Showing posts with label Scottish Parliament elections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scottish Parliament elections. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

George Galloway and life expectancy

"The life expectancy of people in parts of this city is 10 years worse than in Kabul," George Galloway is quoted as saying in The Guardian.

However, once more we find Galloway's flowery rhetoric is somewhat at odds with the known and available facts. The website Full Fact Org explains:-

Direct comparisons of life expectancy that tell a story of lives in some UK communities being shorter than those in war torn and poverty stricken areas of the world clearly have the power to shock. But attempts to make such comparisons have also seen the media and politicians misrepresent statistics in search of the hard hitting headline. So are the comparisons between Scotland's largest city and the Afghan capital valid? The claim seems to be based on the alarmingly low life expectancy in the Calton area of Glasgow. Taking the Calton figure of 54.9 years for men from the 1998 to 2002 figures and comparing these to the most recent Afghanistan figure of between 44 and 45 shows that a difference of 10 years in favour of the Glasgow man from Calton.

But Socialist Courier doubts very much if Galloway will ever permit facts to get in the way of a good soundbite.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Don't bet on the GGs

With the endorsement of the Socialist Party Scotland (Committee for a Workers’ International), the Socialist Workers Party and Sheridans's Solidarity, George Galloway will head the Glasgow list under the humbly named ‘George Galloway (Respect) - Coalition Against Cuts’ in the upcoming Scottish parliament elections. Once mor we witness the personality of the cult developing. Charismatic politicians have a propensity to capture public worship either through making articulate speeches or wearing fine suits. Galloway has a gift of making fine speeches and a flair for fashion. This emphasis upon the individual has been an increasing symptom of the emptiness of capitalist politics. The emptier the politics, the bigger the personalities.

The leaders we are asked to support, and sometimes choose between, are a myth, created and maintained by--leaders. They are poor examples of honesty, integrity, even of humanity. They are not interested in truth, justice, or any of the grand notions they spout about. They exist, have always existed, will always exist, for one purpose only: to line their own pockets and empty yours. They are parasites on the social body, unwanted, unnecessary and destructive. To follow leaders is to hand over your heart on a platter, with knife and fork attached.

The Socialist Party has no leaders. Socialism wouldn't operate that way and neither do we. All decisions are made by common vote, all administration is above-board and open to inspection, and all work is voluntary. None of us is perfect, and that's why democracy works better than leadership. Mistakes by one person are not disasters for the many. Private interests don't count. Power doesn't exist. Socialists are their own leaders, and they follow nobody but themselves. Socialism could not work with people unwilling or unable to think for themselves, to take responsibility, or to co-operate, but fortunately it doesn't have to. Human beings are better than that. We can think, and we can co-operate, and we don't need rescuing by some "heroic" and entirely untrustworthy leader of the Left. Galloway is a living confirmation of the Socialist Party’s case of avoiding leadership and leaders in our movement.

To Galloway we say the Socialist Party are unable to support your list of demands. None of them addresses the essential problem of our society - the ownership of the means of production by a tiny number of capitalists and the enforced exploitation of the working class through the wages system. Lacking an honest revolutionary stance for a new society, the reformism of Galloway becomes caught in a pointless and frustrating circular battle with an economic system that is based on exploitation. As long as the accumulation of capital takes precedence, either in the hands of the individual capitalist or state institutions, the primary concern of exploitation of labour and making profit will take precedence over the concerns of human need. So long as the essential resources for living are controlled by their owners - whether as western style private capitalists or monopolist state bureaucrats, like that of the Soviet State-Gangster Capitalism you so venerated - the strife and anguish of the class struggle will remain.

The effect of your election campaign will be to help continue this mystification and confusion of the workers as to their own interests, as well the sullying of the name of socialism. The job of socialists is to bring the class struggle to an end, not to try and accommodate themselves with this system. Once we understand our real interest and begin to consciously organise to get it no leader or deceiver is going to be able to deflect us from our course, and the days of the likes of George Galloway will be numbered.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Polling Stations are now open




A final message from Oor Jimmy before you head off to mark your cross and vote .




...what the politicians of all Parties are saying, is just a cocktail of the same pledges, about how they will deal with the same problems.




