in November 2016.[1] These people are still seen by some on the Left as political outsiders, despite now having their hands  on the US state’s anti-democratic presidential powers and the UK state’s anti-democratic crown powers. Nor have the machinations of such ‘left’ Brexit union leaders as UNITE’s Len McCluskey been addressed.[2]


The RIC conference on 26.10.19

The Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) has formed an important arena for discussing such issues.[3] Indeed RIC’s Scottish internationalism is highlighted on its banner – ‘Another Scotland is Possible; Another Europe is Possible; Another World is Possible’. Hopefully, the October 26th RIC conference in Glasgow will extend this opportunity for discussion related to the situation we now face. Understanding the political forces, which the Left is up against, is essential, not only in the UK and wider world, but for us in Scotland, when we consider the future for Scottish independence.

For the political terrain has very much changed since 2014. The assumption underlying the ‘Yes’ campaign was that if Scotland became independent, the new state, along with the the rest of the UK (rUK), would remain part of the EU. This would ensure the continuation of existing economic and social links between Scotland and particularly England. A key consequence of this understanding was that EU membership meant there would be no physical border between England and Scotland. This is why one of the central aims of ‘Project Fear’ was to say that Scottish independence would be incompatible with membership of the EU.

Hard border in Ireland

Today, following the 2016 Brexit vote, and May’s and Johnson’s push for a hard Brexit, it is quite clear that the UK’s separation from the EU could lead to a hard border between the UK and Ireland. The opposition of a section of the hard-right Tories, the DUP and the Brexit Party to this border being in the Irish/Celtic Sea, would lead to the re-erection of customs and police posts between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.  Like Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, Scotland and England have a land border. If the UK was to leave the EU, then any successful attempt to win Scottish independence would necessitate customs and police posts, unless Scotland was to follow the same economic and social path as the rUK.

If the prospect of the re-imposition of a hard border in Ireland has caused consternation, then the prospect of Scottish independence whilst the rUK was outside the EU would lead to considerable concerns in the Scottish/English Borders. Towns like Carlisle and Berwick have significant Scottish economic hinterlands. And, of course, there are considerably wider economic and social links and implications too. Therefore, it is easy to see why the SNP leadership has put the UK’s continued membership of the EU, and hence opposition to Brexit, at the centre of its current politics.

But the SNP leadership’s neo-liberal internationalism comes at a considerable political cost. The EU is not a state – it has no army, police force or local bureaucracy. All of these things are provided by the member states. And this highlights the real nature of the EU.  It is a treaty alliance of existing states.  And as Scotland and Catalunya have recently found to their cost, the high sounding, political principals proclaimed by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, can be ignored by member states. The UK and Spain did so when they conducted their ‘dirty wars’ in Northern Ireland/Ireland and in Euskadi. The UK and several East European member states have pursued vindictive policies against the longstanding Gypsy and Traveller minorities. And, despite the formidable barriers to asylum seekers and other migrants, represented by the Schengen Agreement (but which are still not high enough for the Brexiteers), right populist governments in Eastern Europe and in Italy have pursued particularly vicious policies towards those migrants who have made it in. The ‘hostile environment’ encouraged by successive Eurosceptic UK governments, pledged to EU exemptions, is hardly much better.


There has been Scottish nationalist opposition to the SNP government prioritising an anti-Brexit strategy. Some have termed this as coming from the ‘’sovereigntists’. This is a very ambiguous term, since in a key sense we are all sovereigntists. The British Right uphold the sovereignty of the Crown-in-Westminster. The hard right Tory government is currently trying to stretch this to the limits of the crown powers to impose a very hard or a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. Liberals (in all the mainstream parties) uphold the sovereignty of parliament, i.e. Westminster, particularly the House of Commons. But they are finding, in their opposition to Brexit or a hard Brexit, that this notion of sovereignty does not form the basis of the UK’s unwritten constitution. The queen upheld Johnson’s hard right executive  not the ‘liberal’ House of Commons legislature. Right nationalists uphold the sovereignty of their national state, making this a higher principle than any other form of sovereignty. This can lead to support for one party, personal, or military dictatorships. Radicals support the sovereignty of the people above all these other forms of sovereignty.

