Scottish Socialist Voice hosts “No Holds Barred” post-election Forum

The Scottish Socialist Voice – the only socialist newspaper printed, produced and published in Scotland – is hosting a “no holds barred” forum to discuss the outcome of the election and what it means for the left.

Topics will include the next moves for the independence movement, the implications of the rise of Corbynism and what needs to be done to combat the rise of Scottish conservatism and a Tory/DUP government.

The speakers at the event underscore the urgency of the challenges posed –  they include former Health Secretary Alex Neil MSP, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan, Scottish Labour’s deputy leader Alex Rowley MSP, leading economist Margaret Cuthbert and SSP spokesman Colin Fox.

Voice editor Ken Ferguson said:

“The politics of Scotland after the general election pose challenges for the independence and socialist movements.

Why the SNP defeats? Will Corbynism revive Scottish Labour? How can the challenges in key sectors such as education, jobs, wages and housing be met? Is the Tory revival permanent or will its role propping up the May government reverse it?”

“What is clear is that the right response will only be found through frank and open discussion of the options to protect living standards and advance democracy in the teeth of a Tory government propped up by the DUP. As we raise the questions at the Forum we hope we might also arrive at some realistic answers”

The forum will be held at 10am-1pm Saturday 24th June, at Unison Office, 84 Bell Street, Glasgow, G1 1LQ.

Tickets for the event are limited and can be obtained through Eventbrite – or contact the Voice on on 07925 613145.

Main Photo: Craig Maclean – from the March Scottish Socialist Voice forum “Beyond Brexit”

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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.”

“Here in Scotland the loss sustained by the SNP – losing 21 seats and big figures such as Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson – is a direct consequence of their failure to make the case for independence – supposedly their core belief – leaving the field clear for three unionist parties to hammer home an anti-independence case.”

“Such a simple prospectus allowed the Tories to avoid discussion of their cruel policies such a benefit sanctions, falling living standards, stripping the elderly of their homes and zero hours insecure work. However the reality of their anti-working class policies will now be revealed as today’s Tory victors become tomorrows anti-working class foot soldiers at Westminster.”

“Whilst this result is a setback for the independence movement it also clearly demonstrates that support for independence is greater than that for the SNP, again underlining the case for a reinvigorated broad-based Yes movement.”

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“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.”

“That anti-democratic reality refuses to go away. The only way to avoid it is via Independence.”

“It falls on the SNP manifesto this week therefore to explain how this spectre is to be exorcised. The nationalists need to outline how they intend to secure Independence when the Parliamentary arithmetic leaves them powerless. And they need to mobilise Scottish public opinion behind self-determination in a way they have thus far failed to do.”

“But their ‘resistance’ will be completely undermined if they do not secure an unequivocal mandate for Independence from this election. They have still not explained how they will secure a second referendum in the face of Theresa May’s intransigence.”
“Since she called this election the Scottish Socialist Party has argued independence must be put at the heart of this contest. Thus far the SNP has not done so. Indeed SNP candidates across Scotland insist this election is NOT about Independence but rather about ‘protecting Scotland’s interest in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.”

“For us independence is not an end in itself rather the route out of low pay, zero hour contracts and precarious employment, fuel poverty and the growing wealth gap that results from policies that pamper the rich. And it is the only escape route we have to avoid Tory Governments we did not vote for.”

“We continue to set out a range of policies to tackle the problems facing working class people and open the way to an independent socialist Scotland, a democratic republic.”

Media Release

Contact : Ken Ferguson 07925 613145

Main Photo: Craig Maclean

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Duck and Cover, not Strong and Stable in Scotland!

William Randolph Hearst said, “News is something which somebody wants suppressed: all the rest is advertising”. The Scottish press were instructed not to divulge the location of the Conservatives manifesto launch this morning in Edinburgh. They dutifully did so, keeping the Theresa May safe from the Scottish public.

In response to May’s press event, SSP joint national spokesperson Natalie Reid said: “After Theresa May came face to face with the reality of her cuts to support for the disabled in Oxfordshire four days ago, it’s no wonder she’s been constantly dodging the public.”

“After seven years of brutal cuts, the Tories’ claims to be the party for the working class hold no water.”

“With a manifesto that promises to snatch food out of children’s mouths by cutting free school lunches, and leave pensioners shivering in the cold – means-testing winter fuel allowances, May has every reason to hide herself from working class Scots. So much for strong and stable!”

