Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Independence Discussion - BBC report

featuring Co-convenor SSP Colin Fox

 Read Colin's blog on this and Bill Newman's in depth report HERE

SSP co-convenor on BBC News tonight

Co-convenor Colin Fox is on BBC 6.30pm news explaining the SSP view on the independence currency issue. 

Articles HERE

Scotland's Currency

in support of Colin Fox's blogpiece
by Bill Newman
Suddenly everyone wants to speculate on what form an independent Scotland's currency should take and it is not surprising that the No campaign should use its usual scare tactics to frighten the electorate. It is nonsense to pretend that an independent Scotland would be compelled to use the Euro, just as it is absurd to insist that a link to the sterling would inevitably mean that an independent Scotland would necessitate an economic policy beholden to Westminster.

However, it has been unwise of the SNP to insist that an independent Scotland would continue to use the pound sterling, dependent on the monetary policy pursued by the Bank of England (and, inevitably, to Westminster). Even if the English authorities were to acquiesce to a Scottish Government's request for a member on the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, is it seriously believed that such a presence would make the slightest difference to policy decisions? Indeed, Scotland' s monetary policy decisions would have to be those determined by the Bank of England (and, again, inevitably, by Westminster). It's true that Scotland would be able to make its own fiscal policy, but fiscal policy is heavily dependent on monetary policy.

There are, though they are unsurprisingly not publicly stated, good reasons why Westminster would want to continue to dominate Scotland's economic policy decisions through monetary ties. There can be no doubt that the UK's balance of payments would suffer drastically without Scotland and some continued hold on Scotland's monetary policy would at least alleviate a crisis in confidence in sterling. But why should Scotland not want to sever formal links to the Rest of the UK's currency when its external balances would be so far superior to the RUK's? For the Scottish government to demand such an unwise subservience to an English currency in these circumstances seems perverse, and not all nationalists agree with this stance. Margo McDonald has expressed a wish for an initial parity link with sterling and it is such an informal link that makes sense. The arguments put forward by Gordon Macintyre Kemp and the eminent economists cited in newsnet Scotland for a continued link with the pound sterling are compelling, not least as a free-floating Scottish currency would appreciate rapidly on positive prospects for Scotland's current account of the Balance of Payments, damaging prospects for Scotland's exports and tourist earnings, but any such tie need not be formal or depend on the whims of the Bank of England. An informal link by an independent country of its currency to another or to a basket of other currencies is by no means uncommon and would seem to be, at least as an interim measure, the most sensible course for an independent Scotland to take. Certainly, Scotland would need an independent Currency Board of its own with powers determined by the Scottish Government. Given the scale of Scotland-RUK economic transactions and a rational desire not to disrupt such transactions, then an initial establishment of parity between a Scottish currency and a RUK pound would seem sensible, at least in the short to medium term. What future arrangements could be made with the Bank of England and the Westminster government could happily be left to time and the development of relations between the two states.

Colin Fox was, of course right, in his recent blog to point out that there are no simple, infallible solutions to the establishment of a future Scottish currency. He was also right to mention that any of the possibilities being currently discussed are all within the framework of a capitalist economy within a capitalist world, but that is the present reality of Scotland's situation and practical solutions are needed to practical questions. In these circumstances, the establishment of an independent currency linked for the time being to the pound sterling would seem to be the best solution for an independent Scotland.

Bill Newman spent most of his working life in banking, latterly as head of economics and then as Assistant General Manager of a City of London bank. For some 15 years he was also editor of and wrote for a journal on international monetary economics.

He has an interest in African matters, having been responsible for economic and political reporting on sub-Saharan Africa for Westminster Bank and writing for some years for the Europa Yearbook on Somalia and Ethiopia.

He was also on the Executive Committee and the Management Committee of the Banking, Insurance and Finance Union (BIFU) and a delegate to the TUC.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Why I joined the SSP

by new SSP Campsie member, Kevin Hattie

In the summer of 2010 I embarked on the journey of a lifetime to South America through the ‘World Challenge’ organisation which gives young people the chance to travel throughout the world and make a difference while they are doing so. 

