Scotland

Limited tax powers for Scotland

Author: 

Dale Street

The cross-party Smith Commission on further Scottish devolution — set up following the “No” vote in September’s Scottish referendum — published its report last week.

The Scottish Parliament will have the power to set its own income tax rates and the income levels at which these are paid. Around half of VAT receipts will be allocated to the Scottish government’s budget. Control over Air Passenger Duty will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

The cross-party Smith Commission on further Scottish devolution — set up following the “No” vote in September’s Scottish referendum — published its report last week.

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Back Findlay/Clark!

Neil Findlay MSP and Katy Clark MP are standing for the leadership and deputy leadership of the Scottish Labour Party.

Neil Findlay MSP and Katy Clark MP are standing for the leadership and deputy leadership of the Scottish Labour Party.

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Unions back Findlay and Clark

Author: 

Dale Street

In an article published on LabourList on 13 November, Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey summed up the prospects for the Scottish Labour Party if Jim Murphy is elected leader. The ballot opened on 17 November and closes on 10 December.

“Jim Murphy is the candidate of the past and the candidate of division. His victory would be all the SNP’s Christmases come at once.

Labour in Scotland, like in the rest of the country, needs to re-connect with its working-class base. The two candidates who can achieve this are Neil Findlay for leader and Katy Clark for deputy leader.

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The exaggerated death of Scottish Labour

Author: 

Vince Mills, Campaign for Socialism and Red Papers Collective

The quote (actually a misquote) attributed to Mark Twain that reports of his death had been greatly exaggerated, could equally well apply to the Scottish Labour Left.

The vast majority of socialists in the Scottish Labour Party campaigned for and voted “no” in the referendum campaign. This in itself was enough for many in Left groups outside the party to consign it to the dustbin of history, rather perversely given the long anti-nationalist history of the socialist movement.

The Scottish Labour Left is far from a historical footnote. It may actually be on the verge of its most important hour.

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Scottish Labour: vote Findlay!

Over a hundred people turned up last Saturday (8 November) to a rally in Fauldhouse at which Neil Findlay MSP launched his campaign to be voted in as leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

Neil is the left challenger for the position, with Katy Clark MP standing as the left candidate for the post of Scottish Labour deputy leader.

The time is long overdue for Scottish Labour members to have a leader who is not an embarrassment, one for whom they are not constantly required to apologise.

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Unity: from wishing to do

Author: 

Rhodri Evans

Socialist Worker on 14 October called for unity on the left. The two articles in SW, one an editorial and one a comment by Alex Callinicos, suggested that the call was really aimed at Scotland.

The SWP hopes to reknit the fragments of the old Scottish Socialist Party split apart by Tommy Sheridan (with the SWP's support!) in the row over his libel case.

But how to move from a wish to appear as people who want unity, to actual progress?

Left-of-Labour candidates now rarely present themselves as boldly socialist, or much more than “anti-cuts”, and yet they get much poorer votes than in 2001-3.

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Scottish nationalism is a dead end

Author: 

Sandy McBurney

The Scottish referendum has to be understood in the context of a capitalist society which is now not merely somewhat rotten, but actually in a state of decay and threatening to disintegrate in many parts of the world.

The move to finance capital effectively announced by the end of the Bretton Woods system in 1971 resulted in Britain and other advanced capitalist countries removing much of their industrial base and marginalising from society large sections of the working class.

A contribution to the discussion about the implications of the Scottish independence referendum by a left activist in Glasgow.

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Jim Murphy would be a disaster

Author: 

Dale Street

Neil Findlay, the left candidate in the contest now opening for leader of the Scottish Labour Party, is a "list" MSP, elected in 2011. He has an established record of taking up trade union issues, such as blacklisting, the role of the police during the miners' strike, and the Living Wage.

He has the support of the Campaign for Socialism. Unison, ASLEF and the TSSA have already agreed to nominate him, and Unite is expected to do likewise.

Jim Murphy embodies the New Labour policies which cost the Labour Party millions of votes and hundreds of thousands of members after 1997 and also cost Labour the Scottish elections of 2007 and 2011.

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Yes does not mean left

Author: 

Dale Street

Colin Foster is right to argue that the labour movement and working class will be weakened and divided by a mindset which identifies “yes” (to Scottish independence) with “left”, and “no” to independence with “right”. (Solidarity, 339).

The problem is that that mindset is now hardwired into the pro-independence left.

In Scotland, the pro-independence left wants to make the working class footsoldiers for the Poujadist nationalism of the SNP.

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Scotland: time to move on

Author: 

Colin Foster

After the 18 September referendum in Scotland, the battles against low pay, inequality, and cuts remain to be fought there, pretty much the same as in England.

The issue of NHS cuts in Scotland was raised as a scare just before the referendum, but the Institute for Fiscal Studies (conservative, but with no special axe to grind over Scottish separation) found that spending on the NHS in Scotland would fall by 1% in real terms, between 2009-10 and 2015-16, and rise by about 4% in real terms in England.

A mindset which identifies Yes to Scottish separation with “left”, and No with “right”, will divide and cripple the labour movement and the working class.

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