If there is no struggle, there is no progress


Twitter: @StewartMcDonald Facebook: Stewart McDonald for Glasgow South

“We are up against an ideology that sees Scotland as an irritant and the state as their play thing.” Kicking off our General Election series of #newvoices where we’ll hear from candidates across the country, Stewart McDonald, the sole nominee for the SNP in the Glasgow South constituency

With wealth concentrated in fewer hands, legislation drafted to suit the interests of those at the top and a revolving door of access between big corporations and the top tiers of government, it’s clear that Westminster only works for a few. The rest of us get zero hours contracts, lower living standards, longer working hours for less money and less job security. Not to mention the eye-watering increase in those relying on food banks. Now, more than ever, it is obvious to see that the UK government, public institutions and elements of our media exist to serve one constituency and it’s not ordinary working people.

I’m not naïve enough to believe that a Yes vote would have solved all of these problems over night. In creating a new country a new, self-interested establishment would undoubtedly have sought to be born. However there can be no doubt that the architects of the new Scotland that I and many others want to create – including many of those who voted No – were almost always progressive by nature.
The UK establishment may have got the result that they wanted in September, but May is our chance to come back fighting – and fight we must.

Those at the very top of society; financiers; corporations and bankers, have managed to get their feet well and truly under the table over these last five years. Not only has the Coalition Government been their vanguard and cheerleader – illustrated perfectly by George Osborne campaigning across Europe against a financial transactions tax, and threatening to take the European Commission to court if it introduced a tax on banker’s bonuses – but Labour, with very few exceptions, have been a weak opposition allowing them to get away with it. Worse, Labour has accepted elements of establishment dogma which state that we must have austerity, in some form, forever.

Then there is the Conservative-led government’s own ideological battle against the unions. Moves by the Cabinet Office to change the way in which civil service staff pay their union membership – ending check off payments which are deducted alongside your tax and national insurance, and instead making tens of thousands of staff sign up to direct debits – are designed to do one thing: to reduce the influence of ordinary workers and distract unions from their campaign against government cuts to front line services.

The Coalition Government have made it more difficult for working people to get a fair deal in the workplace and more difficult to get justice if unfairly dismissed, with new laws charging people hundreds of pounds to challenge unfair dismissal, sexual or racial harassment in the workplace. The result has been a huge drop in these types of cases being brought forward, and the justice system being turned in to a market that has priced out ordinary people. This is the powerful using their power to make working people voiceless.

Compare this with the approach taken in countries such as Germany, where many boardrooms have directly elected workers and consumer representatives sitting on their boards. This leads to better workplace relations, better productivity and a more democratic economy. Not for us Brits.

I go in to this election with a clear idea of what we are up against and what kind of change we have to offer. We are up against an ideology that sees Scotland as an irritant and the state as their play thing. The SNP will put forward the case for a more democratic economy, a state that works for the many and not the few, and a Scottish Parliament that is genuinely empowered to take forward the interests of the Scottish people on issues such as the environment, youth unemployment and health inequality.

To those who wish to see their country run in the interests of ordinary working people, I ask you to think outside the boundaries that are applied to us by the Westminster parties and the UK media. This is not about a straight up fight between Labour and the Tories. It never has been. That is the palest stitch up game that none of us can win. This election is a battle of ideas about where power lies and who with. Should it lie in the hands of the few who make up the Westminster bubble, or should it lie in the hands of care workers, call centre staff, nurses, train drivers and ordinary working people here in Scotland? That’s the straightforward choice in this election, and we in the SNP stand on the side of the latter rather than the former.

Our ideas to effect a change of how we are governed won’t win solely on the basis of being good ideas. We must take them to every doorstep that we pass. We must campaign even harder than we did in September. We must become enthusiastic and impatient, and take our message to every voter.

We did not get the result that we wanted in September. The Westminster parties won a temporary reprieve. However we must ensure, with hard work and door to door campaigning, that we fill Scotland’s benches in the House of Commons with people who want to challenge Westminster dogma, not accommodate it. Frederick Douglas, the great African-American social reformer, said that “if there is no struggle, there is no progress.” We would do well to invoke that spirit over these next four months.

