Tag Archives: neo-liberal

1984 – 30 YEARS ON


2013+15steadman orwell22(1)

cartoon Ralph Steadman

Top Westminster politicians, top banking executives and the mainstream media have all told us that a currency union between an independent Scotland and the Rest of the United Kingdom is impossible (the list is so long and the posts so easy to find that I’m not bothering with one reference here). It seems they have not read a calm, well-argued paper from Deutsche Bank experts Oliver Harvey and George Saravelos (http://www.voxeu.org/article/well-designed-sterling-union-will-be-needed-if-scotland-votes-independence) that was published in May 2014. The conclusion is:

A practical analysis of an independent Scotland’s currency options shows that a unilateral breakup, by either side, would be close to impossible because of the costs to financial stability. Even a mutual exit would be extremely complicated and risky, and would require policymakers to be planning already. A currency area would thus be the only viable option in the short term. However, as the Eurozone demonstrates, if badly designed this can be an exceptionally costly outcome.

There you have it. A currency area while calm heads work out the best options for both sides in the long term. For example it has been suggested that Scotland might use the Norwegian crown, which could be a good option if Scotland develops into a country rich in renewable as well as fossil energy (https://theconversation.com/the-best-currency-for-an-independent-scotland-would-be-norways-krone-25036 and this blog).

So the top brass have been talking against the best interests of the rUK, which they must have know, but that was less important than shoring up the neo-liberal alliance of Westminster to keep jobs for the boys (neo-liberal in the sense of Hayek and Friedman). Senior staff of the Deutsche Bank seem to have missed this too (http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2014/09/neo-cons-of-the-world-unite-you-have-nothing-to-lose-except-your-slaves-mansions-and-huge-pots-of-money).

Recent comments and even some mainstream media articles have swung in the last week from details to principles. This campaign is not only about an independent Scotland but also about the principle of “One man (or woman), one Vote” against the rampant misuse of wealth and power by a system that delivers benefits to themselves instead of to the populace .

George Orwell would have applauded (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/26/the-establishment-uncovered-how-power-works-in-britain-elites-stranglehold).



Dave Simonds cartoon on London's economic dominance

cartoon by Dave Simmonds

The mainstream press in Scotland can still come up with a truth or two. For example;

The Prime Minister talks about the ties that bind the Union, in other words, but heads a government and a parliament that barely seems to register Scotland’s existence, except at those rare moments when we threaten the Union with imminent extinction; and to say that this is no way to run a mature and functioning democracy is to understate the case.

The truth is that over the last generation, Westminster has become increasingly unrepresentative of anyone except a narrow caste of career politicians; has become steadily more dependent on funding by wealthy individuals and corporations; has – as a consequence – largely ceased to offer a real political choice between neo-liberal orthodoxy and other approaches to creating a good society; and has been found guilty of spectacular levels of greed and corruption in relation to its own expenses system.

… there are questions to be asked about how far we should allow our decisions on Scotland’s future to be shaped by the representatives of what is essentially a failed financial system, now propped up only by taxpayer subsidy taken out of our own pockets.

And not only are those structures still in place six years on, but they are still seeking to impose their failed ideology on ever-larger swathes of the planet. The next scheme, courtesy of global corporate lobbying, is the so-called TTIP, or Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, an imminent EU/US deal which will effectively forbid governments from running public services, and force them – regardless of the views of voters – to open up all services, including the NHS, for commercial exploitation.

And this is the paradox at the heart of the referendum debate, as we reach its final hours. On one hand, we are told of what are clearly real economic risks associated with independence. Yet, on the other, we cannot help but be aware that those risks are often being imposed, and even engineered, by corporations and structures whose power needs to be challenged – thoroughly, bravely and soon – if democracy is to have any chance of surviving and thriving in the 21st century.

To vote Yes next Thursday, in the spirit of the remarkable grassroots campaign for re-empowerment that has swept Scotland over the last year, is to throw down that challenge and to accept the consequences, whatever they may be.


Genuine democracy at work is something rarely seen today, when political campaigns tend to be run by lobbyists in the pockets of the ultra-rich. An opinion poll predicts that next Thursday more than 80% of the electorate will cast their votes. Since when did a general election in any Western “democracy” come near to such a figure? This energy has been generated by the Yes Scotland campaign, not by the Westminster politicians currently rushing to Scotland in desperation – behaviour reminicent of lemmings rather than people.

By the standards of any fair society, Yes deserves to win.