Sunday, 18 December 2011

Letter to the Herald

from SSP Campsie Branch member, Ron Mackay

 Action not rhetoric required on jobs.

Very few would disagree with that, but what action?  Harry Reid in his recent important article points out the need to rethink “our fundamental approach to eed the entire way we live”. He also goes on to say “ Please give us a coherent political, economic and social prescription, something that reasonable people can take up and even vote for.

There is, indeed, such a policy but alas, the media dare not speak it's name. Socialists recognise employment as a basic human need. Where are we to get jobs? That needs investment and where is that to come from? Socialists believe it should come from the state, and where does the state get the cash?  Why, by taxation.

Tax the rich.

 The Herald reported in June this year that there were 40,000 millionaires in Scotland. If half a million were taken from each of these millionaires by taxation, there would still be 40,000 millionaires but the government would have the resources to improve health, education,welfare and provide jobs not cuts. However,it's a rich man's world. The rich people who run our country won't readily face up to the needs of humanity and for greater equality.

The Herald frequently expresses concern about poverty and inequality. Harry Reid says “about inequality, the rich would have to get poorer much, much faster than the poor."

That has to be done by taxation.

 Ron Mackay

 Milton of Campsie.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Gypsy Travellers face racist collusion

SSP statement on eviction of Dale Farm Travellers site (from the main SSP site)
The Scottish Socialist Party unconditionally condemns the eviction of the residents at Dale Farm Gypsy Travellers Site in Essex. We view this action as a consequence of collusion between the coalition government, courts, police and local authority, cheered on by racist elements in society. We do not accept that this was about 'planning' issues or the 'rule of law'. We stand four square in support of Gypsy Travellers in defence of their human right to pursue their culture and way of life. We note that many local authorities now take advantage of the removal of legal obligation to provide sites, by adopting a policy of making their localities no-go areas for Travellers who wish to pursue a traditional lifestyle. Despite gains in legal protection in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK in recent years, we note that racist attitudes prevail and are now proven to be institutional. We call upon progressive elements in Scottish society to join with us in condemnation of the Dale Farm eviction, and pledge to ensure that similar actions do not blight the creation of a tolerant society in Scotland. We especially condemn the violent reaction of the police against residents and their supporters, and their use of tazer weapons; these are said to have been designed for the protection of police officers facing individual aggression, and not to control crowds. We are concerned that this sets a dangerous and potentially lethal precedent for the control of future demonstrations of citizens rightly angry with a right wing government whose policies favour only the rich and privileged. 19th October 2011

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Upper Clyde Shipyard Hero passes away

SSP Campsie would like to pass on condolences to the family and friends of Sammy Gilmore, a true hero of the Upper Clyde Shipyard work-in, 40 years ago, and a hero for working people defending their right to work across the world.

Herald Report - HERE

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Tony Benn's speech at the UCS Work-in 40th Anniversary

Photo by Janine Kellett

Shop Stewards who were part of the UCS Work-In in the shipyards of Glasgow and Clydebank organised a concert to mark the 40th anniversary of the famous industrial dispute, in the Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow. The Gala Concert on Sat 1 October in the Mitchell Theatre featured Tony Benn as Guest of Honour. He was the Labour Minister who created the UCS consortium in 1968 and a prominent supporter of the Work-In when in opposition. This is the speech he delivered that night.

Elaine C Smith reads the famous "Rat Race" speech by Jimmy Reid

This is the famous "rat-race" speech that Jimmy Reid gave at his installation as Rector of Glasgow University.  This recording was made on October 1st in the Mitchell Theatre in Glasgow, when people came together to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Upper Clyde Shipyard work-in, led by Reid and others.  It was read by the wonderful Glasgow based actor, Elaine C Smith.  The New York Times printed the speech in full and described it as "the greatest speech since President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address". A PDF of the speech can be found HERE

  This is reproduced in good faith - if anyone featured within the audio would like it censored in some way, please contact  By reproducing this audio, I have no rights to copyright and ownership. I have no intention of breaching copyright law by reproducing this audio file, which is purely for entertainment purposes only.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Thousands demonstrate against cuts in Glasgow despite the downpour!

Thousands of anti-cuts and anti-ConDem Government protesters took to the streets of Glasgow today, despite the massive flooding that hit the city.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

How we treat our children...

