2007 - 2021

Together We Can Change Scotland

our-democracyOn August 29th 2015 we will launch the Left Project’s highly anticipated electoral challenge for 2016. Before that event we are developing a people’s policy platform which will tour the country, showing how the Left offers Scottish politics far more than a protest vote.

The policies we are working on can fundamentally transform the lives of millions of people by challenging the corporations, the rich and the powerful.

Our approach builds on the ideas popularised by radical social movements: participatory democracy, democratic public ownership, redistributing wealth and power, and full independence from the UK state and its monarchy. These capture the shared values that brought our project together: collectivism, equality, tolerance, education, grassroots democracy, and internationalism.

ur process for developing this work will be people led – rooted in dialogue and action. We want to hear what people want from a new politics. We want to have the widest possible discussion about how we can work together to ensure parliament represents the millions not the millionaires.

Scotland has already developed a new citizens’ politics on the ground. Our challenge now is simply to use that energy to transform Holyrood. In coming months we hope to initiate this as part of the second stage of the independence movement. Hundreds of thousands of people in Scotland want radical change and their voices must be heard.

We will:

  • Organise policy primaries all over Scotland. These events will be participative and open. They will be citizens’ assemblies which discuss and refine a common programme for radical change. Some of these will be big, some will be small – all will be important.
  • Set up consultation meetings with unions, anti-cuts groups, social movements and community organisers to inform our policy platform.
  • Be ready to respond if you contact us with your views as an individual which we will add to the debate.

To ensure this nationwide discussion is rooted in radical left-wing politics, the forces involved in the Left Project have agreed to focus these events on the following seven themes which reflect our values. However, the discussions will be open and not limited to these topics

The system we live under prioritises profit over people, and our living standards are under attack like never before. We think Scotland has the wealth to make sure every citizen has equal access to the resources of a comfortable life. Our problem is faulty distribution, not scarcity. Recognising this, and offering the best possible living standards and life chances to all, will mean a powerful challenge to the real vested interests in Scotland. We are prepared to open that challenge, because the reward will be a brighter, healthier, happier, and more truly prosperous society.

Public ownership is central to our agenda for fundamental social change. Our daily work makes society possible, but we have no ownership, influence, or control over industry. This offers no basis for a genuine democratic society. On the grounds of democracy, morality, and efficiency, private profit should have no role in public services.

We live in a country of vast wealth and pervasive poverty. We can only change this by making citizens less dependent on markets for survival. People will not feel empowered in any area of life until they have guaranteed economic security and fair access to society’s wealth. We fundamentally oppose the neoliberal idea, common to all leading Scottish parties, that you can have more markets and more social justice. Time and again, more markets means more poverty. The resulting social policy is simple: stop making people and their life necessities into commodities, or risk new generations of rising injustice and isolation.

International solidarity with the oppressed is a core value for our movement. We want no part in NATO and we will build a new foreign policy framework that ends relations with arms companies and shifts military production to peaceful ends. Scotland should join an international alliance of parties, campaigns, and governments that back a new agenda of peace and cooperation. If we become the 21st century’s newest state, we must avoid the 20th century pattern of spending more on wasteful military competition than on green investment.

The Left’s agenda must have feminism, anti-racism and LGBTI liberation at the core of everything we do. That means they must feed into to our policy work as a whole. At the same time we must be truly radical about challenging the roots of sexism, racism, homophobia, and all forms of discrimination in our companies, newspapers, television, schools, and all public bodies.

Capitalism is destroying our planet, and this is another reason for a clear left alternative. Pro-market forms of green politics are failing to challenge the roots of our ecological problems in the profit system. Only a different form of economic management can save humanity from the twin dangers of planetary crisis and authoritarian solutions to that crisis.

Democracy has become the dominant principle of subversive, anti-capitalist politics. The obvious indifference of elite political parties in the era of austerity is driving new social movements across Europe. In Scotland, republicanism and independence are central to the case for economic justice. But we also want to see democracy thrive in our workplaces, justice system and in our economy as a whole. After decades of so-called apathy, the people have woken up, and they are demanding a radical change to the whole system, not just the routine of parliamentary elections.

