Karen Martin – Nurse – A Response To The Nurse Who Cried Foodbank

 

 

Right well the Leaders Debate same old same old SNP bad, no getting a referendum, SNP bad but as hard as Ruth Davidson, Kezia and co tired they couldn’t land a blow on Nicola Sturgeon then it changed. You see in the audience waiting like a tiger prowling it’s pray was Claire Austin a nurse with a question, it was her second appearance on BBC in weeks after being on Question Time but at the time didn’t get to ask her question so she had been invited back to ask it this time fair enough no problem.

This was a passionate question one which she delivered with great vigour and one that she would demanded a answer, deserved an answer More Pay For Nurses. Fair point I thought our NHS staff deserve all the money we can give them then the she delivered the Kicker she has to get her food from a foodbank.

What wow no way foodbanks wow I never realised our NHS was that seriously in trouble , I knew about the cuts , I knew about the threat of privatisation but our nurses starving now I might be an Indy supporter and have a soft spot for the SNP ( ok a huge soft spot) but nurses starving that’s not on, these are the people who save our lives it’s just not on. I spent the rest of the show wondering how could we live in a society where our nurses are having to visit foodbanks wow.

Now as anyone reading this must know by now the following morning social media was awash with stories Claire Austin was a councillors wife then daughter visits to New York and the list went on BBC plant, Tory Plant, egg plant the list went on. To be honest it made me turn off my phone and social media to let it sink in when a sudden thought crossed my mind its doesn’t matter who that woman is related too or what she eats for dinner do our Nurses really need to use foodbanks because of what we pay them. I had heard we pay them more than England but there Jnr Doctors have been striking could this woman be telling the truth. This is when I came across Nurse Karen Martin.

Now who is Karen Martin to talk about this subject well Karen has worked as a Nurse for 38 years and is a Band 7 nursing sister in a kids hospital and is in charge of a huge theatre/ recovery department with staff of all grades and remember a band 5 nurse in Dundee will get paid the same as a Band 5 in Paisley, as will a Band 7 in Glasgow  will get paid the same as a Band 7 in Edinburgh ok. So at this point I will pass you over to the words of Karen Martin who with the breaking of this story feels and wants to put the public straight on this subject.

This is what Karen had to say
“Just to dispel the rapidly growing myths around this nurse and her salary I’d like to spell out exactly what she lied about in terms of that salary and why so many nurses are up in arms about it!
She works for the NHS as a staff nurse, (although she herself claims to be a charge nurse in a busy A&E), however for the sake of this exercise I’ll place her on the lowest band for staff nurses in Scotland. That’s the whole of Scotland because no matter where you work in the NHS the salary structure is identical. The least a newly qualified staff nurse would earn on a Band 5 is just shy of £22, 000. This rises year on year incrimentally for 6yrs to the Band maximum of £28,180.

She herself states that she has been working for many years so she cannot be stuck on the starting scale, it doesn’t work that way. Anyone working for 6yrs will have reached their Band max. If indeed she is a charge nurse as she claims on her LinkedIn then that would be Band 6 which starts at £26,041 and again incrimentally rises to £34,876. So you see there’s no way for a qualified registered nurse to be stuck at £22,000 as she claims. Furthermore she also works with RMR an agency I myself have done shifts for in the past and the pay is very lucrative compared to NHS payscales, so much so that most hospitals are now forbidden to use this agency.

So no matter how you look at this then that woman is not as skint as she claims to be! She blatantly lied about her pay and anything else that followed also has to be suspect. She lied knowing full well that nurses salaries are published and in the public domain, and also knowing there were bound to be nurses watching who would know instantly she was lying, clearly she didn’t care about that either. That I find both particularly perplexing and shameful.


The fact this attack on the Scottish government was allowed to take place during a debate for the GE is beyond the pale and highly questionable especially given the Scottish government have honoured the Pay Review Body recommendations, whilst Westminster has not is even more disgusting. It means that we in Scotland are paid more than our colleagues in England and Wales, albeit only by 1% per annum, but over the past few years that has mounted to a fairly sizeable gap.


Can I also say I agree with those who have said that the SNP government need to stop being so mealy mouthed and polite, and start being more aggressively assertive. They need to start attacking more, as this should be about highlighting their successes but more importantly Westminsters failings. This is not about the Scottish government and should never have been allowed to happen during a debate about a Westminster election, but then again it is the BBC so they will take any opportunity to divert attention away from where it’s supposed to be…..on the failings of Westminster!”

