NO one will blame The National for giving column space to even Tory supporters of independence – rare though they are. Yes is the broadest of movements.

But the reactionary Thatcherite myths and excuse making of Michael Fry do need to be challenged and debunked.

The gig economy is not a revolution, but a counter-revolution in workers’ conditions and rights (The gig economy is a revolution – we can’t apply it to the past’s principles, May 7). It’s a return to the bad old Edwardian days when working class folk could be expected to line up at the docks, the factory gate or the pit every morning and be told whether they had work or not. It places all of the power in the hands of the capitalist, and normalises the most pernicious form of wage slavery.

We should not be surprised that Tories and entrepreneurs think it’s wonderful. There is a real revolution happening, of course, and that is the technological/scientific revolution that will reshape the economy, society and the world of work in the 21st century.

If we allow the likes of Fry to dictate what happens with this future we are in for a much more divided society, and a dictatorship of the 1% over the rest of us such as we have never before seen ... a genuine and terrifying dystopia.

But if we develop these new technologies, and radically change the socio-economic systems that they operate under, for the good of all – with public and social forms of ownership, a progressive and redistributive tax system, public services like health and education available equally and free at the point of need, and a Universal Citizen’s Income, then we can begin to build a mass democratic society in which all human beings are regarded as being of equal worth and have a real chance to develop themselves to the full.

We can move beyond the Tory capitalist paradigm where workers are just a useful commodity, with a price that can be beaten down – like any other commodity – and instead truly move everyone “from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom”.

You can call that socialism, post-capitalism, fully-automated luxury communism, the “good society”, or any other moniker you like.

The alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.

And of course, the surest, safest and most democratic path to enable the visionary, humane and progressive choice, is best set upon in Scotland through achieving independence.

Steve Arnott


SINCE the so-called gig economy seems to have cocooned National columnist Michael Fry into his utopian complacency and all without Scotland being an independent country, there has to be part of him that needs something other. Else why does he support the strive towards Scottish independence?

But aside from this I think Michael must know that economics is only one means of interpreting the big world and all it’s happenings. And although in his weekly musings he often dismisses a concern with inequality as lost time at the coal face in his concerns with productivity, that same inequality doesn’t seem either to have got in the way of this so-called gig economy and its many pleasures.

We also all inhabit a world where war is a constant means of trying to resolve differences, instead of negotiations between people who have contrary opinions about how their societies should operate. Too often war is basically about economics. It is often also because of inequality. People in the prosperous seat of the economic see-saw whose pockets full of sovereigns keep them topside and commanding the larger view of things are more liable to praise inequality than those kept, so to speak, grounded.

It is easy to wander off into many analogies in these matters that illustrate in my opinion the inadequacies of economics as a much meaningful tool for interpreting the big world and all its happenings. Consider also the anxieties about what are reportedly the activities of people causing and/or contributing to the destruction of the environment that enables us to be here in the first place. How does this blend into the gig economy theory?

Michael is entitled to his gig economy rhapsody, he has found a niche for himself that is, by what he says, a happy one. But I would reckon there could be several other persons who fall into his categorising of gig economy workers who experience less contentment with their conditions of effort and reward.

Ian Johnstone