Monday, 30 April 2012

Elect a socialist in East Dunbartonshire...

place a number 1 beside the socialist candidate!

(click on leaflet for larger version)


Kirkintilloch East and Twechar  Willie Telfer:

The “mainstream” political parties are draining Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire, Scotland and the UK in general of taxes that should be going towards helping people.  In England, the Tories and Liberal Democrats have overseen the selloff of the NHS to the likes of SERCO, a company who are involved in military and nuclear weapons contracts, detention centres and prisons. This hardly fits with the Doctor mantra, "Do no harm..."  Our local council – ran by an unholy alliance of Tories and New Labour, (and still suffering from the neglect of the previous Liberal Democrat led administration) have overseen the paying off of vital council staff from classroom assistants through to librarians, yet pour millions of our Council Tax into paying interest to corporations who are profiteering from schools and hospital builds.  The council is the first line of defence from the profiteers who are trying to turn our services into “for profit organisations,” rather than “care, education and fairness.”  An SSP councillor will fight to ensure your taxes are spent on vital services rather than servicing profits.
Scottish Socialist Party councillors will always put first the interests of local people and; communities; Scottish Socialist Party councillors will demand and will present balanced ‘No Cuts’ budgets and unlike other parties, SSP councillors are prepared to do whatever it takes to deliver a better deal for local people through protected and enhanced services and public sector jobs.




Bishopbriggs South   Mark Callaghan:

I am 46, involved in both the Healthy Living Program and my local Town Hall

As a socialist, I believe in a system that help people not one that is about a minority of people making extortionate profits by keeping people poor.  If elected, I will always put first the interests of local people and communities and will present a balanced ‘No Cuts’ budget – budgets for the people, not the bankers.

Unlike other parties, all SSP councillors are prepared to campaign to deliver a better deal for local people through protected and enhanced services and public sector jobs.

SSP Councillors will stand beside communities being attacked and will defend them in a practical way both inside the council Chamber and outside.



Neil Scott, Bearsden North.

A local teacher, Neil Scott, is standing in the May elections against what he sees as the mismanagement of Council money and unnecessary cuts.  He said in a statement, “East Dunbartonshire has, in recent years, had the misfortune of having had a Liberal Democrat Council followed by a coalition of Labour and Tories.  The mishandling of the council by these three versions of the same thing has seen an attempt to close schools in the past two years; terrible deals with corporations that have meant millions of pounds of our Council Tax money being given over to massive PPP/PFI “Guaranteed returns on investment” for minimum outlay; a decimation of our local services from Libraries through to schools, and more.  If any of these parties gain the council in May, there will be more of the same, and in fact the deferred closure of East Dunbartonshire Schools will go ahead.

As a father and a teacher I have a different vision for East Dunbartonshire services.  Our area is a well off council area, one in which money could be invested in our services rather than further job-losses and cuts.  I see a clear need to renegotiate PPP/PFI deals.  Some of these venture capitalists are making millions of pounds of our tax money with investments of a few hundred pounds.  I see East Dunbartonshire being a place of opportunity for all; a place where our money is invested in real jobs and services which will help stimulate the Scottish economy.  The real drivers of any economy are people.  The profits creamed off by corporations from our Council tax should be reclaimed and invested in real jobs and in our people.”







Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Differenceability.

by SSP Spokesperson, Sandra Webster



I have been privileged to represent the SSP at two hustings in the last week and one on the near horizon next week. All of them have been relating to disability and caring issues. I couldn’t have had a better start to being a co-spokerson as these are issues that affect my own and many of my friends daily lives. The SSP manifesto also speaks for itself. Carers and people with disabilities are not just played lip service too but are offered an alternative. These are concrete promises, not just flanneling around as one panel chairperson described the words of others. More HERE

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

From the Camp... Welcome to the Camp!


by Faslane Protestor, Leonna O'Neill

Photos, John Lanigan - more HERE
(article by Sandra Webster, SSP Co-Spokesperson HERE )

Faslane Peace Camp is a protest site against the ongoing travesty of Trident, the British nuclear weapons system, based at the Faslane Naval Base on the Gare Loch. The British Nuclear Weapons Programme consists of four  nuclear powered Vanguard Class submarines, at least one of which is on patrol at all times as a continuous at-sea deterrent, armed with up to 16 Trident missiles and around 48 nuclear warheads.

As a body of resistance to nuclear weapons, the camp is somewhat of an anomaly. There is no organisation known as Faslane Peace Camp as such, rather it is a collection of caravans at the side of the road with the potential to facilitate low impact community living and direct action. Any activity or inactivity emanating from this place is the sum total of the efforts of those living here at any given time and the population tends to be quite transient.

In the past this has been the camp’s strength, a constantly changing population provided continuous renewed energy, ideas and inspiration for Direct Action. As the police found new ways to combat the protesting techniques, the campers came up with more ingenious and creative ways of making their point. (It is often said that the Faslane Ministry of Defence cutting team who remove “lock-ons” during blockades of the naval base are the best in the U.K!)

