One of the more interesting developments of the past few weeks in the indy ref debate has been the emergence of ‘Wealthy Nation’. This is the group of so called right wing ‘libertarians’ and ‘conservatives’ for independence who recently announced their arrival with the most minimum of fanfares. Their arrival is important as it is a timely reminder that the cause of independence is an ‘all Scotland’ affair with independence offering opportunities to all sides of the political spectrum.
There are those who somehow believe that independence will mean no more ‘conservatives’ in Scotland but that would be to deny the evidence of practically every developed democracy in the world. With independence there will of course be centre right parties and they will play a productive part in our new democracy. Scandinavia is often held up as a very good example of what an independent Scotland will look like but Sweden and Norway currently have centre right led Governments, and in the mythical world of Denmark’s Borgen, even Birgitte, has to cut a deal with a right wing Staatsminister!
What there won’t be following independence is any more ‘Westminster Conservatives’ of the current variety we find in our Scottish democracy. It is this Westminster attachment that has held back the development of a distinctive Scottish right in our devolution age. With independence that Westminster curse will be lifted and a Scottish right wing party pursuing an exclusively centre right Scottish agenda will emerge to probable significant support in Scotland. I represent what was amongst the safest Westminster Conservative constituencies in Scotland. I have profited from the drift away from the current ‘Conservative’ party and disillusionment in what the Tories have to offer. I don’t believe that all those people in Perthshire have necessarily stopped being ‘right wing’ but they have certainly stopped being supporters of a ‘Conservative’ party that offers them nothing but an almost alien Westminster agenda that does not chime with their experience or aspirations. Independence will liberate the right and unshackle it from this Westminster dead hand – a dead hand that the Scottish people have quite rightly consigned to the electoral fringes.
Other than the White Paper the only visions we have been been offered of a future independent Scotland has come from the left. The Common Weal project and Radical Independence propose a compelling vision of a new Scotland very much modelled on Scandinavia and based on classic re-distributive social democracy. They have worked hard to deliver this particular vision, and attractive as they may be, they are but examples of what a possible independent Scotland could look like. It is also ironic that they look to Scandinavia for inspiration just as those nations are looking to the centre right for solutions to some of their current difficulties.
So perhaps the nation of Adam Smith that played such a significant role in the formation of classic libertarian economic theory will now work up that right wing vision of what a future independent Scotland would look like? So far we find that opinion polls show that those on lower incomes are the most likely to support independence and this is possibly as a result of the influence of the ‘Common Weal’ and the work that has been done on a left wing modelling of a potential independent Scotland. What ‘Wealthy Nation’ will hopefully offer is that right wing, Conservative vision, of independence, that will attract and inspire those who favour their politics more right of centre.
An independent Scotland is ours to create and design and in our first independent election there will be the full range of the political spectrum competing for our support. This is the ‘all Scotland’ programme and what independence is all about. A place to present new, Scottish solutions, for our future offering the fullest range of possibilities for the Scottish people.