Interview with Bill Mair, Solidarity candidate for Mid-Scotland & Fife.
Question 1: You are standing as a Solidarity candidate for Mid-Scotland & Fife; as a Dysart man you will be aware of the Sheku Bayoh situation here in Kirkcaldy and the local anger about the way Police Scotland handled it, what in your opinion can be done to ensure it is never repeated?
Bill: Solidarity Mid-Fife & Scotland branch has taken a decision, approved unanimously, to back the Justice for Sheku Bayoh Campaign. For society to function, we need to hold the police in high regard. To make sure that we do, it is necessary to hold them to high standards.
The family are calling for a fully independent, transparent investigation into the circumstances of Sheku’s death “in police custody” (i.e. on the pavement in Kirkcaldy) reform of the powers of the PIRC (Police Investigations and Review Commissioner) and a judicial review into the case.
I hope the Sheku Bayoh campaign is successful, both so that the family achieve some measure of peace and closure on this tragic event and so that this will never happen to anyone else.
I will disclose here that Ade Johnson (Sheku’s brother-in-law) is a friend of mine – I worked with him at FRAE Fife. However this is not why I support the campaign.
I’m a socialist I strongly believe in social justice, that’s why I’m standing for Solidarity and I’m proud that my comrades across the party, not just Fife, unanimously support the Sheku campaign alongside me.
Please join me and sign the petition https://www.change.org/p/police-scotland-investigate-the-death-of-sheku-bayoh-in-police-custody
Question 2: Fife has a strong socialist tradition, going back to Willie Gallagher, as well as most having family connections to the miners, do you think this history will work to your advantage coming up to Holyrood 2016?
Scotland is sick of right wing austerity. The red, yellow and blue Tories have perpetuated Thatcherite policies without question.
Thatcher cut off the nations nose to spite the face of the working class when she closed collieries across the UK. This had a massive effect on Fife, as mining was a significant part of the economy employing thousands.
Thatcher’s so-called big idea was that we would move to a service economy: shops, IT, cafes, call centres: anything but manufacturing.
The reality was that she did it to crush the unions and along with them the working class. Unions were strong in the manufacturing sector, so she attacked it. Subsequent governments, even Labour governments have accepted thatcher’s ideology without question. Jobs in the service sector are often insecure and low-paid – look at Amazon, Sky, MGt, etc..
Recently, just within a few miles of Dysart, three major employers have closed down and thousands have lost their jobs at Tesco Kirkcaldy, Velux/Fife Joinery in Glenrothes and Tullis Russell in Glenrothes. This capitalism isn’t working.
Scotland wants change.
We want socialism: public ownership of Royal Mail, utility companies and British rail. We want a publicly-owned pharmaceutical industry and a return to manufacturing in Scotland. We want job security and secure council housing. Across Scotland, and especially in Fife, people want what Solidarity stands for.
Question 3: What one thing in your opinion would make the largest difference to peoples lives in this area?
We need the freedom to change everything. We will create jobs, attack poverty, invest in social housing, reverse Thatcherite policies. Bankers and billionaires caused the crisis not the working class.
Solidarity policies are designed to lift Scotland out of austerity without punishing the working class, the poor and disadvantaged in society.
For example we will replace Council Tax with a fairer and more progressive Scottish Service Tax, based on income. The wealthiest will pay more but low-paid workers and pensioners will pay nothing. The majority of paid employees will pay less than the current Council Tax.
We will evict Trident nuclear missiles from Scotland and save billions of pounds by refusing to pay for morally repugnant weapons of mass destruction. We stand four square against fracking and especially against underground coal gasification. We will outlaw these destructive practices and ensure that plans to start underground fires under the Forth off the coast of Fife are never implemented.