.@yanisvaroufakis: English establishment is denying Scots their national identity

Former Greek finance minister argues Scotland can escape from Westminster destruction of welfare state

AN INDEPENDENT SCOTLAND would provide the opportunity to escape from right-wing Westminster and "the philosophical denial of Scottish national identity by the English establishment", according to ex-Greek finance minister and economics professor Yanis Varoufakis.

Varoufakis spoke at length on his support for Scottish independence within the European Union for the first time in a new media interview organised by tech start-up Kiltr, citizen journalism group Independence Live and CommonSpace.

Varoufakis worked in UK university economics departments throughout the 1980s and 1990s before representing Greece in its tough negotiations with the troika of international lenders.

"You've got southern England heading in its own direction away from that which created a one-nation consensus in Britain. So it's they that are abandoning ship, not Scotland." Yanis Varoufakis

He argued that the UK's drift away from the "post war economic consensus" - symbolised by nationalised state industries and a cradle to grave welfare state - meant it would be beneficial for Scotland to "move in its own direction" with independence.

Explaining his position, he said: "That post-war consensus of 1920-something to 1974 has collapsed now. And southern England has moved in a neo-liberal direction of its own. Scotland remains faithful to that [post-war economic] tradition.

"You've got southern England heading in its own direction away from that which created a one-nation consensus in Britain. So it's they that are abandoning ship, not Scotland. Secondly you have the philosophical denial of Scottish national identity by the English establishment.

"Under those circumstances and within the context of a campaign for democratising the European Union it would make sense for Scotland to vote to move in its own direction."

"There is a historical memory of repression and particularly repression of national identity." Yanis Varoufakis

Varoufakis, after leaving his post as finance minister for the Syriza government, has embarked on a European tour to encourage greater democracy in European Union institutions.

He favours the UK remaining a member to challenge for reform within the union. However, in the case of Scotland he is critical of Westminster's economic policies and what he describes as the denial of Scottish nationhood by the UK establishment.

"There is a historical memory of repression and particularly repression of national identity," he claimed.

"The Tory rejection of the Eurozone has its roots in an Edward Burke kind of philosophy. That you have one nation that is a result of its historical bonds and solidarity produce one government, one constitution, one currency, reflecting that one nation.

"Well if I was Scottish and I heard that I'd be aghast because the same Tories claim that Scotland should be inside the United Kingdom - while claiming there can only be a one-to-one relationship between your country and your currency. This is the equivalent of denying nationhood to Scots."

Varoufakis repeated his view that Scotland would benefit from establishing its own currency and central bank, rejecting claims that this would lead to financial instability.

However, he also explained his doubts and reservations - both about the creation of borders and nationalist movements that foster xenophobia and racism. He did not believe that Scottish independence represented either phenomenon.

Varoufakis repeated his view that Scotland would benefit from establishing its own currency and central bank, rejecting claims that this would lead to financial instability.

The full interview - which also covered the European Union, the state of politics in Greece and challenges for Jeremy Corbyn - can be viewed online at Kiltr .

Picture courtesy of Brookings Institution