Pushing for working-class interests to the fore of the debate on Scotland's future you might note an eerie resemblance between Scottish and French politics.
Of course, Scotland hasn't recently elected a Socialist leader who has promised new taxes on the very rich. On the contrary, Scotland has a nationalist premier who never misses a chance to call for tax cuts for the richest.
Sadly the resemblance is between Scottish politics now and France in the 1850s.
Then, as an observer familiar to most Morning Star readers - Karl Marx - put it, there was "the most motley mixture of crying contradictions ... alliances whose first proviso is separation, struggles whose first law is indecision, wild, inane agitation in the name of tranquillity, most solemn preaching of tranquillity in the name of revolution.
"Passions without truth, truths without passion, heroes without heroic deeds, history without events - development, whose sole driving force seems to be the calendar, wearying with constant repetition of the same tensions and relaxations, and at the same time the pettiest intrigues and court comedies."
That's an apt enough description of what passes for the debate on an independent Scotland. In an "alliance whose first proviso is separation" we have the Yes campaign supporting independence, which boasts among its supporters Jim McColl, business tycoon and one of Scotland's richest men.
Also in the Yes campaign is the Scottish Socialist Party's Colin Fox. He maintains that the "shared case" of the Yes campaign is to build a country "less indentured to big business."
This would be good if true, but one of these two men is a tax exile and it's he who is an adviser to First Minister Alex Salmond.
In the "passions without truth" column we have the Yes campaign director Blair Jenkins, who argues that an independent Scotland would have avoided the financial crisis.
"Our" banks would have been better regulated.
Jenkins is ignoring the "truth without passion" that Salmond had decried even Gordon Brown-era banking regulation as "gold-plated" and announced his plans for a system that would be "more light-touch."
On the other side of the debate we have Better Together, the campaign against separation from the British state.
Cross-party and dominated by business, it is as nationalist as its Yes mirror image. Happy to talk about prosperity and ensuring no barriers to business are erected, but strangely quiet on equality.
It is certainly "wearying with constant repetition of the same tensions" when it comes to the difficulties - by no means trivial - that a separate Scotland might face.
But despite its protestations of being a "positive" campaign, the nature of the alliance makes it impossible for them to outline a coherent vision for Scotland.
While Yes and No are playing out "the pettiest intrigues and court comedies" - both sides, for example, claim that Olympic success somehow proves their case - a smaller but strident current maintains but seldom demonstrates that independence offers a step forward for the working class.
Here indeed is "wild, inane agitation in the name of tranquillity" as this group raises issues on which power has already been devolved - problems not tackled because of a lack of political will, not constitutional mechanics.
It's against this backdrop that the Red Paper Collective, a loose grouping of labour movement activists, trade unionists and academics, works.
The Red Paper's aim is to influence the debate within the labour and trade union movement to ensure that it is united behind a commitment to make the politics of class, not nation, the driving force in Scotland.
We are working to formulate class-based alternatives to both of the bourgeois nationalisms on offer, to replace assertion with analysis and argue for options based on economic and political reality.
Our work so far has begun to examine where power lies in modern Scotland, examining the political economy of the country and where and how constitutional change fits into that.
Previously published or forthcoming work has examined where ownership and control lie in the Scottish economy, examining the potential impact of extended devolution schemes to deliver greater equality, the relationship between progressive values and class struggle, whether or not an independent Scotland could avoid becoming an extension of the power of the Nato military alliance and how we can change the balance of class forces.
This is a work in progress - work which we hope to develop through debate and discussion within the labour movement.
We do not see ourselves as a think tank, working in the dark and then emerging with a report we expect others to adopt.
Rather, working in and with the labour movement we hope to articulate and refine ideas that can become the basis of policies for a more equal Scotland.
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