Tuesday, 29 November 2016


The longest squeeze on pay for at least 70 years. No increase in real earnings between 2006 and 2021. Falling incomes for the poorest one-third of households for the remainder of this decade. 

These are mere sample facts in the Niagara of statistics pouring out from various think tanks, the sober Institute for Fiscal Studies, the Resolution Foundation, even the government's own Office for Budget Responsibility, since the Tory's Autumn Statement. 

The director of the IFS - a body not given to flourishes or exaggeration - noted their calculations that "by 2021, real wages will still not have recovered to pre-2008 financial crisis levels" and added:
"One cannot stress how extraordinary and dreadful that is, more than a decade without real earnings growth. We have not seen a period remotely like it in certainly the last 70 years, and quite possibly the last 100."
Another analyst went even further, claiming we face "the worst earnings growth since the 1810s"!
Incidentally, that was also a decade where vast proportions of national wealth was squandered in wars, with a global super-power ruled over by a probably clinically insane megalomaniac - Britain's King George 111, not Donald J. Trump!

Not even jam tomorrow for the JAMs! 
The Tory spin doctors try to dupe the hard of thinking with guff about Theresa May leading "a government for everyone", conjuring up new acronyms like JAMs - families 'just about managing' in the billionaires' Breadline Britain.
In their Autumn Statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond tried to distract us with investment in 40,000 new 'affordable homes' - a mere Wendy House compared with the 250,000 new houses a year required to just stand still. 

He made a song and dance about the derisory 30p rise in the consciously mis-named 'National Living Wage' for workers aged over 25. Likewise with his miserly reduction in the level of cuts to in-work benefits for working families on Universal Credit - from 65p to 63p clawback of top-up benefits for every £1 pay rise above the threshold. 

Tory Spin and Stark Facts
Behind the Tory spin lurk the stark, devastating facts, and the human misery that ensues. The Autumn Statement only reverses a pathetic 7% of the £12billion benefit cuts to the incomes of the poorest half of households, as implemented by Hammond's hated predecessor, George Osborne. The latter earned £320,000 last month from making five speeches to gatherings of bankers in the USA, whilst the average working family in receipt of Universal Credit is set to be £1,200 a year worse off by 2020. A couple with two kids, the main earner on the £7.50 NLW, will be £1,780 the poorer by 2020.
And unlike the recession following the 2008 banking crisis, it's the low and middle income workers' families who will be hardest hit - with the entire bottom third of earners seeing their incomes plummet.
It's a rotten case of not even jam tomorrow for the JAMs!

War on Wages
Working class people are being punished for the crisis of the capitalist system. The Tories have sustained plans to cut Corporation Tax - already the lowest in the western world, bar Ireland and Estonia.
All this is certainly 'dreadful', as the IFS director put it. But anyone surprised at the cataclysmic collapse of real wages simply hasn't been paying attention!

For about 40 years, the ruling capitalist class and their eagerly compliant politicians have waged war on wages, in a ruthless crusade to boost the share of wealth that goes to profits. 
It's no accident of history that wages as a share of GDP - economic output - peaked in 1975, when 58% of workers were organised in unions, and 82% were covered by collective union wage bargaining. 
Nor a coincidence that wages are now at their lowest ever share of national wealth, and inequality at its worst, when only 26% are unionized and a mere 23% enjoy the benefits of collective bargaining. 

The vicious, planned assault on unions initiated by Thatcher's Tory government in the 1980s, sustained by every subsequent Westminster regime - New Labour included - helped the parasitic rich rob workers of a collective £1.3trillion in wages over 30 years.
The deliberate extension of casualised, insecure jobs - epitomized by the modern serfdom known as Zero Hours Contracts - allowed the employers to wield the weapon of fear to beat down wages and boost profits. 
Privatization of public services ushered in lower wages, worse conditions, job losses and rampant profiteering by companies slashing services to the public. 