Heading towards the prospect of a larger UK Tory majority; “now more than ever, working class people across Scotland must ensure the case for independence remains at the forefront of Scottish politics.”

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Not Them and Us – There is only Us

by Sandra Webster

The recent snap general election announcement is not a surprise. Our joint national spokesperson Colin Fox warned us to be prepared. However with the local elections – we can truly demonstrate that communities are the Scottish Socialist Party’s life blood. One of my first activities on joining the SSP was at the Tory party conference in Troon. They stood behind six foot fences and watched us. To me, it was like a day out in Blair Drummond Safari Park. Only, the fences were there for their protection.

We should be proud to be an inclusive party – we live in our communities. We see and feel first hand the impact of the brutal cuts on a daily basis. It is our neighbour we help when they are sanctioned, we offer support in completing complex PIP forms which feel like writing a novel. We help complete the Discretionary Housing Payment forms to offset the Tory and Liberal’s hated Bedroom Tax.

We do not talk about “them and us” – as it is only “us”, a working class socialist party who reaches out. Our role is to educate and most importantly liberate, to give people the confidence to know their voice is powerful, it is important and it has a right to be listened to.

So we stand with local campaigns such as our own local children’s ward – in my local area – because it is the right thing to do. We challenge the stigmatisation of refugees, gently pointing out the truth. We were one of the first parties to support the One in Five campaign, whose support has been very helpful in the council election campaign.

People with disabilities and unpaid carers are given little credence by politicians so we should be proud of our role and challenge disablist language wherever it exists. As Chomsky (and Gramsci) teaches us language is a powerful weapon. It can be a tool of oppression, but also a great liberator.

The SSP do not expect communities to come to us. Instead, we reach out to where they live and show we all stand together. This is not only at election times but at all times. A comrade said to me, “We are not Brigadoon politicians” – we don’t vanish into the ether but continue to campaign against inequality everywhere we see it. We don’t just preach “another way is possible” but pledge to be our own best selves, showing the reality of a kinder, fairer society and why socialism can tackle inequalities.

That is why I am a socialist and proud member of the SSP.

I wish all such candidates well, as I do to all my comrades. We remain on the right side of the Tories’ fence and stand with our communities.

Sandra Webster is the SSP’s 2017 council candidate for Paisley North West.

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A functioning democracy needs a Real Free Press

by Ken Ferguson

The media is in crisis, both globally and locally.

Around the world we have seen the collapse of numbers working as professional journalists. Politics, business and institutions are as a result at historically low levels of public oversight; corruption and plutocracy go unreported.

In Scotland, this is compounded by a clear disconnect between positions taken by media organisations and the views of a substantial portion of the population who feel that they are not represented, and that information the public is given is systematically biased on key issues in Scottish politics.

The roots of the worldwide crisis in journalism lie in two factors.

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Snap Election – Voters : Make this “The Independence Election”

by Colin Fox and Natalie Reid

The Scottish Socialist Party will not be standing in the General Election on June 8, but that does not mean we will not be campaigning.

We will.

Our annual conference in Glasgow last weekend committed all SSP members across Scotland to spend the next six weeks making the case for independence and helping to ensure this becomes the “independence election”. Why is that so important?

Well, if all the opinion polls are correct, and we see no reason to doubt their common conclusion, Theresa May is heading for a 60-70 seat majority at Westminster. And Labour is heading for a hiding.

Such a result is not a good one for working class people anywhere in Britain. It will mean further attacks on the vulnerable, further commercial pressure on our NHS, further austerity – making the poor pay for a crisis caused by the bankers – further casualisation of a workforce facing poverty wage rates and insecurity.

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May Day 2017 message

by Connor Beaton

Today, the Scottish Socialist Party extends warm greetings and solidarity to working class people around the world — allies in our campaign for the socialist transformation of society.

We are not, unlike countless private businesses, celebrating “Bank Holiday Monday”. This is International Workers’ Day, the most important date on the calendar for those who, like us, look to the organised working class as the most important force for social progress.

This annual, worldwide celebration of working class power takes on even greater significance in today’s hostile political environment.

There have been very few recent victories in Scotland or the UK for organised workers. Instead, reforms which were hard-won through previous generations’ struggle, like the creation of the welfare state, are being either covertly or overtly reversed.

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