Socialist Worker

Let’s not wait to win change

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2652

Nicola Sturgeon

Defeated at the SNP conference (Pic: First Minister of Scotland/Twitter)


The Scottish National Party (SNP) leadership was defeated at its conference last weekend. Members voted to fast track plans to establish a new currency in an independent Scotland.

This came as an amendment to a motion on the SNP’s Growth Commission, a neoliberal economic plan promising more austerity.

It was penned by a corporate lobbyist, with no involvement of trade unions, and has been the subject of a year of intense and critical debate among SNP members.

The split during the debate at conference was clear. Senior party figures spoke in favour of the motion and some rank file members backed the amendments to it, three of which were defeated.

The vote also reflected a mood of frustration in the wider independence movement.

Many people are fed up with SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s strategy to secure a second independence referendum.

Keeping

This has seen even senior figures in her own party call on her to do more to push for Indyref2, rather than her focus on keeping Britain in the European Union.

Sturgeon has also faced pressure from growing protests demanding her

government declares a climate emergency.

Extinction Rebellion activists have occupied the Scottish parliament and blocked roads in Edinburgh over the last few months.

There have also been youth climate strikes. In her keynote speech Sturgeon bowed to that pressure. Now activists must press her, and every politician in Scotland, to act on the declaration and take meaningful steps towards slashing carbon emissions.

Backing a motion congratulating climate strikes and protests, MPs spoke with passion about the climate crisis.

They also pointed to the limited powers available to the Scottish government to tackle it.

But this cannot be used an excuse for inaction.

There’s a big contradiction between green rhetoric and continuing to rely on the exploitation of fossil fuel reserves in the North Sea.

The whole independence movement must take up the call of those demanding change to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis.

The transition to a truly sustainable economy must start immediately, however limited the powers of the Scottish government.

We cannot wait until independence to make that change—we do not have that luxury.


Together we will break up the British state

A YouGov opinion poll last week put those for and against Scottish independence “neck and neck”.

It underlined that the crisis of the British state is as deep as ever.

Glasgow strikers were right to fight Labour and SNP council leaders

Glasgow strikers were right to fight Labour and SNP council leaders (Pic: Andrew McGowan)

Tories like to insist there is “no appetite” for independence.

Yet the All Under One Banner marches have shown this is false.

The Tories will never agree to Indyref2 so it is crucial we keep mobilising as we move into a critical period.

The Tories cannot be allowed to decide when, or if a new vote takes place.

Democratic

We should campaign for Scots’ right to decide. Some of those who voted No last time can be won to that democratic demand.

In the era of Donald Trump and a far right growing in confidence, anti-racist unity is crucial. The far right is eyeing up an opportunity to break through at the European Parliament elections.

Whether Yes, No, Leave or Remain use your vote against the racists on 23 May.

It also will do the movement damage to demonise striking workers as some kind of Unionist puppets.

Whichever party is cutting their pay or attacking their rights at work they deserve our backing.

That spirit of fightback, or the civil disobedience of the climate protesters, is what the independence movement needs more of.

Another Scotland is possible but we will need to fight hard to make it happen.

For updates go to SWP Scotland on Facebook

Lecturers plan pay strikes

Thousands of college lecturers in Scotland are set for an escalation of their pay dispute.

They are set to walk out next Wednesday, and then on 15 and 16 May.

Members of the EIS Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA) union have already held four days of strikes.

Lecturers also voted in favour of action short of strikes including a results boycott.

Lecturers have not had a cost of living pay rise for nearly three years.

They fought for and won harmonised equal pay across the sector, but management now want them to pay for that by holding down future increases.

The present offer amounts to a rise of just 2 percent over three years—and with worse terms and conditions.

Everyone should back the strikes and push the Scottish government to act.


Stop the vile Ukip racists in Scotland

The racists of Ukip are trying to cash-in on the Brexit crisis and win election at the European Parliament elections on 23 May.

One of Ukip’s candidates is Mark Meechan, who goes by the name Count Dankula.

He was fined £800 after filming a dog giving a Nazi salute. He had trained the animal to respond to statements such as “gas the Jews” and “Sieg Heil” by raising its paw.

He was found guilty of posting material that was “grossly offensive” and “antisemitic and racist in nature”after a trial at Airdrie Sheriff Court last year.

In March, the new BBC Scotland channel ditched plans to feature Meechan in a show following protests.

He had been filmed for two appearances on discussion panel programme The Collective.

Stand Up to Racism Scotland is campaigning against Ukip at the elections.

“Meechan underlines the real nature of this far right party,” said a spokesperson.

At the last European elections in 2014 Ukip took 140,000 votes in Scotland and won an MEP.

For campaign details go to Stand up to Racism—Scotland on Facebook

Fighting for climate action

The impact of a movement on the streets against climate change is starting to have an impact.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon declared a “climate emergency” at last week’s Scottish National Party conference.

Sturgeon promised to “live up to our responsibility” on climate change and said school strikers were right to take action.

It’s a victory for Extinction Rebellion activists, who are campaigning for governments to act urgently on climate change.

Around 300 young activists staged a die-in in Kelvingrove art gallery and museum, Glasgow last Saturday.

They laid underneath Dippy, the copy of a diplodocus skeleton with some holding signs asking “Are we next?”

“If we keep carrying on the way we are, humans may become extinct, like Dippy” said 12 year old Lida.

Sarah Bates


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