Comments (52)

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  1. Robert says:

    This is very exciting news, it will be great to see how this project progresses.

    One quibble, LGBTI liberation — that’s such a clunky and unappealing phrase. (What does the “I” mean anyway?) Can we settle on “queer liberation” without offending anyone?

    1. Davy says:

      Good luck to the SLP.
      I think the *I* in LGBTI stands for intersex or possible “indeterminate” ?
      I agree though with all these ever expanding initials…..which can give a perception of sexual liberation only being an issue for specified “minorities”….everybody else is “sorted” ( I don’t think so ) So above post could say “sexual liberation for all”
      The original Gay Liberation Front was for the sexual liberation of everybody

      The GLF’s statement of purpose explained:
      “We are a revolutionary group of men and women formed with the realization that complete sexual liberation for all people cannot come about unless existing social institutions are abolished. We reject society’s attempt to impose sexual roles and definitions of our nature.”

      1. Robert says:

        Good call, you said what i meant and put it better. Hetero males suffer internally the repression that they externalise on the “other” & are in no way sorted!

  2. Bill Fraser says:

    A true and well scripted description of the situation we live in at this moment in time which will take a lot of hard work and thought to resolve the situation and make our lives a lot easier to bear.

  3. Dougie Blackwood says:

    Can the lefties get it together without splitting too many hairs and falling out with one another. It was done within the Radical Independence Campaign but can they, the SSP, Citizen Tommy and all the rest stay in the one room never mind party.

    I would like to see a radical left of centre party in Scotland to come up with sensible ideas for the betterment of those at the bottom of society but I do not hold my breath.

  4. Kimberley Cadden says:

    I wish the left project the best of luck. As a social democrat I agree with much of what is said here and it’s great to hear in more depth what the project’s political aims are.

    I myself could not vote for them as I am not an anti-capitalist (although I am fervently anti-neoliberalism) but I would be very happy to see a party such as the alliance they are forming to do well in the Holyrood elections and as many others I would love the main opposition to the SNP coming from the left.

    One thing I will mention is that it might be a good idea for people involved to reflect on why they are trying to argue that nordic model, social democratic parties like the SNP are neoliberals, when modern european social democratic parties like the SNP are capitalist – but not neoliberal?

    The idea highlighted in this article to justify the claim – which is that they believe more markets equals more social justice – is reductive and mistaken. For example the SNP have an economic policy centered around increasing investment in public services, and universal welfare etc; whereas neoliberals want to shrink the state; point being social democrats and neoliberals approach the economic benefits of market-led growth and indeed the very concept of social justice entirely differently; not to mention the fact that a defining characteristic of neoliberalism is that all that is needed is the free market, whereas social democrats understand policies need to be in place to ensure fair redistribution of wealth, and to ensure equality is at the heart of social policy, as well as ensuring fair working and pay conditions (just for example).

    Ideology is important – and when we misrepresent the ideology of another progressive party we do politics not good and further in our case we do harm to the independence movement. At least this is my view.

    So I hope LP do well and if anyone misrepresents what they are clearly trying to do I will argue against that too;I hope we can practice our progressive politics in a progressive way, not least for if we don’t I fear we will achieve nothing…..

    1. Alan says:

      I don’t agree that neoliberals want to shrink the state. They want to make everything into a market of sorts but this is accomplished through the state imposing markets on all areas of life. Neoliberalism goes hand in hand with an expansion of state power and is not incompatible with authoritarianism. It’s important not to confuse the ideology with the reality.

      Neoliberals go on and on about freedom and liberty but under neoliberalism people are only free to be homo economicus. At heart it’s a totalitarian ideology.

      1. James Davidson says:

        The state did not impose markets. The state is a creation of markets and has been ever since our pre-historic ancestors discovered that fair exchange is no robbery.
        If markets, processes of exchange, had not evolved we would have no state because there would have been no requirement to control economies.

