Thursday, 30 January 2014


 The ground is shifting beneath the feet of the British and Scottish Labour party leaderships as working class Labour voters begin to move towards support for a Yes vote in September.

The Tory-funded, Labour-fronted Better Together campaign has hired the willing services of the mainstream media for the past year to peddle their central lie: that a vote for Independence is a vote for Alex Salmond and permanent SNP rule. Their myth is starting to melt before the eyes of working class Scots, as not only the socialist vision of Scotland's future persistently advanced by the SSP gains ground, but also the apparent anti-independence Labour monolith cracks and crumbles.


Leading Labour party figures and former Labour activists have boosted the momentum towards a Yes vote amongst Labour voters by openly declaring against the unionist dogma of Alistair Darling, Johann Lamont, Ed Miliband and their party. The biggest meeting called by Labour party members for decades in Glasgow was the recent Labour for Independence rally. Well over 200 jam-packed into the STUC building to hear Labour veterans advocate a Yes vote with the purpose of being able to then elect a Labour government that pursued reforms such as a living wage, abolition of the bedroom tax, investment in public services, repeal of anti-union laws and removal of Trident. 


New analysis by polling firm Ipsos/Mori proves a point identified by the founders of the Scottish Socialist Party over 15 years ago: class is the key determining factor in how people view independence, with the working class and the poorest most in favour, the richest overwhelmingly against.

It is hardly surprising that the rich minority favour continued rule by Westminster. They've been handsomely rewarded for decades by the competing factions of capitalist rule, whether Tory, LibDem or New Labour. When working class people ponder whether independence would improve their living standards, a good staring point is to look at the proven, obscene advantages of UK rule for the rich, which has robbed Scotland's working class majority of the vast wealth we create by our labour.In the decade up to 2009, 75 per cent of the additional wealth produced went to those on above-average incomes. A monstrous 40 per cent of it was grabbed by the richest tenth of the population, those least in need of it. That in a period when wages and benefits were slashed, adding vastly to inequality as well as poverty.

And that wealth redistribution from the poor to the rich can't even be attributed to the hated Tories, whose continued rule at Westminster of course guarantees even worse attacks on working people: the entire decade covered by these figures involved a British Labour government! 


A new term was coined last month: Fat Cat Wednesday. It refers to the fact that by mid-morning on Wednesday 8th January, just two-and-a-half days after they returned to work, the chief executives of the top 100 UK companies had 'earned' more than the entire annual average salary of a worker in Britain - £26,500. These obscenely bloated exploiters have enjoyed a 74 per cent rise in their incomes over the past 10 years - a period straddling both Labour and Coalition governments - whilst workers' wages have seen the slowest rise since 1871!

So much for the mantras of Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, Johann Lamont and Ed Miliband about us being 'better together', 'united for Labour', 'sharing social justice'.

No matter which stripe of capitalist party is in charge, Westminster is rule by the rich, the dictatorship of capital, in defiance of the wishes of the Scottish people. Voting Yes is the first step to escaping that endless round of suffering for the working class majority population.


But the SSP regards that as only the start, a means to an end, with a Yes vote kicking the door open to a chance to elect a government of the left, with the powers and political will to tackle poverty and inequality with far-reaching redistribution of wealth and power.

The SSP is helping to forge a force that here and now demands socialist measures after independence is gained, leaving nothing to chance, not relying on the goodwill or whims of any pro-capitalist politicians, but trying to create a movement of working class people that will demand and enforce that change through democratic self-government.

And a socialist vision of Scotland is critical to convincing a majority to vote Yes and thereby win the first ever real chance of socialist change. 


That's why we call on the broad coalition that is Yes Scotland to have the courage to go beyond the boundaries set by the SNP government's White Paper. Of course Yes Scotland cannot be expected to adopt the entire socialist programme of the SSP. But they should acknowledge the growing impact of demands like a guaranteed living minimum wage, abolition of all the anti-trade union laws that have helped drive down workers' living conditions, and public ownership of not only Royal Mail but the likes of transport and energy to banish the atrocities of profiteering and fuel poverty. 


