Scotland

The Scottish left: the strongest nationalists

Author: 

Ann Field

“The Labour Party in Scotland has been wiped out.” That was the verdict of the Socialist Party Scotland (SPS) on the 2015 general election. The next step was: “The trade union movement must now prepare to build a new mass party for the working class.”

In alliance with the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), the SPS had stood ten candidates in Scotland under the ‘Trade Union and Socialist Coalition’ (TUSC) banner. Their votes ranged from 0.2% to 0.7%, and amounted to only 1,772 in total.

But that did not constitute a “wipe-out”.

The SWP and Scottish Socialist Party said Labour was finished and decided to tail-end Scottish nationalism...

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Labour to blame in Scotland?

Scottish Labour and/or its leader Kezia Dugdale bear the blame for the re-election of a Tory government on 8 June. That’s the line currently being systematically promoted by cybernats. And it’s not confined to the fringe elements of cybernattery.

The cybernat campaign to blame Scottish Labour for the election of a Tory government signals a further lurch by the SNP activist base into fantasy politics.

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Save Lightburn Hospital!

Author: 

Ann Field

Fifty demonstrators protested outside of Lightburn Hospital in Glasgow on Saturday 17 June to re-launch a campaign to prevent its closure. Lightburn is the last in-patient hospital in Glasgow’s East End. It provides rehabilitative care for elderly people suffering from strokes, dementia, Parkinson’s or similar illnesses. Each year it admits around 450 patients, and deals with 400 new day cases and 3,000 return visits.

Lightburn is the last in-patient hospital in Glasgow’s East End.

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Nationalists in decline

Author: 

Dale Street

Compared with the 2015 general election, the number of SNP MPs fell from 56 to 35. Scottish Tory MPs increased from one to 13, Scottish Labour MPs increased from one to seven, and Scottish Lib-Dem MPs increased from one to four.

Eleven of the new intake of SNP MPs have majorities of less than 900. In some constituencies their majorities were wafer-thin: two, 21, 60, 75, and 195.

The Scottish Labour left needs to recruit new Labour voters, especially youth into the Party and break the grip of the right.

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SNP smear opponents

Author: 

Dale Street

When the SNP government’s record on the NHS was criticised by a nurse during the Scottish party leaders’ debate a fortnight ago, the response from the SNP and their followers was to vilify the nurse.

The SNP’s social media campaigns of smear and vilification demonstrate that Scottish nationalism is just as putrid as any other variant of nationalist ideology.

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Scots nationalism can be pushed back

Author: 

Anne Field

The SNP performed so well in the 2015 general election that it wants to make 2017 a repeat performance, albeit with a few changes to the roles to be played by the different characters.

Exploiting the boost given to nationalism and national-identity politics by the 2014 referendum, the SNP succeeded in persuading Scottish voters in the 2015 election that they key question was not which political party should form the next government, but which political party would best represent Scotland.

The post-referendum wave of Scottish nationalism has begun to ebb, even if it still exercises a toxic influence on Scottish politics. And the SNP’s standing has been undermined by its record in Holyrood, along with its increasingly blatant intolerance of political criticism.

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The SNP and the Tory #rapeclause

Author: 

Dale Street

#Rapeclause was one of the four most popular Twitter hashtags used by SNP MPs and MSPs in the run-up to the Scottish council elections held earlier this month.

SNP MSP Humza Yousaf tweeted about “Tory born-again Brexiters and rape-clause advocates.” Fellow SNP MSP James Dornan explained: “If you’d rather vote for the Tories than SNP, you’re a right-wing Rape Clause supporting enabler.”

Only in the run-up to the council elections did the SNP discover that the #rapeclause was the defining feature of the Tories, all opponents of independence, and the British state itself.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

Staff at Manchester Metropolitan University will strike against job cuts on 24 and 25 May, against a backdrop of hundreds of jobs at risk across the sector. Manchester University is planning to cut 171 jobs; up to 150 are at risk at Aberystwyth; 139 at the University of Wales Trinity St David; Sunderland, Durham and Plymouth are all looking for voluntary redundancies.

Universities start cutting jobs; LSE cleaners fight back; Fujitsu workers fight 1,800 job losses; stop job cuts at EHRC; nurses may ballot for strikes.

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Scotland: local elections, national issues

Author: 

Dale Street

In the Scottish council elections, the Tories did well, Labour did badly, and although the SNP won more seats than other parties, it failed to maintain the electoral momentum unleashed by the 2014 referendum.

The boundary reorganisation carried out after the 2012 council elections makes it difficult to compare the number of seats won in 2012 with seats won in 2017.

In the local elections, the issue of a second referendum on Scottish independence was central, overtly or covertly.

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Scottish Labour and the two nationalist squeezes

Author: 

Dale Street

Scottish Labour candidates need to fight the forthcoming general election on the basis of policies which challenge the inequalities of wealth and power inherent in capitalism, and which will mobilise the labour movement not just to vote Labour but to fight for those policies whatever the outcome of the election.

As the nationalist polarisation of politics in Scotland has intensified and increasingly degenerated into a permanent referendum campaign, Labour has been squeezed by the two competing nationalisms.

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