Monday, 21 October 2013

Order your White Poppy...

In the coming months, will the BBC's programming on WW1 show how families were destroyed?

How lives were wrecked?

How this country is still deeply scarred by the aristocratic, money grabbing, land and resource coveting imperialists in the big houses who sent the poor and working class-our Great Grandfathers and Mothers - to die for a penny in the name of the King and God for no gain only pain, sorrow, misery, poverty and annihilation?

How many families struggled in deeper poverty after the loss of a daughter, son, a mother, a father, a brother, a sister?

How many families are decimated today because of the shareholders love of oil profits?

When will the BBC show that?

Buy your White Poppy HERE

Friday, 18 October 2013

Young people at the forefront of the struggle;

Join the Scottish Socialist Party

 by Angus Clark

Young people are at the forefront of today’s struggle for a better way to run society as they are the group who are suffering the deepest from the consequences of the present crisis of the capitalist system. A’ lost generation’ is no cliché but the hard reality for growing numbers of young people who are to be thrown onto the scrapheap at the very start of their working lives. No wonder we see the effects of disillusionment, anger and alienation. A university degree no longer leads on to a well paid secure career, as it once did. In fact the numbers attending further education is on the decrease thanks to the cutbacks in staffing and the economic hardship involved due to ever increasing fees, particularly in England and Wales. It is clear that the capitalist system does not now require large numbers in the workforce to be highly skilled and educated when the economic requirements are for primarily low wage low skilled part time jobs to compete with Asia. For example, in America the vast majority of the recent jobs increase is part time. Many of the jobs in this market have already been outsourced to cheap labour economies and this is now the preferred path for western countries.

This sense of alienation and hopelessness in young people is found expression in destructive activities like the austerity riots in Britain a few years ago but also in more constructive reactions in the form of grass roots revolutionary movements, as witnessed recently in Tunisia and Egypt. This level of working people’s disaffection has not expressed itself to the full as yet, particularly in the more conservative Western European countries with a background of illusory ‘democracy’ such as in Britain and Ireland. Nonetheless beneath the surface there is a pressure building, within the young people in particular, for more radical measures however this tendency for action is devoid of any true political leadership or tactical awareness. This role would normally be provided by the workers union movements however the unions are no longer working for radical change but would prefer to go down the ‘reformist’ path of working within the existing political apparatus to achieve concessions from whichever government is in power.

Young people have therefore been backed into a corner and are under attack from all western governments. In Britain many have no alternative but to accept the prospect of zero hours contracts with no certainty of a secure employment, or with part time work on minimum wage levels with little prospects of career progression. Many face unemployment after years of study. More and more employers are taking advantage of the young unemployed and exploiting them to increase their profit margins.[Soon if the Government has its way young people will be made to work for nothing for their benefits, a modern form of slave labour] . The argument that this provides a flexible labour market which is presently needed is not credible as this is purely and simply a way for the employer to increase profit margins with no benefits to the employee. Higher unemployment always means lower wages for those in work. This situation is remarkably similar to feudal times when the serfs were at the beck and call of the landowner. The sporadic nature of this type of zero hours employment makes it extremely difficult for the young or any worker to organise into unions to defend their interests and also prohibits planning for a stable social or family life.

Young people are constantly fed the lie that the jobs are out there and that they are not trying hard enough. We all know this is a myth and that many young people are now so desperate that it is now commonplace to find the majority of a workforce employed on a part-time basis and that many have to combine a number of part time jobs to pay the bills.

The media also play their part in the demonization process by falsely announcing the end of the recession after barely recognisable decreases in the unemployed rate. If the young can merely wait another ten or fifteen years for the recession to end then all will be fine, however by that it time it will be too late for a lost generation forced to put off having a family or being independent of their parents. Deception is the primary motive here and this is in the form of the financial trickery used by the economists on behalf of their masters in government to delude the general public into thinking that the main economic indicators are better than they actually are. For example, manipulation of the unemployment figures has regularly taken place since Thatcher in the form of the redefinition of unemployment to include only those who claim benefit. Originally this figure included all those who registered and for whatever reason may not have claimed. Those on workfare or disability/ incapacity benefit [ now Personal Independence Payment]also do not count thereby removing nearly a million from the national figures at a stroke.

Overwhelmingly, it is clear that the economic picture for young people is bleak and that the levels of real unemployment is much nearer the level of Spain or France and that regions of the country in the northeast and the west of Scotland are suffering badly.

