Scotland

Matt Lygate: the passing of a Scottish leftist

Matt Lygate — founding member of the Workers Party of Scotland (Marxist-Leninist) in the 1960s, bank-robber in the 1970s, and briefly a political celebrity in the early 1980s — has died.

Matt Lygate — founding member of the Workers Party of Scotland (Marxist-Leninist) in the 1960s, bank-robber in the 1970s, and briefly a political celebrity in the early 1980s — died last week.

Born in Govan in Glasgow in 1938, Lygate emigrated to New Zealand in 1959 in order to avoid national service. After his return to Scotland six years later he was increasingly drawn into the political orbit of dissident Communist Party members and Scottish nationalists.

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Socialists and Scottish independence

The people of Scotland have the right to decide whether they want to be part of a common political system with the people of England and Wales, or to separate.

For the majority of the readers of this paper, in England, that is the chief issue raised by the current moves for a referendum on Scottish independence.

The people of Scotland should have their say. The more clear-cut and simple the referendum question, the more democratic the decision will be.

For readers in Scotland, a second question arises: how should they vote in the referendum?

Historically, the Scots were partners in the British empire, not an oppressed nation within it. That makes a strong argument for retaining the broader unit, i.e. voting against independence

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Scottish railworkers due to strike

Railworkers at the West of Scotland signalling centre will take two further days of strike action in January in a dispute over management’s refusal to fill vacant posts with internal candidates, despite a long-standing local agreement which sets out a procedure for doing so.

Bob Crow, the general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers union (RMT), which represents the signallers, said:

Railworkers at the West of Scotland signalling centre will take two further days of strike action in January in a dispute over management’s refusal to fill vacant posts with internal candidates, despite a long-standing local agreement which sets out a procedure for doing so.

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Scottish labour movement must find its own voice

"There are two different forms of nationalism in the referendum. The British nationalism of a 'No' vote. The Scottish nationalism of a 'Yes' vote. And Scottish nationalism is better for the workers."

So John McAllion (former Labour MP and MSP, and now a member of the Scottish Socialist Party) concluded his pro-independence speech at a conference in Glasgow on 14 January, organised by the United Left (Scotland) of the Unite trade union.

The conference organised by the United Left of the Unite union in Scotland lacked independent working-class politics.

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Scotland: for a democratic federal republic!

What we say about the Scottish independence issue.

Written in 2009

Blink once, and the momentum for Scottish independence looks like a steamroller travelling faster and faster downhill. Blink a second time, and it looks quite different.

In 1969-71 large oil and gas reserves were discovered offshore from Scotland. The Scottish National Party boomed rapidly, reaching 30.4% of Scottish votes in the October 1974 general election. Its vote has bounced up and down since then, but since 1988 it has been almost always above or close to 20% in UK general elections.

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Defend Scottish Labour-union links!

Johann Lamont MSP has been elected leader of the Scottish Labour Party, winning 52% of the electoral college vote.

Ken Macintosh MSP came second with 40% and Tom Harris MP a poor third with 8%.

The Scottish Labour Party leadership election has revived arguments about the involvement of trade unions in the party.

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Elections for local gov't (England), Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly

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3 May, 2007 - 09:00

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Local government elections in England, local government and Scottish Parliamentary elections in Scotland, and National Assembly elections in Wales: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/elections/election2007.cfm. See http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/elections/List2007England.cfm for list of council elections being contested in England.

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Socialist Party's new electoral initiative in Scotland

Around 50 people attended a meeting held in Glasgow on 10 December to launch the Socialist Party’s latest Scottish electoral initiative: the Scottish Anti-Cuts Coalition (SACC).

Of the first 15 speakers from the floor seven were members of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), five were from the Socialist Party Scotland (SPS), and one each were members of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP), the International Socialist Group (ISG) and the rump “Solidarity — Scotland’s Socialist Movement”.

The Socialist Party has launched its latest Scottish electoral initiative.

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Blairite drops out of Scottish leadership fight

With less than a week to go to the close of voting in the Scottish Labour Party leader and deputy leader elections arch-Blairite MP and candidate for leader Tom Harris has conceded defeat.

Given that he did not have the support of a single MSP, and the support of only one Constituency Labour Party (his own), Harris’s bid for the leader’s position was doomed from the outset.