UNICEF report - An Overview of Child Well-being in Rich Countries -

UK children are WAY down the list in all of the indicators.  full report HERE
Click on Table below for summary... 

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Attacking Teachers Professionalism...

A teacher's response to McCormac's review of Scottish Education...

Prior to the findings of the McCormac review I feared the worst. The reality is somewhat different; the 35 hour week survives (in theory) and the need for preparation time is acknowledged. However, to accept McCormac on a superficial level, and regard it as an innocuous document, would be naïve. The cynic in me says that it is both a monstrous perversion of the English language and a pernicious attack upon our conditions.

My fears stem from the sheer number of contradictions contained in the report. The document claims to advance teacher professionalism. Introducing unqualified staff does not advance professionalism; it is the very opposite. Introducing a convoluted system of calculating class contact time will not be “flexible”- it will be exploitative. On the one hand it claims to want an end to hour counting; on the other, having to calculate their contact time on an annual basis will leave teachers with the choice of counting or being exploited. You can only fear the worse when they claim that they want teachers to be more “mobile”. What does that mean? Greater employment instability? More short-term contracts? In an attempt to simultaneously attack conditions yet be inoffensive to teachers, McCormac has ended up as a report that in many instances simply doesn’t make sense.

There is a saying that ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. Industrial relations in teaching have enjoyed a harmonious period during the last ten years. The report even acknowledges this. It states that Scotland has “a well-qualified and committed teaching profession that provides a positive and stimulating environment for young people's learning”. Nonetheless, the authors have launched a sustained attack on teachers, their conditions and, the corollary of attacking either of these two, the welfare of young people.

The McCormac Review’s official title is Advancing Professionalism in Teaching. The irony is that by scrapping the Chartered Teacher Scheme, and introducing non-qualified staff, the report is in fact eroding professionalism in teaching. From the outset the report exudes an arrogant assumption that only management control – as opposed to teacher autonomy – can offer greater professionalism. The proposed end of the right for staff to work off-site is indicative of this; the implication being that we are not professional enough to work outwith the guise of management.

54% of responses to the McCormac review felt that Annex E should not be revised. By this, the report acknowledges that a majority of respondents do not feel that teachers should be carrying out any of the duties in Annex E. So, in what must considered a wholly disproportionate act, McCormac has recommended axing Annex E altogether.

There are a handful of positives that can be taken. The introduction of a national system for annual review will be a relief to those of us who have had to negotiate the dissimilar ways in which respective local authorities handle these matters. CPD requirements will be linked to this system. However, it is not clear what the report’s proposed changes to CPD will look like in practice.

Probationers will remain on the same contact time but it is calculated over a four week period. This potentially opens the way for probationers being taken for cover. This forces the probationer to hour count, keep a log of when they are taken for cover, so as to prevent management from exploiting them. Once again we face hour counting.

Unqualified staff are to be allowed to work with classes on their own given the assent of the Headteacher. The GTCS are to approve which unqualified individuals are allowed to do this, but by using the money that we pay them each year. In other words, we are paying for a move that could potentially lead to our own job losses. In another of the report’s wonderful contradictions, it is interesting to note that unqualified staff are to be allowed to look after children unsupervised, but experienced classroom teachers will not even be allowed off-site to complete their marking!

Advancing Professionalism in Teaching, is a misnamed, misguided and for the most part unnecessary document. It has been composed to ensure that Scotland’s local authorities fall into line with David Cameron’s sustained assault upon the public sector. The changes to working hours will allow authorities to hire fewer staff. As with all decisions in the public sector nowadays, its recommendations are driven by cost; the welfare of young people is afforded only lip service. However, in a rather perverse way, we are lucky. While London governs in a dictatorial fashion, in Scotland the authorities have to proceed with caution. McCormac is not as detrimental as it could have been, but it is far from an encouraging development for the teaching profession in Scotland.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Liberating the NHS: source and destination of the Lansley reform

INTRO (the entire body of this document has been placed HERE)

This important document was written by
Dr Lucy Reynolds (a), Dr John Lister (b), Dr Alex Scott-Samuel (c) & Professor Martin
McKee (a)

a London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
b Coventry University
c University of Liverpool

