Oh dear. Over the weekend many liberal leaders heaped praise on Fidel Castro as news broke that the Cuban dictator was dead. In fact, it was Tim Farron who stood out for actually condemning Castro’s human rights abuses — while describing him as a ‘vastly significant’ leader.
So, what of the SNP? Well, today George Kerevan has penned a piece for The National claiming that there are a lot of positive lessons to be learned from Castro’s regime.
What’s more, it seems that he doesn’t just mean that time has taught us sending homosexuals to camps for re-education and banning independent newspapers aren’t the most progressive ideas. No, while Kerevan does concede that democracy is important in building a better society, he insists that positive lessons can be learned from how Castro linked ‘national identity’ with a ‘progressive, socialist project’:
‘The truth is that we can’t build a better society unless we build it on consent, which means democracy. Yet, there are great positive lessons to be learned from Castro’s Cuba. He managed to link national identity and national independence with a progressive, socialist project. The result, with all its deformations, was a society that delivered more than the other Latin states, and for most people.’
However, Mr S is not so sure a regime that actively encouraged nuclear war and sent people to prison for having different views to those of the dictator can really be described as ‘progressive’ — no matter how ‘socialist’ it is. As his SNP colleague, Stewart McDonald has pointed out:
Nothing progressive about the imprisonment of gays, incarceration of those with HIV or locking up trade unionists and political opponents.