The idea of the trip is not only to give young people the opportunity to see amazing countries with incredible cultures, but it is also about the personal development of the people who choose to be involved. The trip to Ecuador certainly helped me gain useful life skills such as leadership and better organisational ability but most importantly for me it made me think about the way I see the world.

Ecuador like most countries in Latin America has deep inequality and the difference between the wealthy and the poor is much greater than anything I have ever encountered before or even since. I was aware before I set foot on the continent that it was recognised as part of the developing world, but you can never really prepare yourself for the reality of poverty until it stares you in the face. Latin America has many famous places such as the Amazon rainforest, the world’s largest, which I had the pleasure of visiting as well as the Galapagos Islands and the Andes mountain Range. But for me the most amazing thing about the continent is its desire to claim its own identity back from the Northern invaders who have played a role which rivals the Spanish in impoverishing it and making it almost a servant to its empire. I looked upon tropical rainforest as far as the eye could see and I saw an abundance of wildlife found nowhere else on the planet in the most bio diverse place on the earth, I even saw the great South American Condor glide over the rocky cliff tops of the Andes but this is all secondary to the lessons I learned from the people. 

One evening in a village on the edge of the cloud forest region of Golondrinas, I sat down with the woman who was hosting us and another 2 travellers who had been across the central belt of the continent to places such as Paraguay and Bolivia. I was expecting to hear stories of the sights they had seen and to be given recommendations for future travel on the continent, but the advice they gave me was much more valuable and I will always be grateful to them for sharing it with me. The female traveller who lived in France but was born in Chile had told me of her father’s story. He was a school teacher in Santiago and had been a great admirer of the work the then president Salvador Allende was doing in confronting social inequality throughout the country. She went on to explain how he raised the standards of living to even the poorest Chileans and how he pursued a program of mass literacy and nutrition. It was clear to me why her father would admire such a president because even in the developed world where I live problems at the bottom end of societies scale are often neglected and the most vulnerable people are forced to take the heaviest blows in times of economic hardship for the whole country. As she went on to tell me of President Allendes downfall, and how he was overthrow by a coup d’état led by General Pinochet and backed by Washington, I thought to myself why would anyone overthrow such a government? There was real hope for the people of Chile, so why did no one stop this from happening in the name of democracy and justice? She told me of how her father was forced to flee from his home in Santiago and seek refuge with his brother who lived in France. Pinochet had been rounding up Allende supporters and often this resulted in their death a fact that really hit home the brutality of what Chile had to endure after Allende was gone.  I could see the anger etched across her face as she told me of her families’ traumatic experience and this anger did not result in her turning out to be a violent person or anything of the sort, instead she used it to fuel her passion for helping the people of her rightful continent. She explained how she and her companion were travelling across South America working at project after project because they felt lucky in escaping the misery inflicted upon the people by right wing despots like Pinochet. I was inspired by her story and her passion but her desire to help the poor was not a rare characteristic among the communities I had visited in my time in Ecuador.

I travelled from Glasgow to Quito with a book for company. The book was called: From Mud Hut To Perpetual Revolution; The Hugo Chavez story. I read of how Chavez had grown tired of his countries wealthy elite getting rich off of the great resources which blessed Venezuela’s land. I read of how he had emerged from the bottom of Venezuelan society to leading the country into a brighter future. He confronted the large Oil companies who had stolen Venezuelan people’s right to prosperity and he demanded that the people of Latin America wake up and take control of their own destiny, all in the name of Socialism.  I decided being on the continent that Chavez had helped change that it would be a crime to leave without asking people who had first hand experience of the Bolivarian revolution what it was like and what their opinions were on Chavez and their own leader Correa. Back home people told me of how Chavez was another crazy dictator and how his people were not free while he ruled. The news also at times hammered home this message, but in reality the people whom I spoke to said we love Chavez. Chavez has given us a voice! He has given us hope! We are now proud to be Latin Americans! I was pleased to hear the people back home were wrong and that Chavez’ revolution, which had stretched beyond Venezuela to Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay, was embraced by the people who were needing change most.