However, in recent years, with the anti-nuclear movement failing to engage with a new generation of potential activists coupled with the youth of today facing a new and profound dispossession, and bombardment of injustices daily, our movement lacks the youthful momentum it needs and once had. This has seen the camp go through long periods of neglect and inactivity and sometimes fall into the wrong hands in terms of what is good for the movement and the camp.

Currently there is a small group of us here trying to combat this. We are committed to regenerating the camp to be a centre for non-violent direct action against nuclear weapons. For most of us, nuclear weapons are not our only concern, we see inherent flaws in society, the government and ‘the system’ in general and try to govern ourselves in a way that makes the camp an alternative to the mainstream, a microcosm of how we feel society ought to be governed. Namely adhering to the principles of self governing anarchism, collective responsibility and living without mains electricity and trying to fulfil our needs without recourse to consumer goods. This is sometimes known as anarcho-primitivism.

All decisions at the camp are made during regular meetings through consensus based decision making. This means that everyone must agree to the decisions made that affect them and the group as a whole and applies to important issues like what direction we are taking the camp in right down to trivial day to day decisions like what goes on the communal shopping list. Whilst we do not agree with imposing rules, we do need to maintain the camp as a safe space and healthy environment for direct action, and so, we have no alcohol, residency and safe spaces policies in place.

In terms of  effective direct action against the Faslane Naval Base, with a current population of five, there is seldom enough of us here to do anything like blockades or trespasses. Currently our anti-nuclear efforts are geared towards educating people on the issues around Trident and getting people here. We approach different groups to do workshops with them on Trident and International Law and Non-Violent Direct Action and apply for funding to travel far and wide to deliver these workshops. We view the Peace Camp as a facility for protest against Trident, and so, we facilitate groups to come here and take action by providing sleeping spaces, vegan food, legal support, action training and of course joining in!

We will be marking the 30th birthday of the camp this year by having a campaign of 30 days of direct action against nuclear weapons. We have been choreographing groups from all over the UK to come and take action with us and from the 9th of June to the 9th of July there will be daily actions happening involving all kinds of shenanigans from activist clowning, an academic seminar road block, activist choirs  to a Peace Olympics blockade!




With Independence on the political agenda, an independence that could potentially entail the removal of the British nuclear weapons programme from Scotland, it is imperative that we keep a public debate on Trident open and to this end we need to make public displays of protest against this abhorrent weapons system.

In taking non-violent direct action, with little or no personal consequences, we are breaking minor statute laws to uphold international law. Nuclear weapons are illegal under international law, an ICJ court ruling in 1996 stated that even the threat of use of nuclear weapons would be contrary to the principles of international humanitarian law, as would the maintenance and upgrade of current nuclear arsenals. The UK committed itself to nuclear disarmament when it became a signatory to the Non Proliferation Treaty in 1970 and has subsequently made a mockery of it’s obligations under the NPT. Ironically, the very treaty our government invokes in it’s quest to prevent other states like Iran and North Korea from obtaining the same technologies.


If the nuclear weapons are removed from Scotland there is nowhere else as strategically sound for them to be placed within the UK. The Trident system already costs £5billion per year and is said to need replacement to the tune of £100biliion. It is thus likely that the further cost and time it would take to recreate the facilities at Faslane and Coulport would  also widen the public debate on their very necessity in a time of so-called “austerity“. It is therefore not a stretch of the imagination to suggest that Scotland is key to setting the ball rolling on world nuclear disarmament and, we, the people of Scotland have a duty to exercise our collective power and make ourselves seen and heard in our fight against nuclear weapons.


Sunday, 15 April 2012

Our Visit to Faslane

Sandra Webster, SSP Spokesperson, inspired by our visit to Faslane Peace Camp, wrote this blog...





I live in Renfrewshire the other side of Faslane right across the Erskine Bridge. I knew about the Peace camp having honked my car horn whenever I passed it but despite living so nearby I am ashamed to admit, I had never visited it. Iwas delighted when one of my comrades Neil from the Campsie Branch of the SSP organised a visit. Along with my daughter Linz we visited the camp yesterday and met one of the activists Leonna.
Passing the camp on the road toy can see a patchwork quilt of colourful caravans. Inside the campers have created a beautiful and spiritual face right in the shadows of trident submarines and their nuclear cargo. Enough to wipe the whole of Scotland off the map. Leonna arranged a worshop for us with the history of trident and an introduction to the politics of non aggressive direct action.
Read on HERE




Video and article to follow...
Our signed letter SSP Campsie Organiser, Neil Scott passed on to workers on the base...

Friday, 13 April 2012

Visit to Faslane

We are visiting Faslane base tomorrow. This is the letter we intend to deliver. If anyone else would like their name associated with it, let me know here or email me at plottracer@googlemail.com

To the workers in Faslane Base.