The revolutionary left, however,  has upheld the idea of the sovereignty of the commune (dating back to the Paris Commune of 1871), or of soviets (which existed in the infant Russian Soviet Republic up to 1921, before this gave way to one party sovereignty). However, in the absence of any longer lasting communes or soviets, the self-proclaimed revolutionary left has either opted for abstract propagandism (making propaganda for these two types of sovereignty), or decided to support right, liberal, national or radical versions of sovereignty in the meantime, hoping to use these constitutional frameworks to build their forces for the future.

In the confused circumstances prevailing at present, the actual political nature of those who have been labelled Scottish ‘sovereigntists’ is not yet clear. However, they seem to be best characterised as aspiring national sovereigntists. Some support opposition to Brexit, not on any internationalist grounds, but because this highlights a Scottish difference with the English. They often tend to see this situation as lying in deep-seated ethnic/cultural differences rather than in contingent political terms.  This opens up the possibility of ditching the civic Scottish national politics, which has characterised the overwhelming majority of the ‘Yes’ movement, and of mounting an ethnic Scottish nationalist movement. Groups openly advocating such a stance, such as Soil nan Gaidheal, and others flirting with such ideas, such as Scottish Resistance, have remained marginal – so far.

English nationalism

However, the rampant right English nationalism of the campaign which the Tory hard right intend to mount against the EU, and against any national democratic challenges from Scotland, Ireland and Wales, will create the political conditions for a more ethnic Scottish nationalist response. One indication of this has been the letters to the Scottish press suggesting restricting the franchise in any future Scottish independence referendum. In changing political circumstances, such ethnic nationalism could draw in more significant forces, such as Stuart Campbell’s right nationalist Wings over Scotland. And what would be the consequences of a post-trial Alex Salmond adding his support to such forces, backed by Putin’s Russia Today?[4] Such a scenario could set back the Scottish independence movement for some time. For, whatever the Left thinks about Salmond’s links with the Royal Bank of Scotland, and his earlier support for a hyper neo-liberal ‘Celtic Lion’, he was central to the move of the SNP’s move from being an ethnic to a civic nationalist party. This very much benefitted the IndyRef1 campaign. Salmond’s abandonment of this principle would represent a real setback.

The atmosphere on the popularly based ‘All Under One Banner’ marches could also change. To date they have been very open marches. The overwhelming majority of those carrying saltires have welcomed red, Catalan, Basque, Irish, Welsh, English and many other kinds of flags on the marches.  A rising pro-Brexit English nationalism could lead though to ‘All Under One Banner’ being less a campaign under the Scottish democratic banner of independence, and more a campaign under the ethnic Scottish banner of ‘All Under One Saltire’. The SNP leadership’s current dilemma of being unable to obtain a credible UK constitutional opening for Scottish independence, will reinforce the frustrations of many rank and file SNP members, and others in the independence movement.

Furthermore, the SNP, like other neo-liberal supporters of Remain, is  unable to adopt a critical stance towards the EU’s own neo-liberalism, highlighted by the Troika’s draconian imposition of austerity upon Greece. Nor can they challenge the anti-democratic, existing state nature of the EU treaty alliance, highlighted by the jailing of Catalan republicans in Spain. Thus, the SNP leadership leaves the wider political initiative to powerful EU member states like Germany and France, whilst still being unable to do anything about Catalunya, the victim of another unionist and imperialist monarchist state.

Reactionary unionism

Nor do the SNP leadership have the politics to confront a reactionary British unionism, which would mean a fundamental challenge to the UK state. They are still desperately looking for liberal unionists to provide them with a constitutional road to IndyRef2. But the days of majority British ruling class support for liberal unionist constitutional solutions have gone. And Corbyn’s and McDonnell’s suggested opening up of such a path is based on Labour electoral opportunism, not on any principle of democratic self-determination. The British ruling class could easily blow this prospect out the water, assisted by the crown powers and conservative unionist Scottish Labour.

The Brexiters, though, want to leave the EU in order to further reinforce an already very undemocratic UK state. The roots of the current constitutional mayhem go back to the post 2008 crisis of neo-liberal hegemony and the mounting challenges to New Labour’s liberal unionist, Irish Peace Process and the Devolution-all-round settlement of the late 1990s.[5] In the face of so many challenges, the hard right Brexiters  are determined to defend the interests of the British ruling class in today’s turbulent crisis-ridden world.

