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).

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Scottish Socialist Voice

After a brief hiatus the new issue of the Scottish Socialist Voice has been released, covering the elections, assisted dying, the occupation of Afghanistan, privatisation, industrial action, movie reviews and more.

It is for sale at Wordpower in Edinburgh, the Wee Red Bookshop in Glasgow, and SSP stalls and meetings across the country for the low, low price of 80p.  Alternatively you can read it online for free by clicking here.

Flying Picket Supports Striking Postal Workers

Women's Network Flying PicketMembers of the SSP’s Socialist Women’s Network assembled a ‘flying picket’ in Irvine yesterday, taking Halloween to the picket lines. Handing out the SSP’s leaflet, they reported that commitment to the strike remains very high despite continued bullying from management.

Postal Workers Support Meeting

CWU Edinburgh

With the strikes continuing this week the SSP continues to support the postal workers and their struggle against the bullying culture, cuts and privitisation that Royal Mail management and the government has been seeking to unilaterally impose against the will of both the workers and the public.

Tonight (29th October) the Edinburgh support group will be holding a public meeting in St George’s Church, Shandwick Place, at 7.30pm.  Members of the SSP will be attending to show their support for the workers and their opposition to the government’s plans, and we urge everyone who is able to do likewise.

Standing Shoulder to Shoulder with the Posties

Post Strike

Photo by Craig MacLean

More than 140,000 postal workers across Britain were on strike Thursday and  Friday to defend their jobs and conditions and to fend off both Government and Royal Mail management attempts to privatise the service.

Over the past 2 years the so called ‘modernisation’ of Royal Mail has meant 63,000 jobs have been cut and the cancellation of both post box Sunday collections and deliveries to customers.

The Communication Workers Union has made it clear they have no problem with genuine modernization of the service but they will not stand by and watch managers bully staff and tear up national agreements by implementing unilaterally changes to long accepted working conditions.

The union believes the Government is planning to hive off the service to private companies like TNT and Deutsche Post who would scrap the universal delivery and the universal price of a stamp, replacing a service to the public, owned by the public and answerable to the public, with a privately owned, profit orientated private enterprise.

The population of Britain has repeatedly made it clear by huge majority they stand beside the postal workers and want to see Royal Mail remain publicly owned.

The Communication Workers Union Scotland NO 2 branch based in Edinburgh, Fife and the Lothians has long been one of the best organised and best led local unions in the country. They support every progressive cause that asks for their backing including the Scottish Socialist Party.

Today was our chance to return the favour and we did so proudly.