Scotland

George Galloway: a fighter for Celtic fans?

George Galloway, standing for election to the Scottish Parliament, has pitched himself as the champion of Celtic fans. Shamefully, some of the Scottish left are backing him.

In his first electoral outing after being expelled from the Labour Party (Respect, 2004) George Galloway promoted himself as “a fighter for Muslims”.

Trying again in Scotland on 5 May, he now pitches himself as the champion of... Celtic fans. Shamefully, some of the Scottish left are backing him.

http://bit.ly/meN0TA

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Forum: Crooke vs McCalman on Scotland; Ellis vs Weaver on movies; Fine, Rigby, and Bradley on S Africa; Conway vs Bradley on PR

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Stan Crooke disputes Ian McCalman's support for calls for a Scottish Assembly.

Edward Ellis disputes Belinda Weaver's argument that movie-making has deteriorated.

Bob Fine, Tom Rigby, and Clive Bradley dispute arguments dismissing the COSATU union federation in South Africa in favour of the NACTU federation.

Liam Conway argues that Trotsky's "permanent revolution" idea is more "applicable" today than Clive Bradley allowed for in his article in Workers' Liberty 7.

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Scottish left is in a story state

Calling for a Labour vote, combined with rebuilding the left and pushing the unions to assert themselves politically, is the only serious left policy in Scottish Parliamentary elections on 5 May. That is not because the Labour campaign, or the Labour Party’s policies, are good.

The Scottish Tories will be lucky to hang on to a handful of seats. In the Holyrood elections the basic question is: do you want a Labour or an SNP government (or some kind of coalition with one of those parties at its core)?

Calling for a Labour vote, combined with rebuilding the left and pushing the unions to assert themselves politically, is the only serious policy in the Scottish Parliamentary elections on 5 May.

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Socialists and the Scottish Parliamentary elections

What should socialists be saying – and doing – in the election campaign now underway for the Scottish Parliament elections which take place on 5th May?

Calling for a Labour vote, combined with rebuilding the left and pushing the unions to assert themselves politically, is now the only serious left policy in Scotland.

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Galloway, the SP, SWP and Solidarity: a done deal

An update on last week’s article on the Galloway/SPS/SWP/Solidarity electoral bloc. It has been registered with the Glasgow City Council Returning Officer, and will therefore be appearing on the ballot paper, as: The Respect Party – George Galloway (Respect) Coalition Against the Cuts.

Given that “The Respect Party — George Galloway (Respect) Coalition Against the Cuts” is a bit of a mouthful, BBC coverage of the elections is already helpfully referring to its candidates simply as being candidates of “The Respect Party”.

The electoral alliance between George Galloway, the Socialist Party, SWP and Solidarity in Scotland has been launched with the snappy title “The Respect Party — George Galloway (Respect) Coalition Against the Cuts”.

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Scottish unions rally

Around 300 people attended a Scottish TUC anti-cuts rally in Glasgow.

Around 300 people attended the 26 February Scottish TUC anti-cuts rally in Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre. It would be unfair to be overly critical of the event.

If anyone from another planet had been in the audience, for example, they would doubtless have found the glittering array of eight platform speakers all saying the same thing in not particularly different words an illuminating event.

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Perjury unpunished?

Should Tommy Sheridan's perjury in his libel case against News International have been punished with a prison sentence?

I don’t believe in custodial sentences for many offences, including the one for Tommy Sheridan (Solidarity 3/192). However I am getting the feeling Solidarity believes the courts have no rights here. I disagree.

The argument that because the judicial system has biases and prejudices we do not use it is as ridiculous as saying that because democracy in this society is limited flawed and biased we shouldn’t vote. Many issues are pursued through the courts however imperfect, that actually give people a right of redress to what may have happened to them.

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University of Glasgow students occupy

On Tuesday 1 February, students at the University of Glasgow went into occupation in order to save the Hetherington Research Club and prevent the university management from converting it into office space.

The club, which was closed in February last year, catered for mature students, post-graduates, international students and staff members, providing them with a valuable social space in which to exchange ideas and engage in group study.

Students at the University of Glasgow have occupied to save the Hetherington Research Club, a social space for post-graduates, international students and staff which first opened in 1954 and was the only establishment of its kind in Scotland.

