Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2301

SNP leader Alex Salmond (Pic: Scottish Government)

SNP leader Alex Salmond (Pic: Scottish Government)

SNP to the left of Labour?

I have friends who say that the Scottish National Party (SNP) is fantastic.

They point to free prescriptions and the party’s anti-war and anti-trident stance.

For many in Scotland, the SNP seems like a social democratic party.

In the climate of austerity, people look at the SNP because it seems they are offering more to working people than the Tories and Labour.

People feel utterly betrayed by the Labour Party.

Ed Miliband has re-emphasised that Labour won’t reverse cuts.

For now, the SNP has been quite clever—it is perceived to have held back austerity attacks.

In doing so it has swept up the progressive anti-cuts vote.

Since the SNP’s landslide election victory, the Labour left has been more active in the anti-cuts movement. It’s as if they got a shock.

A number of good left candidates are standing, offering an alternative to the main parties.

But like everywhere just now, it’s patchy.

Some on the left are demoralised by Labour’s ineptitude.

They are looking to the SNP in places where there are no left candidates.

But you only have to look at Salmond’s cosy relationship with Rupert Murdoch, unapologetically displayed, to see that the SNP is pro-big business.

Economically, the SNP is a capitalist party—there isn’t even any pretence.

Salmond claimed that developing a relationship with Murdoch was part of his role as leader, a way to create jobs in Scotland.

There are plenty of ways to make jobs—through social housing projects for example.

You don’t need to make a pact with the devil!

But that is what the SNP is about.

The SNP seems to have separated off what it does in the councils from what it does at a national level in Scottish parliament.

But the SNP is making cuts too.

Patricia Smith, Edinburgh

Rank and file is key

Although Jerry Hicks’ heart is in the right place, I think he is misguided in calling for an elected TUC leader after Brendan Barber goes (Letters, 28 April).

People tend to be influenced by the circles they move in and the ideas of those circles.

Barber—like all other TUC leaders—has spent most of his time in the company of politicians, bosses and other well-paid trade union leaders.

They are a world away from the rank and file members they are supposed to represent.

A far better idea would be to withdraw the financial support that rank and file trade unionists give to the Labour Party, which does NOT represent workers’ interests.

Ultimately we need to organise independently at a rank and file level.

Trade union leaders are pressurised to stitch up deals over champagne lunches. They will continue to do this unless they truly feel the heat of workers’ pressure from below.

But when there is rank and file pressure, they must represent our interests or be swept away altogether in a tide of working class action which will brook no deals.

Sam Turner, Hastings

Joint strikes can keep pressure on the SNP

NHS Workers in the Unison union have struck in Scotland in March and April against increased pensions contributions—the Scottish pensions tax as Unison described it.

Our Glasgow local government branch, one of the largest in Britain, visited picket lines and took collections.

Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond is unwilling to stand up to the Tories’ plans to make workers pay. The Scottish government implemented the attack.

The PCS, UCU and NHS Unite strike on 10 May means all Scotland NHS workers can strike together. This will build pressure on Salmond and Cameron to make them back down.

Many local government branches will show solidarity.

Alan Thomson, Glasgow

Syria’s uprising in a new form

Syrian activists who believe in peaceful uprising launched a week of graffiti for freedom was from 14–21 April.

The regime still uses its heavy weapons to silence the protests.

Many Syrian cities were involved in the graffiti week, especially the capital Damascus and Deir Ez-zor.

Dozens of small towns in Syria were involved too.

Works of graffiti have also been spotted in Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories—all countries where graffiti artists have already expressed their support for the Syrian people.

This is the most beautiful and shining face of the Arab Spring.

Graffiti week for freedom was a really wonderful experience and useful political tool to reach out to a portion of people who call themselves “neutrals”.

Nebras Dallou, Syria

Sheerman’s racist tweets

Labour MP Barry Sheerman this week tweeted “Why can’t Camden Food Co employ English staff?” As if food tastes different if served by Slavic hands. I’d ask: What is this obnoxious person doing in the Labour Party? Surely UKIP is more to his taste?

Saša, Eastern Europe

Save our libraries

Libraries aren’t called the NHS of the mind for nothing.

Julie on Facebook

Well done for striking

On behalf of Unite branch SE 397 Gatwick Airport, congratulations to our Unite Health colleagues, and those in PCS and UCU, for maintaining the struggle for a decent public sector pension scheme.

You are providing a rallying point for all those opposed to this Con-Dem government’s austerity policies.

Unite Gatwick Airport branch

Keep Branson out of the NHS

Should healthcare access depend on your income? Or should everyone, regardless of their background, get equal treatment? Keep Branson out of the NHS.

Colin, South London

Cameron! Try life on benefits

I’ve been unemployed and I don’t want to be again—we need to fight for Remploy for our future. I challenge David Cameron to live on the benefits we’re now expected to.

Remploy worker, East London

Labour Party isn’t socialist

The elites, banksters and corporations own the three right parties. Labour’s not socialist. It hasn’t been since Neil Kinnock abandoned the miners, a stain that can’t be erased!

Roy on Facebook

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Article information

Tue 1 May 2012, 16:40 BST
Issue No. 2301
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