The Brexiters also want to introduce a gastarbeiter system of migration controls, which would extend the draconian 2014 and 2016 Immigration Acts to EU citizens living and working here. This would end the levels of pay, working conditions, residency rights, social welfare benefits and trade union organisation, which over 2 million EU citizens currently share with the rest of us. And this division would go on to undermine the position of most working class UK subjects too. We are to be locked into a low wage, lousy conditions, offshore British economy, with reduced worker, consumer, environmental and social rights.

The Tory neo-liberals’ ‘hostile environment’ was just a foretaste of a possible right national populist future. The deaths of Jo Cox MP, Arel Jozwik and Dagmara Przybysz were not the desired outcome of the mainstream Brexiters but were nevertheless a direct consequence of the racist politics they pursued. You only have to look to the links between reactionary unionist and hard right, Brexit-supporting, DUP and the hard-core loyalists in Northern Ireland, to see how such a symbiotic state/non-state relationship can develop.

Whilst larger sections of the British ruling class have been won over to increasingly hard Brexit options, the notion of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit still seems to be against their interests. Indeed, liberal opposition is being expressed within the very undemocratic institutions of the UK state which have also been utilised by the Brexiteers. Therefore, beyond the privy council, resistance has been found at Westminster and the House of Lords, and amongst senior judges and civil servants. What on earth gives Johnson and the hard right Brexiters the confidence to think they can succeed against such opposition?

Those who are looking to the City to put a stop to a No Deal Brexit, are likely to be disappointed. Both the more pro-EU and the pro-Brexit financiers have resorted to hedge funds to cover themselves and make a fortune in the event a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. So, the hard-right Tory government has relatively little to fear from this quarter. At least £3B has already been wagered on a ‘No Deal’ Brexit.[6] Sajid Javid’s planned corporate and high earners’ tax reductions will blunt the opposition of some of the less ardent neo-liberal Remainer and soft Brexiter members of the British ruling class.

Politically though, Johnson, Rees-Mogg,  et al are betting on Trump, the most powerful man, in the most powerful state in the world, to help them promote ‘America First/’Britain Second’ global hegemony. If leading sections of the British ruling class feel they no longer have sufficient political clout on the EU top table, then many are still quite prepared to accept a political status for the UK, somewhere lower that of Alaska and Puerto Rico in their dealings with Trump. They see this as a price worth paying to maintain the institutions, privilege and pomp inherited from the British Empire.

Reactionary unionism

There are two politico-economic options for the UK at present – either in out or of the EU. If the Left were to advocate its own Scottish national sovereigntist policy, this would put it on the political terrain of trying to out-nationalist the nationalists. In the absence of an international revolutionary situation, this would seem to mean advocating  a national statist, ‘socialism in one country’ path – looking perhaps to Cuba, Venezuela, Putin’s Russia  and maybe Iran and North Korea for trading partners (Xu Jinping’s rising imperialist China would be as tough a proposition as Trump’s USA!). This does not seem to be a very inviting prospect, except perhaps for those ardent national sovereigntists from an old official (i.e. state-backed) Communist Party background. They have never found red/brown alliances a problem – as with the Stalin-Hitler Pact; Mao’s support for Savimbi’s largely tribalist UNITA in Angola; and post-CPSU Putin’s courting of the Front National and Jobbik.

Therefore, it is not on the political terrain of Brexit (or Scoxit) that the Left should be challenging Scottish national sovereigntists. We need to remain democratic internationalists and challenge internationalist pretensions of the neo-liberal internationalists. The response of the neo-liberal few in the USA, UK and EU to the 2008 Crisis showed they have abandoned any pretence that their wider institutions are for the benefit of the many. They have laid the grounds for the less hypocritical right national populist few – they just don’t give a shit. Trump and  Johnsons’ backers  want to pave the path for a global economy, where the last vestiges of shared international political and economic institutions or agreements are overthrown and replaced by state-by-state deals, the better to enforce untrammelled US corporate power, backed by the increased threat or use of US military might.

However, the millions of EU citizens living and working in the UK, and of UK subjects living and working in the EU, already form the basis for a wider European solidarity and citizenship.[7] This is why they are in the front line of the attacks from the hard and far right. We need to protect this legacy of the EU. This was never the intent of the EU’s ‘internationalism from above’ advocates. This new multiculturalism was developed in everyday life by workers, students and others on a practical ‘internationalism from below’ basis.

And in Scotland, as in Catalunya, there are already  millions who can see through not only their anti-democratic unionist states – the UK and the semi-Francoist Spain – but the major shortcomings of the EU based on existing states. When this political understanding is linked to the economic struggle against austerity, the social struggle for oppressed minority rights (and in the case of women, oppressed majority rights), or the political struggle against imperial wars and military alliances such as NATO, then a democratic and internationalist Left strategy should be to the forefront.

