Scotland

The inequalities are glaring

Katrina Faccenda is a Labour Party activist in Edinburgh and Labour candidate for the Scottish parliamentary seat of Edinburgh Northern and Leith. She talked with Sacha Ismail. This crisis has starkly highlighted all sorts of inequalities and made them glaring. Vulnerable people are now much more vulnerable – people in poverty, women, BAME communities. It’s an indicator not so much of how awful the pandemic is, as how dysfunctional our society was even before. At the same time, we’ve seen the power trade unions can have when they actually put their mind to it, winning victories and concessions...

Indicted for opposing cuts

Disciplinary proceedings have been initiated by the leadership of Glasgow City Council Labour Group against Matt Kerr, who is a candidate in the Scottish Labour Party deputy leader ballot running from 21 February to 2 April. At a City Council meeting a fortnight ago the minority SNP administration proposed a cuts budget. The Labour Group also proposed a cuts budget, with the usual homilies about it being "less painful", "the fault of Holyrood underfunding", "our cuts not as bad as yours", etc., etc. Matt, a Glasgow Labour councillor, decided that he could not vote for either of the cuts...

Scottish deputy: a clear choice

If only Scottish Labour could be as right-wing as it used to be, then people would vote for it again. This pretty much sums up the platform of Jackie Baillie MSP in her bid to be elected Scottish Labour Deputy Leader. But as the hustings in Glasgow on 17 February confirmed, this involves a breathtaking ability to deny reality. Baillie denied that housing legislation passed by the Labour-Lib-Dem Holyrood government (1999-2007) had extended the “right to buy” to Housing Association tenants. But it did. Baillie boasted that the same Holyrood coalition government had initiated a massive...

Mobilising for COP26 in Glasgow

About a hundred people attended the “Campaign against Climate Change” (CACC) conference in Glasgow on Saturday 1 February. There were speakers from a wide variety of different campaigns who spoke in the two sessions aimed at mobilising for COP26 in Glasgow in November this year. Key themes were 1) how to build for COP26 with a heavy focus on how to get more Trade Unions taking action for Green jobs, 2) a just transition to renewables, and 3) campaigning for Free Public Transport. Two school student strikers announced future school strike dates. They have received invites to speak at STUC...

Blaming Labour's defeat on opposition to fracking

“I would like to wish you and your loved ones a Happy Christmas and healthy and prosperous New Year,” wrote GMB Scottish Regional Secretary Gary Smith in his end-of-the-year message to GMB activists in Scotland. But Gary’s thumbnail sketch of why Labour lost the general election would suggest that not everyone was on his list for season’s greetings: “It is a source of personal frustration that the party of Labour were not in touch with the real-world experiences of working-class Scotland. Those who orchestrated the Labour Party’s abject defeat should own it – they were well warned by GMB...

The most incoherent suicide note in history

The "Scottish Labour Open Letter" The Scottish Labour left has been presented with a new hero of the class struggle: Alison Evison. Evison is the sole Labour member of Aberdeenshire Council. She is also Deputy Leader of the Council Opposition Alliance (consisting almost entirely of SNP councillors), President of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, and Secretary of the COSLA Labour Group. At no point in time has Evison, whose multiple roles in local government make her particularly well-placed to do so, ever advocated defiance of the cuts imposed on Scottish local authorities over the...

Five arguments about why Labour lost

“Labour has lost the working class” Over the years, but particularly in the Brexit era, older people have swung to the right and younger people to the left. In 1983 18-24 year olds backed Thatcher over Labour by 9 points, while over-65s backed Labour by 6. This time 18-24s backed Labour 57-19, while over-65s backed the Tories 62-18! Among women voters aged 18-24, only 15% went Tory. Older people are more and more over-represented in areas where Labour lost the bulk of its seats, and young people more and more under-represented. And older people are much more likely to turn out and vote. What...

Why Labour slumped in Scotland

In the 2019 general election the SNP won more seats, more votes, and a higher share of the vote on a higher turnout than it did in 2017. The number of SNP MPs increased from 35 to 48. It picked up a million and a quarter votes (as against a million in 2017), representing 45% of the popular vote (37% in 2017). And whereas voter turnout in the rest of the country fell, in Scotland it increased by 1.5%. With only one exception, seats held by the SNP in 2017 with majorities of just a couple of hundred saw SNP MPs returned in 2019 with majorities of between 5,000 and 6,000. Seats won by the SNP...

The general election in Scotland

Speaking at last Saturday’s #indyref2020 rally in Glasgow, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon pledged that there would be another referendum on Scottish independence in 2020. This was the first pro-independence rally to have been addressed by Sturgeon since the run-up to the 2014 referendum. But it was not the first time that she has promised another referendum. Sturgeon first promised a second referendum immediately after losing the 2014 one. She has been promising one ever since. In the 2017 general election campaign, for example, she initially called for a second referendum “in the autumn of 2018...

Lessons from the seventies

When Avon jet engines being refurbished for use by the Chilean air force came into the workshop at the Rolls Royce factory in East Kilbride, Scotland, from 1974, workers there decided to refuse work on them. The Chile solidarity movement in Britain celebrated this action as exemplary, and it is the subject of the 2018 documentary Nae Pasaran. Eventually, due to downwards pressure, not only from their bosses, but also the Labour government and the trade union bureaucracy, the workers were forced to end the boycott. But even then they loosely fitted together the bolts in the engines loosely, and...

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