Scotland

Reject the 4% sop!

Nurses United, an activist group within the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), is campaigning for rejection of the 4% pay offer made to NHS workers in Scotland. Like the NHS Workers Say No group, it is campaigning for a 15% rise. The GMB union is balloting in Scotland between 12 April and 5 May, Unison between 15 April and 7 May, and the RCN between 16 April and 6 May. Unison has called on members to accept the 4%, GMB and RCN to reject. The Royal College of Midwives and Unite are putting the deal to their members with no recommendation. NHS workers have suffered real-terms pay cuts of up to 20%...

Solid start to ScotRail conductors' strikes

The ScotRail conductors’ strike got off to a cracking start yesterday. Solid action saw every train cancelled other than a few DOO trains in the central belt.

Guards are angry that the company has taken away their enhanced pay rates for rest day working, especially as drivers are still being paid...

Political circus in Scotland

On Friday 26 March 2021 Alex Salmond announced his leadership of the Alba (Gaelic for: Scotland) Party. The Alba Party was founded in January 2021 by the retired television producer (and, in the 1970s, Socialist Worker journalist) Laurie Flynn. The party’s central goal is: “National independence for Scotland as an immediate necessity and overwhelming priority … the promotion of all Scottish interests, and the building of an economically successful, environmentally responsible and socially-just independent country, through the pursuit of a social-democratic programme.” Salmond shares those...

Sarwar disrupts Scottish Labour

Anas Sarwar was elected Scottish Labour leader at the end of February. Within a fortnight he had ousted Hollie Cameron as the Labour candidate for Glasgow Kelvin constituency and appointed Kate Watson as a campaign manager for the Holyrood election in May. In an interview with the pro-SNP (and indie-fundamentalist) National newspaper Cameron had said that if the people of Scotland wanted a second referendum, then they should have one. That referendum might take place during the next five years, she continued, as the need to ‘rebuild Scotland’ after the Covid-19 pandemic did not preclude the...

For the love of Irn Bru

Here I am in the fabled land of England knocking back Irn Bru, which has absolutely no sugar in it just girders, lots and lots of girders. It has so many girders in it that you can build bridges with Irn Bru to get you all the way to Scotland, but at the moment no one is allowed to leave London except for essential travel. However, it is of course essential that Irn Bru reach us, otherwise we’d be back in the dark old days when you had to smuggle it across the Scottish border in Whiskey kegs. As everyone knows Scottish money is all in Irn Bru, it is their only export. The English can get on...

Spread vaccines world-wide

First figures from Scotland and Israel show vaccination working well. It is urgent to spread it to the world’s poorest countries. Africa has had only 2 vaccinations per 1000 people, and many countries have no vaccine supplies at all any time soon. Money from the rich countries into the World Health Organisation Covax project, much less than spent on bailing out businesses, and requisitioning of Big Pharma to get maximum spread of technology and maximum production, can fix that. Saving lives should be the driver, not just the current anxiety of France, for example, that China and Russia will...

Scotland, separation and socialism

According to a Panelbase opinion poll recently published by the Sunday Times, support for Scottish independence now stands at 49%, with 44% against and 7% undecided. Subtract the undecided, and it's 52% for and 48% against. Attitudes towards the holding of a second referendum on Scottish independence at some point in the next five years are virtually identical: 50% for, 43% against, and 7% undecided. The poll’s findings were not a blip. Prior to the 2014 referendum, support for independence had consistently hovered between 20% and 25%. But by the day of the referendum itself, support for...

Left back Lennon

The 30 January Emergency General Meeting of the Campaign for Socialism (CfS — Scottish Momentum) agreed to support Monica Lennon for elected leader of the Scottish Labour Party. The ballot runs from 9 to 26 February. Lennon is not a member of the CfS and has not sought its support. Nor is Lennon overly left-wing. Lennon was first elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2016, having previously been a councillor in South Lanarkshire. She backed Richard Leonard in the 2017 leadership contest and led the campaign against period poverty which led to Holyrood legislating for free period products. In...

Right-winger Coyne declares for Unite election

This year, 2021, will see an election for the replacement of Len McCluskey as General Secretary of the big cross-sector union Unite. And now union right-winger Gerard Coyne, the runner-up in the last general secretary election, in 2017, has declared his wish to stand. We don't yet know the detailed schedule. Sadly, jockeying for position, armtwisting, backroom deals, backstabbing, slanders and the outright lies are already in full flow. McCluskey’s favoured successor is Howard Beckett. In his capacity as head of the union’s Legal Department he has squandered vast amounts of members’ money on...

Another setback for Labour in Scotland

Richard Leonard resigned as Scottish Labour Party leader on 14 January, only four months after surviving a vote of no-confidence, and just four months before the next Holyrood (Scottish Parliament) election. There are three (overlapping) versions of why he resigned. Version one (The Times): Labour Party donors, including William Haughey (West of Scotland businessman) and Robert Latham (who donated £100,000 to Starmer’s leadership campaign) threatened to withold funding unless Leonard stepped down. Version two (LabourList): The "balance of power" shifted on the Scottish Labour Executive...

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