Speech by Myshele, from Syria solidarity rally, 5 December 2015
So, here we are again, telling our leaders that we don’t want them dropping bombs on the Middle East. Another year, another imperialist war to oppose.
In Alcoholics Anonymous, they say that madness is doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting different results. Maybe we need a Warmongers Anonymous. They keep dropping bombs, they keep selling weapons, they keep destroying lives, and then they’re surprised when there’s more instability and terrorism and hatred. They’re surprised when more refugees are sent fleeing from the chaos they’ve caused.
Or maybe they’re not surprised at all. Maybe they understand exactly what they’re doing. Maybe they know that endless war is good for the arms dealers, good for the banks, good for the people in power. Nevermind the human and environmental costs.
I thoroughly enjoyed the event held on the last day of the Offshore Europe exhibition where I had spent four days on a stand. An exhibition without a single offshore wind, wave or tidal power exhibit or conference paper.
Alan Owen of Robert Gordon’s University gave a chilling presentation on climate change and the impact renewables could have on the problem. His fact filled analysis was that it is too late. We simply cannot deploy enough green power on time to make a difference.
The good news for Marxists is that he certainly presented a mathematically sound case for capitalism being the death of us. The bad news is – it will be the death of us. And all the animal species not actually in our food chain. As chair I had the chance to ask when he had finished, “So, Malthus will have his revenge then?” His stark reply was, “It looks like it.”
[…] It doesn’t matter how you voted last year, or whether you voted at all. If you want to see people treated with dignity and humanity, we’re on the same side.
RIC is not a political party and we don’t endorse any one party, but these issues are political in the widest sense. Social justice. The distribution of wealth. Who gets to decide our priorities as a society.
This is one RIC activist’s reflection on the refugee crisis, in response to this article in the Guardian. Sam’s grandfather went on to become a doctor and help countless people in his adoptive home of Aberdeen.
I’m sorry to always go on about my Grandfather’s experience in the war and his story’s parallels with the current refugee crisis, but as you can imagine it makes this whole thing all the more emotional for me. One of my personal pet-peeves is the idea that helping immigrants or giving aid to other countries is somehow the cause of all the mistreatment of the current UK population.
So let me first of all dispel the myth that the UK was generous and all lovely to Jewish refugees from the Holocaust (let’s forget the other victims of the Holocaust to whom the UK more-or-less turned a blind eye). As the article states, they established a new asylum-seeking process in order to exclude 90% of claimants. To humanise those numbers: my grandfather turned up after repeated failed attempts to escape post-Anschluss Austria. A terrified seventeen-year-old boy and his mother turned up at an airport after seeing the hell that befell their less-fortunate family and friends.
The 2014 referendum campaign, if nothing else, made everyone who was involved think about nationality. There were flag-waving nationalists on both sides. It certainly started me on a journey thinking about my relationship to the concept of the nation-state. Indeed I started at the very first question at the top of page one. What is the purpose of the nation-state?
To protect its citizens from external and internal threats is a pretty straightforward first guess.
Trouble is, I am not so sure that they do a good job of this. Read More…
Early thoughts on the 2015 General Election
• SNP sweep Scotland, a seismic shift, winning 56 out of 59 seats, and missing out on the other 3 by a total of 4255 votes
• A historic landslide, winning 50% (1,454,436) of votes across Scotland, the largest vote for one party in Scotland’s electoral history, with an average swing of around 24% and a record 39% swing in Glasgow North East
• Mhairi Black, 20, is the youngest MP elected since 1667
• at least 14 of the new SNP MPs signed Friends Of The Earth’s anti-fracking/unconventionals pledge
As the third largest party the SNP could exert some influence at ‘Westmonster’: they will have a presence on every All Party Parliamentary Group; multiple select committee memberships; speak on every motion; perhaps even hold the Secretary of State for Scotland post. The weak Smith Commission proposals now look more woefully inadequate than ever. Full Fiscal Autonomy may be on the agenda to avoid constitutional crisis in a delicate Union. The legitimacy aspect is pertinent: the Conservative Government has only one MP in Scotland.
Last week I set off from Aberdeen for Brussels with my Kilted Comrades Alistair and Martin to protest against TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement). This was to be the 8th round of negotiations on TTIP – the first with the new Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström – focusing on regulations and standards. I was one of a dozen or so Scots amongst a UK contingent of over 140; a really diverse group of activists, young and old, male and female, representing amongst others 38 Degrees, Global Justice Now, War On Want, and Friends Of The Earth.
The Scottish Government and National Records of Scotland (NRS) are proposing amendments to the National Health Service Central Register (NHSCR) (Scotland) Regulations 2006; an electronic database of everyone in Scotland registered with a GP, containing the names and addresses of around one third of the Scottish population. The proposals would allow the Register to hold extra postcode data, and for some data to be shared with around 120 other, publicly owned bodies. Amendments would also expand the creation and implementation of a Unique Citizen Reference Number (UCRN).
This is eerily similar to Labour’s scrapped 2006 Identity Cards Act, which the SNP had opposed. It’s quite probable that this latest revival is not malicious, but rather just misguided. It’s up to us to let the Scottish Government know they’re making a mistake.
The Scottish Government has asked for responses to the Land Reform Review Group’s recommendations.
Land Reform in Scotland is long overdue. We have fewer people owning more of the land than anywhere else in Europe. To describe the situation as Medieval is chronologically and politically accurate. The Land Reform Review Group’s recommendations are remarkably progressive, but not yet government policy.
The landowners have predictably spent a lot of money submitting their response, defending their privileges. We need as many people as possible to respond to counter their arguments.
by Kate and David
Dear First Minister,
We voted Yes in September because we wanted to live in a more progressive society. A progressive society, amongst other things, takes care of its most vulnerable members. The 2012 Angiolini report identified 80% of women in Cornton Vale women’s prison as having mental health issues, substance abuse issues, and/or partner abuse issues.
Despite the existence of some good models of practice such as the 218 service in Glasgow, the Willow project in Edinburgh and the Community Integration Unit at Aberdeen HMP, the “revolving door” that is our current women’s prison system offers them little chance of rejoining normal society.
As you have recently rightly identified, we have to create the conditions to support ALL the women of Scotland to make a meaningful contribution to our society.