But in conceding defeat Harris has provided a timely reminder of the elitist, patronising and divorced-from-reality nature of the New Labour project.

The arch-Blairite candidate for leader of the Scottish Labour Party has dropped out of the election.

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Poor choices in Scottish Labour leadership poll

By Anne Field

Ballot papers for the election of a new leader and deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party are being sent out this week. The closing date for the return of papers is 14th December, with the result being announced on 17th December.

Tom Harris MP, one of the three candidates for leader, has proclaimed himself to be the candidate who can “connect with voters from well beyond our traditional electoral base” (code for: things were okay when we had Blair).

One of the deputy leadership candidates stridently calls for Labour to back the 30 November strike, but in broader terms the choice is poor.

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Glasgow history: red or wretched?

When the Clyde Ran Red singularly fails to live up to its title (and dustcover — a picture of the crowds in Glasgow’s George Square on “Bloody Friday”, 1919).

The expression “Red Clydeside” refers to a period of industrial and political unrest on the Clyde, from around the start of the First World War until the 40 Hours Strike of 1919 and the subsequent capture of 10 of Glasgow’s 15 constituencies by the Independent Labour Party in 1922.

Reviews of When the Clyde Ran Red by Maggie Craig and The Tears That Made the Clyde by Carol Craig.

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Strikes escalate at Stow College

Unison members in Stow College in Glasgow are stepping up their campaign of strike action against the imposition of a pay freeze.

A fortnight ago the union’s 90 members —learning support workers, administration and clerical workers, caretakers, cleaners and catering workers – staged a 24-hour strike.

Around 60 strikers and their supporters turned up for the picket line at the college’s city centre campus, while a smaller number of strikers picketed its campus in the West End.

Last week catering staff staged a three-day strike.

Unison members in Stow College in Glasgow are stepping up their campaign of strike action against the imposition of a pay freeze.

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Scottish students organise

The Scottish Campaign Against Fees and Cuts will hold its inaugural conference on the weekend of 15-16 October in Ochil Room, Pleasance, Edinburgh.

We aim to unite anti-cuts activists from universities, colleges and schools across Scotland to take the fight for free, fair and funded education to our institutions management, the Scottish government and beyond.

The Scottish Campaign Against Fees and Cuts aims to unite anti-cuts activists from universities, colleges and schools across Scotland in the fight for free, fair and funded education.

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More Scottish but no more left

The Scottish Labour Party special conference on 29 October will mark the official start of the party’s leadership contest in Scotland.

One of the lessons Labour has drawn from the debacle of May’s Holyrood elections is that the party in Scotland needs to be more “Scottish”, i.e. it should have greater control over its affairs than it exercises at present.

None of the six candidates for leader of the Scottish Labour Party can be called left-wing.

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10,000 march in Glasgow

10,000 people marched on the Scottish TUC anti-cuts demonstration in Glasgow on 1 October.

Around 10,000 people marched through torrential rain on the Scottish TUC anti-cuts demonstration held in Glasgow on Saturday 1 October.

How many would have turned up for the demonstration if it had not been for the weather is anybody’s guess — but probably as many as turned up for last October’s STUC anti-cuts demonstration in Edinburgh.

The continuous downpour also resulted in the concluding rally being restricted to just one speaker – Tony Benn, who spoke in his capacity as an “elder statesman”.

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SNP passes on Con-Dem cuts

The Scottish National Party (SNP) is passing on the Con-Dem cuts and throwing in a few of its own. Pay, pensions, jobs and services were all targeted for cuts in Finance Secretary John Swinney’s first Spending Review earlier this year.

Scotland’s local authority workers already faced a three-year pay freeze. Now, as a result of Swinney’s announcement, the pay of all public sector workers in Scotland is be frozen not only for this year but in 2012 as well.

If there is a pay rise in two years time (a big if), it will certainly be less than the rate of inflation.

The Scottish National Party is passing on the Con-Dem cuts and throwing in a few of its own. Pay, pensions, jobs and services were all targeted for cuts in its first Spending Review.