The question which young people must ask themselves is why should they support and try to mend such an economic system which would assign them to the scrapheap if it could. What have they really got to gain from slogging away  a working lifetime for a zero hours contract job or behind a call centre desk ten hours a day for just enough to merit the basic essentials. Is this the most that they will be allowed to dream of as their future to look forward to? This is probably the first generation to which the answer to this question must be no, it is definitely not worth fighting to support such a system.

What then is the alternative? It is for a more rational, progressive, enlightened, sustainable and democratic social system which plans ahead for the future needs of the society based on a truly democratic workers participation and local control by those that actually produce the wealth of society. Young people must and need to fight for such a system based on these principles for in this way it is perfectly possible to provide adequately for all of societies basic needs in terms of housing, employment, education, health and most importantly the planned economic production controlled by the working people and not for the benefit of the parasitical elite, as presently exists.  The continuation of the present government policies will only see young people become  angrier and alienated which will eventually result in more social unrest as was evident two years ago. However this anger to be effective has to be harnessed and channelled in a positive way, and be informed and focused on achieving political change in the form of a socialist transformation of society. This is not a utopian dream but can be achieved with the involvement of young people being organised and forming part of a wider movement of workers, the unemployed and exploited sections of the population on low pay and zero hours and part time insecure contracts. The traditional mass workers party was the Labour Party however it has unfortunately lost it way and been taken over by the most vocal supporters of the present system. It is full of professional and careerist MP’s who are disconnected from the interests of working people or however well meaning are deluded into thinking that reformist policies are a way out until the next crisis, but having lost a whole young generation to the scrapheap in the process.

No, now is not the time for young people to go down the same mistaken route as those before them, but to join a socialist movement like the Scottish Socialist Party and become part of the struggle to achieve socialism. Young people should seek to become aware of the basic socialist principles as some theoretical understanding obtained from the great socialist thinkers of the past and present form a theoretical foundation which is important for any successful struggle. However young people more importantly need to be involved in whatever way they can through student bodies, workplace groups if union involvement is precluded and forming linkages internationally. The Scottish Socialist Party represents many different strands of left opinion and attempts to provide an organised, cohesive and effective political voice for both workers, the unemployed and young people alike.

We are now entering a new phase of this economic crisis where increasing numbers of working people and young people are becoming aware that the existing capitalist system is working against their interests [but for a small financial elite] and cannot be successfully repaired or reformed without their living standards continuing to fall to an even greater degree as the true extent of the crisis is much greater than many had previously believed. They are aware that even if a new partial economic ‘recovery’ is entered into in the coming years it will be of no benefit to that lost generation of young people thrown on the scrapheap as a sacrifice to the wealthy and privileged few. Increasingly it is clear that the previous gains fought for and achieved by the older generations of workers are being rolled back never to be seen again, that is, unless something radical emerges in the form of a strengthened and confident socialist movement organised with a leadership, strategy and tactics with linkages to other likeminded movements internationally. In this process it will be the young people who will be at the forefront of this struggle for change. The Scottish Socialist Party is that socialist movement to take forward the struggle and reaches out to young people to welcome them to the Party and to join them in this journey.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Monday, 14 October 2013

Campsie SSP Branch AGM

Saturday 26th October 

Special guest speaker TBA.

For details please email

This is our review/planning meeting for year ahead.  

If you are interested in helping/joining/becoming more involved - please come.  This meeting will also help us plan our engagement in the YES campaign locally as well as our own SSP independence campaigning.  

The SSP, like any union and organisation of the working class, only works with your involvement - we are not an organisation like the Labour Party/ Tories/ Lib Dems with huge resources at our disposal.  We can't afford to as these parties do, pay for huge media campaigns; PR firms or leafleting/canvassing teams.  The SSP is Your party - and needs you to commit to something - no matter how small - to ensure our message of fairness and socialism is heard.

At the meeting we will also be looking at how we engage in local issues as well as wider campaigns such as the bedroom tax etc. 

The SSP are one of the three parties who set up Yes Scotland - we are key to the campaign.  

To read our arguments for an independent Socialist Scotland - please buy our new pamphlet which clearly sets out our case. HERE 

And let the world know about us by buying a badge/ poster! - HERE

Yes Scotland: a 16 year old writes...

Saying Yes to Scottish Independence: An opportunity for social justice.