Such a prospectus for independence would sweep aside the vicious myths that voting Yes is voting for separation, isolation and narrow nationalism - the lies peddled by the Labour wing of Better Together in particular, as their unique contribution to confusing and terrifying traditional Labour voters into being saddled with more decades of exploitation by bosses and billionaires whose political parrots rule from Westminster.


Trade union bosses have mostly either remained neutral on the Yes/No choice, or foisted their union's support for the No campaign on members who have not even been asked their opinions in any democratic fashion. 

USDAW leaders didn't even pretend to ask the opinions of Scottish members before affiliating to Better Together. But low paid retail workers, hamstrung by anti-union laws, are wide open to the case for a living wage of £9 an hour as advocated by the SSP, and a charter of workplace rights.

GMB union leaders held a sham consultation before declaring for the No campaign, but are now desperately scrambling to distance themselves from the Tory-funded Better Together, as they realize GMB members are tempted to vote Yes to permanently escape Tory ruination of the NHS, local government and other areas they work in.

The CWU has held a series of debates. They should now respect the opinions expressed at these by members, rather than foist a call for a No vote via the UK-wide CWU conference , as many members fear the leadership plan to do. When the chair of Royal Mail, who worked in tandem with the Tories to privatize it, says independence is "the exact opposite of what we need", surely that adds to the case for a Yes amongst posties?!


The working class holds the key to Scotland's future. They are rightly hostile to the assaults on jobs, pay, benefits, services and our rights from the Etonian bootboys at Westminster. But many are also rightly sceptical of an SNP leadership who pledge Corporation Tax cuts to the multinationals alongside promises of welcome social reforms.But those are not the only choices. Voting Yes does not make you a nationalist nor a supporter of indefinite SNP government. It makes you a democrat who favors the Scottish people actually getting the governments they vote for. And it would kick open the door to radical socialist change that would transform workers' lives.


The SSP will continue to convince working class people and trade unionists to not only vote Yes but get organised to demand such change after a Yes vote. We appeal to the very people with most to gain from independence to see it as a chance to fight for the likes of a £9 national minimum wage at 16; equal pay for women; state pensions and an education grant linked to the minimum wage; abolition of all anti-union laws; democratic public ownership of energy, transport, banks, big business...steps towards an independent, nuclear-free, poverty-free, socialist Scotland.

We will continue to combine with others such as Trade Unionists for Independence, Labour for Independence and RIC to win the working class majority away from the clutches of those who have been their worst exploiters for decades.


The ice is breaking under the feet of those Labour and trade union leaders who prefer the threat of Tory or Tory/UKIP rule at Westminster to the opportunity of a Labour government or a genuine government of the left in an independent Scotland. 

Join forces with the SSP in turning up the heat, melt the myths of the Labour leaders in the eyes of those workers whose loyalty they've abused for decades, and help carve out a socialist future for Scotland and beyond.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014


Working class people, the majority population of Scotland, face a stark choice this September. Vote NO to democratic self-government and get a renewed dose of attacks on jobs, wages, rights at work, benefits and public services from a Westminster regime emboldened by their success in seeing off any threatened 'Scots rebellion'. 

Or vote YES this year so that in 2016 and beyond we get the governments chosen by the working class majority, under a Proportional Representation system more in tune with voters' wishes, boosting the prospects of a government of the left, hastening the day when a radical socialist transformation of society banishes low pay, poverty, inequality and exploitation.
But nothing will be handed to us on a silver plate by the billionaires, bankers and business tycoons who currently rule the roost. Working class people, trade unionists included, need to organise to shape Scotland's future...not just fighting for a YES majority, but simultaneously forging the policies and measures that would decisively change the lives of the millions thereafter.

A NO vote is a Tory vote
The evidence is mounting that a NO vote is a vote for Tory dictatorship over Scotland - a message that trade unionists and workers clinging onto their Labour loyalties would be wise to heed.
The anti-independence Better Together is blatantly Tory-funded whilst Labour-fronted.
They must have thought Christmas was a good time to bury bad news, but no Labour voter can afford to ignore the announcement of £1.3m in donations to Better Together by 19 obnoxiously wealthy individuals who are also longstanding donors to the Tory party.