A narrative for this reform, far more transparent than the double-speak of the White Paper, can indeed be located. It is described in the following pages. It maps a move away from the tax-funded NHS based on the principles of contribution according to ability to pay, and use according to medical need. It takes the NHS towards a US style arrangement of individual health insurance with access to care based on payment of health insurers at a level based on the insuree’s state of health. In other words it removes the pooling of risk which underlies the post-war social solidarity compact, involving subsidy of health care for poorer and less healthy citizens by richer and healthier compatriots. A plan for the end-state system to be jointly funded by the state and the individual solves the perplexing riddle of how the new systemcould generate £20 billion of savings, given that it involves more providers, fragmented procurement, more complex administration, the marketing costs involved in market competition, and multiple layers of profit extraction from the NHS budget,. Cost reductions will be achieved through de-skilling and poorer employment terms for medical professionals as the NHS hospitals which employ them are shifted into the private sector.

40 years ago...

...Jimmy Reid led the Upper Clyde Shipyard Work-in.
Campsie Branch member, Bill Newman wrote an obituary of Reid HERE Jimmy's famous speech to Glasgow University is reproduced HERE

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

SSP Campsie BBQ in Mugdock this Saturday CANCELLED!


...Starting 2.30/3pm... coals will be lit - bring your own food and drink.  Ring and Ride Bus will leave Milngavie Station at 3pm and then leave Mugdock again at 7.30pm.

Meet at the POND BBQ area (click on map below)

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Red Pepper Review of "Downfall"

Liz Davies, chair of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers and a barrister specialising in housing and homelessness law, has reviewed Alan McCombes book on the Sheridan affair for Red Pepper.

Review HERE

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Former MSP Joins Scottish Socialist Party

Article by Campbell on his reasons to join the SSP HERE
Colin Fox welcomes Campbell to the party HERE
Article by Campbell in which he writes about "The Economic Situation," on the Campsie Socialists website from July 2010 HERE

Monday, 22 August 2011

Owen Jones at The Free Hetherington

On Sunday 22 August 2011, Owen Jones, the author of "Chavs; the demonization of the working class," visited the student occupied Hetherington Post Grad Club in Glasgow. This video is an hour of a much longer conversation that was led by Jones.

Friday, 12 August 2011

The SSP on the demonization of our youth (2003)

I unashamedly reproduce this article from the Scottish Socialist Voice about Rosie's Scottish Parliamentary battle against the demonization of our youth:

No votes no rights

by Jo Harvie

After months of election propaganda, veiled threats and open slander, the Scottish Executive launched their crack down on "anti-social behaviour", predominantly aimed at young people labelled by the Executive as neds.Their bill could hand extensive new powers to police and the courts, including the use of electronic tags and fixed penalty fines for children.

Heavy emphasis was also placed on new police powers to "disperse" groups of three or more people gathered in the streets, touted as a way of dealing with young people in gangs.

But the Scottish Human Rights Centre have compared this to the stop-under-suspicion (sus) laws introduced in England and Wales in the 1980s, which caused a huge increase in tension between young people and the police.John Scott told press:

"It created a generation of people who were as suspicious of the police as the police were of them.

"As a matter of principle, I do not think that if there are three young people in the street doing nothing at all the police should have the power to interfere with them.

"This is a radical departure from current police powers. The European Convention on Human Rights guarantees the right of free association, the exception being if you are breaking another law.

"Giving the police such wide-ranging powers that could be easily abused is not the answer.

"We have gone too far on the intolerance current in society towards young people."

SSP MSP Rosie Kane agrees:"Young people are being demonised to promote a really oppressive piece of legislation.

"I don't think a few young people hanging about on the street is a problem - I'm all in favour of pedestrianising our communities.

"Obviously if any person is behaving in a way that is hurting or threatening other people, then we have to deal with that. But the Executive are saying that young people in general are a problem we need to deal with."They are refusing to say if they'll be tagging eight year olds or not.

"Imagine a wee eight year old child who can't go out in shorts in the summer because he's got the bad boy label on. What kind of message is that for young people?

"In the absence of any real, progressive legislation on poverty, they're using a few words that appeal to people's fears and I think will have a really negative effect, not just on young people but on all of our communities."

The Scottish Socialist Party was the only political party to speak out against the proposals, but anti-poverty groups were also critical.

