In Scotland political lines are being re drawn in anticipation of SNP moves towards a referendum on devolution. A Morning Star conference was recently held to discuss this, clarify positions and unite the labour movement in response. Here John Foster reports.

The SNP has pledged to hold a referendum within the next four years on devolution up to and including independence.
Increasingly the rhetoric of all parties is focusing on this event and its implications for their future. The Scottish Conservatives are even considering changing their name.
This month's Scottish Morning Star conference therefore provided an important sounding board for responses on the left and in the Scottish trade union movement.
These responses were by no means uniform - reflecting the diversity of representation that included members of the executive of the Labour Party, the Green Party, the Scottish Trades Union Congress, the SNP and the Communist Party.
Yet there was a common unease. The agenda was being set by a largely right-wing, or at least not left-wing, media.
The issues posed were about constitutional forms and their implications for economic performance in terms of a neoliberal status quo.
And the incremental progress of devolution was posed as a process that somehow had a life of its own.
One word was excluded, "class," the word that made the original demand for devolution so radical.
STUC general secretary Grahame Smith reminded delegates that the first Scottish Assembly of 1972 was convened amid the struggle to protect shipyard jobs on the Upper Clyde.
The question was about how best to advance the interests of working people in face of what was then a frontal assault on trade union rights and the principle of full employment.
"The question was not about where powers were held but how they were used." The assumption was that the closer they were to working people the more effectively they would be exercised to advance social justice.
The big danger today was that Scotland might end up with a Parliament with greater powers but "without a progressive sense of direction."
He stressed that, whatever political labels were worn, this was the key challenge - that of rewinning a mass base for an alternative vision that could counter neoliberal deficit reduction and EU austerity - the alternative outlined in the STUC's Better Way campaign.
Two of the parties present did support full independence - the Scottish Greens and the SNP.
Scottish Green Party leader Patrick Harvie MSP spoke of his experience that the new Scottish Parliament as created in 1999 was more accessible and responsive.
But he also indicated concerns at the current direction of debate. "We don't want a Scotland that simply stumbles forward using a failed economic model where the main aspiration is to become the tax haven of the north."
SNP chief whip in Holyrood Bill Kidd MSP provided a written submission which outlined the progressive aspirations of the Scottish government.
These spanned the current actions to combat sectarianism and alcohol abuse to its ambitious programme to create green jobs through renewable energy targets that far exceeded those of Britain as a whole.
He argued that any new powers secured over benefits, housing or welfare had to be matched by the financial powers needed to use them progressively - and this included the negative power not to finance overseas wars and "that monster Trident."
Putting the counter-argument, the new Labour MSP for the Lothians, Neil Findlay, felt that the overall balance within the Scottish government remained towards the neoliberal right. "Immediately after the election Alex Salmond demanded two things - power over corporation tax and more representation within the EU.
"The SNP slogan of 'independence within the EU' says it all. Within the EU there can be no independence from the power and assumptions of big business.
"Cutting corporation tax is simply designed to make Scotland a more attractive haven for external profiteers. It follows the EU logic of always rebalancing the economy at the expense of labour and to the benefit of profits."
There were two members of the Labour Party's Scottish executive speaking, Richard Leonard and Jackson Cullinane, respectively Scottish political officers for GMB and Unite.
Both stressed the Labour Party's commitment to home rule since Keir Hardie established the Scottish Labour Party in 1888. But both also reiterated the point made by Smith. The class dimension would be lost unless it was consciously fought for.
"Raising class consciousness is the key to democracy," said Cullinane. "It is also the key to devolution."
Equally Leonard stressed that the objective was not shifting power from one parliament to another but "from those who own the wealth to those who produce it."
Like PCS Scottish secretary Lynn Henderson, they argued for trade unionists to engage with the issue of devolution not on the terms set for them by the press but how far particular changes would strengthen or weaken the power of working people.
"Because this is what John Maclean argued for almost a century ago. Devolution and class mobilisation must be linked - especially at a time when the struggles faced by our movement from November 30 onwards have the potential to transform attitudes and assumptions once again."