People like Andrew Fraser, City of London stockbroker, former head of Barings Bank (before it collapsed), and previously giver of £1m to the Tory party. He gave BT £200,000 to hold onto Scotland's wealth for his parasitic class.

Hotel and whiskey tycoon Donald Houston gave them £600,000.

London-based Deutsche Bank executive Ivor Dunbar donated £50,000.

Another £20,000 was handed over by two leading figures from Hakluyt, the 'private intelligence' company with links to state spy-network MI6.

Paying the Piper
So bankers, capitalist chief executives and spies - none of them resident in Scotland - want to fund the Fear Factory that is Better Together, in a ruthless bid to terrorise the Scottish working class into leaving the rich elite's political puppets at Westminster in charge, to sustain the profiteering and exploitation of workers and natural wealth they currently enjoy.
He who pays the piper calls the tune. 

As veteran leading Labour figure, former Glasgow Provost and trade unionist Alex Mosson astutely said,
"This roll-call of NO campaign donors should come as no surprise to anybody who understands the vested interests at play. This should act as a wake-up call to everybody, especially those in the Labour Party, if they're kidding themselves that the NO campaign is anything other than a Tory-led propaganda machine."

Back to the Future
The other Yuletide pronouncements that should put the fear of god into any worker bamboozled into thinking of voting NO was that of Tory Chancellor George Osborne. His declaration of class war included a further £25billion cuts, over half of them to welfare benefits, with plans to abolish housing benefits to the under-25s, slash Scotland's funding from Westminster through 'changes' to (or abolition of) the Barnett Formula, and target pensioners for cuts - a move previously seen as taboo, for fear of alienating the 'grey' vote. 

That's the future if working class Scots fall for the NO camp's scaremongering.
If you'll forgive the 'musical' pun, it's not even the Status Quo, but One Direction - backwards!

Labour panic at being found out
Some Labour Party and trade union officials who have done their members and supporters the unforgivable disservice of jumping into bed with the sworn Tory enemies of the working class are beginning to panic that traditional Labour voters have spotted their treachery.
They panic at polls showing one in five Labour voters already plan to vote YES, and the growth of Labour for Independence, with several Labour veterans recently supporting independence.

Some union officials, like the GMB's Richard Leonard, are desperately seeking to distance themselves from the Tory-funded Better Together, because their own members are up in arms about Labour and many union leaders joining forces with the party of the bedroom tax and naked class war.

Gordon Brown has been wheeled out to breathe life into United for Labour, which in reality is the Labour wing of Tory-funded Better Together, but talks hypocritical platitudes about being 'united for social justice' in the UK. Where was Gordon Brown, or BT's Labour poster boy Alistair Darling, when the last Labour government presided over escalating inequality, savage job and service cuts to fund the bankers' bailout, and continued use of hate-figure Thatcher's anti-trade union laws to cow workers into submission?

Labour in government 
Labour has had decades to prove their claims that workers are 'better together' under Westminster rule, but the real-life results included rampant privatization and profiteering (under New Labour), the most ruthless workplace repression in western Europe (by Blair's own admission/boast), the squandering of £1.3trillion of taxpayers' money to prop up the bankers and their bonuses, the worst levels of regional inequality (between the South East of England and the rest) of any EU country, and amongst the lowest wages, longest working week and poorest pensions in the whole of Europe. That's Blair, Brown and Darling's heritage, and the future they offer workers in a Labour-run capitalist UK.

Labour no longer exists
Sustained Tory or Tory-UKIP rule is an indescribable nightmare for the working class. But even the far-from-guaranteed prospect of a Westminster Labour government should fill workers with dread. British Labour are beyond redemption, beyond the reach of trade unions or socialists trying to reclaim the party founded a century ago to represent the working class. The party that generations of workers put their faith in no longer exists. 

And Scottish self-government is the only realistic route to reviving the founding principles of the labour movement pioneers, provided working class people get organised now to demand change after winning self-rule.