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Sheridan should not be in jail

Tommy Sheridan, the former leader of the Scottish Socialist Party, has been sentenced to three years in jail for perjury.

Unlike other self-promoting fake-left demagogues such as George Galloway, Tommy Sheridan has a respectworthy background in socialist politics and has been an impressive class fighter.

Many would have found it difficult to sympathise with him after a chemically-pure fit of egomania led him to foolishly smash up the SSP (at one time a project with great potential) in order to preserve his public image.

Socialists should oppose the three-year jail sentence Tommy Sheridan has been given. Whatever his stupidity, he is being jailed on the basis of laws deliberately rigged to protect the rich and powerful.

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Scotland: councils plan to squeeze their workforce

Scottish councils are lining up not just to cut jobs and services but also to attack the terms and conditions of their workforces.

Over the next two years Glasgow City Council plans to axe at least 3,500 jobs and cut its spending by £100m, on top of nearly £40m cut in the current financial year. Additional job losses are likely when Glasgow “pools” some of its departments with neighbouring councils.

Scottish councils are lining up to cut not just jobs and services but also the terms and conditions of their workforces.

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Galloway's stand will not help the left's political recovery

On Sunday 16 January George Galloway launched his campaign to win a seat in the Scottish Parliament.

He has not yet produced an election manifesto. Nor has he decided whether he will be standing as an individual or as part of a slate.

Galloway said “he was not seeking to become an MSP because he needed the wages.”

But according to an interview in the Scotsman Galloway finds even his current annual income of nearly £500,000 insufficient: he has staff to employ, he speaks for free on Palestine, and he has “a lot of ex-wives”.

If George Galloway is elected to the Scottish Parliament, it will delay the left's political recovery.

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Scottish anti-cuts campaign

A Scotland-wide anti-cuts federation will be launched at a conference being held in Glasgow on 29 January.

In the weeks following the conference, councils across Scotland will discuss budget proposals to slash £1 billion from spending on services and jobs. This will be the first phase of cutting a total of £3 billions over the next three years.

A Scotland-wide anti-cuts federation will be launched at a conference being held in Glasgow on 29 January.

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Is Scotland a colony?

Author: 

Stan Crooke

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A critique of the theories of the Scottish Socialist Party of 1989. (The 1989 SSP was not organisationally related to the later SSP, founded in 1998 and still active in 2010, but its attitudes on the supposed revolutionary significance of Scottish independence were similar).

A critique of the theories of the Scottish Socialist Party of 1989 (not related to the later SSP, founded in 1998 and still active in 2010).

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A collection of short articles from Workers' Liberty 12-13, August 1989

Click here to download the pdf including all these short articles from Workers' Liberty 12-13, August 1989.

Strikes in Stalinist and ex-Stalinist states; Rushdie; EU; Dock Labour scheme scrapped; more on USSR strikes; strikes in UK; abortion rights in USA; world economy; British economy; Scottish left and Assembly; independent union in China.

Strikes in Stalinist and ex-Stalinist states; Rushdie; EU; Dock Labour scheme scrapped; more on USSR strikes; strikes in UK; abortion rights in USA; world economy; British economy; Scottish left and Assembly; independent union in China.

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The Sheridan affair and the left in Scotland

Sheridan

Author: 

Dale Street

Former Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan was found guilty of perjury on 23 December, and will be sentenced on 26 January. The judge has already said that a jail sentence is likely. Dale Street discusses the fall-out for the left in Scotland.

Former Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan was found guilty of perjury on 23 December, and will be sentenced on 26 January. The judge has already said that a jail sentence is likely.

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Scottish UNISON calls on councils to refuse cuts

UNISON in Scotland has called on the Scottish Parliament and local councils to defy Tory/Lib Dem cuts.

The Scottish Unison Council, made up of delegates from all branches in Scotland, voted on 3 December for a call that the Scottish Parliament and local councils should defy Tory cuts and set “needs budgets”.

This is the first time in the current anti-cuts agitation that a large body in the labour movement has raised the call for councils to defy the cuts. Solidarity has been raising the call for some time, but even the rest of the left press has so far been hesitant about it.