Comments (32)

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  1. ScottishLass says:

    A bit worrying that there is only one nominee…:(

    1. Joseph chambers says:

      Why would it be worrying? All selections are open.

      1. ScottishLass says:

        Only one person has put themselves forward for a SNP role in Glasgow South? There are 7 nominees for the same position in North Ayrshire alone…

  2. Darien says:

    A nice policy wish list, but lets be realistic; 30+ SNP MP’s will have no chance of determining any policy decision at Westminster next May against 500+ red/blue Tories. There is not much point to this type of ‘standard’ campaign rhetoric. All you and other SNP MP’s will be doing at Westminster is sitting on your tartan seat for the next 5 years taking the unionist shilling, and the obligatory insults from unionist MP’s.

    Then again, if you were courageous and really wanted to put Scotland first, you and your 30+ SNP MP colleagues would declare independence based on returning a Scots majority; thus the union would end in the same way it was delivered (minus the bribes of course). Westminster sovereignty is all and FPTP is their way of governing – so why ignore it? The 45% ‘Yessers’ would go with that, which should be enough, certainly if current polls are anything to go by. Independence is what your party stands for, isn’t it? So deliver when you are given the mandate to do so!

    1. bringiton says:

      Perhaps but it should become very clear to the Scottish electorate that their votes don’t count when it comes to electing a government to England’s parliament.

      1. Darien says:

        I think at least 45% of the voters are aware of this. And 45% is more than enough for an SNP Scots majority of 30+ SNP MP’s = mandate for independence.

    2. Well said the ref was a shame and unfair via msm and corporate bullying !

  3. Les Wilson says:

    It is correct, there is no other way to meet the aspirations and life improvements that Scots really desire.
    Despite the rocky road ahead, I am committed to follow this path, and there is then a hope of attaining it, if we do not there is no hope. As we will soon find out.

  4. Bernicia says:

    Please can someone show me a single redistributive SNP policy!!!!!

    Zero hours contracts? like the last seven years in the Scottish public sector + public sector contractors under the SNP?….

    The interests of those ordinary working people? Does that include those in the Mennie estate in Aberdeenshire? or the millions who can’t afford homes because pf the SNP’s millionaire Scottish contractors/ landowners pals who still don’t meet the 25% new build affordable housing?

    How about rent caps? Why are we waiting….we are suffocating…

    Will we all have to take the party whip and vote for the bedroom tax?

    On ye go son, vote SNP and give us a Tory government.

    1. muttley79 says:

      Scotland voted for Labour in 1979, 1983, 1987, 1992, 2010 and other occasions as well. We got right wing Tory governments. I and many others want to elect our own governments, with all the powers that come with a nation state.

      1. Bernicia says:

        Perfectly reasonable, lets find out if your views are shared by the majority in Scotland in say….a referendum?

        Now that’s the anoying thing about democracy, in the words of ol snake hips Jagger ‘you can’t always get what you want..’

        Alot of voters out of Glasgow/ central belt voted No becasue they didn’t want endless WoS governments running their lives from a distant overly centralised Holyrood. The apeal to democracy is much of a muchness depending on who you are – this is the whole point of democracy. I bet true Tory voter in Surrey are moaning about having to share the democratic forum with those Northern tykes as they don’t always get the govt they want….

        Should really feel for those Lib dems in the Highlands! they’ve never had a government they voted for.

      2. Shaun says:

        I checked this out on Wikipedia and was surprised to find the following…

        In 2010, the SNP only got a few more percentage of the vote than the Tories.

        Support for the SNP was highest in the 90s, consistently receiving over half a million votes . Support seems to have fallen way a bit in the 2000s.

        More Scots voted for Thatcher in 1979 than Salmond in the 2011 Holyrood election.

        1. bellacaledonia says:

          True. That was 1979 before they knew what she was bringing. References from the previous Century null and void.

    2. Shaun says:

      You could make the case that the SNP are for redistributing towards the wealthier; for example, corporation tax cuts, and free university (a primarily middle class pursuit) at the expense of vocational college places.