So there you go the nice lady on the leaders debate might not be related to a councillor and all her trips might have been paid by her friends and family but her statement about Nurses having to feed themselves at foodbanks is a blatant lie unless they are terrible with her money.

I would like to thank Karen Martin for coming forward and telling us like it is and giving us the truth on the subject, why Claire Austin spun it the way she did you would have to ask her and chances are we will never know so thanks again to Karen for letting me print this, I tip my hat to you and all who work in our NHS.

image NHS Scotland  foodbank donations  Nurses  featured image  food cans

 

Is Anti-Scottish Racism a Thing?

Scotland’s not a race… is it koz I is ginger?” The funny thing about racial difference is that it is neither genetic nor biological. Race based on colour is an arbitrary construct, used to fabricate social difference in relation to power.


Yesterday in the post ‘Why Don’t You Fuck Off Back to Scotland’ this blog examined the incident in a Somerset school where a Conservative MP, James Heappey, told a sixth form girl to go back to her own country. It was an open display of a growing sentiment in England towards Scots who refuse to tow the unionist political line, but it is interesting that we don’t have a more precise language for this class of prejudice. Sure, it is prejudice, as it is intolerance, bigotry, and xenophobia, but these terms lack the precision conveyed by words like ‘Anglophobia’ when the discrimination and abuse is in the other direction. This very issue was touched on in the comments section of the Butterfly Rebellion Facebook page. So we ask: Is anti-Scottish racism a thing?

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All too often we hear criticism of the charge of racism on the grounds that the group being targeted “isn’t a race.” Apparently Islamophobia and Anglophobia are not racisms because Islam and Englishness are not racial categories. Yet the assumption that these groups cannot be thought of as racial signifiers rests on the acceptance of race as a biological fact, and this is problematic for a number of reasons. Moreover, the United Nations rejects racial biology in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination:

In this Convention, the term “racial discrimination” shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.
Article 1, §1 (21 December 1965)

While it is the case that in the main we identify racial difference in terms of colour, there exists no scientific basis for racial difference in biology or genetics – leading UNESCO to affirm, “All human beings belong to a single species and are descended from a common stock (Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice, 27 November 1978, Art.1 §1).” In effect, what this means is that race – rather than being a natural and inherent difference between human populations – is a social construct, an artificial means of differentiating between people to serve some purpose – power.

Enter Stuart Hall, cultural theorist, and his idea of race as a “floating signifier.” He presents the idea of race – something we imagine to see while failing to see so many other arbitrary differences – as a shifting meaning dependant on changing social and political relations. Whether or not one is racialised depends, at any given time, on one’s relationship to power. His argument certainly holds when we think of Jewishness or Irishness as racial signifiers. Even Albert Einstein picked up on this when he famously quipped:

If I am proved correct, the Germans will call me a German, the Swiss will call me Swiss, and the French will call me a great scientist. If relativity is proved wrong, the French will call me Swiss, the Swiss will call me a German, and the Germans will call me a Jew.

Racial categorisation, then, when we accept that it is without a genetic or biological basis, must have a sociological origin. Race is an idea imposed on people by people, and this implies a power relation. We are familiar with the Scots, the Welsh, and the Northern Irish being called British at the Olympics when they win, and Scottish, Welsh, or Northern Irish when they lose. This too is a categorisation imposed by power. Britishness, as a notional superlative, is synonymous with and an extension of Englishness. England is the power holder, and it is those who speak for this dominant culture who grant the honour of Britishness to those British-ish people only when they deserve it. This is a clear type of cultural and national racialisation.

So we may be somewhat uncomfortable identifying anti-Scottish bigotry as racism, but this is only because we have uncritically accepted race as a real thing. Race is a social fabrication used by people in power to establish the parameters of the dominant group. Yes, we can’t deny that black people have black skin, brown people have brown skin, and white people have white skin, but this observation is as arbitrary as differences in other physical characteristics we routinely ignore; like eye colour, height, hair colour and such.

When Scottish people are subjected to any kind of abuse on the basis of their national origin it is perfectly legitimate and reasonable to speak of this as racism. Our discomfort with this idea, however, might possibly be explained by our historical self-identification as a member of the British racialised in-group; that we – like the English – are “white.” But what we are discovering now is that, as we continue to test the patience of the power holders, we are not as white as them. “White” is not a colour, as we are discovering. Whiteness is a social measure of one’s acceptability to power, and it is in precisely this way that Barack Obama was referred to as “an honorary white man.” We Scots are fast losing that privilege in the eyes of British power.

