Chris Bambery: the British elite see working class support for independence and hate and fear it at the same time
Corporate Britain – from John Lewis and Marks and Sparks to the CBI and the big banks – vociferously want a No vote and threatens increased prices, job losses and a plague of locusts if the Scots dare to vote Yes. The unanimity is striking and the threats a reminder of what capital will do if it feels threatened.
Cameron, Clegg and Miliband are passionate in demanding a No vote, as are the three living former prime ministers – Major, Blair and Brown. The reasons for this – as with big business opposition to independence – is because it will weaken the Brittish state and its power. John Major is brutally clear about that. Corporate Britain is tied to the UK state in a hundred and one ways. The military chiefs yearn for a No vote because Yes will decrease UK military power and the loss of Trident would be a humiliation.
After last weekend’s poll showed a slender lead for Yes there was panic in Westminster, the City of London and corporate board rooms. For 24 hours Cameron, Clegg and Miliband “love bombed” Scotland, with the Saltire raised over 10 Downing Street, and then it was back to Project Fear with a vengeance.
Its not just the UK elite who abhor Yes though. Obama and the Americans appeal for a No vote because Yes will weaken their most loyal ally. Once more Cameron is preparing to fall in behind the White House by bombing Iraq (but only after 18 September).
Israel cheers on a No vote because the Westminster government stood by it when it laid waste to Gaza. The Scottish government sided with the Palestinians. Having even one government in Western Europe prepared to denounce their aggression is something Israel does not want. It relies on the unconditional support of the USA, Canada and Europe.
The racism we are witnessing powered towards migrants and Muslims flows from British nationalism, as espoused by UKIP and the British state. Islamopobia is the driving force behind the ongoing war on terror, and anti-immigration laws are rooted in racism. For anyone claiming to be anti-imperialist and an internationalist to share a platform with Tories or the New Labour architects of the Iraq debacle in defending the UK state is unfathomable.
It’s true there’s plenty wrong with Scottish nationalism but there are two ponts we need to bear in mind. Firstly, support for independence is not based on nationalism. To state that is to deny the nature of the debate in Scotland or to fail to understand why Yes is set to win in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee (as the polls suggest). It is becoming increasingly apparent that working class people are voting Yes to escape Tory rule, austerity and permanent war. Secondly, a cursory glance at the history of the Empire shows us that the crimes of Scottish nationalism are nothing compared to those of British nationalism.
The “shock and awe” campaign we are enduring in these final days is a reminder of just how nasty and bullying the British ruling class are.There is a strong element of class war in it. The British elite see working class support for independence and hate and fear it at the same time.
Know your enemy. Vote Yes.
Chris Bambery is an author, political activist and commentator, and a supporter of Rise, the radical left wing coalition in Scotland. His books include A People's History of Scotland and The Second World War: A Marxist Analysis.