Hope through YES
That's where fighting for a YES vote and for the longer term combine. To win a majority of the working class for YES requires a bold, dynamic vision of a new Scotland, one where the fabulous wealth of resources and skills are deployed to boost the living standards of millions.

The SSP On the march...

This is a struggle for the hearts and minds of working class people, and the YES campaign needs to tap into the deep seated traditions of hatred for unfairness, injustice and inequality in the soul of Scottish workers. That's where the fighting demands for change put forward by not only the SSP but also broad-based campaigns like Trade Unionists for Independence (TUFI) become critical.

The Scottish SNP government's White Paper has put the NO camp on the run by exposing their complete lack of a clear vision of what would follow a NO vote. In contrast to their reliance on lies and scaremongering, the White Paper pledges numerous welcome reforms, such as childcare provision for all 3-4 year olds on a par with primary school hours; protection of pensions; defence of fee-free university education; a 5 per cent cut to energy bills; encouragement and involvement of trade unions; rises in the minimum wage to match inflation; restoration of 90-day consultation on redundancies; renationalisation of Royal Mail; removal of Trident name a few.

...for a socially just Scotland...

A bold vision for Yes Scotland
But to win a YES majority in the population that counts most - the working class - Yes Scotland should boldly go beyond these welcome promises. And the SSP, TUFI (which includes Labour for Independence trade unionists) and individual union branches have a critical role to play in popularising measures that could and should be carried out after a YES vote.

Nobody expects a Coalition like Yes Scotland to embrace the entire socialist aims of the SSP, but they urgently need to go beyond the limited agenda put by their SNP component if they are to win the battle for the working class vote. 

Rather than merely promising to inflation-proof the current pathetic £6.31 minimum wage (with far lower youth rates) Yes Scotland should spell out a vision of a guaranteed living wage as the minimum for all at 16, without age discrimination.

In addition to public ownership of Royal Mail, they should highlight the opportunity for public ownership - at the very least - of our railways and energy companies to combat nauseating profiteering and the crime of fuel poverty.

...for YES in September 2013!
Workers' rights
And to expose the nightmare facing people at work if Westminster's dictatorship of the rich is allowed to continue, Yes Scotland should as a bare minimum adopt a charter of workers' rights that includes the right to join and organise unions without fear of victimization or blacklisting; legal guarantees for elected union representatives to function during works time to represent members; an end to state interference in the running of union affairs and internal elections; abolition of fees for Employment Tribunals; a constitutional right to strike and removal of the ban on solidarity action. By putting forward measures to lift the climate of fear in workplaces, allowing unions to function independently of employers and the government, Yes Scotland could give 630,000 trade union members and countless other non-members a glimpse of a new Scotland where they would be profoundly better off.

Gorbals Public meeting - come along and hear about OUR alternative!

Organise workers for change
Whilst calling on the umbrella Yes Scotland to travel this route, trade unionists should and will champion such policies as part of organising to shape Scotland's future in the interests of its working class majority.
That is why all of us should celebrate the overwhelming decision by the Scottish conference of the Left Unity formation in the biggest civil and public service union, PCS, to campaign for independence - which SSP members in the union played a major part in achieving. 

That is why Trade Unionists for Independence, embracing workers from several parties and none, has a major part to play and is stepping up its efforts to reach workplaces.

Socialism and independence
That is why the SSP - which is uniquely placed as the only party to have for fought for an independent socialist Scotland for the past 15 years - is determined to pick up the banner trampled in the muck by the Tory-collaborating Labour leaders. 

Our vision of an independent Scotland goes miles beyond the timid reforms advocated by the SNP leadership, as we champion taxation of big business and the rich; democratic public ownership of the major industries, services and banking; a socialist democracy where working class people gain the full fruits of their labour instead of being stripped of living standards and rights so the bankers and billionaires can amass obscene profits.

Working people, traditionally many of them Labour voters, face a stark choice. Socialists have a duty to help clarify that choice, show how a YES vote can kick open the door to radical socialist change, whereas a NO vote would condemn them to the jailhouse conditions suffered by millions in a capitalist Britain where different factions of Tory ideology are all that's on offer. 

The SSP is determined to help workers reach that conclusion and to organise to shape Scotland's future.