Scottish electors have exercised their right of self-determination. In doing so, they have decided to remain part of Britain and have reaffirmed an understanding that unity at this level is critical to the fight for social and economic justice and against the Tory attacks that affect all the peoples of Britain.
However, there was very strong backing for a Yes vote in the areas of the greatest poverty and unemployment. In Glasgow, Dundee, North Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire, areas of traditional Labour support, Yes was in the majority.
This result is therefore a measure of the level of disenchantment among those hardest hit by austerity and attacks on the welfare state. It indicates that a significant minority are losing confidence in the ability of the Labour and Trade Union Movement to act against the power of big business and the super rich.
This is a challenge for all on the Left. It demands a new clarity in our movement about the institutions that sustain this class power of big business at both British and EU level. These are exactly the same structures that would have nullified any progress towards real economic and social self-determination under the mandate offered by the SNP: EU and NATO membership and the neo-liberal grip of a currency geared to the needs of finance capital.
The trade union and labour movement now has to demonstrate its will to develop mass campaigning on these basic issues on the ground. The People’s Assembly must become a mass movement – as must the demand for an end to Trident. This will be the only way to defeat the Tories and their allies in the 2015 election and to minimise the vote for right-wing and extreme right-wing parties. It will also be the only way to heal the divisions of the referendum and win renewed unity
This means that in Scotland the new pledges on greater powers for a Scottish parliament must be honoured – particularly the pledge to a federal system that maintains some form of tax redistribution across Britain based on social need. But this federalism must be socially progressive and be combined with an overall commitment to a redistribution of wealth and power in favour of working people across the whole of Britain.