When I returned home from Ecuador I became desperate to find out more about how Socialism was emerging in Latin America and how it was giving hope to the kind of people I had met. In my research I had found a history of US intervention and state sponsored killing in an effort to stop socialism. The strange thing was it didn’t seem as though they were trying to stop Socialism from becoming the dominant political ideology in the region because it was wrong or causing problems. They tried to stop it because it would be a model that the world could follow in order to create a more equal and just earth. It was an ideology that questioned the injustices and corruption which always seems to follow Capitalism. My reading had left me believing that in order for, not just Latin America but for the world, to become a fairer place that we need to find a way for Democratic Socialism, in its true form with no Greedy corrupt politicians abusing it, to replace Capitalism and end the sheer injustice which is ingrained in Capitalisms bloody and corrupt history.

As a new aspiring member of the SSP, I believe that this party holds the same belief that Salvador Allende of Chile had, the same desire to end Injustice that Che Guevara had, the same desire to join together in unity to fight corruption and greed that Hugo Chavez possessed and the same altruistic and humanitarian values which I feel are important.  Here in Scotland we face our own challenges, Independence and the right to control our own future, ending conservative rule and ridding our society of the values which are preached by people like David Cameron and were preached by Margaret Thatcher, and finally creating a more equal society with everyone having a voice, everyone having enough food on the table and a roof over their head. I hope that in joining the SSP I will be part of making this a reality, because in contrast to what people say about the world just being the way it is and there’s nothing you can do to change it I believe not for the first time they are wrong.

I visited Ecuador in 2010 believing I was going over to help people who were considered the have not’s of the world. When I returned I found I was a have not, and that they gave more to me than I could ever give to them with my material world. The only way I can ever repay the people of Ecuador for the life lesson they gave me is to do everything I can to make this world a better place. I believe the best way I can do this is through Socialism. So fuelled by the thoughts of the smiles of all the little kids that showed me how to be happy with having enough, I will hopefully be able to bring their message to the society I live in and be the change that I want to see in the world.

Join the Scottish Socialist Party HERE

Saturday, 20 April 2013

SSP Conference 2013

Today's Scottish Socialist Party conference in Edinburgh signalled a renewal of the party in many ways.

The conference reiterated a commitment to a fair, poverty and nuclear free Scotland- an independent country, prosperous with re-distributed resources, labour, and power.

After positive, progressive motions were discussed, conference heard from Co-convenors Sandra Webster and Colin Fox; Dennis Cannavan from the Yes campaign and Jonathan Shafi from the Radical Independence Campaign.

This years conference was live tweeted ( @The_SSP_) and included video and powerpoints ( the video can be seen in yesterday's post below).

This conference was the emergence of a new party of ideas and discussion.

A party for the people. A party that fights alongside the people. A party of the people.

Singing Down the Government!

Celebrating the Scottish Socialist Party, 2013


Conference TODAY - Saturday 20th April, 10am, Augustine United Church, Edinburgh.

Join the revolution!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Faslane blockaded today!

Around 500 protestors closed down Faslane nuclear weapons base today.
Arrests were 43 in total including a 13 year old. 28 women and 15 men denonstrators were dragged away by Scotland's Police.

SSP Co-convenor, Sandra Webster was joined at the base by SSP Campsie member, 90 year old Ron Mackay who recalled being arrested in 1960 when the USA first based nuclear weapons just up the road from Glasgow.

"All of the jails in Scotland were filled with people demonstrating against these murdering machines. After Nagasaki and Hiroshima, as a young man who fought against Nazi-ism, I vowed I would fight against these disgusting weapons of mass destruction. We fought between 1939 - 1945 to end wars and create a fair society. I have been fighting for the past 50 years to have these death machines taken from Scottish soil and waters. Hopefully next September the people of Scotland will vote for Independence and we can have them dismantled forever."

Photos via SSP Co- convenor @gallusgirl @scott_eff and reports via @Ross_Greer @nwsocialist @the_ssp_ and others

Saturday, 13 April 2013

The SSP say Scrap Trident!

A large contingient of SSP members and supporters marched in support if the calls to Scrap Trident today in Glasgow.

SSP co-convenor, Sandra Webster said, "It is so inspiring to see so many people fighting for the future of our country. This proves we are a caring nation. No-one in Scotland would want our nation to be the launch-pad for weapons that could annihilate entire cities of poor and working people.

