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Showing posts from August, 2017

Paying the price of the recession

Some Scots could take up to a decade to save up for the deposit for their first home, BBC Scotland analysis suggests. A person on typical wages saving 10% of their take-home pay a month could take almost eight years to save up a 10% deposit for the average property. And in some areas with higher property values, like Edinburgh, it could take more than a decade. Generation Y, the millennials born between 1980 and 2000, coming of age in the wake of the financial crisis and years of steadily rising house prices, this group has faced a much more difficult path into the property market than previous generations. This has left many in the private rented sector, struggling to save up for a deposit while dealing with rising rents. 63% of those aged 16 to 24 and 61% of those aged 25 to 34 were saving up either for a deposit for a home or for home improvements. They found that those 25- to 34-year-olds saved £132.63 per month, on average - roughly 10% of their monthly take-home pay of £1,341. …

Sleep in the Park - Homelessness for sale.

A sleep-out to endhomelessness in Scotland is set to take place in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh for a night. It will see a line-up - consisting of Liam Gallagher, Amy MacDonald, Deacon Blue, and Frightened Rabbit - come together on December 9. Sir Bob Geldof, the Band Aid organiser will sleep overnight in the gardens and John Cleese will also be making speaking appearances. The Monty Python legend will read a bedtime story. Comedian Rob Brydon will host. the Band Aid organiser will sleep overnight in the gardens. Edinburgh City Council, council leader Adam McVey, his deputy Cammy Day and council chief executive Andrew Kerr will also sleep out themselves.
Homelessness charity Social Bite wants to raise funds and work together to stop the “sticky plaster mentality” and get to the root issues with a plan to eradicate homelessness over a five-year period. Organisers have set a fundraising target of £4 million from the event, but are also looking to generate 1,000 employment offers an…

More on Marxist Theory

Basically, capitalist society is divided into the capitalist class and the working class. The great majority fall into the latter category: those who produce wealth by applying their ability to work with raw materials, either in the state in which they are found naturally or already transformed by human labour. The minority, the capitalist class, are those who purchase this useful activity and employ it to increase their own wealth. How is the capitalist class able to buy the abilities of the worker? Because the division is based on ownership. The capitalists are the owners of all wealth of social significance. In comparison to them all previous owning classes—feudal lords, slave-owners, churches and ancient potentates—appear like paupers. The capitalist class have grabbed all the earth’s resources and will maintain their ownership until the working class decides to take it away. The workers own practically nothing, and as a consequence of this fundamental fact the worker is forced to…

Scotland's Inequality

Pat Rafferty, Scottish Secretary of the union Unite Scotland, writes:
Picture a wedding reception with a 100 guests The hotel staff wheel out the wedding cake. It is set out in 4 equally sized tiers. Suddenly 10 of the guests step forward and without any hesitation devour two of the four tiers, leaving only two for the other 90 guests. You might say this could never happen but it is exactly what’s going on across Britain, where the richest 10 per cent hold 45 per cent of the wealth in the country. The Herald investigation about the pay of Scotland’s top chief executives revealed a divided Scotland – a Scotland where the chief executive of RBS has a top line on his pay packet of £65,000 a week and a 20 year old shop worker on the minimum wage of £5.60 an hour gets £225 a week before tax. That’s an inequality ratio of almost 300-1.
The chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland had at his a top line £3.5m a year. RBS is currently running a massive advertising campaign to explain that it is…

Welcome to the Revolution

The vote has provided a tool to the working class for its emancipation. The vote gives us the power to determine our own destiny. Yet, what cannot be denied is that the working class has not significantly exerted its strength to bring about any change in its own favour. The ideological power which the capitalist class hold over the working class is such that, despite full adult franchise there has been no corresponding alteration of the social system from one benefiting a parasitic minority to one benefiting all people. That the working class has not used the power of the vote and this certainly contrary to the expectation of many of its early opponents, who believed that giving the right to affect political decisions to non-property owners would instantly lead to social revolution.
So far the workers have used the vote to register their consent to the present system. Each time an election comes around, seventy-five to eighty per cent of the electorate vote, mainly for the Labour or Co…

The Scottish Fat Cats

“We live in a divided Scotland where ten chief executives become millionaires every year whilst tens of thousands live on poverty wages on zero hour contracts.”Unite union leader Pat Rafferty said. He said the executive pay packets were “an insult to the poor in Scotland and a monument to greed.”
Scotland's top chief executives are pocketing pay packets worth more than 24 times the salary of the average worker, The Herald can reveal, amid claims the income gap has become a "monument to greed".
The highest paid CEO among the 39-strong cohort was Ross McEwan of Royal Bank of Scotland, who earned £3.5 million last year despite the bank posting a loss of £7 billion. His salary is the equivalent to that banked by 152 average workers.
Over the last year the group of chief executives accepted a collective two per cent pay cut, but still amassed more than £35 million in remuneration, with half earning six-figure bonuses. Research by The Herald has found that median pay for chief exec…

What Future?.

