Anti-Austerity / Pro-Democracy

Cat Boyd previews the launch of RISE in Glasgow …

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  1. Paul Carline says:

    Totally agree that old-style party politics (divide and rule) is well past its sell-by date. If we are going to see radical change, people (so-called ‘ordinary’ people) have to get involved in determining the shape of tomorrow’s political life.

    For me that has to be based on DD – Direct Democracy – which puts the Demos (the people) back where they belong: at the forefront of the political process (where any representatives are there to listen and carry out what the people want – as public servants, not masters). The best model is Switzerland where the people really are the sovereigns and where they can make laws and change laws on their own initiative. The Swiss have enjoyed real democracy for more than 150 years. It’s time Scotland joined them.

  2. Michael Brogan says:

    RISE will probably have two votes from this household, (me and my daughter), but let’s stop saying pro and anti austerity and use pro and anti poverty instead. We need our own language and agenda.
    I am not an SNP member and only voted for them as a means to a beginning viz. independence. The SNP are nowhere near the left in politics and after the financial fascism of the Troika with Greece I am totally against EU membership.
    One of the principle messages has to be making people understand how to use their list vote as this is key. Lot’s of SNP supporters are already preaching the opposite.
    Good luck tomorrow!

  3. Darby O'Gill says:

    If every person in Scotland who claims to be a socialist had simply joined the Scottish Socialist Party, it would be standing for constituency as well as lists seats in 2016, and be a force to be reckoned with. Why they haven’t is a mystery, since I’ve heard no criticism of any SSP policies.

    It is a pity that we have to go to the effort and expensive of creating another brand new party for ‘the left’ in Scotland, and one with a logo that leaves it open to media abuse. (‘Constituents fail to rise at the Great Scottish take-off’) But so be it. If this is what it takes to make a better Scotland possible, then lets get on with it.

    Good luck to all the speakers on Saturday.

    1. John B Dick says:

      I support most SSP aims and many of their policies but the party as a whole are fundamentalists with a belief system, a credo and dead prophets just like the neo-liberal right. That they seem marginally prefrable to the Neo-Liberal consensus is partly because they are not in power.

      An early verdict on the Third Session SNP government by blogger Christian Schmidt was that they offered “bog standard competent government with a few minor gimmicks” and we know that people (not least the SNP/NO voters among them) vote for the SNP for “Competence” while rejecting their offer for vision – independence.

      The benchmark for competence is Westminster and abysmally low, so the SNP doesn’t need to exert itself to rise above the ‘bog standard’ level.

      Those of us who have had to implement what we characterise as ‘Dangerous Dog’ legislation have long called for Joined-up Government and you don’t get that from believers in a faith system who want to change the whole world THIS AFTERNOON.

      Every election I can remember except 1945 has been lost, not won. In 1951, all three parties lost. The SNP didn’t win the 2015. The others lost because they believed their own propaganda and the electorate didn’t.

      Belief in a religion or faith system combined with belief in your own propaganda is certain to lead to rejection. My english teacher told us “there is a lie at the centre of every beLIEf. At the time we thought he was teaching us to spell.

    2. Billy Bunter's Cousin Jock says:

      Darby, the SSP have fought like cats in a bag. Some very decent members but with a co leader like Fox they are destined to obscurity. An accountancy trained mediocrity who trots out age old socialist cliches from anither time and place and who is a dumpling-heided plodder is nae leader. He has the charisma of a fence post. The intellect of a donkey. They have yet to recover from the fiasco with Mr Misogynist, that First Among Equals, Sheridan who thinks the louder ye yell in rant the more socialist ye are! Tommy’s OTT volume is more a sign of a ranting angry Cult of the Personality based on fury that he is not yet our First Minister with everyone else’s partner in his bathtub while his missus is away. Emperor Sheridan and the thugs he would have unleashed if he were ever in power have poisoned Scottish socialism. The megalomania in politics shocks and scares me and the scheming mediocrities are even more dangerous. It does look like RISE will get a few votes and I hope they do well, but with Sheridan’s cult of eejits the so-called LEft Unity was broken from day one. Sheridan could not agree with anyone. He must be the great leader he is inside his own head. His group of pantomime clowns should stand down and let the new group get some seats! Some socialists though are pathologically incapable of practising equality. Labour got over 700,000 votes in May and if Corbyn gets elected leader the Labour party will RISE again, alas. Most of the labour crew are traitors to every principle they were had, if they had any at the start.