As the Executive launched their crusade, the Scottish Human Services Trust released a report, Staying Human by Gerry Hassan and Sue Rawcliffe, saying that the Executive have failed to address real poverty and inequality.The report says Scotland has become more unequal since the founding of the Scottish Parliament.Hassan also criticised the Scottish Executive's increasing tendency to talk in "morally authoritarian" terms of blame and punishment, especially where young people are concerned:

"The Scottish debate never used to have that punitive language. These young people who are getting tagged better hurry and grow up and vote."

On Saturday, Rosie was in Edinburgh to unveil a mural painted by a group of young people under the guidance of a youth project called Citizen Y.

Angered by the way that young people have been scapegoated by the Scottish Executive, a couple of weeks ago they decided to rename their mural Who are you calling a ned?

Rosie told the Voice:

"The mural has been created by the young people who are viewed, labelled and dismissed by the politicians as 'neds'."The project has given them something to do, and they've made something beautiful out of it."Treating young people positively means you get positive attitudes back from them, just like anybody else."

Further article HERE from the magazine Frontline

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Get some Socialist R&B...

I reviewed Thee Factions previous album At Ebbw ValeHERE and will review their new album Up the Workers OR: Capitalism is good for corporations; that's why you've been told socialism is bad all your life,  in the coming days.

In the meantime, if you would like a free copy - I have one to give away!  To claim it, send me one sentence on how you are fighting capitalism, to  The winner will judged by me to be the person who has a suggestion that we can all take up and use. Ends 18 August.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Pamphlet's from the past...

Our comrades from the down and dirty Socialist R&B group, Thee Faction, have drawn our attention to this Pamphlet from the Past.  Definitely worth a read, comrades.

Read Thee Faction's introduction to the pamphlet and click on their link to read it here- GDH COLE ON GUILD SOCIALISM

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Swinson- increasingly divorced from realities of living in East Dunbartonshire

I have been finding our local LibDem/ConDem/Tory MP, Jo Swinson's "e-consultations" and online presence are becoming less and less about her constituency, and more and more about her want to make an impact with the "federal party" she is part of, and building a CV for the inevitable crash of the Lib Dems.

  Lately, Swinson has replied to me via email to pronounce her support of Nuclear Weapons and "an alternative" to Trident being the imperative - 

"A non-nuclear defence is not currently a viable option and the EDM does not recognise that we continue to live in an uncertain, unpredictable world where proliferation of nuclear weapons is still a priority for some countries. We also cannot assume that current nuclear states will remain stable and pose no threat to our country and its interests. The risk may be low, but so long as a risk exists, we cannot leave ourselves vulnerable and so some minimal deterrent is needed."

I would like to know what this threat she is hinting at is - and why reacting to this threat with a nuclear deterrent is a necessary and positive response.  Would we really attack another country - killing many innocent families, children and workers - if some deranged terrorist or dictator launched an attack on us?  

If you would like a copy of her response to my request for her to sign EDM 1924 regarding the Trident Review, please email me at 

Anyway, her latest e-consultation asks the question, 

"Do you agree that the government should invest in high speed rail between London and the north of England?"

I felt this question was not only far removed from her "localism" campaign to be elected in the past two General Elections, but also shows her as a career politician, making sure of her place in the decimated LibDem Party after the next General Election (which, the way this coalition are going, could be sooner rather than later).  Positioning herself as Vince Cables PPS will, perhaps after the election give her some sort of political position or at least a great entry in her CV.  

Remember - between her and her MP husband, their family income is over £120,000 a year - not bad for two career politicians who have never had to struggle.  The least she could do is fight for working families and poorly paid people in her own constituency.  East Dunbartonshire is a place where we are reliant on public sector jobs - teachers, nurses, doctors and other "civil servants" commute daily to Glasgow and other cities and large towns for a diminishing return thanks to the VAT increases, increase in transport costs, increase in food prices and increases in fuel prices to name a few - alongside frozen wages.  The median wage is £21,000 - far removed from her wage of over £64,700 plus allowances, including travel.  How many East Dunbartonshire working people get transport allowances into Glasgow or Edinburgh or elsewhere?  How many East Dunbartonshire people get their subscription the the Bearsden Milngavie Herald as a work expense?  Or their mobile phone bill paid?  As a teacher, I am in contact with my Head Teacher and other colleagues about work quite a lot - perhaps Jo should fight for ALL workers to have their mobile phone, travel to work and subscription to a local paper paid for through company expenses?