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Scottish students occupy

About 100 students from across Scotland occupied an Edinburgh University lecture theatre over the weekend of 16-17 September. Before ending their occupation they agreed to disrupt management at Scottish universities with an ongoing campaign of rolling 36 hour occupations across Scotland.

Edinburgh is one of two institutions set to fix fees at the most expensive rate in the UK for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Robin Parker, NUS Scotland President in supporting the occupation said,

100 students from across Scotland occupied an Edinburgh University lecture theatre over the weekend of 16-17 September.

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Charity workers strike against cuts

Unison members employed by the Scottish charity Quarriers struck for 24 hours on 6 September in opposition to plans to impose brutal pay cuts.

Quarriers provides support for some of the most vulnerable and distressed adults and children in Scotland, including adults with disabilities and epilepsy sufferers.

Over 560 of its employees are now at risk of a 10% pay cut. Others stand to lose as much as 23%.

Unison members employed by the Scottish charity Quarriers struck for 24 hours on 6 September in opposition to plans to impose brutal pay cuts.

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Scotland: demo good; "cross-party coalition" bad

The left should combine building for the biggest possible turnout on the anti-cuts demo in Glasgow on 1 October with promoting debate about the centrality of trade unions and industrial action and the need to step up anti-cuts campaigning in the Labour Party.

The Scottish TUC has called an all-Scotland anti-cuts demonstration for Saturday 1 October, in Glasgow.

After the summer lull following the TUC demonstration in London in March and the public sector strikes at the end of June, the demonstration provides a welcome focus to re-vitalise anti-cuts campaigning.

The demonstration will also be taking place in what could prove to be the run-up to widespread strike action in November, possibly involving the PCS and the EIS (the Scottish teachers union), which recently agreed to ballot its members on the issue of pensions.

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Glasgow student occupiers win

The Hetherington building at Glasgow University will re-open as a new teaching space after a six-month student-led occupation forced Glasgow University management to retreat from its plans to keep the former post-graduate social club closed. A public statement from the occupiers also announces management climb-downs on course cuts and compulsory redundancies.

A six-month occupation of the Hetherington building at Glasgow University has ended in victory as the university management agrees to occupiers' demands.

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Scottish Labour – no cover-up!

In an interview with the Labour Party think-tank “Progress” Labour MP and shadow foreign secretary Dougie Alexander has given his verdict on why Labour did so badly in the Scottish Parliament elec

Dougie Alexander's says Labour must return to New Labour values if it wants to win. He could not be more wrong.

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Why Doesn’t the Scottish Socialist Party Join the SNP?

The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) won just 8,722 votes (0.4% of the total votes) in the recent Holyrood elections.

A pretty poor result?

The SSP comfort themselves for a poor election result by looking forward to a referendum on Scottish independence!

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SNP out-labours Labour

On 5 May the Scottish National Party increased its share of the popular vote by 13%, increased the number of constituency seats it held by 32, and won an absolute majority of 69 seats in the 129-seat Holyrood Parliament.

Labour’s share of the constituency vote (31.7%) was the lowest since 1923. Its share of the list vote (26.3%) was its lowest since 1918. It lost 20 constituency seats, leaving it with MSPs in just 15 out of 73 constituencies.

On 5 May, the Scottish National Party increased its share of the popular vote by 13% and won a majority of the seats in the Scottish Parliament.

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Learning the lessons from Labour's Scottish defeat

According to most opinion polls the Scottish Labour Party began the Holyrood election campaign with a lead of ten or more percentage points over the SNP.

How and why Labour lost out to the Nationalists in the Scottish elections.

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George Galloway: No Pasaran!

Galloway stood in the Scottish Parliamentary election on the PR-based Glasgow regional ‘list’. He picked up 6,972 votes, well short of the 10,000 to 12,000 which he had estimated he would need to secure election. (Galloway’s estimate had been accurate: the Greens won a Glasgow list seat with 12,454 votes.)

When Galloway first announced in November of last year that he was considering standing for Holyrood he identified various ‘constituencies’ which – allegedly – were putting him “under serious pressure to be a candidate”.

Standing as a candidate of “The Respect Party George Galloway (Respect) – Coalition Against the Cuts”, and backed by the Socialist Party Scotland (SPS) and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), George Galloway failed to win a seat in Holyrood in last week’s elections.

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