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Scotland: pay freeze and tuition fees on horizon

Author: 

Anne Field

The SNP minority government in Holyrood has announced its proposed budget for 2011-12 (although current opinion polls suggest that the SNP will be voted out of office only four weeks into that financial year).

The Westminster grant to the Scottish government for 2011-12 will be cut by £1.2 billions. Over the next three years the Westminster grant is to be reduced by a total of £3.3 billions — an overall cut of 11% in real terms.

The SNP minority government in Scotland has voted to pass on Tory/Lib-Dem cuts of £3.3 billion.

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George Galloway: a Man Fit for Holyrood?

Author: 

Dale Street

“Holyrood Could Be Calling Me Home” read the headline above George Galloway’s Daily Record column last week, in which he claimed that he was coming under increasing pressure to contest next year’s Scottish Parliament elections.

Unnamed “football supporters, leaders of the Asian community, trade unionists, former constituents, and even members of the Labour Party” were supposedly all urging him to stand for election.

According to George Galloway, the Scottish Parliament "needs members with principles on which they stand, come what may.” Principles? George Galloway? You decide...

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SNP's 'Social Contract' means cuts

Author: 

Anne Field

At the time of going to press (17 November) the SNP is announcing the Holyrood government’s budget for the financial year 2011-2012. Huge cuts are expected.

The Con-Dem government has cut the grant for Scottish government for 2011-2012 by £1.2 billions (out of a total budget of £30 billions).

But over the next four years the Holyrood budget for health, education and council funding will be cut by 7%. Its “capital grant” (for infrastructure projects) will be cut by 38%.

Over the next four years, the budget for health, education and council funding will be cut by 7% in Scotland. Cuts of £42 billion have been predicted.

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Scotland: mass demo planned as cuts begin to bite

Author: 

Anne Field

The Scottish TUC’s anti-cuts demonstration in Edinburgh on Saturday, 23 October, is likely to be the biggest demonstration in Scotland since the anti-Iraq war demonstrations.

Cuts are begining to bite.

Housing Benefit cuts amounting to over £27 millions a year will leave 75% of all claimants in Scotland worse off — on average by around £7 a week.

Linking public sector pensions to the Consumer Price Index instead of the Retail Price Index will cost Scottish public sector pensioners around £17 billions over the next 20 years.

Scottish TUC demo on 23 October will see thousands march against the cuts.

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Scottish left discuss working-class political representation

Author: 

Dale Street

Around 80 people turned up to a conference on “Crisis in Working Class Political Representation” held in Glasgow last Saturday (2nd October) and organised by the Wishaw and Motherwell branch of the RMT.

The meeting, as the chair explained, was one of a number of conferences around the same theme which had been organised by the RMT in recent years.

RMT-organised Glasgow conference. TUSC Mark II in Scotland?

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Scott-land

Author: 

Dale Street

Dale Street reviews “Scott-Land – The Man Who Invented a Nation”, by Stuart Kelly

Even during his own lifetime Sir Walter Scott was simultaneously lionised and lampooned.

Was Sir Walter Scott a great ("Scottish") novelist or a churner out of literary dross? A new book surveys the controversies.

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Scotland: no to social partnership, fight the review!

Author: 

Dale Street

At the end of July the “Independent Budget Review” (IBR) – set up by the SNP minority government as part of its deal with the Scottish Tories to secure their support for this year’s government budget – published its findings.

The Review was carried out by Crawford Beveridge (former Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise and also a former Vice-Executive-President of Sun Microsystems), Robert Wilson (a partner in Deloitte Consulting in Edinburgh) and Sir Neil McIntosh (former Chief Executive of Strathclyde Regional Council).

According to a spending review set up by the SNP government as part of its deal with the Scottish Tories, cuts of £2 billion need to be made in next year’s budget. By 2015, it says, up to 50,000 jobs will need to be axed, or “only” 29,000 if a more vicious pay “restraint” policy is adopted.

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Glasgow City Council's "arms length" company attacks unions

Author: 

Ann Field

Set up as an “arms length” company by Labour-controlled Glasgow City Council in 2006, City Building (Glasgow) LLP (formerly the council’s Building Services Department) has enjoyed a large amount of salacious press coverage in recent months.

