Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Independence saves the Social Chapter and stops separation

It now looks certain that the British regime is to publish a Bill for a referendum which will give the people of south-east England the right to remove Scotland from the European Union against our will. 

Opinion polls seem to suggest that should a referendum be held on leaving the European Union, British voters would vote to leave whilst Scottish voters would choose to remain. 

The hatemongering by the British press over the European Union is the main factor why the British people would choose, incorrectly, to leave the EU whilst countries throughout Europe are clamouring to join. 

Indeed, the British press - in a development which will come as little surprise to us in Scotland - is so dishonestly engaged in whipping up falsehoods and scare stories about the EU that the Commission has an entire department dedicated to rebutting its lies.

The British press is an inherently racist operation. A quick look at circulation figures show that The Sun is the best-selling newspaper in the UK. The Sun is a newspaper which has a hatred, fear and contempt of foreigners barely matched even by Johann Lamont. For instance, Europeans do not seem to exist as human beings in the world of The Sun - rather, they are divided into "Frogs", "Krauts", "Huns" and so on. On one notorious occasion, it published a front-page headline, "Swan Bake", which accused "asylum seekers" of "killing swans and eating them". 

It's the sort of mad, paranoid, anti-foreigner rant more worthy of the Labour Party in Scotland than a serious newspaper.

There are between 2½ and three million copies of The Sun sold each day: a conservative estimate would that it is read by around four million electors: most of whom, one would guess, trust the anti-EU lies of the newspaper and would vote accordingly at any EU referendum. The Scottish Sun accounts for around 300.000 of these. 

The second largest selling newspaper in the UK is the ultra-right wing Daily Mail, a sort of  slightly watered down version of Der Stürmer which once backed the British Union of Fascists, led by former Labour government minister Oswald Mosley; and which now backs Ukip, the right wing of the Conservative Party, and the BetterTogether campaign. 91% of the Mail's readership votes for BetterTogether constituent parties.

The Mail is staunchly anti-European, almost to the point of hilarity at times, although it did support a certain prominent Austrian, with the editorial stance that 
The minor misdeeds of individual Nazis would be submerged by the immense benefits the new regime is already bestowing upon Germany
The Mail was also pro-European in another sense in that it, like kid-on Labour soldier boy Jim Murphy and the Scottish Conservative Party, supported the fascist Apartheid régime in South Africa. 

The combined readership of the Mail and Sun in England alone outweighs the entire Scottish electorate. As I mention above, it can be reasonably argued that the vast bulk of their readership would support withdrawal.

This means that while Scotland - according to every opinion poll on the issue ever undertaken - will vote to remain in Europe, the readership of the Mail and the Sun alone renders our opinion worthless. 

The Conservative Party, which introduced the most extreme anti-Trade Union legislation ever to exist in the United Kingdom, and the Labour Party, which in its thirteen years in Government reversed not a single one of them, would be very pleased to be free of the restraints of the European Union. 

They have already secured an opt-out from the Working Time Directive, meaning that Scots have to work longer hours, with fewer holidays, than our fellow EU workers. 

Withdrawal from the EU would allow whichever centre-right party is operating the British régime to be liberated from the Social Chapter which protects the promotion of employment, improving living and working conditions, proper social protection, dialogue between management and worker, the development of human resources with the aim of providing full employment, and the combating of exclusion in the workforce. 

The third of those - social protection - is particularly interesting. A withdrawal from the Social Chapter would allow a future Conservative government to refuse to fund labour market interventions, social insurance and social assistance. 

They are already Hell-bent on wrecking the social security system, and a withdrawal from  the EU and its Social Chapter would allow it the legal right to completely abolish all social security. 

The Scottish people, which have voted overwhelmingly for socialist and social-democratic parties, know this and do not wish to leave the European Union. 

But we know that the demographics of the United Kingdom are against us. The only way to avoid Scotland being separated from our European friends and colleagues and being dragged out of a European Union we need and support by the serried ranks of Mail and Sun readers in the south-east of England is for us to be an independent country. 

Only independence can guarantee Scotland's place in the European Union.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Why I'm Backing Green for Aberdeen

The sad death of Brian Adam at the age of 64 last month, added to the resignations and sacking of various MSPs, has left the Government, elected two years ago with a majority of nine, stuck on a majority of zero. 

Mark McDonald, a capable and popular new list MSP for the North East, has resigned his seat in Parliament in order to fight the resulting by-election. His place in Parliament is automatically filled by the next (and last) candidate on the National Party's list in the North East, Christian Allard. 

The scale of the SNP's victory two years ago meant that almost every candidate on their North East list was elected. With Mr. Allard the last-ranked candidate, should further attrition (death or resignation) occur on the North East list, the seat will not be filled and shall remain vacant until the fifth - and also first - Scottish Parliament election in 2016. 

Interestingly, Mr Allard is the first Frenchman to sit in Holyrood. One can only begin to imagine the fury that this will draw from a Labour Party which is increasingly facing intensive questioning at what appears to be an exponential growth in anti-"foreigner" racism within its ranks. 