    2. Bill Halliday says:

      In the face of the Establishment’s determination to make the SNP presence in Westminster appear irrelevant, along with the wishes of >50% of voting Scots, I had been pondering how to question what it was about the SNP’s Centre Left anti-austerity Policies those now calling themselves the ‘Scottish Left Project’ feel don’t aspire to:”– fundamentally transform the lives of millions of people by challenging the corporations, the rich and the powerful”, or “– participatory democracy, democratic public ownership, redistributing wealth and power, and full independence from the UK state and its monarchy. These capture the shared values that brought our project together: collectivism, equality, tolerance, education, grassroots democracy, and internationalism”.

      So thank you Kimberley Cadden for helping me start to verbalize this. It’s sad to have to say that although we need an Opposition to question SNP policies they feel are not right for Scotland, we certainly do not need it to oppose just because it is the SNP.

      Scottish Left Project declare their elitist ethos and attitude to that >50% of Scottish Voters at the end of their first paragraph, “–the Left offers Scottish politics far more than a protest vote”. Definitely not the attitude McLean would have taken with others.

    3. Frank says:

      Kimberly, you do have a tendency to throw around terms such as ‘capitalism’ (which you claim to support), neo-liberalism (which you claim to be fervently against), social democracy (which you support), and I am never sure what it is we are debating – the ideal terms which exist in your mind, or the ways in which these terms are played out in the actual material world. You write you couldn’t vote for the LP because you are not an anti-capitalist? Out of interest what do you mean by capitalism? And where do you draw the line between capitalism and neo-liberalism – what is it about neo-liberalism which makes you ‘fervently’ against it? The terms ‘capitalism’ and ‘neo-liberalism’ are often used interchangeably.

      Equally, it’s not true that neo-liberals want to shrink the state? Neo-liberals support the marketization of society and use the state to support that end. The entire neo-liberal project is overseen by an interventionist state. Think of the use of the state in the miners strike, or on a more mundane level the ways in which the state draws the third sector into the delivery of state services and then governs at a distance through service level agreements.

      On the question of the SNP, the SNP is not ‘neo-liberal’ or social democratic but ‘contradictory’. This is because the SNP is trying to run various governmental institutions in a neo-liberal economy. You can’t seriously claim that this does not involve a compromise with neo-liberalism? This is why ‘ideal type’ political labelling is problematic; the SNP enters into a relationship with neo-liberalism processes and practices whether it choses to or not; some will consciously embrace neo-liberalism (think Mike Russell) or what they refer to as globalisation. On the macro-scale we could talk about NATO membership; on a more mundane level SNP councillors supporting setting up Arms at Length Executive Organisations to provide public services because they have voted through cuts in the main budget. Likewise, many of the SNP policies framed around employability (not full employment) contain neo-liberal undertones, the recent Scottish Government support for the Wood Commission on Youth Unemployment, tries to mould and adapt young people to the requirements of a neo-liberal economy.

      As I have said before neo-liberalism is not a ‘thing’ which does bad things to people but a complex set of social relationships. The LP would suffer the same contradictions if they ever made it to government – hence the reason why not supporting them based on theoretical abstractions is a strategic mistake. But at the present time the LP highlight the contradictions within the SNP and that should be encouraged. They make SNP members think about their social conscience. As Stephen Maxwell, late SNP strategist framed it, the contradictions of implementing social justice within a neo-liberal state. These contradictions will be played out with SNP members; some monarchist and pro-NATO, supporting the cuts in public services and an uncritical stance towards the EU; others will adopt ways of thinking based on social democracy and socialism, and inevitably will come into conflict with the SNP managerial machine.

      Anyway, it’s too early in the morning for these ramblings!! I’m off to make a coffee.