 


The Science Of Racism


You can follow Jason Michael at his twitter page @Jeggit or at his webpage The Random Public Journal
Jason Michael is a  Scottish journalist and blogger based in Dublin. Writing on politics and society. Columnist for iScot Magazine and author of the Random Public Journal.

The Unionist Protestant Orange Order Helped Create the Labour Party In Scotland and It Has Now Destroyed It – Kezia There is Still Time to Create an Independence Alliance With the SNP

Political Fun and Games

Much has been made in the Unionist press and media of a resurgence in the fortunes of the Tory Party in the local Council elections.

Some political pundits attribute the change to a transfer of allegiance by the Protestant Orange Order away from the Labour Party to the Tory Party which recently changed its name from The Conservative Party back to The Conservative and Unionist Party. A minor change garnering a major result.

If affirmed the Labour Party voter base might deteriorate further in the General Election but  this will probably manifest in Labour voter apathy and it is unlikely any party will benefit in the short term.

The polarisation of Scottish politics is now well established.

The Conservative and Unionist Party has claimed the right to defend the Union.

The influence and role of the Labour Party and the Liberal Democratic Party is reduced that of political spoilers.

In the local council elections the Conservative and Unionist party recruited, marshalled and deployed their activists much more effectively than any other party and reaped the benefits. Lessons are there to be learned.

The SNP stand alone promoting the case for independence and it is imperative that every effort should be made to get supporters of independence to the voting booths on the day of the General Election.

The article that follows provides a detailed history of the Orange Order in Scotland and its capacity for disruption.

 

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The Orange Order in Scotland

The Orange Order first surfaced in the north of Ireland in 1795.

It’s constitution commits members to the defence of Protestantism and the British Crown.

It provides a focus for Protestant ethnic groups in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Although it’s promoted activities are focused on social and religious matters the political dimension has always been considered to be of prime importance and the Order has provided a number of political activists and leaders at many levels of Scottish political society.

The Order is not exclusively an Irish import to Scotland since the politics of native Scots in the West of Scotland was historically sectarian in nature but apathetic towards the problems of Ireland.

This ensured the political growth of the Irish-Protestant working class in Scotland would be influenced by native Scots who were more inclined to embrace socialist ideology as opposed to confrontation.

The loss of many thousands of young Scots soldiers and the depression after WW1 changed the mindset of Irish immigrants and their descendants who became more reliant on the Order to ensure their place in Scottish society.

This brought with it a significant increase in membership and a much enhanced Order presence in the politics of Scotland in the 1920-1939 period.

At the end of WW2 and up to the late 1950’s the Order was influential in ensuring the political direction of the Protestant working class vote in the Central belt of Scotland.

The industrial downturn and slum clearance programmes in Scotland, brought about the establishment of overspill areas, such as Easterhouse and Castlemilk.

Expansion of town and village living; Coatbridge, Airdrie, Motherwell, Hamilton and the new town of Cumbernauld.

Similar programmes were completed in Edinburgh and the East of Scotland forming overspill areas such as Muirhouse, Sighthill and the new-towns of Glenrothes and Livingston.

The impact of the changes on the Order was significant. Membership fell sharply as the population of the Central belt of Scotland became more dispersed and the influence of the Order was lessened markedly.

But although much reduced in numbers the Order in Scotland is still influential in Protestant communities.

Membership has remained consistent in the West of Scotland (in or around Glasgow) and North Lanarkshire

West Lothian, in the East of Scotland is an Order stronghold and there are a significant number of lodges in Renfrewshire, Wigtownshire and Ayrshire.

Conversely there are few lodges in Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and the Highlands and Borders regions.

 

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Male membership of the Order

The highest ever male concentration of the Order in Scotland was recorded at 10% in Govan and Rutherglen, but overall Scottish male membership density rarely exceeded two percent.

At 2017 the figure is reduced to less than 1%.

For comparison male membership of the Order in Belfast routinely peaks at around 20%

 

 

 

 

Membership Patterns

In Glasgow, at Ward level, pockets of the Order are to be found in; Govan (Kingston), Ibrox, Kinning Park, Fairfield, Kingston, Rutherglen, Cowcaddens, Drumchapel, Maryhill, Possil, Cowlairs, Baillieston and Bridgeton.

 

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Causes of Membership Change

Order membership improved following the introduction of licensed social clubs coupled with an ever increasing appeal of soccer and para-military activity in Northern Ireland.

Spikes and fluctuations in membership are also attributed to a number of factors:

1) Threats to Protestantism: Marked decrease in Scottish Protestant church membership and increasing secularisation resulting in declining church attendance and Pastoral influence.

2) Threats to the Union: e.g.. A visit of the Pope

 

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The Northern Ireland Troubles of 1969-90

In the 1960’s and throughout the troubles the policies of the Order in Scotland became ever more militant answering the perceived threat to the Union by Nationalists.

“Scottish” Lodges and their bands travelled to Northern Ireland in increasing numbers in the “Marching” season.

Over time the distinct “Scottishness” of marching lodge members was replaced with “Ulsterness”.

Pipe bands stopped travelling and Scottish Saltires were replaced with the Red hand of Ulster.

The retention of the Union Jack proved to be significant.

Later surveys identified that Order members claimed their identity to be “British” and it was the protection of the “Union” that drove them to go to Ulster each year.

The Grand Lodge of Scotland which supported financial contributions to Ulster, was also heavily involved politically, without success throughout the period with the many differing factions in Ulster and UK governments.

Nevertheless the Order benefited from the troubles achieving the highest ever level of membership in many years.

 

 

 

 

The Sea Change

The 1982 visit of the Pope proved to be the turning point for the Order and it’s steady decline in membership and influence.

Hard-line “Ulsterised” rank and file members demanded militant action preventing the visit but were not supported by senior Order officers or the Grand Lodge.

A number of small groups ignored instructions and went ahead with protests causing an amount of disruption.

The failure of the Grand Lodge to establish control encouraged lodges to ignore instructions forbidding it introducing Sunday opening, the sale of alcohol and singing and dancing.

An added impact was the increasing militancy and unruly behaviour of marching bands and their supporters.

Bands had evolved from the Scottish pipe bands of the 1960’s, first to the accordion, then to “blood and guts” flute bands whose average age was under 30y.

Despite suspensions the bands continued to perform at many “Orange Walks” in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

 

 

orange-order-bands-march-in-edinburgh-g66xr3

 

 

 

Influence

The Order in Scotland can be credited with the establishment of a working class Unionist Tory base through the lodge system and it’s influence over political events in Glasgow up to the start of WW2, was substantial resulting in a number of Tory Orange Order MP’s being elected to Westminster.

The Order had little purchase however in the rest of Scotland since there were no other significant Orange Order clusters.

The Scottish Unionists successful political recruitment and retention strategy up to the early 1960’s was centred on cultivating the votes of the Order membership without compromising it’s aims and ideals.

But the party alienated many members of the Order when it turned away from Unionism retaining only “Conservative” in it’s title.

Many Order members drifted away to the Labour party.

Thatcher’s agreement to support the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement proved to be the catalyst that severed any links between the Order and the Tory Party in Scotland.

Disillusioned Order members, supported by the Grand Lodge formed a political block to the Tory Party using their votes tactically making claim to a reduction in the number of Tory MP’s in Scotland.

Political observers are inclined to the view that the withdrawal of their support had less impact on the fortunes of the Tory party in Scotland blaming other Thatcher actions against Scotland.

 

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Freemasonry in Scotland

The Scottish Protestant tradition of Masonry stretches back to the middle ages and  the organisation of Freemasons in Scotland is broadly similar to that of the Orange Order.

Indeed there is a school of thought that supports the view that the Order first adopted the rules of Scottish Freemasonry and amended them to suit their own needs.

It is of no surprise that the Orange Order has done so well among Scottish Protestants.

Scotland’s total of around 170,000 Masons is the largest Masonic membership rate worldwide making it a Protestant institution guaranteed it’s place in Scottish society.

The stability of Scottish Freemasonry is attributed to its “articles of association” which require members to be strictly apolitical and non-religious, unlike the Orange order, (with 70% of its Scottish membership clustered in Central Scotland.)

It is also important to draw attention to class differences in the two groups of Protestants in Scotland.

In Glasgow, Masonic Lodge halls are primarily located in the more affluent West of the City and in the satellite villages and small towns on the city’s outskirts.

Major concentrations of Masonic lodges are also to be found in the Borders, Highlands and the North-east.

Other lodges are located, in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Perth.

Conversely Orange Order Lodge Halls are located in working class areas of Glasgow and similar locations in other Towns in the West of Scotland.

 

 

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Spread of Freemason Lodges

 

 

 

Conclusions

In the last 30 years Scottish Protestant church membership and attendance has fallen significantly and the Grand Lodge is increasingly impotent in the control of younger, often more militant members who challenge it’s right to dictate policy in regards to the support of Ulster Orange-men.

The continued presence of the Order is directly attributed to the past influx of Irish-Protestant immigrants and their descendants and it’s power is only retained in areas of historic Irish-Protestant immigration such as Larkhall, Airdrie and parts of West Lothian. Overall however the strength of the Order, (even in the West of Scotland) is relatively weak.

 

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You can follow Calton Jock at his webpage CaltonJock

Tories BOW to wealthy antiques dealers and DROP ban on elephant ivory in manifesto

Foxes, badgers, robins and now ELEPHANTS: hidden manifesto plan by Tories to allow ivory trade

Under David Cameron the Conservatives had pledged – along with other UK political parties – to put into place a ban on ivory trading. This follows bans by China, the US and other important ivory trading countries to end domestic trades in ivory by the end of 2017.

But there is no mention of the ban in Theresa May’s Tory 2017 manifesto. Sneakily, the Tories have decided to DROP their previous commitment to introducing a total ban on ivory trade in Britain. This comes after heavy pressure from wealthy antiques traders who have been lobbying Teresa May hard to drop the ban on ivory.

The most powerful UK antique traders association is the British Antique Dealers’ Association – whose president is Tory MP and pal of Theresa May, Lady Victoria Borwick.

On average, an elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory and their population has fallen by almost a third in Africa since 2007.

Interestingly, this policy puts the Tories in direct conflict with Prince William, who has been a vocal supporter of a total ban on ivory sales.

Will we see the Duke of Cambridge campaigning for Labour – which has pledged to introduce the total ban the Prince has been lobbying for?

featured image ivory

You can follow Tom on twitter at @ThomasPride    and at his webpage Prides Purge

Social care: the devil in the manifesto?

Tory plans have a habit of unwinding. Think of the budgets that have failed on things like pasties, caravans and broken promises on national insurance changes. In themselves each seemed a minor issue. What they collectively did was remind people that far from being infallible, strong and stable, Tory government’s and chancellors in question were the purveyors of fragile thinking from which they were willing to retreat at the first sign of dissent.

Of course I am speculating, but Theresa May’s decisions not to continue a Tory commitment to cap social care costs, and to change winter fuel allowance payments to pay for social care, have the feeling of being in the same camp. In themselves the policies can be defended. But the reality is that they alienate key elements in the Tory electoral base.

The cap on social care costs will hit all those of around my age with parents needing care who feel it is their absolute right to inherit the family home for which they have waited a lifetime. This absurd and wholly unjustified sense of entitlement is deeply embedded amongst many and any interference with it, whether from inheritance tax or to fund social care, is considered utterly unacceptable. May has trampled on angry toes there.

The winter fuel allowance is another shibboleth. Of course many recipients do not need it. But take it away and they will feel that they have had a very specific tax increase. For many involved they might be able to afford that. This is not the point. Few doubted most could afford the pasty tax but it upset a great many people.

So I wonder whether Theresa May has made two pretty fundamental mistakes that knock the sheen off her image with a great many people and tarnish the last weeks of her election campaign? Something had to go wrong. Most election mistakes are self inflicted. Are these amongst them?

You can follow Richard  J Murphy on twitter at @RichardJMurphy and at his webpage Tax Research UK

featured image Protests by  Roger Blackwell

 

Scotland’s Labour Pains

On the day that newly elected Labour councillors in Aberdeen and in other parts of the country jumped ship to support the Tories, I met Andrew Bustard online. He’s the future of the revolution, but he’s still on the wrong side.


Thanks to my recent trip into the online political forum of Tremr I had the dubious pleasure yesterday of an encounter with Coatbridge’s almost pubescent Citizen Smith; social media content creator-cum-propagandist for Scottish Labour and door-thumping campaigner for Scottish Young Labour – the Labour Party’s answer to East Germany’s Freie Deutsche Jugend – Andrew Bustard. Some UKIP supporter had posted a piece blaming the SNP for Britain’s woes on account of it not having “bothered to work with the Conservative Party to reassure [sic] a better deal…”

“Damn right,” was my response, this obnoxious position being like a red rag to a bull. “Damn right the Scottish National Party hasn’t collaborated with the British occupation.” In the rest of the response I spelt out the fact that the SNP represented 95 per cent of Scotland’s seats at Westminster, and that the SNP was elected for two reasons; to secure independence and to resist the outrageous excesses of Tory British rule until the first objective has been achieved. At this my new kipper friend retired from the field, but – as if on cue – Coatbridge’s one-man Bolshevik revolution rushed in to her aid.

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Who said Romanticism was dead?

“Terms like ‘occupation’ are really unhelpful,” he whines at a pitch that got the neighbour’s dog howling. I honestly don’t know any other word to describe the English army that helped convince the Edinburgh parliament to sign the Act of Union, the Wade roads and Hanoverian garrisons, the Highland genocides, and the imposition of nuclear weapons we don’t want. Sincerely, I don’t. It sounds like an occupation to me. Yet I was being schooled by a plooky-faced boy on how “Scotland wilfully participated in the occupation and oppression of countries like Ireland and India.”

It was only when he insisted “support for independence is collapsing” that I realised the pity. He was a product of a maths syllabus Labour introduced. But the pity was all the more because I realised he almost gets it. He clearly understood the criminality and injustice of British rule in Ireland and India, a policy very much continued by his beloved “vanguard of the working class [lol]” under Tony Blair – a man who lied in order to perpetrate war crimes and crimes against humanity in a US-led illegal invasion of Iraq. He also gets that Labour has only itself to blame. In an article he posted to the site four months ago, titled “Scottish Labour’s Devolution Death,” he wrote:

Devolution has lead [sic] to the absolute collapse of the Labour Party in Scotland, yet it is not devolution that is responsible for the collapse. The Scottish Labour Party must acknowledge they have sown the seeds of their own destruction within that devolved assembly.

You don’t say Sherlock?! Labour has not collapsed. The World Trade Centre buildings in New York collapsed. Scottish Labour has evaporated, or – as Marx in his Communist Manifesto put it, a text I thought Bustard would appreciate – “all that is solid melts into air.” What working class support it had had in 2012 has shifted en masse to the pro-independence camp. Its boot licking New Labour Blairites – a synonym for neo-Thatcherites if ever there was one – have become more honest and found the Tories. There is no Labour Party in Scotland. Whatever did exist of this proletarian party for the dictatorship of the masses, this fabled socialism, has voted with its feet, and Andrew Bustard knows as well as anyone else that those socialists didn’t go over to the Tories.

Offline, the day got even worse for our wee Lanarkshire Lech Wałęsa. Labour-style Solidarity was shown for what it really is up in Aberdeen. An entire compliment of Labour councillors – recently elected by well-meaning Labour supporters – defected from the Party to support the Conservative and Unionist Party. It is clearer now than it has ever been that the Labour unionist priority is class war on the side of London’s unionist British establishment élite. What oor Andrew is defending is the last and ultimate betrayal of his Labour movement gods. Keir Hardie, John Smith, and his “other Scottish giants” are all dead, and – today – it is fortunate for them that they are.

. Andrew Bustard @BustardAndrew

eurovision is imperialism

 


When this lad, what with his fairly average set of Highers, tells me that my words are “unhelpful” and when she spits out “nationalist” at me like its phlegm in his mouth, I’d laugh, but it’s too damned dire a situation we’re in for that. My nationalism is the socialism he barely comprehends; the want to protect workers, families, and the vulnerable from a system of greed over which we have absolutely no control at Westminster. It is the sharp edge of the struggle to protect his mother, sister, daughter, wife, and comrade from the repugnance of having to declare their victimhood to rape and sexual assault. It is the fight for decency and respect, for the want to have it thus: To each according to his need, and from each according to his ability. Only an independent nation, governed by ourselves – as the Edinburgh man James Connolly would have had it – can achieve this.

What’s most saddening about this encounter is that young men and women like Andrew, all over Scotland, are intelligent enough to work this out. They can see it. But something stops them. They have developed a fetish for a Second International vision of Labourism that – quite frankly – no longer exists. I get it; the red flags on his Twitter banner, the black berets, the closed fist salutes, and the unbridled possibility of revolutionary sex appeal. Man, I was that trooper. It’s gone Andrew. They don’t even show the reruns anymore. Socialism has only one Great Leap Forward to make in Scotland; it’s called “Sexy Socialism.”

 


Not Even Labour Supports Labour Anymore


You can follow Jason Michael at his twitter page @Jeggit or at his webpage The Random Public Journal
Jason Michael is a  Scottish journalist and blogger based in Dublin. Writing on politics and society. Columnist for iScot Magazine and author of the Random Public Journal.

