Monday, 29 November 2010

SSP leaflet in Polish - Szkockiej Partii Socjalistycznej

Szkockiej Partii Socjalistycznej
Powiedz NIE cieciom budzetowym!
NIE dla ciec Konserwatywnych Demokratow (CON/DEM)!
NIE dla ciec Partii Pracy (Labour)
NIE dla ciec Szkockiej Partii Narodowej (SNP)
Poinformowano nas, ze UK jest na skraju bankructwa. Dlugi panstwowe siegaja 1-go
tryliona funtow, a roczna splata bedzie dochodzic do 46 bilionow. Wszystkie partie
rzadzace mowia nam, ze ten poziom pozyczek nie jest precedensem i ciecia sa konieczne.
Nie sa. Poziom dlugu jest nizszy ni1 w innych krajach o podobnym stopniu rozwoju.
W okresie bezposrednio po II Wojnie Swiatowej dlugi UK były du1o wyzsze od obecnego,
ze wzgledu na koniecznosc ogromnych inwestycjii w Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia (NHS) i
niezbedna pomoc socjalna.
Kto wpedzil nas w kryzys?
W kryzys 21-go wieku nie wprowadzili nas ludzie pracy. To nie sektor publiczny splajtowal.
Doprowadzila do niego zachlannosc bankierow sektora prywatnego. Gonili, jak w amoku,
za wlasnym sukcesem finansowym, nie liczac sie ze skutkami. Pazerni, bogaci
moznowladcy, zyjacy w swiecie innym od naszego, wpedzili nas w gigantyczne,
korporacyjne dlugi, poniewa1 stracili poczucie rzeczywistosci.
Jak szaleni ciagneli korzysci, wsrod chaosu spekulacji, rosnacych cen na rynku
nieruchomosci, zamknieci w zlotej klatce-twierdzy, która sami dla siebie stworzyli.
Ale rzeczywistosc zburzyla twierdze, jak zawsze to robi. Teraz okazuje sie, ze to my, zwykli
ludzie, mamy za to placic.
Kogo partie rzadzace proponuja ukarac za te zachlannosc, glupote i
Sprawcow? Bankierow, którzy obdarowali sie sami kolosalnymi bonusami z publicznych
pieniedzy? NIE! Torysi i Liberalni Demokraci chca zabrac 83 miliony funtow z uslug
publicznych (które chcieliby sprywatyzowac). Nowa Partia Pracy sugeruje ciecia wysokosci
43 milionow, równie1 w sektorze publicznym. Szkocka Partia Narodowa proponuje rabunek
podobnej kwoty , jak powyzej, z uslug publicznych. Zamiast zmusic do placenia winnych
kryzysu finansistow, rzadaja pieniedzy od zwyklych, szarych obywateli. To znaczy, ze
najbiedniejsi,czesto potrzebujacy pomocy w podstawowych aspektach zycia, maja placic za
balagan, którego nie zrobili.
Ciecia oznaczaja deprawacje biednych, destrukcje lokalnych spolecznosci i
dezintegracje spoleczna!
Powiedz NIE cieciom! Twój głos jest wazny! Walcz przeciwko niesprawiedliwosciom
poczynionym przez bankowych i politycznych kryminalistow! Stan razem z milionami
brytyjczykow, , którzy chca odeprzec atak na ich poziom zycia! Niech zainspiruja Cie
przyklady Francji, Hiszpanii, Grecji, Niemiec, USA!
Wstap do SSP – Szkockiej Partii Socjalistycznej !

Friday, 19 November 2010

BlindCraft workers win six months reprieve

I was delighted to attend the Blindcraft lobby of Edinburgh City Council this morning particularly as it resulted in a partial success for the workers/campaigners involved.
The SNP Group backed down over plans to close the factory and send 70 blind and disabled staff onto the dole. Edinburgh City Council officials had prepared a report recommending closure. Their decision was based on trying to save £700,000 a year from the subsidies it presently makes to Blindcraft's Craigmillar operations. Late last night however the SNP Group, which runs the administration in coalition with the Lib Dems, decided to opt for short time working at the factory instead of complete closure. Their decision came after they had learned the Labour Group was to table such an amendment to the officers report.
So today at 9.30am we had the spectacle of both SNP and Labour Councillors leafleting the lobbyists -rather than the other way round- with details of the same amendment/alternative to closure.
SO why the eleventh hour change of heart by the SNP? Could their decision to move to a three day week for six months at the Craigmillar site be anything to do with the terribly damaging PR such a closure decision might bring and the imminent Scottish Parliament elections?
Either way the workers at Blindcarft and their union The National League for the Blind and Disabled/Community welcomed the reprieve. At least it lifts the immediate threat of closure they reasoned. However they are under no illusions they will have to return to a campaign footing after Christmas as they come to terms with 3 day working and gear up for the battle ahead.

* Come and hear Blindcraft campaigner Hannah Lister outline their case at the SSP public meeting on Monday.
Public meeting - 'Fight Back against the cuts'.
Monday 22nd Nov at 7pm
Kirkgate Community Centre [Foot of Leith Walk]
Speakers Colin Fox, SSP national spokesman,
Raphie De Santos, socialist economist,
Phil McGuiness, Edin Univ student
and Hannah Lister, Blindcraft.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Join the Blindcraft lobby

Workers from the Blindcraft bed factory in Craigmillar will be lobbying
Edinburgh City Council on Thursday morning in protest at plans to close the
facility and sack 70 people. Blindcraft employs people with visual
impairment and other disabilities. The company has suffered falling sales in
recent years as the recession bites and fewer beds and mattresses are being
bought. They have enjoyed considerable funding support from the City
Council. However this year the Lib Dem/SNP Coalition wants to cut £750,000
from Blindcraft's budget. This would leave them unable to trade. A Council
report, to be considered on Thursday, will recommend closure of the factory
and sacking all 70 employees.
I visited the factory in Peffer Place, Craigmillar, on Friday and spoke to
Marlene and Nicky who work in the sales department. They explained their
anxieties for the future and I pledged the full support of the Scottish
Socialist Party to keeping the place open and saving the nobs. I also
spoke on the telephone to Fraser Queen who is the spokesman for the campaign
to keep the factory open. He has been working for Blindcraft for 22 years.
He explained that some people have been there for more than 40 years. He is
understandably concerned about the future for all 70 employees. His union
'Community' has been busy examining alternative options to closure. He
pointed to the rapidly deteriorating employment market and stressed that
people with disabilities face a far harder chance of securing employment
than most. That's why it is so important these jobs are protected at
I assured Fraser and his colleagues the SSP would help in any way we could.
He welcomed our offer to come along to the City Chambers on Thursday morning
to support their lobby of Councillors and to ensure these jobs are saved.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

SSP to hold series of public meetings in Edinburgh against the cuts

Both Edinburgh branches of the SSP have asked me to speak at public meetings they have arrange this month against the Governments public spending cuts.
The SSP is committed to public services. We see the current levels of public service provision to be inadequate to cater for the needs of the population and so we certainly will not support any attempt to cut back these services nor sack public sector workers. As far as I am concerned the Governments plans to hack £85bn off our public service budget and sack 500,000 public sector workers are utterly unacceptable. The naked class attacks by public schoolboys like Cameron, Clegg and Osbourne who want to make working class people pay for a crisis caused by greedy bankers must be resisted. As usual both New Labour and the SNP are about as much use as a chocolate tea pot. Instead of opposing the Tories cuts agenda both these parties propose alternative cuts of their own!
The greedy bankers and the rich refuse to accept responsibility for a crisis they caused and they wish to inflict severe pain on working people. My experience today campaigning on Princes Street against the cuts showed me the huge public opposition there is to this deceit of the bankers. Its not a question of will working people fightback against the unfairness of all this more a question of where it begins and when.
The SSP in Edinburgh will be taking our case to the public with open meetings in St Leonards on Thursday 18th November [7pm in Nelson Halls Community Centre] and in Leith on Monday 22nd November [7pm in the Kirkgate Community Centre]. Further details of speakers etc will follow soon.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Scotland: a serial human rights offender

Don't believe a word Kenny McAskill says, the Scottish Justice system doesn't get human rights. It ignores judgements of the European Court of Human Rights [ECHR] with abandon. I remember sitting in the Court of Appeal in Edinburgh in 2003 I think it was listening to the case Napier vs The Lord Advocate wherein a former remand prisoner at Glasgow's Barlinnie jail successfully argued that the Scottish Executive had breached his human rights by forcing him to 'slop-out' [urinate and defecate into a plastic bucket] despite a ruling some years earlier by the European Court of Human Rights that such practices were now illegal. Only the prospect of paying out tens of millions of pounds of public money in compensation to thousands of other prisoners led the then Justice Secretary Jim Wallace to finally end this sickening practice.
You would have thought that lesson would have taught Scotland's legal establishment they needed to comply with international human rights legislation but not a bit of it.
Last week a ruling in the UK Supreme Court in London summarily rejected pleas by the Scottish judicial establishment to deny legal representation to suspects held in police custody. The Cadder case forced Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny McAskill to introduce emergency legislation to the Scottish Parliament the next day - legislation, it must be pointed out, which the Scottish Human Rights Commissioner Professor Allan Miller was not even consulted on and which he believes actually makes things worse and is a further breach of ECHR articles. These new laws were not introduced by McAskill because he was keen to ensure everyone gets legal advice, no, they were hurriedly enacted for fear of millions more compensation being paid out.
This week - I wonder if you can see a pattern forming here - Scotland suffered its third European defeat when via Westminster David Cameron this time had to anounce that 70,000 citizens in Britains jails [including 7,000 in Scotland] would now have their democratic right to vote returned to them because the current practise of denying them it is another breach of ECHR.
Of course all this extension of human rights has been just the signal the reactionaries in the Tory Party, Labour Party and SNP needed to start screaming 'blue murder' about Europe interfering in our wonderful justice system. Aye right! No wonder so many people stress the need to get SSP MSP's back into Holyrood!

* I was a member of the Scottish Parliaments Justice 2 Committee between 2003-2007.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

'The case for socialism' returns to Fettes

Three years ago I was invited to speak at Fettes College in Edinburgh the prestigious private school. I was asked to deliver a lecture on 'The case for socialism' to the schools 5th and 6th year pupils. As I recall I took my SSP colleague Johanna Dind with me as I was keen to show her round the 'alma mater' of our then Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Edinburgh has the dubious distinction, I remember telling her apologetically, of sending more of our youngsters to private school than any other city in Britain. The rest of the UK struggles to believe it but a quarter of all pupils here attend fee paying schools. I assure you it is true, 23% of primary and 25% of secondary school kids attend the dozen or more private schools like Fettes to be found here.
I always jump at the chance to present the SSP's case for socialism at schools throughout Scotland. As regular readers of this blog will know I particularly enjoyed speaking to students at my old school Our Lady's High in Motherwell this year. With private school visits I always feel like I am bringing news from the outside world.
This week I received another invitation from Fettes to return in February an give another lecture. Mr McDowall, the teacher who arranges my visit, was kind enough to say the first lecture was very popular indeed and he'd like me back to again deliver the case for socialism. It's certainly not something Tony Blair could do.