I wrote a Twitter thread containing a few thoughts on the Growth Commission’s report, having only read a few random paragraphs and a few comments on social media at the time. It got a decent number of retweets and comments, so I decided to preserve it for posterity here:
The Growth Commission’s report seems to be realistic – it’s the kind of policies that an independent Scotland would actually pursue, not utopian policies, or policies that break with the current consensus in the EU.
As such, it’s very reassuring that they conclude that an independent Scotland could do a lot better than we currently do. It’ll be hard for our opponents to dismiss.
However, I’m sensing that a lot of left-wingers are very upset. This makes sense: If your hope was that an independent Scotland would pursue very different (i.e., much more socialist) policies compared to other Western countries, you won’t like it.
However, surely they must realise that if the utopian, hopeful Yes had won in 2014, it’s very likely centrist politicians would have taken over soon afterwards and implemented something like this report.
At the end of the day, independence doesn’t create a specific type of society. It simply gives Scotland the toolbox to implement the policies that best align with the desires of the population, without having to convince England first.
If you want to see a socialist Scotland, you need to get independence first, and then you need to win several elections in a row. We don’t know who will be in power in Scotland after independence, so we don’t know what kind of policies that will be pursued.
As I said above, I haven’t read the report yet. I expect I’ll like some bits and hate other parts. I hope it convinces many No voters that Scotland will do better as an independent country simply by pursuing the same policies as other wee countries.
I also hope it’s not dampening too much of the utopian optimism of 2014. We need both optimism and realism to win independence.