      1. Kimberley Cadden says:

        Guys when I say ‘shrink the state’ i mean it in the way the term is usually deployed – i.e. to shrink state spending: from LSE “neoliberal interpretations of rising
        public sector burdens helped shape the trend toward state shrinking”…

        Frank I have already responded to all your points regarding the terms I use very_clearly elsewhere on Bella, in fact the EXACT same questions were answered so I am not going to do so again, not least because it is still there – but I will say the way I define them are based on academic understanding as well as common usage and if you read what I said you would be clear on why I could not even remotely understand why anyone would conflate capitalism with neoliberalism – as to do so would be a gross misunderstanding (most recently C4 journalist Paul Mason has been at pains to highlight this).

        There seems to be a barrier there for you when it comes to ideology (you are caught up in the idea of types, and that this is what other people are thinking in terms of, but I was clear with you before that isn’t what I am or have been speaking about at all). Perhaps even the notion of doctrine is difficult but regardless I would say if you have a problem with the way I use the terms then your problem isn’t with me.

        What I will add is that none of your examples back up any charge of neoliberalism when it comes to the SNP. I find your notion that any government functioning within a state (UK) which embraces neoliberalism means that government must therefore, at least in part, be embracing it too, incorrect.

        The SNP are working with budget cuts because of this WM approach, yes, but they are not then passing on the cuts to fulfil the neoliberal project but rather they are doing so because they have to (obviously) and every single policy they have control over is carried out, outside of the neoliberal purpose. This again was in the response you have had before – neoliberalism is an extreme -its a doctrine and a purpose, its not just the act but the reason for it – and central to it all is the belief that all we need is the market.

        I will quickly mention a few extra points – firstly the Wood Commission is about helping kids get ready for employment – i find it ridiculous to say this is in some way ‘neoliberal’ and struggle to understand how anyone would make that connection.

        Also my deciding not to give a party my vote because I don’t agree with them enough ideologically is perfectly valid and I would argue largely the norm. I agree with the SNP ideologically but sometimes when it comes to policy I would like them to go further (land reform being a good example) and would certainly welcome any opposition from the left pushing them on these issues – but that doesn’t mean I will vote for them.

        I find it pretty insulting to say that LP encourage SNP members to have more of a ‘social conscience’ – don’t you see your underlying assumption there that LP must be a more socially conscious party because it is socialist? I am as committed to social and economic justice as anyone and everyone I have ever come across, and every single SNP member I have ever come into contact with appears the same – indeed this is a defining characteristic of the people and the party I vote for – go figure. Just because we are a social democratic party doesn’t mean anything other than we have some different ideas to socialists on how to best achieve social and economic justice. No-one has the moral high ground here – but perhaps some think that they do and this may be part of the problem; if you are making a judgement on the values of those people who are social democrats, rather than just recognising the differing opinion on how best to achieve a fairer society, then I think that is the kind of self righteousness that has the power to be utterly divisive across the left…..as for contradictions, as I say there are none within the SNP unless you don’t understand what it means to be a social democratic government within a neoliberal state – and your Maxwell comment backs up my point here, not yours. I feel like you are saying the same thing in many ways but where you veer off is that you seem to see working with the effects of neoliberal policies from WM as some kind of implicit embracing of those very policies when it isn’t at all….

        Lastly being a monarchist or pro nato has nothing to do with neoliberalism; and you say some SNP members support public service cuts – well I certainly haven’t met any but regardless our party doesn’t so I am not sure what point you are trying to make here unless its a baseless attempt to characterise many SNP members as neoliberals and set up a false conflict where there is none?……..As for the SNP ‘managerial machine’ and the clear conflicted picture you are trying to paint of a party where it is harder to be a social democrat than a neoliberal – despite party policy and indeed what the membership say and stand for. In addition our party has been very clear regarding its egalitarianism and our parliamentarians challenge neoliberal economics every chance they get, so all in all the machine you speak of seems to be doing a rather good job in achieving exactly the opposite of what you contend….

        1. Kimberley Cadden says:

          Frank i decided to copy this over from the other thread so its all clear here:

          …..my main contention though is that neoliberalism is an extreme; if we take capitalism to be defined simply as ‘an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state’, and neoliberalism as the ideology that an ultra free market, deregulated banking system, max privatisation, minimal state (and one which only runs occassional deficits) and low taxation is what’s best for economies and citizens (even though it really just shifts more wealth and power to the elite – and as Jonathan said with little to no regard for the effects on power inequality and welfare), we can see there is a very big difference between the two, with neoliberalism being much more than just capitalism.

