Open Letter to Labour’s new Scottish leader Richard Leonard MSP

Dear Richard,

Congratulations on your election as Scottish Labour leader. We hope your victory heralds a new age in Scottish politics. Whilst we disagree with Labour on many things – Independence, failure to repeal anti union laws , sending in Sheriff officers to humiliate working people during the poll tax struggle, the war in Iraq, the use of PFI contracts in privatising our NHS and education services, attacking the benefits of single parents – in recognition of the fact that your election represents a break with past policies we would like to suggest we work together to tackle the poverty pay, insecure work, soaring housing costs and falling living standards working class people suffer every day.

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Clarity Needed to Reverse Indy Retreat

by Hugh Cullen

Opinion polls taken since the 2014 Referendum paint a picture of support for a second referendum on independence slowly trickling away. Polls don’t tell the whole story but they correlate with what we are seeing on the ground; formerly active and vibrant Yes groups have either folded, become social gatherings or are dominated by nationalism detached from reality.

Comparing the SNP of late 2014/15, buoyed by 100,000 new members and electoral domination, to today seems like day and night. The Nationalists have paid a huge price for not making the case for Independence at any election since the referendum – and allowing themselves to be chased away from the issue by the Unionists.

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Social care must be a right for all

by Natalie Reid

It’s no secret that social care funding is in crisis, in Scotland and across the UK as a whole.

Inevitably, this has led to inequality in social care provision, meaning only those who can afford it can be guaranteed the high standards of care we all deserve; whether it’s later in life or throughout our lifetime.

And this gaping inequality is only going to get worse.

According to Professor June Andrews, former director of the Dementia Services Development Centre at Stirling University, unless the current system of funding changes we will see “fabulous care for the rich, decent care that strips your family wealth for the affluent middle,

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Standing for top-quality housing

by Bill Bonnar

The Scottish Socialist Party believes that the only way to tackle Scotland’s housing crisis and to meet the long term housing needs of the people of Scotland is through a massive expansion of social housing.

Decades of government cuts in housing support to local authorities, combined with the fiscally ruinous right-to-buy policy, and a host of other capitalist measures have driven people into mortgage-based home ownership and the private rented sector. This has condemned hundreds of thousands of families to life sentences served out in dilapidated housing schemes.

Only by reversing these trends can we resolve the problems. The private sector has never been a solution; it is a large part of the problem.

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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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Advancing Social Security Workshop

Last Saturday, Dundee SSP held a day school workshop – with Colin Turbett, an SSP social security expert with decades of experience in social work.

colin_turbett_augustineOn welcome to the branch, Mr Turbett said: “The limitations of the Scottish Government’s devolved social security reforms were shown earlier this month when the Tories benefit cap came into operation. This discriminates against large families claiming benefit by limiting the total they can claim (including housing benefit for rent) to £20,000 per year.

“In my own area, North Ayrshire, which has the second highest levels of child poverty in Scotland, this will hit 200 families and make life even harder for all the children involved. Consultation submissions on the devolved budgets and how they might be used,

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Close The Obscene Gap: for a £10 minimum and a maximum wage

richieby Richie Venton, SSP national trade union organizer

The gaping chasm between the incomes of millions of workers and handfuls of millionaire company chief executives is opening up ever wider, like the blades of a giant pair of scissors.

The case I expounded in my book, Break the Chains, for an immediate national minimum wage of £10-an-hour for all workers – regardless of age – and a maximum wage initially based on an overly generous 10:1 differential with the minimum (i.e. £100-an-hour maximum) screams out from every page of every recent report on workers’ wages and bosses’ incomes.

The top dogs of the FTSE 100 biggest companies have just had yet another 10% pay rise –

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The case for free public transport

The Scottish Socialist Party is a proud advocate of a world-class, fare-free public transport system for Scotland.

Transport has undergone enormous changes in recent decades, both in Scotland and across the world. Some have been cyclical: in Scotland’s capital, trams were built, dismantled, and then reintroduced. In other areas, we have seen consistent trends like the steady deregulation and privatisation of services, which has left Edinburgh as the sole city in Scotland with a municipal bus operator.

Rail fares across the UK have soared in comparison to those of our European neighbours, and Scottish transport contracts go out to tender in a farcical franchise system whereby public sector companies in other countries can bid for control while those in Scotland are effectively barred.

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