Meanwhile in Scotland and the UK, we cannot leave it to the uncertain outcome of the political firefights between the neo-liberal and right populists within the state’s profoundly undemocratic institutions. One of the greatest working class victories, was when the threat of much wider strike action led to the release of the five imprisoned Pentonville dockers in July 1972. Under the crown powers, an official solicitor was suddenly conjured up, so the British ruling class could save face. But the incoming 1974 Labour government thought that this proved the benign nature of the UK state. They even sanctioned the crown’s ousting of Gough Whitlam’s fraternal Australian Labour government in 1975. More recently, Jeremy Corbyn, whilst not bowing before the queen, saw nothing anti-democratic in attending the privy council in November 2015.[8] Yet this privy council has just sanctioned the proroguing of Westminster.

In the UK state senior military police, judges and civil servants all swear an oath of loyalty not to Westminster, never mind the people, but to the crown.  When we mount our independence campaign, including civil disobedience, we should not be fobbed off with official solicitors, or anybody else brought out of the crown closet.

Our republican ‘internationalism from below’ support for the break-up of the UK state, needs to be part of a wider challenge to their crown powers. This is in the best political interests of our class and for genuine democracy, not only in Scotland, but in Northern Ireland/Ireland, Wales, England, and the rest of the EU, and beyond too.


Allan Armstrong, 12.9.19


References and Footnotes

[1]                For an analysis of such developments see Allan Armstrong, National Populism at



[2]                Ian Allinson, An Open Letter and Petition to Len McCluskey I

Ian Allinson, Grassroots UNITE candidate attacks Coyne’s and McCluskey’s capitulation to Anti-Migrant Politics



[3]                I was involved in the early debates with Lexiters in the Radical Independence Campaign. I debated with Donny Gluckstein of the SWP at the Edinburgh RIC branch in June 2015:-

and with Neil Davidson of RS21 at the national RIC conference held in Edinburgh in February 2016.



[4]                Of course, the Scottish Left has already been here with the Tommy Sheridan fiasco. Although to Salmond’s credit, he resigned from his party whilst his court case is pending.

[5]                For an analysis of the politics and events leading to the UK’s constitutional crisis see Allan Armstrong –It’s the constitution stupid – After the Boris ‘coup’ let’s fUK it! on blog/2019/08/30/


[7]                Allan Armstrong, The Reality of the European Democratic Revolution,


[8]                Allan Armstrong, A Critique of Jeremy Corbyn and British Left Social Democracy,  Part 1, 4Ba, xlii



also see –


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Sep 11 2019


There has been a lot of  talk recently about the inevitability of a united Ireland after a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. This article from Socialist Democracy (Ireland) provides a more cautionary note.


Dream and reality in the United Ireland discourse



What do you learn when Irish nationalist sources start to pontificate about the inevitability of a united Ireland? The first thing you learn is that the forces involved have no new ideas or a new strategy for achieving their aim.  The second is that they urgently want to distract attention from their own sheer incapacity.  The torrent of output about this issue today speaks volumes about the weakness of the various currents. Continue reading “A NATION ONCE AGAIN?”

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Sep 02 2019


On Saturday 31st August demonstrations were held throughout the UK to protest at ‘Boris’s coup’. Mary MacGregor addressed the rally held in Dundee. Allan Armstrong addressed the rally held in Edinburgh.



Speech by Mary MacGregor


Comrades and friends,

We are living through extraordinary times. We live in a time where children go hungry, where the poor go to food banks to get by, where  many live in despair and succumb to addiction, where mental health problems have reached epidemic proportions and where we are ruled over by a privileged, unelected elite. Continue reading “REPUBLICANS ADDRESS THE ‘NO TO THE COUP’ DEMOS IN DUNDEE AND EDINBURGH ON AUGUST 31st”

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Aug 30 2019

It’s the constitution stupid – After the Boris ‘coup’ let’s fUK it!

Allan Armstrong gives his response to the latest constitutional crisis hitting the UK state


It’s the constitution stupid – After the Boris ‘coup’ let’s fUK it!