And guess what, when the next election comes round, we will get it all again, because the problems of capitalism never go away, they are always with us.When I first voted, and it's a good few years, and elections ago now, the politicians were saying practically the same things, about the same problems, with the same equally hollow answers, and promises, so fellow workers, what's new?




But, as long as we put up with capitalism, then we have to put up with capitalism's problems, with no resolution in sight, and this not only applies to Britain, it also applies to the World.




It's the never ending story of a few everyday rich folk, versus millions of everyday poor folk.




But, it doesn't have to be that way, surely it's not impossible for us, the millions of everyday poor folk, to collectively put our heads together, to revolutionize the way we conduct our affairs, to change from a society based on the private gain of the few, to a social commonwealth, where the well-being, and harmony for everyone, will be the priority, and incidentally, save the Planet at the same time?




So, my fellow Human Beings, I urge you to think about it, because there's nothing in the whole wide World to prevent us, if we have the desire, and the will to carry it through?




The need is urgent, because time is running out!!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Oh No...!!


OH NO, NOT ANOTHER ELECTION LEAFLET!
Yes, but hang on - this one's different.


THAT'S WHAT THEY ALL SAY!
They don't all mean it, though. And they don't all know what they're talking about!


HOW ARE YOU DIFFERENT?
We're not promising you anything.


SO WHAT ARE YOU DOING THEN?
Asking you to think. Then vote for yourself. For a change

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Election Fever


With the elections approaching , the media are hyping it all up as if some sort of real change is about to be in the offing , and the political party apparatchiks are out and about trying to convince the cynical and sceptical public to vote for their same old tried and tired solutions and policies .
We in the Socialist Party offer something a lot different .


Extracts from previous election statements .


Capitalism is past its sell-by date .

The world can now easily produce wealth sufficient to adequately house , feed , care for and educate the global population . Instead we see hunger, disease and homelessness around the world despite the concerns of governments, charities and popstars. Closer to home, in a "developed" nation like the UK , we see child poverty and an increasing gulf between rich and poor . Rates of depression and anxiety are becoming epidemic .Capitalism is failing : it now acts as a barrier , preventing production being geared to human need . Rather than keep trying to tinker with this system we should start looking beyond it to an alternative : a wageless , moneyless , classless world community based on production for human need , not profit ...


...candidates contesting this election (whether openly pro-capitalist or avowedly socialist) are asking you to believe that they can run this society a little bit better . We’d argue that history shows that the money system actually ends up running them . Their pre-election promises usually amount to nothing .So don’t vote for them - it only encourages the idea that capitalism can be made better. A vote for the Socialist Party in contrast, is a statement that you don’t want to live this way and that you think another world is possible .If you have confidence that humans can live and work co-operatively without the pressure of the wages system, or the rationing system of money , then visit www.worldsocialism.org ...


...What is apparent so far in this election is the extent to which all the parties try and manage the agenda for the election. They all want to encourage the debate to be round the handful of high-profile “flagship” issues where they feel on strong ground.

But its always phrased along the lines of “knocking on doors, we keep hearing that XXX is the real issue of the day”. Funnily enough, we don’t hear the Lib Dems, for example, say “recent canvassing returns indicate that voters actually don’t give a damn about our policies one way or the other”.The assumption is that voters are stupid and can only remember 3 or 4 things at a time, so why give them more than that to consider.What it all means is that the campaign may centre around a handful of issues only. That may appear to appeal to the Socialist Party. After all we are the ultimate single issue party - Abolish Capitalism. But while this is a single issue no-one is pretending that it is a simple case. Sure its not complicated, the case for putting human need ahead of profit, but soundbites don’t do our case justice.

We are also handicapped in the eyes of the modern voter by the fact that we are not in a position to make promises, and what’s more, we aren’t going to “do anything” for anyone. The other parties are falling over each other to be seen to be offering some immediate palliative...


...PEOPLE OR PROFIT
That's the issue in this election, says THE SOCIALIST PARTY . You will have your occasional ration of democracy with the opportunity to vote for a member of Parliament. It's all very well having a vote-but are you normally given any real choice?

Let's face it, if it wasn't for the politician's head on the front of the election leaflet,could you tell which party was which?It's tempting, in the absence of any real alternative, to get drawn into the phoney war that is political debate today.