The composition of Parliament is thus:

Government 64
Unionist       57
Green/Ind     6
President      1

Should Mr McDonald win the seat - and given that Mr Adam bequeathed a majority of over seven thousand, it is difficult to see how he could fail - the Government will have its majority restored (65/57/6/1).

However, it is my assertion that single party majority government, whilst providing some advantages, is an inherently negative position for any legislature, and indeed a negative position in many ways for the governing party itself. 

The SNP's majority in Holyrood has, it must be said, led to a degree of arrogance in government, which has resulted in some very unpopular legislation which may affect the cross-party Yes Scotland campaign's chances of success in next year's independence referendum. 

A single-party majority government, as even Tony Blair conceded, means that only the opinions of a small number of party power-brokers need to be listened to when drafting legislation. It means that the full panopoly of national and legislaturial opinion can be ignored - even the opinions of friendly critics - with no fear of the legislation failing to pass through Parliament. 

It is no accident that the minority government of 2007-2011 was the most popular in Scotland since the introduction of democracy in 1999. The SNP, while implementing a popular manifesto, had to listen to the opinion of smaller parties in fulfilling its duty of government. There was no sense that the SNP was railroading poor legislation through against all sensible advice, and to public opposition. 

Therefore, it  fundamentally appears to me that the SNP losing its majority (whilst retaining a pro-independence, pro-referendum majority within the legislature) would lead to a more collegiate and consensual style of government, which would in turn lead to a more substantial chance of success in the referendum, as the Government would no longer simply be "the SNP government" so beloved of spittle-flecked Unionists. 

With no desire to bolster the ranks of the centre-right Unionists, or indulge the fantasy that a Ukip which captures fewer than 1% of the Scottish vote will ever win by legitimate means a seat in Holyrood, the only chance of genuine refreshment and change in Holyrood; a fillip for one of our campaign's parties; and a loosening of the SNP reigns on Holyrood which is one of the biggest obstacles now to a Yes vote, in the absence of a Socialist Party candidate is to vote for Rhonda Reekie of the Green Party. 

She won't win, of course, but I feel it would benefit progressive politics in Scotland, the Yes Scotland campaign and the Government if she did. 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Does Labour in Scotland have a racism problem?

This week, Labour in Scotland were embroiled in another race-hate scandal after leading Labour strategist, Better Together campaigner and serial Labour Party candidate, Ian Smart, used an offensive racial slur against people of Pakistani descent, but often used by skinheads and racist against all people subcontinental descent. 

Brought onto STV's Scotland Tonight programme to explain himself, Smart bafflingly  and persistently refused to apologise to people offended by his racist terminology. On the contrary, he admitted that he had made a conscious decision to use the racist slur, which I will not reproduce here. 

Smart claims that he is not a racist. I don't know Smart personally, but I do know racist language when I hear it. As Plaid Cymru's leader on Cardiff City Council remarked to me: "I've been called a [the racist term used by Smart] expletive myself far too many times, sometimes followed by a punch".

If Smart isn't a racist, despite his free and considered use of racial slurs, perhaps he would do well to consider the impact of a public figure's words on people who are racists. This ethnic slur is one which we in Scotland have done much to stamp out of use over the years.

If Smart isn't a racist, he does a jolly good impression of one by using this vile terminology.

He claims he is not a racist. I submit that this offensive racist term rolled off his typewriter slightly too easily for comfort.

The very best that can be said about Smart is that he is quite prepared to use extremely racist comments, forcing victims of racism to relive their experiences, to score political points. This is disturbing, and points to a mentality of hate which should be stamped out of the Labour Party and out of public life.

In a disturbing example of Scottish Labour's pack mentality, the former Premier, Jack McConnell, leapt feet-first into the debate, bizarrely attacking pro-independence supporters for Smart's comments, before admitting to me that he hadn't even read Smart's racist language before defending him.

As Smart's brother Alan pointed out, calling his brother "worse than [a racist]", when Enoch Powell brought the race card into political debate Edward Heath sacked him the following day.

Johann Lamont has been completely silent - in a shock development... - on what is only the latest race scandal to hit the Labour Party in Scotland.

Currently embroiled in the Better Together campaign alongside the Tories, and campaigning alongside the British National Party, Ukip and the fascist Orange Order, Labour are struggling to assert themselves.

It's not so long since Glasgow Labour list MSP Anne MacTaggart, who is remarkably close to rising Council star Stephen Curran, was disciplined after racially abusing a colleague. The Labour Party said that questions had to be asked: but no answers were ever made public. 

Indeed, even as the Independence Referendum was being debated in the British parliament, it was Labour members, led by the thuggish and sinister Pollok MP Ian Davidson, who demanded that the referendum franchise should be based on race rather than residency.

Summer 2011, even as the horrendous terrorist attacks in Oslo and Utøya were underway, saw Cathcart MP Tom Harris react with glee, using the attacks to launch a quite horrifying Islamophobic attack which was swiftly deleted as it became apparent that the man responsible was a white Christian.

