SNP’s secret socialist scandal!

[Friday]

I have only just stumbled upon this article, which appeared in The Scotsman in June:

The sharing out of wealth, workers’ co-ops and a uniform wage for all – a controversial Nationalist vision for Scotland

PETER MACMAHON
SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT EDITOR (pmacmahon@scotsman.com)

WITH proposals to create workers’ co-operatives, introduce a “citizen’s income” and take the “profit motive” out of all public services, the political manifesto is a world away from the modern, pro-business image the SNP is trying to portray.

Yet this is the radical left-wing policy programme that one of the Nationalists’ own MSPs has set out for Scotland’s future.

In an intervention which will anger party leaders, Bill Wilson also dismissed the idea of using Holyrood to advance the cause of independence.

Mr Wilson, who challenged John Swinney for the party leadership in 2003 and is seen to be on the “fundamentalist” wing of the SNP, set out his vision in a recently published collection of essays entitled Is there a Scottish Road to Socialism? – an echo of the British Communist Party’s post-war manifesto The British Road to Socialism.

Although there is no formal fundamentalist caucus within the SNP group at Holyrood, Mr Wilson is known to have support from Bob Doris – his agent when he stood against Mr Swinney – and several other MSPs.

In his essay, Mr Wilson, a regional MSP for the West of Scotland, proposed a wide range of policies which he says should be achievable in an independent Scotland.

He argues: “A socialist society would institute a system of public services and transport free from the profit motive and run them solely for the purpose of serving the public.

“We require more hospital cleaners, cheaper and better connected public transport, prisons aimed at cutting recidivism, not even larger profits in the hands of the few.”

The MSP calls for trades unions to be “free of regressive legislation”, arguing that a failing of trades unions is their “excessive closeness to a neo-conservative government”.

Mr Wilson calls for the introduction of a “citizen’s income” – a policy of the Green party which the SNP used to support but has dropped – which he says would “contribute significantly to wealth redistribution”.

The citizen’s income is a monetary award paid by the state to every man, woman and child, paid for through a tax on all other incomes and reducing tax allowance and other benefits.

He says that, in an independent Scotland, co-operatively run industries should be encouraged as they are in the Basque country. And he calls for a press managed by workers co-operatives, “a democratically controlled media” with a “central agency” to accept advertising contracts and distribute them to newspapers on the basis of circulation.

Mr Wilson is also scathing about the strategy of pursuing independence through Holyrood, a cornerstone of SNP strategy under Alex Salmond. He writes: “Both New Labour and the SNP are far too concerned with regulation and control for one to expect any major breakthrough there [the parliament].

“Where the Scottish Parliament offers promise is it shows that the people of Scotland can be united in the national cause.”

Mr Wilson, whose challenge precipitated Mr Swinney’s eventual decision to stand down as leader, said yesterday that he had written the essay two years ago but had not changed his mind on the central themes.

Asked if his views were compatible with the pro-business views of Mr Swinney, the finance secretary, and Jim Mather, the enterprise minister, he said: “I am not suggesting the mass confiscation of business by the state. There is a wide range of opinion within the SNP and I am sure there are colleagues who share some, if not all, of my views.”

Des McNulty, a Labour frontbench MSP, said: “This shows there are some in the SNP who differ strongly with the business-friendly face John Swinney and Jim Mather are trying to present. Bill Wilson is part of that group of fundamentalists who regard the parliament as a staging post on the march towards a vision of nationalist socialism which very few voters share.”

An SNP spokesman said: “As a backbench MSP, Bill Wilson is free to suggest ideas.”

FUNDAMENTALIST WHO ROSE TO PROMINENCE IN BITTER LEADERSHIP BATTLE

BILL Wilson rose to prominence within the SNP in 2003 when he challenged John Swinney for the party’s leadership.

Up until then Mr Wilson was a little-known activist, but his decision to stand against the then-leader and his denunciation of the “New Labour” tendencies of spin and control-freakery in the SNP gave him a national profile.

After a bitter election campaign, Mr Wilson secured just 111 votes to Mr Swinney’s 577 at the SNP conference in 2003. However, the election left Mr Swinney weakened and he stepped down in June 2004 after the SNP failed to make progress in the European Parliament elections.

Mr Wilson, 43, who has a degree in zoology from Glasgow University and came to the parliament last month, is seen to be on the SNP’s “fundamentalist” wing.

Although he says he accepts the SNP manifesto, which included the pledge of an independence referendum Mr Wilson, like other fundamentalists has always been hostile to the idea. In the past, he has supported using any future SNP majority of Scottish seats at Westminster or Holyrood to move straight to independence.[Emphasis added.]

Why would this pointless piece of reportage interest me, or you for that matter?

Well, I have noticed the increased linkage of leftism and nationalism (in alarmist tones) in both Scotland and Wales. Remember the Plaibour Party?

What, dear reader, do you make of it all?

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