Whether Labour, Tory, SNP, Lib Dem orSSP they all spout the same promises.But it always amounts to the same thing-they offer no alternative to the present way of running society.

Do you really think who wins an election makes any difference to how you live?

And do politicians (whether left-wing,nationalist or right-wing) actually have much real power anyway?

OK, they get to open supermarkets and factories, but it's capitalism and the market system which closes them down...


...We have endless problems of poverty, poor services and all the issues politicians love to spend time telling you they can solve, if only given the chance.

We don't believe any politician can solve these problems, as long as the flawed basis of our society remains intact. In fact, we believe only you and your fellow workers can solve these problems.

We believe that it will take a revolution in how we organise our lives, a fundamental change. We want to see a society based on the fact that you know how to run your lives, know your needs and have the skills and capacity to organise with your fellows to satisfy them.

You know yourselves and your lives better than a handful of bosses ever can.

With democratic control of production we can ensure that looking after our communities becomes a priority, rather than something we do in our spare time.

We all share fundamental needs, for food, clothing, housing and culture, and we have the capacity to ensure access to these for all, without exception.

If you agree with this aim, then we ask you to get in touch with us, get involved and join in our campaign to bring about this change in society. Together, we have the capacity to run our world for ourselves. We need to build a movement to effect that change, by organising deliberately to take control of the political offices which rule our lives, and bring them into our collective democratic control.

Our candidate makes no promises, offers no pat solutions, only to be the means by which you can remake society for the common good...


...The crumbs or the bakery?
Politics today is a game of Ins and Outs in which gangs of professional politicians compete with each other to attract votes, the gang securing a majority of seats in parliament assuming responsibility for running the political side of the profit system.To win votes the politicians have to promise -- and be believed -- to improve things both for the population in general, as by managing the economy so as to avoid slumps and crises, and for particular groups within the population.

When the economy is expanding or even just ticking over the Ins have the advantage. They can claim that this is due to their wise statesmanship and prudent management. Such claims are false as the economy goes its own way -- expanding or contracting as the prospect of profits rises or falls -- irrespective of which gang of politicians is in office. But making such claims can backfire as, when the economy falters, the Outs can blame this on the incompetence and mismanagement on the Ins. But that's not true either since politicians don't control the way the economy works.


But throwing crumbs to the people (or to carefully targeted sections of the people whose votes could swing things) is not the main purpose of government. Marx once wrote that the government is "but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie". And it's still true. The function of any government is to manage the common affairs of the capitalist class as a whole. This involves a number of things. Sustaining a context in which profit-making can continue. Spending the money raised from taxes (that are ultimately a burden on the capitalist class) in a prudent way on things that will benefit the capitalist class as a whole, such as providing them with an educated, relatively healthy and so productive workforce. Maintaining -- and if need be using -- armed forces to protect sources of raw materials, trade routes, investment outlets and markets abroad. That's what most government spending goes on, and balancing this against income from taxes is what budgets are essentially about.It is only because wage and salary workers, active or retired, have the vote that, occasionally if there's a small margin of money spare, a few crumbs are offered to some section or other of the electorate. No doubt, the pensioners, the home buyers and the families offered a few hundred extra pounds a year will accept these crumbs cast before them by Gordon Brown in yesterday's pre-election budget. Hopefully, they won't accept them as bribes to vote for his particular gang of politicians, but simply because it would be stupid not to pick them up.

Nowadays most people have learned by experience and are, rightly, just as cynical about the politicians and their promises -- and crumbs -- as are politicians about how they get people to vote for them. But cynicism is not enough. This should be turned into rejection. The game of Ins and Outs, to decide which gang of professional politicians should manage the common affairs of the capitalist class, only continues because most of us agree to take part in it. But by voting for them we in effect give them the power to keep the capitalist system going. And that, not which particular gang of politicians happens to be in office, is the cause of today’s problems since built-in to capitalism is putting making profits before satisfying people’s needs.


Socialists are only too well aware that most people put up with capitalism, and go along with its political game of Ins and Outs in the hope of getting a few crumbs out of it, because they see no practicable alternative. But there is an alternative... Politics should be more than individuals deciding which politicians to trust to deliver some crumbs that they think will benefit them individually. It should be about collective action to change society.
About taking over the whole bakery.


from B Gardner and D Lambert previous election addresses

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