          Then if we look at social democracy (to be clear I mean the ‘nordic model’ modern european type – not democratic socialism) with its defining characteristics of capitalism, egalitarianism, big on gender equality and human rights, universality of welfare and wealth redistribution; again this is very different to neoliberalism.

          For me it seems very clear based on these definitions that the SNP are social democrats. They are capitalists but not in the neoliberal sense – as in they are not pro an ultra free market (not just in the sense of privatisation but also in terms of their position on TTIP and fracking – i.e. we are not open for business in the sense that corporations can completely dictate and run roughshod over us). They are not pro max privatisation, nor pro a minimal deficit averse state, nor indeed pro low taxation (whilst the first and second points are obvious i need to add here regarding the third that in addition to supporting a 50p UK tax rate they are also in favour of a bankers bonus tax, mansion tax, abolition of non dom status, an increase to the bank levy as well as tighter UK tax avoidance laws and a rolling review of tax reliefs). They simply support the free market when it comes to trade and industry, and in addition to favouring the renationalisation of the post office (and i think railways) if we get indy, they also support reduction of energy bills proposing ESO be paid via tax not bills; they are big on all forms of equality and actually have taken the steps Oxfam recommends for tackling wealth inequality that they have the powers for such as topping up benefits (as well as helping the poorest make their homes more energy efficient) and the implementation of strict tax avoidance laws (again in addition to what they have argued for at UK level including upping welfare payments, reviewing sanctions and increasing the work allowance). The only thing they could do with the powers they have that they haven’t yet that has the potential to redistribute wealth in any serious way is a land value tax (although they have rightly cut tax breaks to estates and frozen council tax) but a lvt is still something very much on the peripheral of mainstream debate although I hope that changes because it would be a great tax to implement imo. And of course they practice universalism which is the cornerstone of their welfare, health and education policies and this has even been in the face of staunch criticism and low public support at times (although looks like the public have largely come around).

          There are parties like the Tories who embody neoliberalism completely, and then there are parties like Labour who in their approach to the banking system, welfare and the economy (especially in their submission to economically illiterate, austerity, surplus-obsessed, economics) embody much of the ideology of neoliberalism and have done for a long time, and diverged only in terms of retaining some progressive taxes (like the 50p rate, bankers bonus, mansion etc) although they have now abandoned those policies and become even stricter on welfare and the act of shrinking the state so it seems now they are fully fledged neoliberals….

          So this is my understanding – I think its necessary to see policies in light of the ideology and purpose underpinning them – for example not all privatisation is the same or done for the same reasons; indeed all the private contracting I know of that the SG does is a necessity, not a preference – i.e. based on need not ideology and of course we must thus remember privatisation doesn’t equal neoliberalism……..

          Anyway I will leave this conversation there as it is going round in circles – just wanted to make these points accessible to anyone reading this thread….

        2. Frank says:

          Kimberly, I wasn’t aware that you had answered my points on a previous thread, but I detect your frustration at my criticism of the SNP. But that’s politics. I repeat again, ‘An anti-austerity party’ trying to govern in an pro- austerity state is a contradiction that cannot be wished away and sooner or later these contradictions will end the SNP’s honeymoon. In fact, it’s happening already. The other night I spoke to a young student who had left the SNP after enthusiastically joining just after the referendum. When I enquired why, he said, because SNP councillors had voted to slash funding to the only youth project in the town. I’m pretty friendly with a prospective SNP candidate for 2016 and he tells me that people who had joined last year have left, fed up in his words with a party that is ‘top down and managerial’.

          Just for the record, I didn’t say it was neo-liberal to support the monarchy, but I can’t see where support for an unelected head of state fits into the SNP’s social justice agenda. You write that being pro-NATO has ‘nothing’ to do with neo-liberalism; to avoid offence, let’s just say that assertion is problematic.