Swinson is increasingly being seen as the well off young person who has never had to work or struggle for her income she is.  And increasingly as someone divorced from the present day hard realities of living in East Dunbartonshire. 

This is my reply to her current anglo-centric consultation:
A fully integrated, updated public transport system is vital to our country - and indeed to East Dunbartonshire, which this question, and more and more of your "consultations" seem to forget about.

As the economy slumps and as more and more of your constituents have less and less money to help the economy grow due to the Lib Dem policy of support for the Tory plans to make the poor and working pay for the crisis of capital created by millionaires and billionaires, a free public transport system for the huge amount of commuters from East Dunbartonshire would be a policy that would not only help poor and working families financially; it would be a boost to the local economy as people would be left with more of a disposable income.  It would also help clear our streets from  the curse of the car (and ensure the predicted one hour travel time from Milngavie to Canniesburn DOES NOT happen post-Kilmardinny development).

Our policy of Free Public Transport - a policy that has been successful in other parts of the world in boosting economies and in creating a cleaner environment, can be found here along with links to articles in the Herald praising this "audacious" plan.  

Neil Scott
Organiser, Campsie Socialists.

Open Letter to Swinson HERE
Criticism of her so called feminism HERE

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Doleman's Downfall

Article by Campsie SSP member Neil Scott on James Doleman and Philip Stott's strange view on the events leading up to Tommy Sheridan's incarceration HERE

Friday, 1 July 2011

Update on threats to SSP Councillor Jim Bollan

(see HERE for original post)
Jim has sent this statement to us -

"The death threats and vile hate messages from right wing Zionists will have no effect on the Council's boycott of Israeli goods.  These threats expose the paucity of the arguments these Zionists try to put forward to justify the slaughter of innocent Palestinians by the IDF.  The boycott was unanimously approved by WDC and remains in place.  The Council Leader only last week confirmed and re-enforced our policy which was taken on humanitarian grounds after the IDF killed 1,300 innocent Palestinians in Gaza in 2008/2009.  The Scottish Socialist Party stands 100% behind the Palestinians. Unless we speak out...nothing will change."

Remember - Swinson, the Tory collaborator, will get a bigger pension than you!

...and after only being an MP for 9 years!  Click on image below to see just HOW much bigger!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

CiF Watch Threaten Scottish Councillor

Threat to SSP Councillor from Pro-Zionist Website

Creepy pro-zionist web page, “CiF Watch” (Website HERE and twitter account @CiFWatch) has issued a threat to Councillor Jim Bollan after he endorsed West Dunbartonshire Council’s boycott of Israeli goods.

The West Dunbartonshire boycott reads, This Council condemns the massacre of 9 peace activists by the Government of Israel, and the continuing blockade of Gaza. Council notes these brave people were trying to deliver 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza which has been blockaded since 2007 by the IDF. This Council therefore re-affirms its current boycott of all Israeli goods. Council also agrees to write to all Scottish Local Authorities, Westminster and Holyrood Governments calling on them to implement an immediate boycott of all Israeli goods.
Motion by Councillor Jim Bollan – Boycott of Israeli Goods

US based CiF Watch have posted an article by contributor, Aussie Dave, who has said “Jim Bollan: you are going down.” (see HERE )

The site, was purportedly set up to counter Guardian articles about Israeli Human Rights infringements in the occupied territories and Gaza (see Amnesty International concerns about Israel HERE  and HERE ), but seems to have been set up to threaten anyone with a contrary view to Zionist propaganda.

CiF Watch have refused, contrary to their own site rules that state, “Comments which are ad hominem, racist, contain threats of violence or other inappropriate material will be deleted,” to withdraw the article. In a Twitter conversation with a SSP Campsie member, CiF first denied there was a threat and then said the threat came from Jim. The person behind the Twitter account does not seem to have control, or understanding, of the posts on the CiF site.

The Twitter conversation can be found on the @sspcampsie twitter feed.

(Screen grabs of original article below)

SSP statement after the Israeli storming of the Peace Flotilla HERE
Podcast and video of Jim Bollan HERE and HERE