It would be absurd to attack Jim Murphy (Eastwood MP) for attending a school, even as an adult, from which black students and teachers were formally barred from attending and whose only other notable alumnus went on to head Project Coast, the illegal WMD project of the Apartheid South African régime. It isn't, however, churlish to attack him for being on the advisory council of the Henry Jackson Society (on which more here)

It would be further absurd to conclude that isolated examples of racism and racist language is evidence per se of a problem with racism in the Labour Party in Scotland. However, the more that racism goes unchallenged - even sheltered - by its leadership, and the more that Labour gets into bed with sinister, racism-tinged organisations like Better Together and the Henry Jackson Society, the more difficult it will be for Labour to rid itself of their taint. 

It is not sufficient, it is not acceptable, for Labour to be a non-racist party. They must strive to be an actively anti-racist party.

And the best way to show that is by jettisoning Smart for his use of racist language. Sadly, it seems that Lamont has neither the power nor the desire to do so, and the Labour Party drags its reputation down that little bit more.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Anti-Scotland Campaign Is Deliberately Confusing Voters

The anti-Scotland BetterTogether campaign, which shares a sponsor with indicted war criminal Zeljko "Arkan" Raznatovic, and is supported by the British National Party, Labour, the British Government, Ukip and the fascist Orange Order, has recently been making great political capital out of the shock revelation that the National Party, Green Party and Socialist Party have differing ideas about the economy. 

We in the Socialist Party supports Scotland following the example of our northern neighbours and using our own independent currency after independence. This position is supported by former Labour MP, and Yes Scotland chairman, Dennis Canavan.

The National Party supports Scotland retaining our current Pound Sterling for the forseeable future. 

The Green Party supports an eventual move to an independent currency, and using the Pound Sterling to begin with. That the Pound Sterling is the best interim currency is supported by Yes CEO Blair Jenkins, and the musician Pat Kane, of the Yes board. 

Nobody supports entry into the Euro for the time being. This is because entry into the Euro is dependent on a member state being a member of ERM-II, with its own independent currency, for a period of two years. 

The anti-Scotland campaign was caught in a flat-out lie with a scaremongering falsehood that an independent Scotland would be "forced" to adopt the Euro. They have now, notably, completely dropped this argument in favour of one that says we will be banned from using the freely-convertible Pound Sterling, issued by the independent UK Central Bank, which is a part-Scottish asset. 

It is part of a worrying pattern from the anti-Scotland campaign. They push one outright lie in their media outlets: when it is easily proven to be false, they simply move onto the next scaremongering, terrorising lie. 

The only tactic that they have is to terrorise the people of Scotland. 

The diversity of opinion in Yes Scotland regarding the currency, amongst other things, is a major problem for the anti-Scotland campaign. Their tactic has been to demand answers about the specific policies of an independent Scotland: clearly ludicrous given that it will be up to the Scots electorate to select a government with its own particular set of policies. 

So, having demanded specific policies (when this is a referendum on a principle rather than an election on a manifesto) in order to bamboozle and frighten the electorate they hold in such contempt, they have completely swung the pendulum to the other extreme. 

They smear the Yes campaign as being an "SNP front" - but with the other side of their Janus faces, they demand that all parties in Yes share policies, and criticise when this isn't the case. It is bizarre, and symptomatic of the complete contempt for Scotland and negative tactics of the anti-Scotland campaign. 

I have added a Venn diagram to make it slightly clearer for them. The SNP is part of the Yes campaign. The Green Party is part of the Yes campaign but not part of the National Party. The Socialist Party is on the Yes board, but is not led by Alex Salmond. 

One question does arise:

if the anti-Scotland campaign genuinely does believe that the campaigns on each side should share policies as well as the constitutional principles (Yes believes that the Scottish people should decide the Scottish policies; No believes that David Cameron should do so), then would it not be perfectly reasonable to assume that the Labour Party supports the Tory/Liberal Bedroom Tax?

We do, after all, know that the official BetterTogether position is that the Bedroom Tax is "popular and right". 

Would it not be perfectly reasonable to assume that the Liberal Party supports Ukip and the BNP's racist immigration and employment policies?

Would it not be perfectly reasonable to ask why, just like in the Yes campaign, the anti-Scotland campaign is split over the currency, with the Liberals being pro-Euro, Labour being Euro-gradualists, and the BNP, Ukip and Tories in favour of retaining the UK's almost half-century old currency?

The anti-Scotland campaign's pretense at not understanding basic parts of cross-party campaigns, and worse, a deliberate and quite malicious attempt at frightening and confusing voters in order to terrorise them into voting No next year, devalues them, and it reduces the debate on independence to one side simply telling as many lies as they can get into the newspapers, and the other unable to advance its argument because it is reduced to trying to firefight. 

Arkan, with his well-known contempt for the democratic process, would be nodding with approval at the way BetterTogether is spending his money.