IN the campaign to take down Jeremy Corbyn the coup-de-grace will have sparked an extra frisson of pleasure among the elites who issued the contract. The former left-wing leader of the UK Labour Party had come too close to bringing about authentic societal change for the comfort of those who will always benefit from keeping things as they are.

Once the aristocrats who own England’s press had scented an opportunity around anti-Semitism they cheerfully disregarded their own historic wading in this sewer and looked for an appropriate patsy. Up stepped the multi-millionaire Sir Keir Starmer, a figure cast in the mould of Tony Blair: an Oxbridge sleeper committed to ensuring that any rate of change would always proceed at a glacial pace and thus be easier always to contain.

Thus a good man who has been an outstanding opponent of fascism and racism and often a voice in the wilderness crying out against anti-Semitism and Islamophobia is now silenced by a Labour Party which once championed these causes. His suspension will have caused nothing but glee among the true agents of racial hatred.

Meanwhile, in the US, the triumph of Joe Biden has similarly mesmerised liberals who have been scattering palms before him since his election as President. Mr Biden’s first executive act was to appoint Ron Klain as his new chief of staff. Mr Klain was previously on the board of TechNet, the trade group that lobbies for the multi-billion-pound corporations of Silicon Valley in Washington. Meet the new boss …

In Scotland, the faux-progressiveness of the SNP has been aided by a Labour Party which bullied and intimidated its own MSPs for daring to vote for Mr Corbyn in his second leadership contest. Scottish Labour’s radicalism is now reduced to a sort of genteel pique, as characterised by Ian Murray, MP for Edinburgh South. “Stop that right now or we’ll take umbrage at you.”

This rush to occupy the centre ground which often characterises left-wing politics in the UK is the stuff of dreams for Tories and the hard right. This is exactly where they love the left to be. Not that you’d catch them going anywhere near the centre themselves, you understand. While the conceit of those who style themselves as left/liberals extends to little more than consensus and preaching the false virtues of niceness and pleasantness, the right treats these with scorn. Nothing must stop the forward march of the market.

Yet left-wing ideas in the UK and Scotland have never been more needed than now. This pandemic year has exposed much uglier pathogens running beneath society. It’s perhaps witnessed in all its hideousness by the UK governmental corruption that saw around £1billion of phantom PPE contracts squandered on firms who pocketed the cash and failed to deliver. Across the UK decades of systemic inequality led inevitably to deaths in our poorest communities running at three times the national average.

The trick in concealing this is to demonise anything that threatens the smooth progress of profit as "extreme" or "unpatriotic". The war on class is deemed to be an out-dated concept, belonging to the 1970s and confined to the rhetoric of people who sell the Socialist Worker. It’s said that the greatest triumph of Satan is to convince people he doesn’t exist. The greatest triumph of the right has been to convince people that class warfare doesn’t exist.

As yet another poll indicates a clear majority of Scots for independence the SNP is busy. Why, there’s yet another superannuated press officer to hire at Westminster to be Nicola Sturgeon’s eyes and ears about her obstreperous Westminster group. And let’s get the usual leadership glove-puppets to demonise those in the wider Yes movement, who insist on floating ideas about what an independent Scotland might look like. You know, ideas on land reform, tenants’ rights and public ownership: the issues that any sincere left-wing group ought to be discussing.

The SNP are showing signs of the hubris that destroyed Labour in Scotland but have added a grisly dimension of authoritarianism to chivvy out dissenters. The party knows that to keep on board many who would otherwise have abandoned it they must merely maintain the illusion of commitment to independence.

The usual leadership loyalists congratulate each other on how progressive and enlightened they all are with the boutique radicalism of gender reform and imposing virtual round-the-clock surveillance on the family lives of working-class communities. Meanwhile, the forces of the hard-right and the corporations which support them are already making plans to ensure that it’s their vision that prevails and their writ that runs in an independent Scotland.

While the Scottish Government is trying to convince itself that progressiveness means criminalising free speech the agents of capitalism are busy right now constructing their own post-independence models. Nothing too radical and nothing too ambitious must be permitted to occur in their version of an independent Scotland.

It’s why Benny Higgins the former banker and now chief lieutenant of the Duke of Buccleuch, Scotland’s largest feudal kingpin, gets to formulate the future travel of Scotland’s economy in the approaching post-Covid era. It’s like getting Jeremy Clarkson to lead all your carbon reduction initiatives. It’s also why the fluffers and wormtongues of pet lobbying firms and their clients hold such sway with this government of centrists and power-freaks.

Earlier this year, the economist and former SNP MSP George Kerevan exposed the neo-liberal doctrine at the heart of the SNP in an important essay for Conter, the anti-establishment, pro-independence website. In this he identified a doctrine which might reasonably be called Sturgeonism.

“The working class Yes movement now has to contend with an SNP leadership under Nicola Sturgeon that has shifted bodily to the right and particularly so since the 2017 UK general election. The SNP Government – while talking left – has governed in the interests of the major capitalist groups that dominate the Scottish economy: London banking, foreign agribusiness, big oil, the property development lobby, and major landlords and landowners.”

If the real left continues to be cast adrift, an independent Scotland risks being shaped by the same forces that have made the rest of the UK a gangster state.

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