      1. John B Dick says:

        “Most of the Labour crew” won’t be elected in 2016. There will be few if any constituency MSPs; natural losses will remove the experience of Dr Richard Simpson and the last Labour MP with the vision to follow Donald Dewar out of Westminster, Malcolm Chisholm. There will be a cull to get gender balance.

        This level of change is bad for the parliament and the SNP.

        Sitting list SNP MSPs who don’t win a constituency will be out and Christine McKelvie (who might in other circumstances prove to be the best PO ever) could lose her place. The loss of experience on both sides could be damaging all round. The new SNP cabinet could be more inexperienced and untried than Attlee’s, and the Labour opposition even more so.

        It’s not the “one party state = bad” cliche. That originated c 1950 in the defence of white run African colonies by racist Tories seizing on the ‘proof’ that African colonies had not been ready for independence because they were not mimicing the mother of parliaments with alternating elites and therefore further decolonialisation should be deferred. Stalin didn’t help either.

        A large majority in the Scottish parliament is possible in the d’Hondt system because (as Donald Dewar explained to me 60 years ago) it can happen if it reflects what people voted for. We have had two coalitions, one minority and one majority but Donald assured me that all three are good and that the change from one to another is in itself productive.

        It’s the exceptional level of churn and loss of experience that will be a problem all round.

  4. Paul Govan says:

    Am I the only one who’d like to see a “U” and a “P” -“UP” – added to “RISE”..
    RISE UP or UPRISE !?
    Suggestions for the U & P:
    Urgency !
    Proaction !

    1. Graham King says:

      Solidarity… Urgency… Reasonableness… Proactiveness… Respect… Independence… Socialism… Environmentalism… SURPRISE !

    2. Paul Govan says:

      Prosperity(opp. of Austerity)
      RISE UP !

  5. Gordon McShean says:

    Having been an exile since the 1950s (banished as much by the SNP as by UK authorities) it has been incredibly difficult for me to obtain trustworthy information about the movement, despite evidence of my continued loyalty. I’m grateful for the communications that have come in recent years through the internet – and gratified to learn of RISE and the survival of socialist consciousness within the independence movement. After the late SNP National Secretary Robert Curran (who’d been a good friend) was invited to return to Scotland from his refuge in New York in the early 1960s, I’d hoped that SNP assurances might also permit me to leave my place of exile in American Occupied West Germany. However, the flow of one-on-one communications I’d enjoyed with party officers and others dried up (as did Robert’s assurances of my safety). He’d been involved in overseeing some of the details of the Johnstone Army Cadet armoury heist – and I’d been a participant – which caused the resultant police pursuit. RETIRED TERRORIST, my recent memoir, ( tells of this. The USA (ironically) – and NZ – would subsequently provide me refuge. I sometimes wonder if the SNP’s actions were motivated by a desire to exclude me (and possibly even Robert!) because we brought socialist and republican ideas to the attention of the membership. I continue to hope that the SNP will prove capable of acknowledging that these sentiments are an essential element in Scotland’s determination to embrace independence.

  6. tartanfever says:

    Like much of what Cat has to say and agree with many points on principal.

    I’m just getting bored of everything left wing being compared to Labour, which she herself does in this video, saying ‘Labour are out for at least a decade’.

    Forget Labour, they’re finished. Stop comparing yourself to them, they hardly get any votes anymore. The people you want to persuade to support you on the List are SNP supporters so I’d concentrate on reminding them of the great diversity of the Yes campaign, the people’s movement and it’s positive, street-based message. Your target is surely the under 40 SNP supporters

    Reminding me of what Labour used to be historically or otherwise will not get you my vote – the thought of bullying, aggressive unions – bent officials – bent councils and all the other crap that Labour have at their core will do nothing but turn me away.

    Frankly if people are still voting for a party that murdered 100,000’s of Iraqi civilians through an illegal war in violation of nearly all international and UN treaties then I’d leave them to get on with it, I certainly wouldn’t want them associated with my movement.

    1. muttley79 says:

      Can you explain how RISE attracting support from the SNP rather than from Labour and the Liberal Democrats advances the cause of independence, given that we need to increase support for independence? You just need to look at Catalonia to see the dangers of divide and rule, where there is are a number of medium sized pro-independence parties, which allows the Spanish government to ignore demands for a referendum on independence.