      1. Shaun a have to disagree with you there people go to uni on merit via the present system and there is loads of places for nc and hnd and all the other lower certificates am from a underclass environment in the east end of glasgow and lots of my class went to uni and still are later in life access to the top via merit is crucial and weather u like it or not there is a collage and uni place for any1 that merits it a have a nc although am a builder this would only happen in Scotland via our polices on equality education is the key to self suficenciy and in the long run reliefs pressure on other parts of the system we have a good system and if your not rich a feel the lectures strive to help you succeed more even all our middle class want the working class clever or skilled that’s what makes Scotland great if you have what it takes then you can via merit do it !

    3. Eddie says:

      Bernicia even when we have had a Labour government what benefit has there ever been for the Scottish working class .We have had years of Labour governments for years and under Blair and Brown the gap between rich and poor was greater than under Thatcher. Any Labour government has to keep the south of England sweet, so what happens in Scotland is the least of their worries. Look about and ask yourself what benefit would there be for Scotland to vote Labour once again. Also the old rhetoric that you have to vote Labour to keep the Tories out is a complete myth, kept going by the Labour party as it is the only policy they have.

      1. Bernicia says:

        Can’t argue with that true enough. Just not convinve the SNP are any better. The problem is this is mirrored across Europe. Except maybe for Syriza?

      2. Brian Fleming says:

        Response to Bernicia.

        Podemos perhaps?

    4. Alison Brown says:

      Well said. The big problem with the SNP supporters is the blame culture space they inhabit. They can’t seem to get down to solving the problems on their own doorstep – nothing to do with Westminster- look at sectarianism for a start! The opportunist (ex banker) Alex Salmond is now saying he’ll do all sorts of great things if chosen as a Westminster MP but he’s been in power for years and had done nothing! And what of his and the SNP backers? Millionnaire high profile establishment figures – none of the SNP supporters have an issue with those particular robber barons. The SNP are now the ‘Establishment’ in Scotland and must be held to account for many of the problems in Scotland – SNP supporters must do this and consider who is best to deliver for local people on a constituency basis as we’re in danger of returning the Tories to power. I know you don’t care about the rest of the UK but this will affect you too.

      1. Brian Fleming says:

        How did you manage to jump straight from “well said” to Eddie on to an attack on the SNP? What on earth has that got to do with Eddie’s comments? And “Millionnaire high profile establishment figures – none of the SNP supporters have an issue with those particular robber barons.” What makes you think that? It’s certainly not the case; “none” would include me, and i know there’s many like me in the SNP. And who precisely is “in danger of returning the Tories to power”? I’m afraid I cannot follow your drift here.

  5. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    As an SNP member I object to the SNP not ruling out a Coalition with Labour. On the grounds that they are second rate tories and have no interest in the well being of the majority.

    1. Brian Fleming says:

      Perhaps they’re still ‘fighting the last war’, profiling themselves as anti-tory in the eyes of the electorate in order to counter the “vote SNP, get Tory” bullshit? I don’t know what the SNP can achieve in Westminster. I see GE2015 as merely a trial run for GE2016, which should be fought on a clear Independence manifesto. I just hope the party leadership don’t bottle it.

      1. Brian Fleming says:

        But essentially they’re caught between a rock and a hard place, trying to make themselves “relevant” in order to outflank the BBC’s attempts (successful in 2010) to marginalise them in May.

  6. Dan Huil says:

    If the opinion polls are correct it seems the people of Scotland have at last realized that consistently voting Labour in Westminster elections is no way to protect their interests.
    Red Tory, Blue Tory it’s all the same.
    Voting in a large number of SNP MPs to Westminster might not bring an immediate end to the chronic imbalances and unfairness of the union, but it will at least prove that the people of Scotland see the pointlessness of continually voting for unionist parties and politicians who quickly forget about Scotland after being elected.
    We are seeing the panic in the established unionist parties. They thought they had gotten away with their deceit after the referendum result produced a No, but in “winning” that No they have fundamentally weakened their beloved union. It’s delicious to see those who claim to love the union doing the most, through their arrogant actions, to destroy it.

  7. January7th says:

    A fine article, refreshingly substantial in content, a rarity amongst many parliamentary candidates in recent years. I suspect that explains the extent of the hostility of many of the other comments.

