Radical Independence Campaign
|Focus||Scottish independence referendum, 2014|
The Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) is a political campaign promoting Scottish independence and left-wing politics. It was established at the Radical Independence Conference 2012 and has been described as a "[bringing together of] the Scottish Greens, the Scottish Socialists, some of the more militant trade unionists, nuclear-disarmament campaigners and anti-monarchist republicans".
The home page of the RIC website displays the statement: "We believe Scotland should be a people’s democracy, a society of equality, a great welfare state, a good neighbour, and pioneer a just economy. We believe this better Scotland can only begin with independence, so on Sept [sic] 18th 2014, we are voting Yes." The website also displays images of a banner that reads: "Another Scotland Is Possible".
The Radical Independence Campaign emerged from the Radical Independence Conference 2012 that was attended by almost 900 people. Since its formation, the RIC has been involved with non-violent direct action protests (disrupting an election meeting being held in a pub by UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who took shelter in a police van) and a voter registration drive that was held from June to September in 2013.
In November 2013, the campaign hosted the Radical Independence Conference 2013, which brought over 1,000 delegates to Glasgow's Marriott Hotel to hear a left-wing vision for independence. Speakers included Scottish Green co-convenor Patrick Harvie, Yes Scotland chairman Dennis Canavan, human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar, Scottish Socialist spokesman Colin Fox, actor David Hayman and youth activist Cat Boyd. In November 2013, George Kerevan commented on the conference, saying: "RIC is the wild card in next year’s referendum. If the anti-austerity left can convince Scotland’s young people that independence means genuine change, all political bets are off."
The RIC commenced a strategy that targets economically disadvantaged areas of Scotland in late February 2014, with organisers explaining that mainstream politics were not relevant to the residents of these areas. To launch the action, RIC members distributed flyers and posters in social housing schemes that read: "Britain is for the rich, Scotland can be ours". RIC organiser Jonathon Shafi said to the Sunday Herald newspaper on 23 February 2014 that he had encountered three-to-one support for an independent Scotland and stated:
Change is in the air. We are on the verge of a wider awakening. Corporate Britain is sewn up for the rich. Most people know they are the butt of Tory Britain's 'we're all in it together' joke. It will not take much to galvanise that frustration into a clear understanding of just how bad Britain has been.
Also on 23 February, and in response to the RIC action, a Scottish National Party (SNP) spokesperson informed the media that the RIC is organisationally separate from both the SNP and the Yes Scotland alliance.
In June 2014, the Sunday Herald reported that "informal" discussions had taken place between figures in the Radical Independence Campaign and the Scottish Socialist Party with regards to creating a new left-wing party in the wake of the independence referendum.
Critics of the campaign include George Galloway and Lord Forsyth. Galloway accused a RIC-organised protest directed at Nigel Farage, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), of having an "anti-English character", while Forsyth called it "a very bad advertisement for Scotland". Farage himself described the protesters as being part of a movement "akin to fascism". In response, an English RIC member described Farage's criticism as "insulting".
After the beginning of the "Britain is for the rich, Scotland can be ours" strategy, the RIC was criticised by both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party, with the former calling the strategy "appalling" and the latter claiming that it is motivated by "hatred". Shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran criticised the RIC for "appalling tactics", and requested clarification from the SNP and Yes Scotland in regard to whether they approved RIC's actions.
- Scottish Socialist Party
- Scottish Green Party
- National Collective
- International Socialist Group (Scotland)
- "Radicals' new dawn with independence". 25 November 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
- "Radicals threaten Salmond and Scottish independence campaign". 24 November 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- "Home". Radical Independence Campaign. Radical Independence Campaign. 23 February 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- "Nigel Farage flees barrage of abuse from Edinburgh protesters". 16 May 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
- "Protest over UKIP leader Nigel Farage's BBC Question Time appearance". 13 June 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
- "Radical Summer: Another Scotland is Possible". Retrieved 13 June 2013.
- "'Independence is a class issue ... the rich are voting no'". 24 November 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
- "Scottish independence: 1,000 flock to radical talks". 24 November 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
- "Scottish independence: Radical Independence holds Glasgow conference". 23 November 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
- "George Kerevan: radical left’s referendum role". 22 November 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
- Tom Gordon (23 February 2014). "'We should leave Britain ... it only works for the rich'". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- Hutcheon, Paul (29 June 2014). "Plans under way to create united party of the Left after referendum". Sunday Herald. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
- "Galloway and SNP in Tit-for-Tat Row over Farage Protests". 17 May 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
- "Nigel Farage and Alex Salmond trade insults in battle of nationalists". 17 May 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
- "RIC Statement: Farage's Hatred Not Welcome in Scotland". 18 May 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013.