Sunday, 23 December 2012

John Morrison

We are shocked to hear of the tragic death of John Morrison who led East Dunbartonshire Council from 2003 to 2007. He was a gentleman and a man of great humour.

Report here

Leveson - a very small step...

by Ron Mackay

The 30s was a time of depression,strikes hunger marches etc. Then came the Spanish civil war and Alex Donaldson went off to join the International Brigade. 

Then came WW2. 

I spent 4 yrs. In the Royal Navy. The returning servicemen, having witnessed the senseless slaughter of millions of human beings – Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden,Hamburg, London, Coventry, Clydebank etc. wanted a change. The Labour party responded to the mood and produced a program that seemed to promise a road to Socialism. The major industries were nationalised including transport and energy. The national health service was set up and the welfare state was established.

The Labour Party swept the polls. 

Willie Gallacher and Phil Piratin got into parliament as Communist MPs . In Clydebank 5 Communist councillors were elected. 

Prefabs were brought in to help with housing as left-wing councils set about rebuilding and restoring our damaged towns and cities. It seemed the advance to socialism had begun. 

 Alas one vital service was neglected – the media - was left in the hands of the Tories. The press barons, Lords Beverbrook, Kemsley, Rothermere and Astor controlled the media. The Labour Party, never a Socialist Party, made a mess of nationalisation. The old capitalist bosses were left to run the industries, ignoring the trade unions as usual and blaming every set back on nationalisation which the media exploited to the full and called for the restoration of private ownership. The role of the media played a very significant part in the return of the Tories. 

 As Goebbels said at the Nurenburg trials whoever controls the media controls the policies of countries whether democracy or dictatorship.

Leveson had nothing to say about the ownership and control of the media.

Friday, 21 December 2012

On Alasdair Gray...

email conversation about Alasdair Gray's recent controversial article (more background in the excellent BELLA CALEDONIA article)

Bill... What is your take on the attack on A Gray' in the Scotland on Sunday article? I think (as a recent immigrant) his words were welcoming, thoughtful and are being twisted by Better Together at the moment.


reply by Bill Newman

I have no concerns whatsoever about Alasdair Gray's comments which seem to me to be factual.  As a sassenach I (and you) have settled in Scotland  and, as Gray says. we are as much part of Scotland as any other immigrant and, of course, immigrants in the past have included Vikings, Irish, Normans and so on.  Colonialists are different and are those who spend time in the colonies of an imperial power, make their money and return home; again, surely a literal description of the English who come to Scotland, take a senior position, pocket the proceeds of his/her activities and goes back to the Imperial power - England.  I wonder if he had the unlamented director of Creative Scotland in mind?  Gray will not be upset by the criticisms - he never is - and he is not a man to change his considered views, nor the way he expresses them.
He is dreadfully underestimated as a writer and artist, probably because he doesn't fit into any ism.  I think that Lanark is the finest novel by far to have been written in Scotland in the 20th century and his visual work merits much higher praise than it receives.  Of his recent work, why isn't his magnificent ceiling and surrounds in the top hall of Oran Mor better known and why is his more recent mural in the booking hall of Hillhead Subway Station not acknowledged as the witty and humane masterpiece which it certainly is.  He is, of course  a socialist, but  of an individual and iconoclastic bent.   A great man!!

The Swinson List

Jo Swinson has sent out an email asking those on her email list if they will be avoiding shopping in companies who have been shown to actively tax avoid.  This is SSP Campsie Organiser, Neil Scott's brief reply.

"I will be avoiding Starbucks (which will be a huge chunk from their profits as I am a coffee fiend :P ).  I also avoid all Nestle products and have done for many years and choose not to shop - if I can -in ASDA because of Walmart's terrible employee relations and use of Workfare, and likewise I will be doing my best to avoid Tescos for their use of Workfare slavery.  Also, the charity, PDSA and as much as I can, those on this list  who have not pulled out of the scheme.  

I will also be avoiding Marks and Spencer and Waitrose because of their refusal to dis-invest from Israel.

 I will also be ensuring, along with my SSP comrades and those new socialist contacts in East Dunbartonshire who I have met in relation to the Radical Independence Conference, that your part in the destruction of the Education , and NH services in England and welfare across the UK and support for what are now being seen to be LETHAL cuts are well publicized.  It is disgraceful what you have actively VOTED FOR as an individual and as a member of the Liberal Democrats, these terrible cuts to have taken place in England - cuts that benefit the few investors, including politicians,  in Serco, ATOS and the companies in waiting who are ready to break up and profit from our services.  

The impoverishment of an increasing number of people, and the abhorrent reliance on foodbanks (something your coalition partners seem to welcome) shows how much the poor and rich really are NOT in this together.  