  8. Darien says:

    SNP should only contest the GE as seeking a mandate for independence. With FPTP, 30+ SNP MP’s is enough. SNP on this basis are assured 45% of votes and could perhaps secure over 50% with No voters who have seen that the vow was a scam. There is no point in sending 30+ SNP MP’s to Westminster – they would always be outvoted by the 500+ red/blue Tories. All this needs is some political courage. Of course, its easier for wannabee career politicians to take the unionist shilling……… Let’s see what Nicola’s troops are made of.

    1. Brian Fleming says:

      Good post Darien. I agree completely, particularly your analysis of the 45% plus for Independence. Now is the time to push for it, not lie back in the glow of 100,000 members, enjoying the journey, but never arriving. I’ve always rated Nicola Sturgeon highly. I really hope she has what it takes. The SNP’s job is not to be liked in London; its job is to win independence for Scotland. To an extent they’re caught in their own strategy of separating an SNP vote in a GE from Independence via a referendum. That may have helped in 2011, but it’s a bit of an albatross now. it used to be generally agreed that a majority of Scottish MPs would constitute a mandate to negotiate Independence. That should be in the manifesto for May, unless it’s just a trial run for GE2016, which I suspect it may be.

  9. Reblogged this on Bampots Utd and commented:
    Bampotsutd supports the SNP and it’s drive for social justice and would ask all readers to start engaging with family and friends to secure a majority vote weather ur yes or no last year it’s time we unite and get the best deal for our children and our community’s this is only achievable via sending a message of togetherness after the ref and showing them we are 1 and that we want the vow delivered now and control of all our taxes !
    Remember weather you were yes or no that’s not the issue now it’s about saving our services united we can deliver this via the snp labour are torys so are the lib dems !

  10. joseph O Luain says:

    The SNP need to win the maximum amount of seats in May, if only to illustrate how ineffectual the voice of the Scottish people has been in the past and will remain in the future if we and our elected representatives chooses to continue playing the Westminster elections game every few years.

    Westminster has long since learned how to counter the tactics of large dissident groupings, of course. Alec Salmond will know as well as anyone what the fate of CS Parnell and his eighty-plus grouping was in the Mother of Parliaments. He will also be aware that grandstanding, while it will certainly generate copious column inches, will never be a substitute for decisive action.

    He may well be forced into taking perhaps the only decisive action open to him, and with his army intact, make that oft suggested tactical retreat to Edinburgh. The alternative, it seems to me, would be the propping-up some rightist administration or other, and the probability of political extinction at home.

    In order to successfully retreat to Edinburgh, he really would require the maximum amount of seats, this as a means of conclusively illustrating to the Scottish electorate that in any final analysis their votes carry very little weight within the Union.

    Although I’m not an SNP member, I’ll be out there with the best of them from now until May trying to make sure that the SNP win the maximum amount of seats possible.

  11. John Souter says:

    Pragmatically;is their any sense in a Scottish voter voting for any candidate other than one who has Scotland’s independence as the foundation of his/her political ambitions?

    While it’s true under normal conditions 30-40 SIMPS (Scottish Independence MP’s) could be swamped by the Westminster hegemony, the chances are the 2015 GE will not be a result where normal service will be resumed even if Westminster was to make the whips redundant and every vote was made a free one.

    In such a situation – or in any of the diverse derivatives – what has Scotland to lose. Their representatives either gain for Scotland or are filibustered aside by the dominance of proportional inequality; much as it is now.

    What it will do either way is confirm the Yes voters of the referendum were in the right; and for those who chose to vote No what the should have known will be confirmed by the blatant exposure of their subsidiarity in the Westminster process.

    In 2015 Scotland doesn’t vote for parties it votes for Scotland.

  12. Brian Fleming says:

    “Those at the very top of society; financiers; corporations and bankers, have managed to get their feet well and truly under the table over these last five years.”

    Stewart, they don’t need to get their feet under the table. They own the table and the feet under it. That is what we’re up against, worldwide. The referendum gave a small chink of hope, not just for people in Scotland. Now……? Well, good luck for May. And then get stuck into the parasites in Westminster.

    1. Brian Fleming says:

      And then put UDI (or another referendum?) in the manifesto for 2016.

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