SSP Refuses to Play Politics With People’s Lives

Student Protests

It has been another busy few weeks for members of the SSP in Edinburgh, as we joined the student protests against the attacks on higher education.  The Tory/Lib Dem government sought not only to further Labour’s erosion of universal access to higher education but outright destroy the courses that they deemed unworthy, such as the humanities which they withdrew 100% of funding from.  By marching through city centres and occupying universities and schools the students have shown us all that resistance is possible, as in the space of a month they turned an issue broadly ignored by the mainstream media into one that nearly brought down the government.

Despite losing the vote the students have pledged to continue their protest, both against the travesty that has taken place and against the innumerable other Thatcherite travesties that the government plans to inflict on the country.  The SSP sees the organisation and passion shown over this past month as an inspiration, and it is only through a continuation of this struggle by workers of all sectors that are under attack that victory can be won.

Royal Mail Not For Sale

One such fight that is beginning to build is the Tory/Lib Dem plans to privatise the Royal Mail by selling it off to incompetent Dutch company TNT.  This is something that the SSP knows a little something about, since we spent much of 2008 and 2009 campaigning against Labour’s attempts to do exactly the same thing.  So weak was the government’s case then that it was an easy argument to win, with 96% of the Scottish public agreeing that the Royal Mail should remain in public hands instead of sold off to private sector profiteers who will gut the service much as they have in other countries.  We were successful then, just as we were when Labour tried to privatise it in 2005 and when the Tories tried to privatise it in 1994, and with good organisation and the public behind us we plan to be successful again.

Fuel Poverty, A Stain on Our Nation

The cold weather has once again highlighted another issue that the SSP has campaigned vigorously on in the past — energy prices.  We all remember the oil crisis of a few years ago, when the energy companies used high oil prices as a convenient excuse to hike up the prices that we pay to unprecedented levels.  However, this has since been laid bare as the fraud it was.  Oil prices have plummeted and, as expected, energy prices have continued to rise, providing the companies with record profits year on year.  These make for nice bonuses for their executives, but it is working people across Scotland who have to pay for them.  When the SNP were elected they pledged to eradicate fuel poverty in Scotland, and today what do we see?

“In 2009, about 770,000 homes were said to be in fuel poverty, spending over 10% of income on heating, compared with 618,000 in 2008 and 293,000 in 2002.” [1]

This is a hideous condemnation of our society and the SSP refuses to accept the neo-liberal argument offered by the major parties that the people of a country are powerless to improve their lives against the greed and blackmail of billionaire executives.  This is an issue that we will be campaigning on heavily as we move further into winter and millions of Scots face the realities of Tory/Labour/SNP/Lib Dem ideology.

End The Occupation of Afghanistan

Through all of this we have continued to campaign on the major issue of Afghanistan.  As the leaked US diplomatic cables shed new light on the rampant corruption amongst the warlords, drug-barons, fraudsters and thugs that the UK/US laughably calls a government, it is more important than ever to highlight the farce that is leaving hundreds of British soldiers dead, tens of thousands seriously injured (physically and mentally) and the over 50,000 Afghan civilians dead.

If these are the sorts of campaigns that you are interested in — rejecting the neo-liberalism of the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour where profit for a few takes precedence over the social needs of the many — then why not get involved and come along to our next branch meeting this Thursday?  It takes place between 7:30pm and 9pm (and time for drinks afterwards if you are so inclined) at Nelson Hall Community Centre, 5 Spittalfield Crescent, Edinburgh, EH8 9QZ (corner of St Leonard’s Street and Bernard Terrace).

You can get in touch with us at


Fighting the Cuts

While some slight technical difficulties have meant that the blog has been off-line for the past couple of months, it has been a busy time for the SSP in Edinburgh.

In September a meeting was held to discuss our alternative to the Tory/Lib Dem/Labour/SNP cuts — the Scottish Service Tax (SST); a local income tax to replace the Council Tax.  Currently the poor pay proportionately a much greater amount in local taxation than the wealthy, and despite both the Lib Dems and the SNP recognising this and promising the repeal the Council Tax at the last Holyrood election, neither have made any serious attempt to do so — both voting against it at various times.  The SST would put this promise into practice, provide Scotland with the most progressive tax regime in Europe,and in the process raise enough to cover the entire budget deficit.  The table below shows a breakdown of who would pay.

