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Agenda: Independent socialist nation would destroy myth of Scots inadequacy

The independence referendum is about power.

On September 18, 2014, between the hours of 7am and 10pm, absolute sovereign power will lie in the hands of the Scottish people. They have to decide whether to keep it, or give it away to where their minority status makes them permanently powerless and vulnerable.

Without sovereignty, Scotland is inherently weakened. Oil, gas, energy, whisky, land and other vital national interests are externally owned, often by those who do not put Scotland's interests first.

Without the power to intervene in the national interest, a power available through independence, not devolution, we are at the mercy of forces that have no concern for our welfare, our future or us.

Independence alone can remedy this. But independence must not mean more of the same, with the only difference being that the saltire flies alone on public buildings instead of alongside the Union flag.

Independence is a paradigm shift. It means no longer tolerating the intolerable. It means never again voting for a government then finding ourselves with one we rejected. It means using the power of the nation to create a different economic model from the one that has failed us so badly and, from there, going on to build a decent society.

Nor does independence mean a vote for the SNP and Alex Salmond. It means we take control of our future. If we don't want the SNP to be part of that future, independence gives us the power to remove them at the first election in 2016.

Today I am publishing my book In Place Of Fear II. I chose that title because too many Scots are held back from voting for independence by a crippling fear that has been instilled in this nation for generations, exemplified by the constant "too wee, too poor, too subsidised" mantra of Unionists, repeated ad nauseam by Better Together. This has led to a crushing and paralysing lack of self-confidence among Scots.

The detailed socialist programme I am setting out aims to banish that fear and release Scots from it so that our people can use their intelligence to sweep away the destructive, crippling myth of Scottish inadequacy.

That the Scots should fear themselves is inherent in the messages that Better Together is pumping out. But we have no reason to fear ourselves. We are an intelligent people, with inherited egalitarian values, a sense of justice and a land abundant with what matters most: rich sources of energy.

Critical to an assessment of how to build a winning Yes vote is the understanding that it is the Labour voter who will determine the outcome. The core SNP vote plus the Scottish Socialist Party, Greens and the small number of Tories and Liberal Democrats will not be enough. Labour people, 900,000 of them, will tip the balance, and my hope is that my book will give them reasons to vote Yes.

My book is not calculated to bring hope; we have had enough of a word whose repetition has not been matched by progressive policies. Pay-day-loan investment and food banks illustrate the growing spread of poverty. A socialist programme for an independent Scotland aims to bring certainty of change for the better, for workers and their families and those in their communities who are vulnerable.

The book's message is that, in place of fear, we can create a nation that is proud, self-confident, prosperous, with no sense of inferiority, no more minority status, no more lectures on what we cannot do, no more accusations of being a begging-bowl nation and no more looking to others to solve our problems; and, for socialists, no more retreating.

No matter on which issue, which policy, the implication in all the Better Together propaganda is designed to reinforce what Unionists want us to swallow about ourselves: useless Scots, a nation that would be good at nothing if it takes its hand away from big cousin England.

That's why their campaign is called Project Fear. My book is the antidote.

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