      1. tartanfever says:

        Well if it’s just about independence, then support the party that is most likely to achieve it – namely the SNP.

        If however, it’s firstly about seats in Holyrood and taking forward the grass roots campaign of the wider Yes campaign and pushing the SNP for wider reforms (ie land reform) then surely the natural target audience would be under 40’s Yes/SNP voters that are looking for something new.

        The hardcore Lib Dem and Labour voters that are left are unlikely to vote for a new party that is even more left wing than the SNP and still has independence at it’s heart and uses the term ‘socialism’ that has been vilified throughout the media.

        On a wider note, one of the most successful aspects of Better Together that we never talk about was the tribal tone that yes, did lead to Labour’s annihilation this May, but effectively threw political debate out of the window and turned it into an ‘us vs them’ shouting match. Many No voters will not change their minds because it has become a battle of ‘good vs evil’ – a lesson they learned well from the Blair and Bush campaigns to turn public opinion in favour of military action in Iraq.

        It seems obvious to me that the young Yes supporters are the natural ground for this party simply because they don’t have the history of imbedded tribalism that older people do.

        Of course, I’ve been wrong before, these are just my observations.

        1. muttley79 says:

          Seems that you and RISE are not even going to try and appeal to some of the 55 per cent who voted No last year. How on earth are we going to achieve independence if we fail to gain support for independence among those who did not support it last September? I cannot say that this strategy impresses me at all.

  7. David Sangster says:

    Whether or not it makes “tactical sense” to use one’s list vote for RISE – and readers of Wings Over Scotland will question that – I can’t understand why Cat and Colin and their “hundreds on the street” don’t just join the SNP. They would find there a great many members who are already pressing for many of the policies Cat enumerates in her vlog. For example, as one who was disgusted when the SNP reversed their position on NATO, I very much hope that the influx of new members since the referendum will help to reinstate the original policy of principled opposition to what has become an outreach of American aggression in Europe. It is all too easy for a governing party to ignore lone voices in Holyrood, especially “socialist voices with radical policies”; not so much when those voices are being heard in branch and constituency meetings throughout Scotland. However, in the meantime, I too wish RISE an inspiring launch!

    1. Will says:

      Join one party SNP win Independence then everybody can go loopy, It seems that RISE would argue with a lamppost.

      1. Darby O'Gill says:

        Give RISE a chance Will. They only broke up their launch meeting at 6pm tonight. They haven’t had a chance to start an argument yet.

        1. Will says:

          Tell you what Darby if RISE win one seat in the Scottish elections I will put sugar on my porridge and eat it, if they win two seats then I will put jam on my porridge and eat it, if they don’t win any seats then I will be happy to stick with my usual salt in my porridge which will do nicely.

          1. John B Dick says:

            Salt is bad for you.

            I put water and oatmeal in the bowl I am going to eat it from and leave it to soak in the microwave overnight. In the morning I press the start button for one minute and there is only the bowl and spoon to wash up and no waste whatever.

            I make polenta the same way, and the grandchildren’s Italian granny would have been horrified if she had known, but enjoyed it as she didn’t.

  8. Darby O'Gill says:

    Well John B, I’m certainly not a fundamentalist, but of course have a credo, or as its sometimes called, ‘a set of principles’. And given the SSP’s merger with other movements in a Scottish Left Alliance which was evident at today’s launch of RISE, there’s not much sign of fundamentalism in the SSP as a whole.

    1. Will says:

      Darby is there any fun in this what’s it called fundamentalism and is this credo the name of some wee funny wrestler from Stevenston, I don’t know why the RISE people don’t just chill-out I suppose they are prone to headaches with all that thinking too much, its good in the SNP straightforward clear vision very nice.

    2. John B Dick says:

      If true and it continues, that’s encouraging. When I attended meetings over a decade ago, and in a different place, it wasn’t so, but things change. I’ve heard of sensible comments from a Communist too that eschewed class war rhetoric.

      We have powerful rich and powerless poor but If you think that is anything to do with ‘Class’ you must be under 60 years old.

      What class are David Beckham and his wife?

      I once saw a woman give a train driver a choclate bar. Do you understand why she did that?

      When, if at all, did you last hear anyone say “She married beneath herself”?