16 year old Michael Scott, who will vote in next year's Independence referendum, writes about why he will vote YES.

Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation - Alasdair Gray[1]

Do you want the chance to create a better Scotland? In the 2014 referendum on independence you’ll get that opportunity. Given the choice, I for one will be saying yes. Too many important matters are still controlled, and I would argue controlled badly, by Westminster. The democratic deficit and the ever-growing chasm between the values of the MPs in London and the people of Scotland are now impossible to ignore. Independence offers the possibility of a different political road; the case for change is strong.

First and foremost there is a lack of democracy for Scottish voters within the current political union. Over the last 30 years we have been governed, more often than not, by a political party which the majority of people didn’t vote for. In the most recent general election, only 11% of those eligible to vote in Scotland voted for the Conservative Party and only 23% voted for the Conservatives and Liberals combined[2]. The House of Commons’ report, on the 2010 general election results, notes the “complete detachment”2(p14) of Scotland from political trends in England and Wales. This political detachment is both determined by and reflected in the different socioeconomic values displayed by Westminster and Holyrood.

A number of important matters of government are already devolved including education and health and where we have had the power to make our own decisions we have chosen radically different policies. A good example of this is the difference between the management of the NHS in Scotland compared with what is happening to the NHS in England following the introduction of the new Health and Social Care Act. While the former Scottish Secretary of State for Health has categorically stated her opposition to private sector involvement in healthcare[3], the new English health act has sown the seeds of privatisation within the NHS in England[4]. Similarly in education there is a distinct difference in attitudes towards undergraduate tuition fees between the two governments. On the one hand, First Minister Alex Salmond has been unequivocal in his opposition to fees stating “The rocks will melt with the sun before I allow tuition fees to be imposed on Scottish students”[5] while on the other hand the Coalition government has allowed universities in the rest of the UK to charge fees of up to £9000 a year.[6]

Unfortunately however, under devolution a number of significant matters are still controlled by Westminster including the economy, welfare, and defence. Although Scotland has a traditional commitment to centre left political parties2, lack of control over these important areas means that substantial parts of our society can be determined by policies that the majority of the population are unlikely to agree with. For example, it is hard to imagine the combination of swingeing cuts to the welfare budget affecting the most vulnerable in our society[7] and reduction of the top rate of tax for high earners[8] being popular with the majority of Scottish voters. Similarly it has been estimated that 73% of Scots are opposed to government plans to renew Trident. And yet, these decisions and other important matters are imposed on us by a government which less than a quarter of the eligible Scottish electorate has voted for.

Finally, I would like to allay some of the main fears surrounding independence. The three main arguments against Scottish Independence seem to consist of us being too small, too stupid and too poor to stand on our own two feet.[9] Let me tackle each of these in turn. First, as to being too small, we don’t have to look too far afield to see many small countries prospering. A prime example of this would be Norway, which, like Scotland, has a population of about 5 million and off shore oil. However, unlike Scotland, Norway has complete control of the revenue of its oil resource and as a result has been able to use the accumulated surplus (approx £368bn) as a pension fund.[10] Another example of a small economy thriving is that of Iceland, which, with a population of just over 300,000, is bucking the European trend in terms of economic recovery from the financial crisis.[11]

 Secondly with respect to being too inexperienced to run our own affairs I’d argue that we already run many important national matters from Holyrood successfully including health, education and justice.

 Thirdly, as to us being too poor, a recent New Statesman article stated “not only does Scotland more than pay its way in the Union, but its overall fiscal position would actually be stronger as a fully sovereign nation”[12] The author of this article goes on to point out that although Scots represent just 8.4% of the UK’s total population they contribute 9.4% to its tax revenues which is equivalent to an extra £1000 for every person in Scotland relative to the contribution of others in the UK.

 An argument against Scottish Independence with which I do have sympathy is that it will ultimately decrease the chance of achieving a more socially democratic society on a UK wide basis. In the short-term I appreciate that the loss of Scottish voters may result in an increased proportion of right wing political representatives in the UK parliament. However, in the longer term I hope that having a neighbouring, flourishing, social democratic society may more powerfully change political attitudes across the rest of the UK than we have been able to do in recent years.

In conclusion, I would argue that fear of change is the only thing holding us back. Some change however, is good; and if we work as if we are in the early days of a better nation then this change will be for the good and the opportunity to create a more socially just society will be realised.


[1] Gray A. Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation. Herald Scotland. May 5 2007. (accessed 15 September 2012).