It began with the revelation that since 2006 City Building had awarded £10 millions worth of contracts to City Refrigeration Holdings Ltd whose founder and boss, Willie Haughey, has donated over £1 million to Labour since 2003 — the biggest donor to Labour in Scotland.

City Building in Glasgow (formerly the council’s Building Services Department) has had a large amount of press coverage in recent months after revelations it awarded contracts worth £10 millions to a company whose boss donated over £1 million to Labour. What has been given a lot less attention are its attacks on trade union organisation.

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The election in Scotland: the Labour win, and the left's slump

Author: 

Dale Street

In terms of which parties won how many seats – a pretty basic criterion for judging the outcome of a general election – 2010 in Scotland was a re-run of 2005.

Labour gained an electoral boost. The non-Labour left lost votes, and there was a political turn for the worse by the Scottish Socialist Party.

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Scottish Defence League: exploiting Lockerbie

Author: 

Dale Street

Following its failure to organise protests in Glasgow (in November last year) and Edinburgh (in February this year) the Scottish Defence League (SDL) announced that it would be holding a “respectful vigil” in Lockerbie on 27 March. The SDL’s decision to opt for a “vigil” in Lockerbie was a confession of weakness: lacking the confidence to try to organise an event in an urban centre, it chose instead to try to stage a stunt in a town of just over 4,000 inhabitants in the Scottish Borders.

Following its failure to organise protests in Glasgow and Edinburgh, the Scottish Defence League's decision to hold a “vigil” in Lockerbie is a confession of weakness: lacking the confidence to organise an event in an urban centre, it attempted instead to stage a stunt in a small town in the Scottish Borders.

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Scottish cuts campaign

Public sector union Unison has called a demonstration in Glasgow on 10 April against planned, and already implemented, local authority job losses and cuts in services throughout Scotland.

Public sector union Unison has called a demonstration in Glasgow on 10 April against planned, and already implemented, local authority job losses and cuts in services throughout Scotland.

50% of respondents in a recent survey of Unison members in Scotland reported a freeze on filling vacancies in their workplace. And 20% of respondents reported a policy of no cover being provided for absent members of staff.

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Scottish Defence League: Lockerbie 'vigil' planned

Author: 

Dale Street

The Scottish Defence League (SDL) decision to stage what it calls a “respectful vigil” in Lockerbie on Saturday, 27 March, represents a sign of weakness — if not outright desperation.

In November of last year, the SDL tried to stage a demonstration in Glasgow. It failed. Two weeks ago (20 February) it tried to stage a demonstration in Edinburgh. Again, it failed.

Lacking the confidence to attempt another demonstration in a major urban centre, the SDL is retreating to rural Lockerbie.

The Scottish Defence League's decision to stage what it calls a “respectful vigil” in Lockerbie on Saturday 27 March represents a sign of weakness if not outright desperation.

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Buckfast: Scotland's major problem?

Author: 

David McDonald

Violence, religious conspiracy, boozy teenagers. The Buckfast Code certainly provided low-brow entertainment. Unfortunately, it also missed an opportunity to explore poverty in one of Europe’s most deprived “prosperous nations”.

Buckfast remains relatively unknown to the majority of Britain, perhaps because 60% of sales are concentrated in Scotland. A low quality wine costing the same as the average supermarket red; at 15% it is also similar in alcohol volume. What separates it is the 281 micrograms of caffeine per bottle.

A review of 'The Buckfast Code' (BBC Scotland, 18 January) about the cheap, strong wine produced by Benedictine monks, 60% of which is sold in Scotland.

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Scottish Defence League: Glasgow turn-out flops

Author: 

Dale Street

The Scottish Defence League (SDL) had planned to stage a city-centre rally in Glasgow on 14 November. In the event, they spent most of their time sitting in a pub, reliant on the protection of a couple of hundred police officers.

“Scotland United” (SU) — launched in October to meet the SDL threat — staged a rally followed by a demonstration through the city centre on the day. It staged the rally and demonstration as an alternative to mobilising to confront the SDL.

The Scottish Defence League (SDL) had planned to stage a city-centre rally in Glasgow on 14 November. In the event, they spent most of their time sitting in a pub, reliant on the protection of a couple of hundred police officers.

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