      Did you know that without the votes of English C2’s Margaret Thatcher would never have been prime minister?

      1. Darby O'Gill says:

        Thankfully John B, the old Trotskyist and Militant Tendency rhetoric is beginning to fade. Its more inclined to those who have too much, those who have enough, and those who have too little.

        It would only be fair to give RISE a chance. They won’t be electing office-bearers until November and a manifesto will follow.

        As well as a lot of new young faces with fresh ideas, they invited speakers from Canada, US, Spain, Germany, Poland and Greece to speak on Saturday to highlight the fact that austerity, racism and inequality are international problems that require international solutions.

  9. Darby O'Gill says:

    I make bramble jam around this time of year Will. Maybe I should send you some for your porridge.

  10. Tam says:

    If RISE is to compete with the SNP for seats then they should take them on in the constituencies where the SNP field a blatant Tory or shallow careerist or wooden-top numpty. I could name a few in this category. There are plenty of these types in the career escalator of SNP power grabbing mediocrities which bode ill for the future. To get on in the SNP career ladder all you need is a poor degree in any subject, a suit and tie, spend a few years licking the boots of a Minister, doing what you are told, douse down the radical infiltrators (people wanting democracy!!! Not infiltrators at all!) and avoid all talk of Left wing politics and keep away from demo’s unless the bosses okay it from Edinburgh: ie get on the coat-tails of the great and good and crawl like a servant. The current cabinet are lower in calibre than the last cabinet under Salmond and a handful are clearly out of their depth already. Only Nicola’s skill holds the credibility of the team. Two or three other competent people carry the rest. Its threadbare and will come apart sooner or later. The best talent the SNP have is now in London. And even there there are a few who would be happy if Independence was a proscribed word. real passion to win Independence will come in spite of the SNP and RISE would do well to take on some SNP candidates in some seats, in 2016 and then 2017. Target the Tartan Tories hidden among the SNP; some mouth radical cliches but by God they dont mean them. Its all about jobs, mortgages and bullying new members into obedience. By this time next year the SNP will have won Holyrood because Labour are toxic due to their betrayal of Scotland for careers in London and their corporate austerity insanity; those who sell out their principles deserve to die on the vine of their rhetoric, but some SNP elites are doing the same and hiding their right wing careerism behind the credibility and image of others. And by the way, send me some bramble jam Darby! Not much for sale here in Dundee!

    1. Broadbield says:

      I think we need some evidence to back up these wild assertions. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the only party with a cat in hell’s chance of getting us Independence is the SNP. Stick with them, and after we get there then vote for who you like – otherwise we have the usual Scottish predilection for preferring to fight amongst ourselves and getting nowhere.

      By the way the best recipe for porridge, is to take one Jersey cow, hand milk her the day before and let the milk stand in the fridge, steep oats overnight with a little salt, in the morning cook in pan or slow cooker, or microwave if you must, remove milk from fridge which will now have a thick cream settled on the top few inches. To eat, take a spoonful of porridge, followed by a spoonful of luscious, thick, deep-yellow, raw Jersey cream. Gourmands can combine the two in one sybaritic spoonful – and enjoy!!

      1. John B Dick says:

        I also use a slow cooker on a timer.

        “Vote SNP x 2” is an SNP fundamentalists mantra.

        If getting independence is the primary aim, then Tommy Sheridan gives an arithmetic lesson for seven minutes on YouTube here:

        I was taught the same lesson 1954 – 57 by Donald Dewar. Tommy Sheridan is right.

        1. Will says:

          John, thanks for that but I will have to find my sunglasses before I can have a butchers at Tommy as he’s been tangoed and it plays havoc with my mince pies. SNP is the best for me.

        2. Broadbield says:

          Wings has a more reasoned exposition of the voting system, and concludes “tactical voting” is a mugs game.

          SNP for me.

  11. Headinthesand says:

    Am voting SNP twice coz ma brain’s no workin. SNP for ever!

    1. Unionist says:

      Thank’s Headinthesand.

      Could you ask some of your daft pals to do the same?

  12. Darby O'Gill says:

    Under the voting system in the Scottish Parliamentary elections it is simply not possible for the SNP to win any more than a handful of List seats should they win nearly all the Constituency seats. If you wish to have a strong Parliamentary majority of Independence MSP’s you need to vote for an pro-Independence candidate on the list.

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