[2] Electoral Reform Society. The UK General Election 2010: In depth. House of Commons. 2010.

[3] Torrance D. Scottish Health Secretary: England will end NHS as we know it. The Guardian. March 22 2012 (accessed 15 September 2012)

[4] Campbell D. BMA's new leader: 'There's no evidence that a part-privatised NHS runs better'. The Guardian. August 31 2012. (accessed 15 September 2012)

[5] BBC News. SNP Conference: Salmond in free education pledge. (accessed 15 September 2012)

[6] BBC News. Students face tuition fees rising to £9000. (accessed 15 September 2012)

[7] UN urged to monitor welfare cuts. The HeraldScotland. September 21 2012. (accessed 21 September 2012)

[8] Stewart H. Budget 2012: 50p tax rate scrapped and allowance raised. The Guardian. March 21 2012 (accessed 15 September 2012)

[9]Scottish Independence: It’ll Cost You. The Economist. (accessed 21 September 2012)

[10]Wikipedia. The Government Pension Fund of Norway. (accessed 21 September 2012)

[11] Lyall S. A Bruised Iceland Heals Amid Europe’s Malaise. New York Times. July 12 2012. (accessed 21 September 2012).

[12] Maxwell J. Enough of The Scottish subsidy myth. The New Statesman. November 06 2011. (accessed 21 September 2012).

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Happy Birthday Comrade Mackay!

Wishing Comrade Ron Mackay a happy 90th birthday from all his comrades in Campsie branch. You are an inspiration!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Sign the petition...

To Ed Miliband, leader of UK Labour Party:

Present Emergency Motion in Parliament to Abolish the Bedroom Tax - NOW, not after 2015!

Sign HERE via @change

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Jo voted for war - against her Constituents wishes.

by Campsie SSP member, Neil Scott

Far from NOT being a vote for war, as some like our local MP Jo Swinson have billed the recent Syria motion that was defeated in Westminster, a yes vote would have meant that attacking Syria would have very much been on the cards.  The resulting no vote actually stayed the murderous hands of the US military as well as our own for long enough to ensure that Assad was talked round by the Russians and his chemical arsenal is now being destroyed by international experts.

Jo, as I wrote in a blogpiece, here had a dilemma - she says her instinct is to vote against war, but thought that the international community should be able to rain down from sky borne drone and missile, it's moral authority and disregard the wider authority of the United Nations.  She says as much in the blogpiece.

There is a dichotomy - a contradiction actually - in her words and in her actions.  There is definitely a contradiction in her "relief" at a UN "approach"; the fact that the motion did NOT give the UN primacy and the fact she actually feels that the UN is not the place that the final decision would be made.

On the contrary - Swinson felt that an undefined "international community" should be able to act without the consent of the United Nations.

Who are this "international community?"  The proposed action, of course, was proposed by the US.  An action the UK colaition did all they could to support.  Does Jo think that this country and the US have the moral authority to act alone in intervention in civil wars because other countries like China and Russia have "...such scant regard for the human rights of its own citizens?"

I won't defend obvious human rights abuses by China and Russia - but do we wield moral authority like Gods of Gods? Is she implying the moral authority of the UK is without stain?

The US - a country that has jailed Bradley Manning, the Cuban 5 and many without trial in Guantanamo Bay is unquestionably a moral authority above the rest?  Really?

 And our country that has recently carried out human rights abuses such as the police killings of Jean Charles de Menezes, Azelle Rodney and Ian Tomlinson; the torture and the deaths in UK armed forces custody of Iraqis such as Baha Mousa;  historical torture of Northern Irish political prisoners and the shootings and beatings of demonstrators there; the alleged collusion of security forces in the killings of lawyers, Pat Finnucane and Rosemary Nelson; the death in custody of the refugee Jimmy Mubenga and the continued detention of child refugees, despite assurances from the Liberal Democrats that this practise would stop. Or is it just because we are Western English speakers that gives us moral superiority?

I really am at a loss to see why we above the others are purest.  The list of human rights abuses carried out in this country goes on - but you get the picture. Jo believes that our Government, along with the US, have the moral right to police the world. The fact is, Russia nor China are muscling in on the middle East in quite the same militarist, missile laden and murderous drone way we are.

As well as that, Jo, in her letter below, admits that "all [of those constituents who contacted her prior to the vote]were against the UK taking military action in the immediate future..."