  1. A constitutional and legal coup under Crown-in-Westminster sovereignty
  2. The UK’s growing constitutional crisis, the retreat of neo-liberalism and liberal unionism and the growth of right populism and reactionary unionism
  3. The continued rise of right national populism and the hard right in the UK
  4. The May 23rd Euro-elections – Farage’s right populist victory paves the way for the hard right take-over of the Tory Party
  5. The asymmetric polarisation of UK politics
  6. From Maybynism to Borisbynism? – Labour’s role in helping to move official politics to the right
  7. Neo-liberal attempts to turn back the right populist challenge over Brexit
  8. The right and centre Remainers take politics to the streets
  9. The Lexiters’ (and Irexiters’) economism and abstract propagandism
  10. The emergence of left Remainers, Another Europe Is Possible, and their turn to the streets
  11. Conclusions


  1. A constitutional and legal coup under Crown-in-Westminster sovereignty

The decision taken by Boris Johnson and his backers  to prorogue Westminster on the 28th August represents the culmination of a prolonged constitutional crisis, which began with the Scottish independence referendum between 2012-14, and has been accelerating in the aftermath of the Brexit vote in 2016. Today we have liberals (in all the mainstream British parties), and even some conservatives, bemoaning  the unconstitutional and illegal nature of the decision taken by the unelected prime minister, Johnson, along with privy councillor, Jacob Rees-Mogg (Tory MP representing the eighteenth century), and the unelected head of state, queen Elizabeth. However, the UK state, based on the sovereignty of the Crown in Westminster, with its armoury of anti-democratic Crown Powers, gives enormous power to the dominant section of the British ruling class. Proroguing parliament is both constitutional and legal. Continue reading “It’s the constitution stupid – After the Boris ‘coup’ let’s fUK it!”

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Jul 22 2019


The election of the national populist  and racist Five Stars and Northern League government has led to a surge in state and far right in attacks on migrants in Italy. The following article by Karel Ludenhoff, an Amsterdam-based labour activist, is about the heartening response from Genoa dockworkers to attempts by desperate migrants trying to reach Italy.





In the last years we saw (and still see) that a growing number of people tried (and tries) to migrate from Africa to Europe. In the northern countries of Africa there are refugee centers, but the conditions in these centers are bad and in Libya they are even more than terrible. Continue reading “ITALIAN DOCK WORKERS SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH MIGRANTS”

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Jul 16 2019




Communist, Republican, Trade Union Militant,

Scottish Internationalist, Glasgow Bear

 9th February 1941 – 2nd June 2019





Brian made a big impression upon whomever he met. Nigel Jeffrey, who encountered him on the picket line during the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike wrote, “Brian Higgins stands out because he was 6′ 6″ plus… He was a big lad as broad as he was tall… There must have been half a dozen police went for this Brian Higgins and snatched him… He was shoving them off left, right and centre.” [1] Continue reading “BRIAN HIGGINS – A PERSONAL AND POLITICAL TRIBUTE”

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Apr 09 2019


The following article, written by Allan Armstrong, is the second last chapter of his new book, From Pre-Brit to Ex-Brit – The Forging and the Break-up of the UK  and Britishnessness.  Anybody who would like a pdf copy of the book send an e-mail to




From the ‘Peoples Vote’ demonstration in London on 23.3.19

The 2016 Euro-referendum highlighted the divisions that had emerged amongst the British ruling class over the UK’s future relationship with the European Union (EU). But it was the 2007/8 Financial Crisis which bought about the preconditions for this split. This crisis showed that the UK economy wasn’t bearing up too well, and British politicians could see that their influence amongst the Council of Ministers on the top table of the EU was shrinking. Continue reading “BREXIT AND THE RISE OF RIGHT NATIONAL POPULISM FOLLOWING THE 2016 EURO-REFERENDUM”

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Apr 06 2019


The Permanent Peoples Tribunal met in London on the 3-4th November 2018. During the session on the Violation with Impunity of the Human Rights of Migrant and Refugee Peoples the following Indictment was submitted.





3-4 November 2018



Specific charges against the UK government (in its own right and as representative of the EU and member states and the global North)

1. Within a work force impoverished and rendered insecure by neoliberal policies, it has ensured that migrant and refugee workers often remain super-exploited, marginalised and deprived of rights by legal and operational measures including:

i.Failure (in common with virtually the whole of the global North) to sign or ratify the UN Migrant Workers’ Convention; Continue reading “INDICTMENT ON VIOLATIONS WITH IMPUNITY OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEE PEOPLES”

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