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.” 
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.
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 EdinburghSouthSSP@googlemail.com.