Radicals threaten Salmond and Scottish independence campaign

Activists gather in Glasgow to try to steer breakway movement sharply to the left

Alex Salmond will tomorrow face a major challenge from leftwingers in his  attempt to win over moderate Scots to the independence cause.

More than 650 activists will gather in Glasgow to form a group they hope can push the Scottish independence movement to the left.

The Radical Independence Conference has brought together the Scottish Greens, the Scottish Socialists, some of the more militant trade unionists, nuclear-disarmament campaigners and anti-monarchist republicans. They are all part of the independence movement but they disagree with the moderate approach Mr Salmond and his Scottish National Party (SNP) have adopted for the campaign.

They see Scottish independence as an opportunity to create a radical, left-leaning society rather than the watered-down version they believe Mr Salmond wants to offer Scots.

Mr Salmond has made it clear he would keep the Queen in an independent Scotland, that Scotland would retain the pound and also apply to join Nato – all of which have sparked fierce opposition from left-wingers in the independence camp.

Jonathon Shafi, one of the organisers, said: “We are against austerity, we want a modern republic, one not tied to the monarchy, we oppose discrimination, Trident and nuclear weapons. We think these are very appealing ideas and could contribute towards strengthening the vote for an independent Scotland.”

The well-known Scottish author Iain Banks was one of the first to sign up to the new campaign group.

He claimed that Scots were motivated more by co-operation than competition and were more interested in “societal support for our fellow citizens” than other parts of the UK.

He said: “The Scots, for all their long, proud history of inventiveness and entrepreneurialism, just seem to be more communitarian than the consensus expressed by the UK population as a whole, and it’s time our greatest and most powerful democratic institutions – our parliaments – reflected this.”

Patrick Harvie, the co-convener of the Scottish Green Party, made it clear he would like the Yes Scotland campaign for independence to have a more radical agenda.

He said: “There is a growing group of people who are not content with the SNP’s version, with the SNP’s policy agenda that they are attaching to the independence cause. These are people who want to get a different message across so it’s not just about the Greens, it is about a wider group. I think that over the next few years, you’ll see that grouping grow.”

The Greens would ditch the monarchy, have no nuclear weapons or nuclear power stations, end Scottish membership of Nato and look to develop a distinctive Scottish currency, rather than taking either the pound or the euro.

The Yes Scotland campaign has always insisted that it is a “broad church” and it is not its role to come up with policies for an independent Scotland. A spokesman for the campaign said yesterday: “We are happy that there are people with a whole range of views and visions for Scotland backing Scottish independence. All they need to join Yes Scotland is support [for] independence.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent