Ayrshire Branch held a public meeting in Ayr Town Hall Thursday 4th of February, where lead candidate Cheryl Scott & fellow list candidate Kayleigh Paterson were unveiled to an enthusiastic audience. The crowd were treated to stirring compassionate speeches by both candidates, and in Kayleigh’s case it beggared belief that this very talented young individual is only 17 !! She spoke very passionately about Solidarity’s commitment, to eradicate all forms of poverty & the scourge of foodbanks. She also spoke passionately about Nationalising Energy Companies, and the unacceptable anathema of zero hour contracts.
Kayleigh’s research & attention to detail, was very commendable as she reeled of one set of chilling statistics after another. Well schooled in trades union activity and politics by Dad Jim Walls, it is also evident that she has those genes of her Dad and the required ‘fire in her belly’ It was hard to believe that this talented young 17yr old was giving her very first public speech, especially in the way that her presence commanded the hall, and lit up the evening’s proceedings like a beacon, such is her passion and determination for radical societal change. You can read the full transcript of Kayleigh’s speech by clicking HERE
Cheryl Scott, well known the length and breadth of the country, as a tireless, fearless & above all ‘ever present’ activist, having been involved in the organising of many rallies and demonstrations, one of which was the BBC Bias campaign, another being a rally in ‘Freedom Square’ on the eve of the Referendum vote, which attracted a crowd in excess of 20,000. As Co-convener Tommy Sheridan said in his closing speech, Cheryl has been at the coal face for many years, she is no stranger to the front battle lines, that’s for sure.
Cheryl spoke very candidly about Ayr town and the demise of local industry, also the social deprivation that has befallen the once thriving bustling town. She also reminded the audience of the flight, of our brightest young talent, simply because of a lack of opportunities here in Scotland. She spoke very matter of factly about the cultural annihilation, the inequalities of Barnet and the vision and commitment of Solidarity SSM, that finally brought her to leave SNP and tread a progressive Socialist Republican path. Her speech was stirring, rousing and above all inspirational. The future of Solidarity SSM is in fine hands with these two fine candidates in Cheryl & Kayleigh.
The evening’s discussions were brought to a close by Solidarity SSM co-convenor Tommy Sheridan, we heard of the irrefutable arithmetical facts of the D’Hondt system and explained very ably how the rounds of the system roll out. Picking off several items within the proposed manifesto for this years election, He pleaded with the audience to unite the Yes vote and destroy the rainbow Tories in the Regional List vote.
Speaking of ‘Defiance’ of ‘Austerity’ rather than ‘Compliance’, Austerity being nothing more than punishing the poor for the sins of the rich & greedy. Tommy also set out Solidarity’s red line stance on all forms of Fracking & Underground Coal Gasification, and the promotion of and investment in renewable clean energies, of which Scotland has opportunities in abundance. We also heard about the disarming & removal of Trident.
We heard also about Solidarity’s commitment to a new fairer Service Tax, to replace the unequal Council Tax, that favours the rich and does nothing, to redistribute wealth generated by tax revenues. Tommy reiterated that given the chance, Solidarity would put forward a ‘Democracy & Accountabilty’ bill, which would hold MSP’s to account over their campaign pledges/promises. This would be tackled with the right of recall and a subsequent by-election.
Tommy Sheridan received a standing ovation, after which there was a short question and answer session. The evening chaired by Jim Walls of the Ayrshire Branch was a great success, and I would hope that people left the hall afterwards feeling invigorated and more informed of what Solidarity can give to the people, that all important pro-independence people’s voice in Holyrood. Tommy pledged that Solidarity will put forward a bill for ‘Indyref2’ for 2018, and closed asking the audience to give Solidarity their second ‘peach ballot’ vote.
Videos of the speeches can be found below: