Scotland

Edinburgh fights cuts

On 12 February 2015 the City of Edinburgh Council, a Labour-SNP coalition, passed a budget with £22 million of cuts which will see a reduction of 1200 jobs from the council workforce.

Fiona Menzies from Edinburgh East Save Our Services told Solidarity: “This did not go unmarked. Community and trade union activists both lobbied outside the council and delivered inspiring deputations inside. People can get some idea of the range of groups and the arguments being made by watching the deputations on the council webcam.

Edinburgh Council, a Labour-SNP coalition, has passed a budget with £22 million of cuts which will see a reduction of 1,200 jobs from the council workforce.

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How not to reverse Labour's fortunes

Author: 

Anne Field

He’s promised to bring back the sale of alcoholic drinks at football matches.

He’s pledged to make Labour the true patriotic party, patriotically committed to the patriotic interests of patriotic Scotland. And he’s been photographed jogging along the Clyde wearing a Scotland team football top. But none of this has been enough for Jim Murphy, the recently elected leader of the Scottish Labour Party, to achieve a reversal in the party’s poll ratings.

The Scottish Labour Party has alienated many of its core voters by failing to offer a radical alternative to the politics of privatisation, anti-union laws and austerity. But the growth in support for the SNP and its portrayal of independence as a cure-all panacea is not a shift to the left.

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Scots, Wha Hae Wi Murphy bled!

Author: 

Anne Field

Newly elected Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has produced his own version of a new Clause Four for the Labour Party in Scotland.

(To be more accurate: he claims that it is all his own work. In fact, it reads like an entry in a primary school competition (“Write your own clause four and win a gold star!”) which has been pulled out of a hat at random.)

The first part of the new, Scottish, Clause Four is the verbose and vacuous Blairite Clause Four adopted by the Labour Party in 1995, albeit with a reference to Scottish Labour and “the people of Scotland” thrown in.

Jim Murphy’s message to Scottish Labour members at last month’s rally where the result of the leadership contest was announced should have been: “Go back to your constituencies and prepare for oblivion!”

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Next steps for Labour in Scotland?

Author: 

Dale Street

2014 closed with the election of Jim Murphy and Kezia Dugdale as leader and deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

Murphy won 56% of the total electoral college vote (split three ways between: MSPs and Scottish MPs and MEPs; individual Labour Party members; affiliated trade unions), against 35% for left-wing challenger Neil Findlay. The third candidate, Sarah Boyack, won 9%.

In the deputy leadership election Kezia Dugdale won 63%, against 37% for left-wing challenger Katy Clark.

The left in the Labour Party and the trade unions in Scotland should follow up the leadership contest by organising a Scottish Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory in May’s general election.

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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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