What’s The Past Got to Do With It? | TURN LEFT and Make June the End of May

According to Theresa May, and much of the broadcast and print media that support her, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party have in the last three weeks or so (through the policies they have announced and the much discussed leaked and actual Manifesto) ‘taken us back 40 years’ to the 1970’s. As many people have pointed out there was much about the seventies to applaud. In addition to many cultural references on which there will likely be much difference of opinion #GreatThingsFromThe1970s has prompted much political discussion. Here are just a few I found:

Nationalised transport. Bus fare was 5p, then 9p, then privatised and went up to 32p almost overnight #GreatThingsFromThe1970s

We had secure jobs + free education. Our NHS was in good shape. Work life balance was much better.We could breathe #GreatThingsFromThe1970s

#GreatThingsFromThe1970s Universities were places of learning and research not simply businesses

#GreatThingsFromThe1970s People could afford houses. People looked forward to careers not the gig market

Given that the focus of Labour’s policies is on making things better for the 95%, not least in terms of our health, education, security and income, the critique is clearly yet another attempt to smear and to scare. Not everyone is taken in. See for example this series of letters in The Guardian – ‘Finally, a Labour Manifesto to Really Get Behind’ – https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/11/finally-a-labour-manifesto-to-really-get-behind. Just a couple of snippets, do read the letters in full:

. . . .predicable claims from the right that Jeremy Corbyn wants to take the country back to the 1970s, forgetting to mention that this was a time when corporations and high earners contributed a fairer share to the public purse and we had a functioning welfare state and regulated public utilities providing essential services.

For traditional Labour voters like me – someone who has not voted Labour since the Iraq war – this suddenly sounds like why I joined the Labour party, became a Labour councillor and voted Labour in the first place.

And although the BBC manages daily to find anti-Corbyn, lifelong Labour voters lamenting the fact that they can’t vote Labour anymore, there is much evidence on social media of longtime Tories turning left and others who have never voted before being energised by what Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour are offering.

The criticism of Labour as taking us backwards is ironic from a Prime Minister and a party that has a record of doing just this both in terms of attitudes and actions. It was after all Margaret Thatcher (PM 1979-1990) and her government who wanted us to return to ‘Victorian Values’ (a time notorious for poverty, disease, domestic abuse and other hugely significant inequalities). Thatcher’s legacy continues in that there remains a powerful misconception that the ‘have nots’ are to blame for their own misfortunes and that there are those that ‘deserve’ help and those that do not. Thus, the blame lies with the individual and not the unjust society in which they/we live. And the woman who would continue as Prime Minister for another five years, and who assures us that only under her is the country safe, herself has attitudes that many would consider outdated, divisive and cruel (from her support of grammar schools to fox hunting), and furthermore presides over a government with a sorry record. An example or two. First,in terms of health and illness:

Second, the economy (unbelievably an area the Conservatives claim as a particular strength of theirs):

And so:

With all of this in mind. Read the Labour Party Manifesto at:

http://www.labour.org.uk/page/-/Images/manifesto-2017/Labour%20Manifesto%202017.pdf

OR view the policies in brief here (provided by Eoin Clarke @LabourEoin)

If all of this is indeed ‘taking us back’ to the 1970’s: BRING IT ON for what we need right now is change.

Changes David Bowie (released 1971) https://www.google.ca/search?q=Youtube+Changes+Bowie&oq=Youtube+Changes+Bowie&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.12097j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Perhaps I’ll pass on the yellow loons this time around though.

SO: What’s History Got to Do With It?

Answer: A LOT

You can follow Gayle on twitter at @GayleLetherby or at her webpage Arwenack Creatives | Gayle Letherby’s Blog  

Protest: Say No To Sanctions

R2W poster.jpgHuman Rights group ‘PPR’ are to protest against benefit sanctions at noon on Monday 8th May at the Andersonstown Jobs and Benefits Office.

You can get a lift to the protest from outside the PPR offices as long as you’re there for 11am.  Everyone else is asked to be at Andersonstown Jobs and Benefits Office for 12pm.

If you are afraid of being sanctioned for attending the protest, the R2W group will be giving out I Daniel Blake masks.

To confirm your attendance, click here

Right to Work: Right to Welfare (R2W) Group are a group of unemployed people who have been campaigning since 2012 for the creation of real jobs and for protections in the social security system.

Read more

205 Social Security Decision Makers have the power to make potentially devastating decisions over 364,000 local social security claims.

Last year alone over 11,230 decisions were made to cut Employment Support Allowance from vulnerable people. Half of all Employment Support Allowance claimants have a mental health condition.

The United Nations has said that the Work Capability Assessment for Employment Support Allowance causes people’s mental health ‘to severely deteriorate’.

Sanctions stop every penny.

In a 3 month period last year an average of 942 sanctions a month were imposed on JSA claimants.

Over 5000 sanctions have been imposed on Steps 2 Success participants since October 2014.

Over 70% of these were for failure to attend an interview.

In 2016/17 32,780 people including 13,717 children had to rely on food banks, an increase of over 7000 on the previous year.

