Scotland: Why the left should back independence

by Alan McCombes

More than 150 years ago, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels called on the working class of all countries to unite and fight for a socialist world.

At a time when there were no telephones, no cars, no aeroplanes, no TV and no radio, their internationalist vision represented an extraordinary feat of historical imagination.

In today’s world of the internet, satellite TV, high-speed air travel, global capitalism and the World Social Forum, the philosophy of socialist internationalism no longer looks like a utopian flight of fantasy.

But what does socialist internationalism mean in practice?

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Huge boost for SSP’s Free Public Transport Campaign with Union Backing

by Colin Fox

Whilst the political parties at Westminster were all agreeing to decimate public services the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) passed a resolution at its annual conference in Brighton to support the introduction of free public transport to combat global warming, reduce pollution and road traffic accidents and improve social inclusion.

The plan was initially developed by Alan McCombes and pioneered by the SSP in the Scottish Parliament and has been described as ‘the most imaginative and audacious’ policy put forward by any party in the entire climate change debate. I was delighted to accept an invitation from the PCS’s Department for Transport conference to outline our specific policy objectives in detail to delegates.

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Lordy, Lordy, Lordy: Labour’s government of the unelected

by Colin Fox

There they sit; Lords Mandelson, Adonis, Sugar, Malloch-Brown, Drayson and Baronesses Royal and Scotland, seven peers of the realm whose allegiance is to the Queen, not the people, now centre stage in the Labour Cabinet.

This Government is a caricature of a Britain long gone, a vivid testament to how Labour has abandoned its founders. The first vote passed at the first Labour conference in 1900 was to abolish the House of Lords.
In 2009 Labour depends on it to rule the people.

Amid the severest economic crisis in 80 years and with the European elections providing irrefutable proof that Labour has no democratic mandate, it must be a great comfort to the British establishment and its ever loyal Labour Party that they can always rely on unaccountable,

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The Case For Free Public Transport

Nine points arguing the case for free public transport

  • Free fares would be the biggest single pro-environment policy enacted by any national government anywhere on the planet, dramatically slashing car use and CO2 emissions.
  • Free fares would be the biggest anti-poverty, pro-social inclusion policy enacted in Scotland, or anywhere else in the UK. It is mainly people on low incomes who rely on public transport
  • Free fares would cut the number of road accidents, reducing human suffering and relieving pressure on the NHS and the emergency services. The Scottish Executive estimates that road accidents cost £1.4 billion a year to the Scottish economy. (On an average day in Scotland there is one fatal road accident;

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Funding free public transport

This article is a brief summary of the startup and running costs, of implementing the Scottish Socialist Party’s flagship free public transport policy.

Cost of public ownership

The Glasgow Underground and Lothian Buses are already in the public sector, though they would need to be re-organised.

The three major targets for public ownership would be First Bus, Stagecoach and ScotRail. This would bring the main transport providers into social ownership.

A big chunk of the transport infrastructure is already publicly-owned and funded, including bus stations, bus shelters, railway stations and the rail track.

However, the buses run by First and Stagecoach would have to be purchased and the workforce transferred to Scotland’s local authorities.

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Free School Meals campaign history

Roz Patersonby Roz Paterson

The Scottish Socialist Party’s Free School Meals (FSM) campaign began in 2001, just two years into the SSP’s lifetime.

The plan was, and is, simple – give every state school child in Scotland a free, nutritious school lunch. That way, everyone has the opportunity to eat well every single day they attend school, taking a considerable burden off the shoulders of struggling families, removing the stigma attached to the current system, where poor kids can be identified and singled out, and raising the nutritional standards of our upcoming generation. How could it fail?

In fact, although the FSM bill has been rejected by the Scottish Parliament twice –

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Free Transport In Action

Summary

Hasselt, in Limburg, Belgium, took a new approach to transport that could make even the most hardened petrolhead change their mind – they massively upgraded the public transport system and made it free, and now congestion is a thing of the past and the city is alive again.

Roz Patersonby Roz Paterson

IN the city of Hasselt, Belgium, the priority is not traffic…but people.

The pavements aren’t hemmed in by the roads; quite the opposite is true. People gather in the squares, children play safely, buses run on time and every 15 minutes. If a city is only alive when its streets are full of people, then Hasselt is bursting with life.

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