          As for the Wood Report on Developing Scotland’s Young Work Force there it is very valid to notice neo-liberal narratives at play here, particularly in the way it’s being implemented by local authorities. The report says nothing about low pay, temporary contracts, zero hours contracts, or the ‘precariat’ in general; in essence it’s based on a neo-liberal view of the world which is about moulding young people to meet the needs of the economy and creating a new ‘work ethic discipline’, via employability – even though there is no meaningful work for many young people.

          Finally you write that there are no contradictions in the SNP. Oh dear. For the sake of democracy, both internal SNP democracy, and democracy in general, I sincerely hope you are wrong….

          1. Kimberley Cadden says:

            Frank I think its fair to say you haven’t understood a word I have said, which can only be because you haven’t tried to, so lets just leave it there – communication isn’t happening here so there is no point at all in me addressing your further statements as I would simply be reiterating what I have already said.

            I am clear now that no matter who is in power or what they do you will view them as neoliberals.

            Bye Frank

          2. Kimberley Cadden says:

            except I will add that SNP membership numbers continue to grow…. I think the fact most people understand why the SNP have to make cuts has a lot to do with it…..

        3. Frank says:

          Kimberly, I had already replied to these points on the thread in question, so I’m not sure why you post it again. Anyway, I will end with a Pierre Bourdieu quote; ‘neo-liberalisms greatest success is that it has been put into practice by people who call themselves socialists and social democrats’.

          1. Frank says:

            Bye Kimberly. ‘Take it easy but take it…

  5. Sannymac says:

    You sound like the Old Labour party re-invented. As someone in his 80’s I remember only too well the Attlee government. Whilst the Attlee government made some mistakes by trying to move too fast they nonetheless made many excellent changes and controlled the Tory Government. One item: – Tax at 19/6 in the pound for the very wealthy
    Unfortunately the Labour Party decayed in to the Right Wing Party they are today, Why should we believe your lot won’t go the same way?
    The SNP have shown they are very susceptible to the demands of the Electorate and are successful; despite the combined efforts of Tories, Labour, LibDums etc. So why are you not talking to them??? They are the only Party tending to the left at the moment.

  6. james black says:

    Love this ideal but i think wf should still play a part in n a t o

  7. muttley79 says:

    Does this new group want to re-nationalise all the public services which have been privatised in the last 30 years or so?

  8. Fay Kennedy. says:

    This is so good to hear of and much success to all involved. It would be such an amazing shift if Scotland could become the nation it once aspired to be and lost too often in the annals of history that we’re only discovering thanks to some of the policies of the SNP and its increasing attraction for many folk too long ignored. As an expat am so uplifted by what’s happening in Scotland as in the land downer it’s a downer every day under one of the most right wing governments in the west at present.

  9. Alan says:

    We should reserve judgement until the policy details are revealed. There are lots of nice desires and wishes but little in the way of practical detail. I hope the vision is more than a return to a fantasy socialist utopia that’s just as corrupt as neoliberalism.

  10. John Craig says:

    I would go along with Dougie Blackwood and Alan on this. It’s a truism that there is nothing new under the sun and for the life of me, unless there is an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary cure for societies ills, then we will still be on the same old Mobious Band. Softly, softly, catchee Monkey.

  11. Gavin says:

    Are these items up for debate at the August meeting? If all this ends up being is a rebranding of the SSP then I think that would be a wasted opportunity. This needs to be more inclusive and innovative. For example I think there is room for small privately owned businesses – I am not rigidly Anti- capitalist. Have the Greens been spoken to?

  12. Peter says:

    One this that is increasingly prevalent in the discussions of independence campaigners is this idea that people are looking for a solution, politically. How can this be the case when the SNP garnered more than half the national vote? What’s the evidence to support the idea that people are unaware or ignorant of the SNP’s economic position?

    I agree that there should be a voice for the left in Scotland. I find it worrying how many interested parties have deemed the 105,000 members of the SNP to be out of the range of radical politics. The irony of “we need to build a people’s movement” as a mantra against a 50% vote by a 100,000 member party is lost on many.