"A Yes vote in the referendum next year will, I am convinced, mean the eradication of nuclear weapons from the British Isles, and quite possibly, Europe!"

Friday, 12 April 2013

MSP's Refuse to sign Thatcher Tribute...

The Express headline should be "Nine Traitors Agree with Thatcher's Decimation of Scotland."


Thursday, 11 April 2013

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

In memory...

I found this Thatcher tribute online. If anyone knows who wrote it, I will credit them.

: For :

The Miners 

The Shipbuilders 
The Steelworkers 
The Old that Froze to Death 
The Old that Couldn't Afford Food 
For the Thousands Made Homeless 

The North 
The Disenfranchised Black Youth 
The Lost Generation of Young 
The Hillsborough families 

The men dead in a conflict designed to win 
her an election 
The men traumatised from the Falklands War 
For Northern Ireland 

my mam and dad 
my Grandparents 
my brother 

every LGBT kid who committed suicide due to 
Section 28 in schools 
The teachers 
The victims of gaybashing which were never investigated due to pressure from her government 
For the gay men stitched up and banged up 
for being gay 

The women of Greenham Common who were beaten 
and had their kids forcibly taken into care 
for no reason 

For the men and women assaulted in the 
Battle of the Beanfield 
For the men and women consigned to the 

For the services that used to belong to all 
of us and now are badly run in the hands of
the rich 
For the country that used to stand for 
social justice and created the


Health Service 

The mentally ill thrown out on the streets 
The children abused in care homes and 
ignored or worse abused by some in her 
I celebrate the death of a woman who caused 
so much pain.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Yes Torrance!

Below are some photos of last nights well attended Yes Torrance meeting where SSP Campsie members Dr Sonya Scott and Bill Newman were speakers alongside Neil Scott and SNP MSP Fiona Mcleod. The meeting and Yes conversation with the villagers, ended with a stirring and emotional contribution from 90 year old Ron Mackay, who spoke about his 50 year struggle against Nuclear Weapons, and his wish to see an Independent Scotland banishing these indiscrimminate, unsafe, evil weapons from our shores.
27 new Scottish citizens signed the declaration; some of them asking to become part of the ever growing East Dunbartonshire Yes Scotland campaign team!

Neil wrote an article for the Huffington Post following the meeting. ARTICLE HERE

Monday, 8 April 2013

The best legacy...

...for what Thatcherite policies did to Scotland is to vote YES next year. Thatcher's Government got away with making greed and vicious profits before people policy acceptable- with the effect of smashing Scotland and the UK. She oversaw the devastation of working Scotland- industries such as mining and steel were thrown onto the bonfire fueled by Tory ideology, and democracy was stomped on by  her Government's anti-union jack-boot.  The policy of greed and selling off housing, industry etc to short-term profiteers led directly to the 2008 economic crash and the death of manufacturing in this country.
The woman who welcomed and protected Chilean fascist leader Pinochet  and said there would never be an ANC Government and that "terrorist" Nelson Mandela should be shot has been outlived by Mandiba and the struggle for South African equality. The viciousness of her allowing -and ordering- deaths from Ireland; through Gibraltar and The Belgrano painted us as a nation of murderers. She died on the 32nd anniversary of Bobby Sands election as an MP, days before she allowed the young man to die of starvation. Her nasty complicity in Hillsborough...
All of this nasty, vile ideological, pathological Government policy blights us today, and like a bully unconfronted ( because the official opposition in the Labour Party and snakes in the grass Liberal Democrats have done nothing less than capitulate and throw workers to the billionaire wolves) Cameron, Osborne, Clegg, Swinson, Boris et al have stepped up their attacks on working class people. They learned nothing only to do it again. From Poll Tax to Bedroom Tax.
Thatcher has died on the day more disgusting attacks have been meted out on disabled and vulnerable people.
The only way to bury the bile and ugliness of Thatcherism is a Yes vote next year.
By Campsie SSP member Neil Scott
Bury Thatcherism, Vote Yes HERE

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Yes Torrance

Yes Torrance meeting tomorrow night at 7pm in the Community Ed. Ctr.

Speakers Bill Newman, Dr Sonya Scott and MSP Fiona Mcleod.

Please come early.