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Scotland: Trade unionists debate independence, 'yes' gets the nod

By Richie Venton, Scottish Socialist Party national trade union organiser and Trade Unionists for Independence

For more on Scotland and the independence debate, click HERE.

April 22, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Campaigners for Scottish independence received another boost in March as a Unison trade union branch sided "positively with the Yes side".

Nation-wide branch Skills Development Scotland held a Yes/No debate at their 2014 AGM. Richard Leonard, GMB's political officer represented United for Labour, and went head-to-head with Richie Venton of Trade Unionists for Independence.

Yes emerged the popular choice of the night.

Skills Development Scotland branch secretary, Derek Cheyne, said: "It was a really good debate -- I think a lot of people really engaged and we had a great turn out as well.

"I've got to say, I think that most of the questions from the floor were very pro-yes. We've not canvassed on whether our members are yes or no, but I got the feeling tonight Yes was dominant.

"I hope it has energised our members, that they become more involved whether it's yes or no -- that's entirely up to them, because my union has taken a more neutral stance."

He added: "But as I said -- tonight seemed to be quite positively on the Yes side."

Richie Venton said: "It was an excellent debate -- there were some forceful arguments, but very respectful. For me, probably the most significant factor is that trade unionists spelt out that the struggle for Yes is driving towards the conclusion that we need radical change in society.

"And that will build the basis for a future shaping of Scotland in an entirely different direction -- to favour the working class."

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