From the Daily Herald evidence mounts of the multiple risks climate change poses to people and wildlife, 2017 is predicted to be another record hot year. And one of Scotland’s leading climate experts is warning that the world is facing the catastrophe of “runaway” climate change because of the impact of pollution and the damage it is doing to nature. One of the biggest fears facing scientists is that climate change has become impossible to control. Scientists say this would lead to more floods, droughts and heatwaves threatening millions around the planet.
Experts are predicting that 2017 will end up being one of the world’s hottest. “Though we only have global observations to June, it is likely that 2017 will be globally one of the warmest three years since 1850,” said Simon Tett, professor of earth system dynamics at the Universityof Edinburgh. According to NASA, 2016 was the world’s hottest year since records started, with the next two hottest being 2015 and 2014. Scotland’s hottest…

The 1797 Massacre of Tranent

The Massacre of Tranenttook place on 29 August 1797. 
The Scottish Militia Act of 1797 conscripted able-bodied Scottish men between the ages of nineteen and twenty-three into military service.Ordinary people hated the Act.  It was seen as a direct attack on workers because members of the bourgeoisie could always buy their own exemption. On August 17, 1797 a large crowd gathered at Eccles in Berwickshire armed with sticks and stones.  They made clear that they were intent on stopping the authorities from implementing the Act.
AberdeenDalryGalstonStrathavenFreuchie, and Kirkintilloch all saw rioting as a result, and the government responded by sending in troops. 
When the army rode into East Lothian on 28 August 1797 to pick up the conscriptees, they found the roads lined with women and children from the local villages who marched behind a drum shouting "No Militia" and at a mass meeting in  Prestonpans where a series of resolutions were then passed denouncing the Act.  T…

Conservative Glasgow

A brief search of the Socialist Courier archives would reveal that it has been critical of the traditional depictions of Red Clydeside's "revolutionary" image. Unfortunately, it has made us bed-fellows of the Conservative historian, Michael Fry.

Glasgow's radical histoy has been exaggerated, he argues, in his latest work, 'Glasgow: A History of the City.' “There has been a lot of attention to the working class history of Glasgow. I don’t accept that these interpretations work. Before the 20th century there weren’t all that many strikes and there wasn't that much industrial unrest. The main aim of the working class in the 19th century was respectability. They wanted to work their way up in society: learn a trade, establish a secure family and home. These people were often regular churchgoers. There were rigid demarcations against the great unwashed – it took an apprenticeship of several years to be accepted into the craft. It was all an industrial and social…

It Is Socialist Economics!

Delusions about the Labour Party still linger, through all the realities of Labour governments opposing strikers, or imposing cuts on workers' living standards. When it suits them—and particularly at election time—they pretend to operate under deeply held, inviolable principles. For winning—getting into power—is what capitalist politics are all about. All the parties which compete for our votes—as distinct from promoting a wider understanding of society—are hoping for some measure of control over the affairs of British capitalism. All the Keynesian Labourites and other supporters of capitalism still believe that capitalism can be made to work in the interests of all.
In order to keep the workers acquiescing in the system of lunacy that is capitalism, its supporters continually have to invent scapegoats and to point to them as the cause of the hardship experienced by the working class. Naturally, no defenders of capitalism are going to tell the workers the real reason for this curr…

Independence is still not the way

In 2014  the Scottish Independence Referendum failed by a slim margin. Nothing has been resolved, the Scottish sovereigntists and they say that they'll keep trying for a second referendum. Everywhere, it seems, people want 'their own’ sovereign country.
There are two ways to look at Scotland's independence.The first is an emotional, irrational approach that considers ideas of power as opposed to the reality of power, and uses claims (long proved false) of how the economy functions.
The other is to consider what will really change if Scotland, some day, decides in favour of sovereignty.
Both sides, YES and NO, chose the emotional and irrational approach.
The Yes side argues that the Scottish people will be inherently better off in a nation governed by Scots. They have not shown any real benefits to the Scottish working class. Nor has the history of "independence” around the world been supportive of the Yes claim.
The No side predicts the direst results for Scotland, ignorin…