Yet, she felt she had the moral authority to 

1. keep the military option live by voting yes and 

2. by open admission in her blogpiece, ignore the UN if China and Russia had blocked a UN motion to take action ("I accept that the doctrine of ‘Responsibility to Protect’ can mean that action to prevent humanitarian calamity is appropriate.  I don’t accept that a country like Russia or China that has such scant regard for the human rights of its own citizens should always be able to stop an otherwise united and outraged international community from acting in extreme circumstances.")

All of the nonsense in the email below about her voting for this motion because it was not a direct call to arms is negated by her want to disregard how the UN security Council would have most likely voted - ie. no to military intervention in Syria.

Nick Clegg's stuttering and obfuscating on the night of the vote, when asked if this motion would mean that their would be a further Parliamentary debate, in my opinion, meant that the House voted no.  Clegg swung the vote through the perception of his dishonesty.  A man few in the UK now trust.  

Of course he couldn't guarantee that such a mealy mouthed motion would stop the PM bringing us to war by, for example the use of the Queen's Prerogative as Blair did in 2003 when he ordered "our boys" in to Iraq (the Queens Prerogative is a power that should have no place in a modern Western democracy; a power that it is used as a smoke-screen by ministers to obfuscate the use of power for which they are insufficiently accountable and a power that has brought us to war despite the democratic wish of the people or its elected representatives, of the UK).

Jo Swinson has, over and over again, been seen to vote against what the people of East Dunbartonshire first voted her in on.  The Liberal Democrats once proudly boasted their record on voting against war. Jo, swung by the ambitious ex-Tory Nick Clegg has voted against the council of her own constituents. From University fees through to the privatisation of the English NHS, her support for the impoverishing and dreadful welfare bill, some of which has been highlighted by the UN as it expressed it's "shock" at how aspects of it were pushing people into poverty; to rely on foodbanks and to suicide 

So much for the coalition adhering to the advice of the UN.  

I have reproduced the email I received from Jo below.  Our original FOI request is at the bottom of this article.  

Her statement that it "was not as straightforward as constituents asking me to vote yes or no," would be laughable if it were actually not so sinister.  This was a vote for or against keeping the military on standby - and in fact more than that - it allowed the military to begin a build up towards intervention - an intervention she knew would happen.

If not, she is self deluded about her responsibility to her constituents.  

She obviously thinks she has the authority to overrule the electoral authority those who voted for the "anti-war, anti-tuition fees, left of Labour" Lib Dems.

Dear Mr Scott,

Thank you for your email.

As an MP handling correspondence from constituents, I am not subject to Freedom of Information legislation (but I will do my best to answer your question nevertheless). If you want to make a Freedom of Information request to my Department (which is subject to FOI), details of how to do so can be found here: There is no reason that constituents should attempt to contact me at the Department, however, as I publicise this email address as my constituency address. Personally, I am not aware of any constituents having contacted my via the Department about this.

To answer your question, many of the emails I received where before the motion we were due to vote on was even published, and of those that were sent afterwards hardly any referred to any specifics of the motion itself. Therefore it was not as straightforward as constituents asking me to vote yes or no. In fact from the comments I received I think many people were under the impression that the House of Commons would be voting on military action, which of course as you know, we were not.

You will note, for example, that the motion we were voting on did not permit the UK carrying out military action alone unless a further vote had taken place, and called for the UN weapons inspectors to be allowed to finish their work. Many of those who emailed me argued along similar lines. Whilst all were against the UK taking military action in the immediate future, many people attached conditions in which they felt military action would be justified, whereas others simply stated that there should be no military action at all.

From the end of July until the evening of 29th August (when the vote took place), I received 57 emails from constituents on this issue. This included several from people who emailed more than once. Of those, 22 were sent prior to the motion even being published at 6.55pm on 28th August, and so could not have been specific to the actual motion. Of those sent after, the vast majority continued to comment on the issue generally, rather than the specifics of the motion.

The media so often like to present such matters as ‘for’ and ‘against’. However, these issues are generally more complex than that and I felt I had a responsibility consider what we were actually voting for: a motion condemning the actions of the Syrian regime in using chemical weapons against innocent civilians, noting that the UN weapons inspectors be allowed to finished their work, and noting that no military action would be taken without a further vote. There was nothing I disagreed with in that.

I hope that this answers your question. However, please do let me know if there is anything else I can assist with.

Yours sincerely,

Jo Swinson MP