    1. Kimberley Cadden says:

      great point Peter

  13. Neil says:

    I guess that none of this involves actually bothering to stand for election?

    Presumably, that would involve agreeing a common programme of the left which will be reached in part by standing against Socialist Labour, the Greens, the SSP, and the Tangerine Tommy Party? And they are all standing against each other in the first place?

    Is this some kind of Syriza bandwagon thing? Honestly, if you lumped all those parties together and called it ‘the Left Wedge’, or whatever, you might get two MSPs elected, and they would both be Greens. So why would be Greens be interested in the first place?

    1. Conor Cheyne says:

      Actually yes, we will be standing for election. This is not a short term project but something we will build for years to come.

      1. Neil says:

        If you are seriously intending to stand against the other parties of the hard left, can you take the time to explain what your point is? How could it possibly be anything other than detrimental?

  14. Frank says:

    The reason Syriza was successful in Greece had nothing to do with their organisational form; it was because material conditions got so bad that the old ruling class could no longer rule, producing a crisis in governmentality. In fact, it may be the case that Syriza’s strength in opposition – pluralism and flat structures – may turn out to be a weakness in government.

    I partly welcome the idea of SLP organising ‘primaries’ all over Scotland. But if they are fielding candidates in 2016 time is fast running out. Also, it would be useful to know if candidates are going to be selected at these primaries?

    1. Conor Cheyne says:

      Candidates will be selected by branches once they are up and running.

  15. john young says:

    First thing to drop is the condescending Citizen this Brother that as adults we don,t have to be addressed thus,concentrate on telling the truth to all in honest and open forum,encourage the young to get involved it is their future after all,do not get bogged down in political agendas.Good luck.

  16. Alan says:

    A lot of talk about redistributing wealth that is discussed as if it just exists. The real trick is creating it. How’s that going to be accomplished?

    Public ownership? How’s that going to work? Seems like a recipe for badly run services and a corrupt bureaucratic elite that will be no better than the corrupt elite we have now.

    And you talk of a “different form of economic management”. Meaning what exactly?

    As John Craig comments above, there is nothing new under the sun. What we need is not a new utopian ideology but pragmatism and moderation. You could do a lot worse than read Adam Smith, the real one, not the nasty caricature promulgated by neoclassical economists. He was realistic about human nature and what’s possible.

  17. john young says:

    Alan what about the water companies the energy companies BP/Shell/BT and all the other companies that were privatised and now making billions shouldn,t they be returned to the people and the profits invested in the infrastructure of the country shouldn,t the profits be used to help/encourage businesses to grow and employ more people instead of all the profits going into a few the same few pockets over and over again,what right do they claim to make money from these essentials when it should be used for the benefit of all.You go on about wealth creators well to my mind little of it is put to much use.

    1. muttley79 says:

      The problem is that to do that would require to buy these companies, and then provide the necessary investment when they are again controlled by the state. I suspect that would entail a massive amount of money. Where is it going to come from?

      1. Jim Bennett says:

        Muttley, a couple of points for consideration:
        – Nationalisation of these companies doesn’t necessarily mean having to buy them. It could be legislated to simply take them over, or
        – If you were committed to buying them, then the announcement of that purchase would destabilise the market so much that the price would probably fall though the floor, or
        – You could do the old Militant slogan of compensation on the basis of proven need.

        I you were going to buy at the current stock rates, I agree, it would be silly.

  18. john young says:

    muttley the same place as the almost 1trillion came for the “back pocket” bankers,if we have control of the utilities/banks we can set fair tariffs for business help get their costs down,help get rents and motgages down freeing up badly needed cash where the people will spend it,why is it that it,s only those at the top get to lead a “good life” we should be breaking our a—s to ensure that we do our best for all our people,there should be no shysters scrounging there has to be some way of getting people to work give them something meaningful give them some respect,there is a vast pool out there that could be utilised.Anybody like to ask the likes of Cameron/Gideon to put up their CVs for us all to see,I don,t imagine there would be a lot of hard graft among them,pontificating bastards.