A full explanation can be found on pages two and three of September’s Scottish Socialist Voice (click here for a free electronic copy).

This was followed up in October by the hugely successful anti-cuts demonstration, bringing together 20,000 people from across Scotland to oppose not just the Tory/Lib Dem budget, but Labour’s planned cuts as well.

However, the SSP recognises that the Tory/Lib Dem government won’t be put off by the occasional mass demonstration, just as Labour weren’t put off of invading Iraq despite millions marching in London, Glasgow, and across the world.  It is important to turn such tremendous shows of solidarity and opposition into concrete organisation and political action.  To that end we have been and will continue to organise meetings to educate, agitate and build a genuine alternative to challenge the Tory/Lib Dem dismantling of the welfare system before it’s too late.

Fighting for a Fairer Society

Burdiehouse Primary, closed by the SNP/Lib Dem Council

The past month has been a busy one for the SSP in Edinburgh, with our continuing anti-war and anti-cuts work combining with the by-election in Liberton and Gilmerton.  Standing on a platform of opposing the cuts and scrapping the council tax we put three different leaflets out in he constituency, and we were rewarded by a 64% increase in our vote, and a multitude of second preferences, coming in particular from Labour, SNP and Independent voters.

We now have nine months to convince voters that neither Labour nor the SNP will seriously oppose the incoming draconian cuts (made clear by the cuts that both of these parties have made in councils across the country and in national government), or create a fairer tax system where the rich pay their share.

You can read a full analysis of the results at SSP National Co-Spokesperson, Colin Fox’s, blog:

Scottish Socialist Voice: Stop the Butcher’s Buget

That’s right!   The Scottish Socialist Voice is back online with this special edition covering the ConDem coalition budget.

Amongst the goodies found within is plenty of the left-analysis that has been deafening in its absence from the mainstream media; plenty of discussion as to what we the public can do as active participants in the economy to resist the imminent 25% cuts in everything from education to transport; and a special look at the now infamous example of Canada that is so often cited by the coalition to justify its macro-economic policies — macro economic policies that leave Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman predicting a ‘lost decade’ of recession and stagnation.

You can get it hot off the presses by clicking here: Scottish Socialist Voice.

SSP Releases Alternative Budget

The Scottish Socialist Party opposes the economic strategy adopted by the Tory/Liberal coalition. We propose an alternative strategy based on equality, democracy and sustainability which would deliver a better economic future for the country and a better quality of life for the people. This Alternative Budget outlines the ‘people not profit’ policies that the SSP advocates.

Read the summary here:

Read the full document here:

Fred the Shred and Social Justice

There is rarely such a fine example of our economic system as Fred Goodwin — or ‘Fred the Shred’ as he was nicknamed due to his penchant for firing masses of workers.  After running the Royal Bank of Scotland into the ground, costing the taxpayer hundreds of billions of pounds, and then walking off with a multi-million pound retirement package, he has now moved into a new Edinburgh home costing £3.5 million.

While millions face unemployment, bankruptcy and eviction due to the global economic crisis that he helped set in motion, he continues to live a life of luxury without a care in the world.

Now, it would be wrong to personalise this as being all about Fred Goodwin himself; rather, this is, in microcosm, global capitalism as it currently stands.  The capitalist class makes millions during the boom and retires with further millions after the bust; meanwhile the rest of us are left to pay the bill and suffer the consequences.

Welcome to the Lab/Lib/Con ‘fairness agenda’.

We at the SSP believe that another world is possible; that those who caused the crisis should pay for it, and that the working classes shouldn’t have to sacrifice their standard of living so that another failed banker can move into a bigger house or hire a new servant.

The Butchers’ Coalition – An Economic Agreement for Severe Austerity

By The Left Banker

The agreement between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems marks the first coalition government since 1931. The situation in both cases was very familiar. Capitalism is struggling with a severe economic and financial crisis that the wealthy, rich and bankers want to make the bulk of the population – the working class and the poor – pay for. Under the disguise of “national interest” and the “big society” they have to “balance” their budget with cuts in public services, jobs and wages.

Click Here to read the full article on The Left Banker’s blog.