Solidarity SSM Conference – 6th Feb 2016

Conference - Govan 2015Solidarity SSM will hold their Conference on 6th Feb 2016. All members are requested to attend and non-members are very welcome.

The event will be held in The Renfield St. Stephens Centre, Bath St, Glasgow from 11.30 to 4.30 pm (Registration from 11 am). Suggested registration £3 unwaged, £5 waged.

Registration 11 am – 11.30
Session 1: 11.30 – 2 pm
Break: 2 pm – 2.30 pm
Session 2: 2.30 pm -4.30 pm
Non-members welcome.
Suggested registration: £3 un-waged, £5 waged.
Motions for conference:
Only branches may propose motions, which must be received by John Park, National Co-Secretary (jparkghills@hotmail.com), by deadline:
22 January.
Amendments to motions must be received by deadline:
29 January.

Please see enclosed map for directions to the venue. Any queries, please contact us via the contact form (email link) at top right of the Home page. Thank you.

BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE
Solidarity SSM

Directions to St Stephens – Please click on map

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Conference

Trish Buchan - SAF

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Solidarity “Magnanimous” about Potential Copyingof Policy

Tommy SheridanTommy Sheridan has offered to “throw open the doors of Solidarity’s policy cabinet to allow raiding of our Scottish Service Tax policy paper”.

The co-convenor of Solidarity, Scotland’s Socialist Movement, spoke as news broke today of proposals by the Scottish government-backed Commission on Local Tax Reform, which include an option to move calculation of council tax liability from property values to income.

Mr Sheridan, while an MSP, introduced a bill in 2004 to the Scottish Parliament to replace the Council Tax with a Scottish Service Tax, based solely on household income. In 2006 he steered the actual Private Members Bill through Parliament where it was voted down at 1st stage debate by all the parties including SNP but supported by Socialists, Scottish Senior Citizens Party and the Independents.

Council Tax was and still is regarded as a regressive tax; the highest property bands of council tax, for properties worth over £212,000 will only ever pay a maximum of 3 times that of the lowest band, for properties worth less than £27,000.

Mr Sheridan said:
“Solidarity welcomes any move to reform taxation to a fairer, more progressive system. We’re not going to complain about the Scottish Government’s Commission stealing our clothes on this issue, as we are all for more equality and a fairer society. We encourage the Scottish Government and the political parties of Scotland to consult the meticulously researched and costed proposals for a Scottish Service Tax, based purely on household income, that I presented to the Scottish Parliament in 2006”

SOLIDARITY STATEMENT ON THE WEST OF SCOTLAND TORY PARTY CONFERENCE PROTEST

SOLIDARITY STATEMENT ON THE WEST OF SCOTLAND TORY PARTY CONFERENCE PROTEST

We learned today that the West of Scotland Tory Party Conference that was due to take place on Saturday the 7th of November in The Brisbane House Hotel in Largs has now been moved to a secret location. The decision was taken by the Tories after they heard that we had arranged a peaceful protest to take place at the hotel. 

What this amounts to is denying the people their democratic right to assemble and protest. There were many people who wanted to attend to make it clear to the Tories that they are against their policies, including their ideological austerity program, which is attacking the poorest and most vulnerable in society, and they absolutely have the right to do that under law. 

Some of the media reports around this had the protesters down as a ‘far left hate mob’ but when the event was announced it was made clear that we were calling for a peaceful protest and, although originally organised by Solidarity, it had brought together groups from across the spectrum of Scotland’s political parties and campaign groups who all deserved the right to make their concerns about the party governing our country heard. 

To silence any protest against the harsh realities of what it means to live in a Tory led Scotland is undemocratic and an outright attack on the rights of the people.

Unless someone can get us the information on where our elected government will now be holding their secret conference we have been left in the unfortunate position of cancelling the event and letting down the many, many people who had chosen to use the opportunity to make it clear that they are for a fairer more just society for all. 

We would like to thank everyone who had come together to take part in this very important protest and to assure each of you that we will continue to use our democratic rights to challenge the government in power to make it clear that their policies, that are attacking our communities, driving people to destitution, foodbanks, homelessness and even death whilst at the same time protecting big business interests and billionaires is unacceptable.  It is a fight not being waged by ‘extremists’ and ‘hate mobs’ but by ordinary people who have had enough and who deserve to be heard.

Solidarity Against Fracking

Solidarity opposes Fracking, Underground Coal Gasification and other forms of Unconventional Gas (UG) extraction in Scotland and stands united with those opposing it across the UK.

We welcome the extension of the temporary ban on Fracking imposed by the Scottish Government to include Underground Coal Gasification. This temporary ban should have always included UCG as it does require fracking drilling techniques. We note that it is only prolonged campaigning by activists and pressure on SNP politicians that has led to this ban and we stand with them in opposition to environmental degradation to give profit to the few.

We regret that the temporary ban will only last till the middle of next year and call on the Scottish Government to immediately extend the moratorium on Fracking into an outright ban including on test drilling.

We back the “Hands across the Forth” campaign against UG and urge our supporters to join the protest on the Forth Road Bridge on Sunday 11th October @ 2pm.

In the linked article Gordon Morgan a Solidarity EC member outlines the technologies and geology behind Fracking and UG; the associated environmental risks and economic effects and how these are affecting both UK and Scottish Government policy.

Bill Mair answers a few questions from Women with Equal Voices

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

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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?

Bill: Definitely.

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?

Bill: Independence.

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.

SNP counsellor Pat Lee, Leaves SNP, joins Solidarity.

South Lanarkshire Councillor Pat Lee, who campaigned tirelessly for an Independent Socialist Scotland and continues to do so, has resigned from the SNP and joined Solidarity Scotland.
Pat said “During the Referendum and GE campaigns I received a political and cultural education by engaging with the Grassroots movement which reaffirmed my earlier introduction to politics. I realised my political leanings were embedded on the left of centre, in the political landscape.

bean-sidhe2Having been part of BIASED BBC PEACEFUL PROTESTS and working closely with Solidarity members and members of Hope over Fear I feel it is a natural progression back to my political roots to fight for Socialism, Social justice, workers rights and fairness.

I approached Solidarity back in early 2014, after attending Tommy Sheridan’s address/rally at Pather in Wishaw to discuss the possibility of joining Solidarity. It was as if we were destined to meet. Everything Tommy was portraying to the audience resonated with my political conscience.
We agreed to revisit my intentions after the Referendum as neither of us want to distract from the Referendum campaign. After the referendum we found ourselves with the General Election coming fast, so again we agreed to maintain focus on winning the GE for Scotland and I welcomed Solidarity’s’ strategy of “lending your vote”

Now we have returned a strong Scottish Voice to Westminster I can return to following my political conscience and I believe the vehicle to do this is Solidarity.

There have been a number of times I have felt constrained by being held to the SNP whip. The Melissa Moore issue regarding Stolen ballot paperwork in the Lothian’s, my stance on UDI and acceptance of the Smith Commission as replacement for the “Vow”.

Further to the fantastic result of the GE I believe people in the working class communities throughout central region need a strong voice in Holyrood as the implosion of Scottish Branch Labour has created a void for their voice.
Therefore I intend to put myself forward for selection to stand as a candidate for Solidarity in the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary elections to represent their needs in the next Scottish elections.

We have delivered Scotland’s voice to Westminster, now is the time to deliver working class representation to Holyrood where I will continue to fight for an Independent Socialist Scotland
That why I have decided to join joining Solidarity.”

Pat Lee