Fox: Brown Deputy Win a Further Blow to SNP Left Wing Stance

Commenting on Keith Brown’s election as SNP deputy leader, SSP national spokesman Colin Fox said:

“The election of right wing candidate and former Royal Marine Keith Brown as SNP deputy is a further sign that the party is rapidly deserting any pretence to be a left wing champion.”

“Keith Brown is the most right wing candidate in this race and his victory clearly points the direction – already trailed by the Growth Commission report – that the party is now taking.”

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Open Letter to the Yes Movement

The Scottish Socialist Party is a significant part of the Yes movement and has been for twenty years now.

That is because we advocate an independent socialist Scotland, a modern democratic republic, and we campaign for that prospect in those constituencies others cannot reach.

We worked as hard as anyone to win a Yes majority in 2014 and continue to do so.

To win that elusive majority however it is vital Scotland’s voters are shown the benefits independence represents rather than offered another version of the UK state governed from Edinburgh.

Failed Economic Model

The SNP’s Growth Commission Report bases itself on the same failed free market economics that have spawned insecure work, poverty wages, chronic indebtedness, austerity and widening inequalities, policies that have failed generations of working class people in Scotland.

The central task facing the Yes movement today is to win a majority for independence by demonstrating how much better things can be for them with democratic self-determination. The Wilson Report completely fails that challenge.

Worse it runs the risk of driving many of those energised to vote Yes in 2014 by a vision of hope, into the arms of an apparently radical Labour Party. And it contains little to win over working class voters who opted for No back then.

Placating the Powerful

It has been written to reassure bankers and businessmen that little will change with independence; that we will keep the pound, keep the neo-liberal economic dogma that has failed our people, keep the austerity imposed upon us by corrupt and reckless banking practices, continue with the privatisation of our public services and industries.

It was this conservatism that cost us victory in 2014. Too many of our fellow citizens were put off by a message that apparently promised to keep the Queen, stay in NATO and maintain the same economic power relations that delivers such dis-benefits presently.

If this Report is put at the heart of another Yes campaign we will lose again.

The SSP will not join in such a mission.

Independence For Material Gains

Rather we would campaign for independence as the way to transform Scotland and offer real solutions and real change to the working class majority. And we expect others on the Left of the Yes movement to do the same.

Only such a campaign which addresses and promises marked improvement in the material conditions of working class people in Scotland on their wages, jobs, housing, health, transport and education – for example – can succeed.

We fully intend to make these points, if afforded the opportunity, at the Assemblies the SNP leadership is reported to be planning in the weeks ahead for the broad Yes movement to comment on its Sustainable Growth Commission Report.

The independence movement has reached a very important milestone on its journey, one long overdue perhaps, where it must determine what kind of independent nation we seek to construct and which Scots we are seeking to stand up for.

We would therefore appeal to all Yes supporters who oppose austerity and want to build on the vision and hope of 2014 to reject this report and to communicate that rejection to the SNP leadership.

And in place of the Wilson programme the wider Yes movement needs urgently to fashion a vision of independence which works for Scotland’s working class majority who are vital for victory.

Key Wins For Working People

As a party which campaigns on such a vision day in day out the SSP suggest it should include :

  • A £10 per hour Living Wage for all.
  • 16 hours minimum contracts for all who want them
  • Public ownership of our railways, energy industry and utilities
  • Ends widespread tax evasion
  • Break with the failed market economics of privatisation, PFI rip offs and failed services.

Such a vision which addresses immediate needs and points the way to an independence which works for Scotland’s working class majority can open the road to victory.

Photo: Craig Maclean

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What Challenges and Opportunities Should the City of Edinburgh Council be Aware of?

The Lothians Branch of the Scottish Socialist Party is submitting to the consultation because we believe that the economic strategy of the City of Edinburgh Council is resulting in a deterioration of the conditions of working people in our capital. The current and previous Labour/SNP/Lib Dem administrations have implemented ruthless and widespread cuts that leave our public services in crisis and a chronic shortage of affordable housing. Instead of perpetuating the low wage, high bills attacks on working people, the council should consider the changes we propose to raise funds and better the conditions of workers in Edinburgh.

Replacing the Council Tax

We call for the immediate replacement of the Council Tax with a means based alternative, the Scottish Service Tax. The Council Tax is an outdated and unjust tax that disproportionately targets low income families. Government freezes and Council plans to tweak the payments will not address the fundamental flaw – it does not assess the person’s ability to pay.

Instead, the Council Tax crudely demands payment based on your address using bands set in 1991. The difference in payment from the highest to lowest band is 3:1, yet the wealthiest residents in Edinburgh are far more than three times richer than the workers we petition on behalf of.

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Indyref2 strategy was based on “Wrong Issue, Wrong Time”

Responding to the First Minister’s statement today, retreating from her previous timetable for indyref2, Scottish Socialist Party joint national spokesperson Colin Fox said:

“Behind the First Minister’s much-anticipated climbdown over indyref2 is an acceptance of the Scottish Socialist Party’s warning that the strategy she announced on March 13th was a serious error of judgement.

“We warned then that reducing independence to a tactic in the Brexit negotiations was a very serious mistake. She has been forced into this retreat today because she chose to go for a second referendum when we were behind in the polls and over Scotland’s EU membership.

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Rebuff to May makes a Second Election likely

Commenting on the general election SSP joint National Spokesperson Colin Fox said:

“The over-riding fact in this General election is that Prime Minister Theresa May’s bid for an increased mandate has failed and her credibility is now in tatters.”

“The gains made by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour shows that despite years of denunciation socialist ideas such as public ownership, workers rights and a publicly-owned NHS are highly popular and this must be welcomed.”

“Given the parliamentary arithmetic a second general election must now be a strong prospect.”

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Independence offers our only escape from a Zombie Government

“A campaign is underway in the Scottish media to portray Ruth Davidson’s Tories as the ‘real’ winners of this General Election north of the Border despite them being again comprehensively rejected here” warns SSP national spokesman Colin Fox.

He continued: “All the polls suggest the Tories will win this General Election at UK level with a big majority. But they also conclude this will occur despite being rejected in 90% of Scottish seats.”

“This ‘zombie election’ threatens Scotland with another nightmare – 5 more years of a right-wing Tory government with no mandate north of the Border. We didn’t vote for them last time or the time before that, we will not vote for them on June 8th either and yet we are set to be lumbered with them yet again.”

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Further Education: Swinney intervenes

Colleges Scotland’s national pay bargaining dispute has reached a new head. Yesterday, thousands of Further Education lecturers across Scotland were on the fourth week of strikes and these continue today. This is due to Colleges Scotland’s refusal to honour the equal pay and national bargaining deal that was agreed, balloted and signed off one year ago.

The Scottish Socialist Party fully supports and stands with the lecturers, as we back all workers and such unions who seek justice. Every assault on pay or conditions – reneged deals or otherwise – for anyone in any industry narrows options for all who seek decent work. It means there are fewer jobs that you would find worth doing for pay offered and everyone ends up with fewer options for living a good life.

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Corbyn echoes Tory rhetoric on Independence

Scottish Socialist Party National spokesman Colin Fox described Jeremy Corbyn’s anti independence manifesto as “Deeply disappointing and underlining why Labour is in such deep crisis in Scotland.”

“Pro independence socialists have a great deal of sympathy with the many progressive and forward thinking policies Jeremy Corbyn advocates in the Labour manifesto.”

“However his failure to understand the National Question in Scotland is glaringly obvious. He is left sounding exactly like Ruth Davidson and Theresa May. Nor does he appreciate that the same political forces supporting him in England are largely in the ‘Yes’ camp here.

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