I’m not sure why Robin McAlpine was “startled” by Nicola Sturgeon’s “sudden uncritical evangelising for globalisation and free market capitalism”. It was, after all, precisely what he went looking for. It was what he was determined to find, regardless of what Nicola Sturgeon actually said.
Note that Robin declines to extract a quote from Sturgeon’s speech to the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute. Why is that? Perhaps it’s because the relevant section of her address – under the heading ‘Importance of inclusive growth’ – is rather inconvenient to his thesis. A few lines from that section will suffice to illustrate the point.
“In my view, this focus on inclusive growth, as it is often known, is – first and foremost – a matter of basic morality. Everyone in any society should have a fair chance to fulfil their potential.”
“There is strong evidence that inequality in western economies, has harmed growth. The UK is a good example.”
“There is no point in telling people to fear change, if their current circumstances don’t inspire hope.”
If that doesn’t quite come across to you as “uncritical evangelising for globalisation” then you have a problem. The problem is that you’re thinking for yourself, and not just accepting Robin’s hypercritical demonising of political effectiveness.
Robin is a lovely guy. I would have no hesitation in counting him among the most significant political thinkers in Scotland today. His is an important voice. But Robin has a problem with power.
There is a reason why the left consistently fails to effect the changes that it demands. Basically, they don’t trust anybody with power. They are not prepared to entrust power to anyone. Their instant, instinctive response to any exercise of power is to protest its use and insist that the power is in the wrong hands. For self-styled radicals, power is not something to be deployed in order to achieve a particular goal, it is something to be removed to prevent any possible misuse.
The left is ineffective because it rejects the very concept of political effectiveness.
Those of us who prefer principled pragmatism to righteous dogma look at Nicola Sturgeon’s remarks regarding globalisation and see, not “uncritical evangelising”, but a measured critique of a prevailing system that will only be changed by judicious, intelligent use of the effective political power that is anathema to Robin.
In his eagerness to flaunt his non-SNP credentials by sniping at Nicola Sturgeon, Robin forgets a hugely important fact. Sturgeon is the leader of a party that is unequivocally and unconditionally committed to restoring the power of democratically elected national parliaments. The SNP exists primarily to affirm and defend the sovereignty of Scotland’s people. But this necessarily implies a more general – one might say a global – commitment to the principle of popular sovereignty within nation states.
Nation states, it must be stressed, not as isolated, defensive units jealously guarding their identity and interests by the accumulation of relative wealth and power at the expense of others; but national states as a means of compartmentalising political and economic power in precisely the way that is, by definition, superseded by globalisation.
In its very essence, the SNP represents the antithesis of globalisation defined as “a specific form of capitalism in which trade is not done across borders but over the top of them”.
In the words of Kenny MacAskill, “I’m tired marching!”. I’m tired protesting injustice and inequality. I want the power to do something about it. I’m tired of being told that injustice and inequality must be tolerated a while yet because giving someone the power to do something about it is just too risky.
I’m tired of campaigning to restore Scotland’s rightful constitutional status only to be told that this must be deferred indefinitely because nobody can ever be trusted with the effective political power to achieve it.
I’m tired of the moral cowardice which prefers the easy comfort of honourable failure to the responsibility of success.
Let the righteous radicals sit in a corner warming themselves in the glow of their precious principles against the cold blast of a global corporate mono-culture and the dank chill of a post-democratic British state. I want to do something effective. As I look around me, I see no better political weapon to wield than the SNP. Don’t ask me to throw that away.Views: 3684
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