Our publicly owned services should be protected in Scotland, and I feel avoiding the Tory, Liberal Democrat and New Labour driven "Better together" campaign is the best thing Scots can do to ensure this happens.

Neil Scott

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Unionist "No" Campaign Hijacks Milngavie Lights switch on

Please Read the original Bearsden Milngavie Herald article HERE

Our reaction:

Shoppers and those in Milngavie to see the switching on of the Christmas lights were reminded last week by Jo Swinson why we are “Better Together.”  The Scottish Socialist Party don’t have any problem with Jo bringing the discussion to the streets of Milngavie.  In fact, Jo being the face of the Better Together campaign in the area goes someway to remind us what remaining in the political Union will bring us if we don’t achieve independence.
Jo is an enthusiastic member of the Tory/ Liberal Democrat coalition.  She voted for student fees in English Universities.  She voted for the privatisation of the English NHS.  Though, thank goodness, at the present time Swinson and her Westminster friends cannot give our health and education systems away to their friends.  But competition law may impose a dismantled NHS – one that most Doctors in England are convinced will lead to a system similar to that in the US, where regardless of pain or suffering, if you haven’t got the right insurance, you will have to suffer on.
The biggest reminder that Better Together enthusiast Jo brings to us of what a No vote in 2014 will bring for the people of Scotland is her and her party’s enthusiasm for austerity.  In fact, all of the parties involved in the Better Together campaign agree on this.  None of them are fighting the 25% slash in the Scottish budget this year – that means a 25% cut in the East Dunbartonshire education budget and a 25% cut in our NHS and a 25% in our social care budget. 
The three parties, Tory, Liberal Democrat and Scottish New Labour agree on introducing cuts that will throw those people in our society in the direst need into ever deepening poverty, the difference between the Better Together chums being the timescale.  Swinson’s coalition Government, under the financial guidance of the Scottish Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander and George Osborne have admitted last weekend that they ‘got their figures wrong’ and austerity will last even longer and be even deeper than first thought.  The more Swinson is on the streets of East Dunbartonshire reminding us what their campaign really means, the better.  The Sunday Herald last week highlighted the effects of her support for the misnamed “reform” of Social Welfare – the headline on the first page ran, “Sick and Disabled Forced to work Without Pay.”
On the other side of the discussion, the Yes Campaign is made up of parties and individuals with sometimes differing  visions of what an Independent Scotland can be, from Women for Independence, through the Radical Independence movement, Trade Unionists for Independence and groups across the political and cultural spectrum organising for a better Scotland.  But we are all agreed on fundamental things.  We agree that independence will see democracy coming closer to the people of Scotland.  We agree that the people of Scotland are blessed with talent, resources and creativity that will transform this Liberal Democrat/ Tory austerity blighted country into a country, not unlike her Nordic neighbours that are fairer, greener and more prosperous, and have done so with less spread of resources.  We are agreed that Scotland will speak her own voice and make her positive contribution to the world.  Jo and the Tory/Liberal Democrat/ New Labour coalition want us to continue with the union – a union that has created the fourth most unequal country in the developed world. A United Kingdom that has become two nations, one for the rich and one for the rest. The campaign against independence does not invite us into its Britain of wealth and privilege. It expects us to endure our Britain of austerity and exploitation.
Jo wants us to vote No to independence because they want us to vote Yes to inequality, Yes to poverty, Yes to corporate greed. They want us to know our place, not to get ideas above our station. They do not even offer to try to be better.
Next year, Jo’s vision of cuts, austerity and rumoured further bankers bailouts may mean that there will be no Christmas lights switch on for her to ‘hijack.’

Sunday, 2 December 2012

My reasons why Scotland should be independent

Mark Callaghan, Lennoxtown.

Due to the slavish following of neo-liberal economy policies over the last 30 years by governments of all shades, the British economy is now over-dependent on one very precarious and inefficient sector. The powers that be seem unwilling to prevent this.  By its very nature free-market capitalism is a reactive rather than pro-active system, short term with no contingency for long or even mid-term planning, so we are doomed to be adrift and to be engulfed by any tsunamis that come our way if we stay part of the union. We will get steadily worse and worse off - even those at the top of the tree due to this seeming blindness to the fact that the system that they espouse is based on a premise which is disastrous on any reckoning.

In an independent Scotland we will have the foresight to introduce some sort of planning into the economy, so as to help us diversify the economic base that we have to cope with the waves of terror-filled scenarios dreamed up by those who are opposed to this idea.
Secondly, our historic system of society were very different, i.e the feudal system was a very top-down one whereas the clan system was much more communal in basis.