Scottish independence: 1,000 flock to radical talks

A RADICAL left-wing vision of an independent Scotland was outlined yesterday at a conference of activists in Glasgow.
'It will be the people of Scotland who decide the path we take.' Picture: TSPL'It will be the people of Scotland who decide the path we take.' Picture: TSPL
'It will be the people of Scotland who decide the path we take.' Picture: TSPL

More than 1,000 delegates listened to plans to set up a Green New Deal to harness the potential of Scotland’s renewables, an overhaul of the finance and banking industry and the decentralisation of power into communities.

The activists from across Scotland turned out for the Radical Independence Conference (RIC) in Glasgow to hear speakers outline their vision for the country’s future.

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The conference, held on the eve of the publication of the Scottish Government’s White Paper on Scottish independence, was addressed by Yes Scotland chairman Dennis ­Canavan, as well as Patrick Harvie, leader of the Scottish Greens and Colin Fox, head of the Scottish Socialist Party.

Scottish actor David Hayman also read out a Radical Independence Declaration stating: “in the gap between what is possible and what is possible at Westminster lies all human hope”.

It comes ahead of the Scottish government publishing its 670-page White Paper setting out its plans for an independent Scotland on Tuesday.

Addressing the conference, Canavan argued that radical voices had a part to play in the road towards the referendum. He said: “Once independence becomes a reality it will be the people of Scotland who decide the path we take and I have enough faith in the people of Scotland that they will choose a path which will lead to a better Scotland. Today’s conference and Tuesday’s publication of the White Paper are important milestones on the route which will turn that vision into a reality.”

The RIC was created last year as a platform for left-wing politics and Scottish independence. Its first conference attracted more than 800 delegates. Other speakers at its second conference yesterday included the SNP MSP Christina McKelvie, and human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar who used his speech to call for the abolition of the monarchy.

Harvie said: “This conference brings together many of the most passionate campaigners for social progress in ­Scotland.

“They will be crucial in the referendum because they bring the transformational ideas our society so urgently needs, which can give the idea of independence real purpose for voters yet to be convinced.

“There are a huge amount of ideas bubbling away. This is the generation that can ask: ‘what kind of Scotland do we want it to be?’ It goes beyond yes and no, it becomes about transforming our political landscape.”

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He said questions around currency, Nato membership, head of state and others could be debated post-independence.

“Everybody accepts that the SNP are the Scottish government between 2014 and 2016 and it is their job to manage the transition. What we have to accept is the White Paper is the starting point, but that there are a lot of decisions where there is no mandate.”

RIC co-founder and conference organiser Jonathon Shafi said: “It has been a brilliant day. We’ve had over 1,000 people attending from all over Scotland, workshops on the new economy and the new democracy which we’re putting forward for an independent Scotland.”