The National Audit Office has found no evidence that benefit sanctions work. The Peoples Proposal for basic due process and mandatory impact assessments can change that.

You can follow ÁINE at her twitter page at @AineCarson1 and at her webpage Áine Carson

Why Don’t You F*^k Off Back to Scotland?

What do we learn about Tory England and its Englishness when Conservative MPs are roaring at little girls to get back to their own country? Not much. We just get to see the whole thing for what it really is: Pathetic aggressive thuggery.


Verbal abuse is violence, and can often be every bit as harmful as physical violence. It is important that we are clear on this point before we proceed. James Heappey, MP for Wells in Somerset, made the headlines for telling a Scottish schoolgirl to “fuck off back to Scotland” when he visited her class because she said she would vote for independence if she was given the chance. Not a single report on this incident called this an act of violence. It is time that we set the record straight.

This sixth form pupil at Millfield School in Somerset is Scottish. She lives in England with her family. Her friends are English, and she is perhaps the only Scots student in the class – maybe even in the whole school. As a foreigner she stands out, making her a little more vulnerable to being socially isolated and bullied. We hope that this was not the case for her, but the last thing in the world she needed was an adult in authority telling her to get back to her own country in front of her classmates. Imagine the outrage had she been Polish or Pakistani.

Yet this is exactly what happened to her. What is more shocking is that the adult authority figure who verbally assaulted her wasn’t simply a janitor or a teacher from her school, but her local member of parliament. James Heappey, a Conservative Party MP, is a 36 year old man with a formidable build – certainly for a school child. Heappey served as a British soldier in Afghanistan at a time in that conflict when LiveLeak and the Guardian were reporting on the vile behaviour of British squaddies towards schoolgirls and girls as young as six.

James Heappey

@JSHeappey

Have Afghanistan & Iraq swung public opinion too far away from intervention in Syria? Stuck between rock & hard place but chemical weapons!?

 


In what appears to have been in the context of political education, in which middle class English kids were being taught how to speak on Scotland’s behalf, this thug asked the class how they would vote if they were in Scotland during another independence referendum. Little did Heappey know that one brave wee Scots lass was there listening to his pish. She said that she would vote for independence, but instead of praising her for her political engagement – what one would have thought was the purpose of the class – he set upon her. This wasn’t about education. This was political indoctrination.

Of course she went home and informed her parents of the attack, and we discover that her father is a member of the Scottish National Party. In England the public are being informed that men like her father are violent ‘Cyber Nat’ extremists, but we have to hand it to him – many a father would have taken a wee stroll to the Tory constituency office to sort the matter out man to man.

Here is where we have come to in the politics of this island. England’s ruling establishment knows that its goose is cooked. It has finally dawned on people that Brexit is not a good thing. The Union is quaking and coming apart. It really is last throw of the dice stuff when you have MPs venting their frustrations on children, and this is far from an isolated incident. In a week we have had a House of Commons Defence Committee staffer pontificate about the inferiority of Gàidhlig in the Scotsman, another Tory telling Ireland to keep its “Gypsies,” Ruth Davidson describing the efforts to make peace in Northern Ireland as “offensive,” and this. England has only one real lesson to learn from all this: Its tea’s oot.

 


BBC Planning its Unionist Strategy on Scottish Independence


 

What happened to ” Never again”?

Do you remember those momentous words….” Never again will the elderly….”. Well ‘never’ has arrived and how!

Triple lock goes, Winter Payments to be means tested ( which incidentally costs more than they save), but then it does mean more money for the boys! And last but by no means least the biggest shocker for Pensioners who own their own home, particularly those who have bought their own Council houses or Sheltered Housing, which in Scotland is quite high. Do read up about what is being dubbed as The Death Tax.

This from the Party who said during the Scottish Referendum, vote NO to secure your future.

I am so tempted to say…….’ don’t blame me I voted YES’

Today’s Pensioners both in the North and the South must be saying to themselves, ‘what the hell’. Theresa May is so confident of a landslide win she knows she can do anything, and she will do it. She knows voting numbers will be quite low because people are fed up of voting and getting nowhere. Then there are the Boundary changes further re-enforcing the Tory hold on the country.

Of course we in Scotland are just waiting for Ruth to say, ‘ you can mitigate these changes by putting up taxes’!  How about us mitigating them by just doing what the PM is planning to do with Brexit…….just walk away.

A sunny but sad day for Politics.

featured image robbing the OAPs

You can follow Joan McDowall on twitter at @JoanFlitcroft and at her webpage Joan Flitcroft