Dear Worker

We have come to the base today to protest at the presence of nuclear weapons in Scotland.


We won’t patronise you with information on the dangers of these weapons, and we are sure you know that the money spent on these weapons of mass destruction would be better spent on ensuring our children are educated and our sick and old people are taken care of.


We understand, though, that the worry for any worker is that they will be made unemployed. We want to assure you that in an 
Independent Scotland, we as socialists will fight to ensure that you are redeployed and retrained in jobs that are socially valuable with no loss of pay. We will also fight to ensure that communities such as the local economies around Gare Loch are earmarked for special funding that results from the savings the country will make when these weapons and military establishments are dismantled.


Most of us on this protest are from East Dunbartonshire, a Scottish Local Authority that prides itself with the term, “Nuclear Free.” Of course if there was an accident at Faslane that meant a leakage, or worse, this claim would mean nothing. We have a special interest in ensuring these weapons are removed ie, the future of our children (and anyone else’s child who potentially could be on the receiving end of one of these weapons).

For a Nuclear Free Scotland

Campsie Socialists
www.campsiesocialists.com


We'll be publishing an article about our visit and also an article by one of the women on the camp in the coming days...

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Easter Activist

by SSP Campsie member Neil Scott

Christ of Abu Ghraib by Trill Zapatero

The men sat on the hill, looking out over the darkened city.

 “Look. Only you can know this. Tell no-one else. When it is done, you must flee.” He didn’t look at his friend, his face was drawn. His friend was not used to seeing him as he had been in the past few days. Serious, stressed even. Gone were the smiles and the serenity of the campaign. From the day they had arrived in the city, all had changed. The campaign had taken a new turn. Was this the end-game?

 He stood up and faced his friend. If this was the end-game, then it should be on their terms. “The only way we can rid our lands of this dreadful, exploitative system is to make allies and together we can rise up!” 

 His friend shook his head and looked at him. He signalled for him to sit, to calm. “Believe me, what I have planned will mean the power of money will be diminished forever. We have shown through our actions and our activism that the only way for mankind to survive is for us to work together. To be as one. To share.” He clasped his hands and pointed them towards the other man. “ To make sure the weakest and most vulnerable have opportunity and the essentials in life. The Imperialist Occupier's system only brings poverty, greed, envy and betrayal.”

His friend was not for calming. His voice rose to almost a shout, “No! We must take up arms!

read on HERE

The Rich are not being fair


Letter:

Jo Swinson started off to the left of Labour but since going to Westminster has moved steadily to
the right. Charles Gray, a long time Labour supporter, doesn't seem to recognise Labour too has
been corrupted by the same Westminster virus and has ,likewise, moved to the right so now it would
be appropriate to describe New Labour as pink Tories.

At the end of WW2 old Labour, which no longer exists, brought in the welfare state, a glowing
example of social development. Unfortunately most of the millionaires,the rich people and their
party, the Tories, have always been antagonistic to the welfare state and have steadily moved to
undermine and destroy it. Welfare – health, education and the many public services we all need
have to be paid for and this is done by taxat ion It is generally agreed that progressive income tax
is the fairest way to do this.

For many it is now clear that tax dodging is out of control. In the UK alone we have a £120
billion tax gap-- comprising tax avoided through obscure accounting and the use of tax havens,
illegal tax evasion and even uncollected tax. The 3 main parties Tory, Lib Dem and Labour all bear
responsibility for failure to tackle this as the people of Bradford seem to have realised. The rich
don't pay a fair share of tax.

Ron Mackay,
Milton of Campsie.

Monday, 2 April 2012

State monitoring of YOUR emails...

Jo Swinson was on TV last night defending the Governments want to monitor your emails, Facebook, Twitter, web history etc.  This is a complete flip from her stance back in 2009 when she hadn't tasted power.

Please email Jo Swinson and David Cameron and let them know you feel this is an infringement of your civil liberties.

David Cameron's private email - privateoffice@no10.x.gsi.gov.uk


Contact Jo Swinson - http://www.writetothem.com/

When is an e-consultation not an e-consultation?

...when Jo Swinson holds one on Independence!

From News Net Scotland - HERE

Titanic 2 "The ConDemNation"

by Campsie SSP member, Neil Scott



On April 12 1912, the Titanic sank. The "unsinkable sinking" and God's wrath on men getting above their station are held as reasons for the lingering fascination behind this event, but I feel the exposure of the values and the class system that prevented social mobility of Victorian/Edwardian Britain a much more important factor. If there was a message from any God, it must have been the disgust of the vilification and condemnation of a "subspecies" of the poor. The disgusting statistics of Third Class dead and stories of people being kept away from the lifeboats exposed the truth of "our betters." I feel what happened in 1912 serves as a warning as massive inequality seems to be the order of Tory Britain in 2012.


Read the rest of this article on the Huffington Post HERE