Amidst all this class warfare by the rich minority, far too many union leaders simply capitulated, refusing to put up a concerted fight, often actively discouraging or sabotaging the efforts of rank-and-file workers to resist the onslaught. 
A vicious circle of lowered expectations, lowered incomes and lowered union membership levels ensued - to the joy of the class of exploiters and their political puppets.

Wake-up Call for Action!
The latest catalogue of catastrophe that workers face demands decisive, urgent, militant action. The call by PCS union leader, Mark Serwotka, for a coordinated plan of action by all unions against the public sector pay freeze is one vital strand of the struggle required.
Every union, and the STUC, should treat the Tory Autumn Statement as a wake-up call, and launch a serious battle plan to reverse the tide. They should take up some of the socialist alternatives that we broadcast on the SSP's national day of action to coincide with Hammond's Autumn Statement - our own Autumn Statement of Intent on the streets.

£10 Now!
Instead of caving in to the divisive, impoverishing Tory minimum wages - ranging from the pathetic £7.50 for over-25s next April, to the derisory £3.40 for apprentices - the unions should actually take action on the policy of "£10-an-hour minimum for all workers" which they unanimously agreed at the TUC conference just over two, long years ago! 
Even talk of £10 in 2020 by Jeremy Corbyn's Labour is wholly inadequate, given current and looming inflation. In fact, the demand for £10 Now is already nearing it's sell-by-date!

For guaranteed 16-hour Minimum Working Week
Instead of Zero Hours Contracts - a curse on the lives of 120,000 Scottish workers - the SSP is pioneering the demand for a guaranteed minimum 16-hour week in every contract. The only exception to that weekly minimum - a measure to give a reasonable income and security to those who prefer to work part-time - should be if an individual worker, with their union rep at their side, requested and negotiated fewer hours. 

Secure Jobs for All!
Mass underemployment, alongside unemployment, has been used as a weapon to batter down hourly wages; job insecurity breeds fear. 
Scotland is screaming out for a massive public sector housebuilding programme, which could create tens of thousands of skilled, well-paid jobs and apprenticeships. 
Climate chaos and rampant fuel poverty in this energy-rich country shouts out for a huge green energy job-creation plan, under democratic public ownership of all forms of energy. 
Instead of the crazed competition and profiteering that blights our railways, ferries, buses and transport system, public ownership would allow for planned investment, massive job-creation, and pursuit of a free, expanded, integrated public transport service.
Join the SSP in demanding action to reverse the lost decade of pay cuts; use the wealth of the nation for people, not profit.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016


I appeal to you to lend your support to the campaign for a Scottish Public Inquiry into the actions of the police during the 1984/5 miners' strike - and indeed into the dictatorial, repressive methods of Margaret Thatcher's Tory government.
Thatcher unleashed civil war on the miners, their families, communities and trade union. It was part of the broader crusade to shackle the unions and chain workers in poverty-stricken, insecure jobs with minimal rights - and to replace investment in manufacturing with the fast buck casino economy of the bankers and spivs.

Now, contrary to promises made in the wake of the Hillsborough jury's verdicts in May 2016, and indeed in September, the Westminster Tories have refused to hold a public inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave, of June 1984, when the government colluded with police chiefs to lay a trap, knock seven colours out of defenseless strikers, and then falsify what happened with the help of BBC bosses.

I've launched an online petition demanding the Scottish government initiate a full, Scottish Public Inquiry. To uncover the truth about the especially heavy-handed police repression in Scotland; to clear the names of the near-500 Scottish miners arrested, prosecuted, fined, and in many cases sacked and blacklisted.
So far the SNP Scottish government has refused to set up an Inquiry. With your help we can change their minds!

So please spend 5 minutes in the cause of truth and justice.

Sign the online Petition. Here's the link:


And then share it with everyone else you can think of - by email, text, Facebook, Twitter - urging them to do likewise.

Finally, if you want to read more background on the events and issues that have led me to launch the Petition, please have a read of the article I wrote a few days ago, here:


Don't let governments leave the facts about state repression in pursuit of short-term profiteering remain buried in mountains of lies.
Past generations deserve truth and justice. Future generations require the knowledge and lessons to stop such class oppression endlessly repeating itself.