Lessons from the 2014 Scottish referendum

Published on: Mon, 02/09/2019 - 13:04

Dale Street

There are worse ways to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum than to read, or re-read, Joe Pike’s “Project Fear” – the story of the Better Together campaign and Scottish Labour’s subsequent collapse in the 2015 general election.

Pike was the partner and then husband of the late Gordon Aikman, a Labour Party stalwart and Better Together research director. His book is therefore certainly not a hatchet-job. But that makes its contents all the more damning.

The SNP’s victory in the 2011 Holyrood elections and its creation of a one-party government – which the

Scottish Labour right is wrong to attack McDonnell

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 09:24

Ann Field

In 2014, the Scottish Labour right wing virtually destroyed Labour in Scotland by allying with the Tories in “Better Together”. Now, in 2019, they’re back for a repeat performance.

The 2014 class collaboration with the Tories resulted in: the loss of 40 out of 41 Westminster seats in 2015; the loss of 13 Holyrood seats in 2016, leaving Labour a poor third behind the Tories; and the loss of a raft of council seats and control of Glasgow City Council in 2017.

The fact that it now turns out that a majority of Tory Party members are happy to see the break-up of Britain in order to achieve Brexit

SNP trans contradictions

Published on: Wed, 29/05/2019 - 11:45

Heather Herbert

On 17 May, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the SNP member of parliament Mhairi Black gave a fantastic speech calling for the reform of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). This came two days after the only trans councillor in Scotland quit the SNP accusing it of institutional transphobia, and just weeks after 15 senior members of the SNP wrote an open letter, publicly attacking the SNP’s plans to reform the GRA, the very reforms Mhairi gave an impassioned speech prompting.

The reforms to the Gender Recognition Act shouldn’t be that controversial. The current

SNP floats new referendum on separation

Published on: Tue, 30/04/2019 - 17:04

Dale Street

SNP First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced plans for a second referendum on Scottish independence if Britain leaves the EU. The referendum would be some time before 2021, when the next Holyrood elections take place.

The Scottish Parliament is to pass a “framework Bill” by the end of this year. This will lay down the rules of a second referendum. Westminster’s permission would not be needed to pass the Bill.

Westminster’s permission (known as a Section 30 order) would be needed to stage the referendum itself. But “no UK government”, said Sturgeon, would refuse permission in the face of

Debate: Glasgow, Zionists and racism

Published on: Wed, 27/03/2019 - 08:42

The UN anti-racism demonstration in Glasgow this year, as last year, faced a counter-demonstration by would-be left groups which refused to join it unless the Glasgow Friends of Israel were excluded from the march.

The pro-Israel group was about the same size as last year, 20-odd people. It carried no Israeli flags. It is unclear whether that was unintentional or by design. One argument last year was: they wave Israeli flags; Israel is a racist state; therefore, they should not be on the demo.

The “anti-Zionist” protest against the anti-racist demonstration was bigger than last year. It was

Mock-workerism and the Scottish Labour Party

Published on: Sun, 03/03/2019 - 23:07

Ann Field

GMB Scottish Regional Secretary Gary Smith was accorded front page coverage in the 3 March 2019 “Herald on Sunday”.

Billed as an “Exclusive”, the article in fact consisted of some extracts from an interview with Smith conducted by one of the pro-independence paper’s resident right-wing journalists, Paul Hutcheon.

Hutcheon is still remembered for his notorious witch-hunting ‘articles’ about the Falkirk Labour selection contest and Grangemouth Ineos dispute of 2013 (although he has written no shortage of articles in a similar vein since then).

Smith used the interview with Hutcheon as an

Scottish Labour and the Glasgow council issue

Published on: Sun, 03/03/2019 - 12:45

Dale Street

The long-running campaign for equal pay for Glasgow City Council women workers, finally settled in February 2019, is on the agenda of the Scottish Labour Party annual conference, taking place in Dundee on 9-10 March 2019.

A motion submitted by the Scottish Labour Women’s Conference – tabled at that conference by the GMB, which represented many of the low-paid women – notes the resistance to equal pay for local authority women workers, “including during years of Labour power”.

It describes last year’s Glasgow City Council equal pay strike, probably the largest equal pay strike in British

Industrial officials are never wrong?

Published on: Wed, 27/02/2019 - 09:24

Ann Field

“We, the lay members of PULS, stand in solidarity with our left officers and organisers. We know they will always do the right thing.” So says a recent open letter recently from “Progressive United Left Scotland” (PULS), a faction in Unite the Union launched in 2016 because of the supposed demise of the existing United Left Scotland (ULS).

PULS purports to be an organisation committed to a lay member-led trade union. But if the bureaucrats are always right, who needs the rank-and-file? Although signed off by the PULS chair, the letter is in the characteristic style of Mark Lyon, who set up

Salmond and “conspiracy”

Published on: Wed, 30/01/2019 - 12:47

Dale Street

Former Scottish National Party (SNP) leader and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond appeared in court on 24 January after having been charged the previous day with two attempted rapes, nine sexual assaults, two indecent assaults, and a breach of the peace.

In line with Scottish legal procedures for “solemn” serious cases, the hearing was held in private and Salmond was not required to enter a plea. After the hearing Salmond told reporters that he was “innocent of any criminality whatsoever”.

Scotland’s strict contempt of court laws limited the scope for comment about the case, in line

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