SNP-Green deal will not work for workers and youth

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1145/32947

Excerpt from The Socialist newspaper, August 25, 2021

LornaMCampbell/CC (Click to enlarge)

Statement from the Socialist Party of Scotland

The ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Scottish Greens have agreed to form a de facto coalition in Holyrood (the Scottish parliament).

For the first time since the creation of parliament in 1999, the Greens will now be part of the ruling administration with two junior ministerial posts. It is also the first time the Greens have been part of a government in one of the UK’s four parliaments.

Currently with a close majority, this agreement will make it easier for the SNP to pass its annual budgets with the support of the eight green MSPs. It also ensures a majority government in favor of a second referendum on independence.

Although common ground has been found on most of the SNP’s programs for government, the Greens still have the right to oppose parts of government policy.

The program that the two parties have signed contains positive proposals – on rent control and more power for tenants, for example. However, the proposed rent controls would only be introduced at the end of 2025 – a very long waiting period for tenants paying shockingly high rents.

Among a layer of young people, there will be illusions that this SNP-Green government will implement progressive policies. However, a close look at the deal and, more importantly, the record of the governing SNP and Greens point to a government that will continue with its pro-capitalist, anti-worker policies.

The claim that this new government will achieve the “economic transformation” of Scotland, while maintaining the profit-based capitalist system, is hollow in the extreme.

Oil

Rightly, Green MSPs criticized Nicola Sturgeon and her party for failing to oppose oil exploration off Shetland. Yet defending North Sea oil companies has been part of the SNP’s DNA since the days of the “It’s Scotland’s Oil” campaign.

In addition, the SNP has just announced its intention to cut 300 rail services from next year, or 10% of the pre-Covid total. The Scottish Government intends to take over the Scotrail franchise from next year, and it’s a clear case of downsizing now to make the new franchise more ‘financially viable’.

He emphasizes how public ownership under the pro-capitalist SNP will always be run on commercial terms rather than socialist nationalization under workers’ control.

It also renders nonsense of SNP-Green’s government commitment that they will provide “a realistic and affordable alternative by investing in public transport and active travel”.

Moreover, past cooperation between the Greens and the SNP since 2016 over the passage of cuts in Holyrood and in councils like Glasgow should shatter any illusions that this is a progressive, pro-working-class government. Instead, it will be an ongoing coalition of cuts and attacks on the working class.

Scottish Tories are opportunistically weighing in to criticize the Green Scheme for its approach to oil jobs in the North Sea. But while the continued exploration for new deposits of fossil fuels must undoubtedly stop, workers in rigs and related industries must be assured that they will not lose their jobs or a penny of their wages.

This can only be done through a socialist transition away from fossil fuels based on public ownership and worker control of the energy sector, including renewables. It’s a policy the Scottish Greens oppose, instead putting their faith in greenwashing capitalism and calling on world leaders at the upcoming COP26 international climate summit in Glasgow to change course.

The deal is also an attempt to shield the SNP and deal with growing criticism from much of Scotland’s independence movement.

Sturgeon is under real pressure for his snail pace and timid approach to fighting for a new referendum – “indyref2”. Indeed, the SNP-Scottish Greens deal promises that a second referendum would only be legislated within the next five years.

There is no commitment to building a mass working class movement to confront Boris Johnson’s persistent refusal to grant an ‘Article 30 order’ – which gives the Scottish parliament the power to call a referendum.

The leadership of the SNP and the Scottish Greens are deathly afraid to attack the capitalist class and confront them over the right to self-determination. Additionally, both parties support an independent capitalist Scotland joining the European Bosses Union.

new party

The SNP-Scottish Green coalition, except for its name, does not represent a step forward for workers and young people in Scotland. It will fail on rent control and housing, on the climate crisis, on cuts, on the NHS and on social protection. Therefore, the need to build a new workers’ party to fight against austerity and for a socialist recovery for the working class is paramount.

Scottish trade unions should lead the fight for such a party. The Socialist Party of Scotland and the Scottish Trade Union and Socialist Coalition will help launch an anti-cuts election challenge to SNP, Labor and Green councilors in next year’s local elections. The Scottish TUSC is organizing a conference on Saturday 2 October to prepare for these elections.

  • See the full statement at socialistpartyscotland.org.uk

Financial appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in many ways. It is clear to many that it is the working class that makes society work, not the CEOs of big business.

The results of austerity have been clearly demonstrated as public services struggle to cope with the crisis.

  • Socialist Party hardware is more vital than ever, so we can continue to flag workers fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing, and more.
  • We must be prepared for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm labor movements with a socialist program – a program that puts the health and needs of humanity ahead of the profits of the few.

Inevitably, during the crisis, we were unable to sell the socialist and raise funds as we normally would.


We therefore urgently call on all our viewers to donate to our Fight Fund.


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