    1. muttley79 says:

      muttley the same place as the almost 1trillion came for the “back pocket” bankers

      Given that the US Federal Reserve contributed a significant amount to the bank bailouts in the UK, I am not sure what you are referring to?

      1. Jim Bennett says:

        Hi Muttley, me again. John actually underestimated the UK Government’s contribution to the bailout of the banks (to be paid for by the UK taxpayer through debt finance) was more than £1 Trillion. See here, taken from the National Audit Office website:

        There were two types of support provided:
        •Provision of guarantees and other non-cash support. The main items under this heading are the Credit Guarantee Scheme, Special Liquidity Scheme and Asset Protection Scheme, as well as various other guarantees and indemnities provided to UK banks.
        •Provision of cash in the form of loans to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and insolvent banks to support deposits, and the purchase of share capital in Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group.

        Peak support (£bn)

        Guarantee commitments 1,029
        Cash outlay 133
        Total peak support 1,162

        These figures set out our calculation of the total peak support provided to banks, including support that was made available but not used by a specific institution. They are calculated by adding all the support schemes together and removing overlaps.

        The peak values have been taken from HM Treasury Annual Report and Accounts, Parliamentary supply estimates and NAO reports to Parliament. As each scheme and support facility was available at different times, the total peak support was not all available at a single point in time.

  19. Broadbield says:

    Oh, dear, sounds like we’re heading back to the student politics I remember from the 70’s – completely detached from reality.

    I also don’t understand why some want to knock the SNP – the only party which can achieve the independence we all want. Anecdotes about those who joined up after the euphoria of political engagement then left after a few short weeks or months says more about them than about the SNP. If you feel they’re not left enough then join and make your voice heard. The kind of altruistic, but impractical manifesto suggested by this article is going to win very few votes, I predict.

  20. Albamac says:

    I’ve been listening to and reading this kind of stuff for sixty-odd years and I’m tired of it. In that time, I’ve witnessed the corruption and abandonment of every principle that the Left Project is attempting to claim for itself.

    To my mind, this is more about gaining political advantage after riding in the slipstream of those who brought us closer than ever before to a shared goal.

    Straight from the Scottish Labour Handbook, these were the professed ideals of those who gave us the infamously corrupt GCC which, in turn, saddled us with community groups and community centres run by thugs, thieves, fraudsters, embezzlers, drug-dealers, loan sharks and protection racketeers.

    If the Left Project had made its case without picking up SLab’s shit-stained cudgel, I’d have read this piece with interest, given respect to the views expressed and, as many of us would, agreed with much of it.

    What I got, instead, was a reheated version of ‘SNP BAAAaaaad!’. I’ve no idea what dimwitted muse could have possessed them to employ worn out Unionist tactics in an attempt to discredit the SNP, but that’s where they blew it for me.

    So, all this talk of a new Scottish politics is, I think, dangerously premature. Those who claim to represent all things decent and just should have no need of the black knife.

    I’d intended to give my second vote to a party that might form a decent opposition in 2016. So, who’s left? (no pun intended)

    1. Jim Bennett says:

      The Greens.

  21. James Dow A voice from the diaspora says:

    Why does Scotland require new Scottish politics? it seems to have the best outcome right now in all of it’s history, and getting better. Generations from now Nicola will be revered as Scotland’s finest leader and guardian, as she already is.

    1. Frank says:

      ‘Generations from now Nicola will be revered as Scotland’s finest leader and guardian, as she already is’.

      And the award for the most sycophantic of 2015 goes too…..

      Seriously, one of the things that strikes me about this thread is the sheer defensiveness on the part of some SNP supporters; an attack dog mentality is unleashed by some the minute the SNP is ‘attacked’. Here we find ‘reverence’ towards the ‘guardian’ leader, whilst the SNP is portrayed as doing inherently good, whilst everything wicked or ‘neo-liberal’ can be blamed on Westminster or is that Westmonster?.

      The SNP is ‘social democratic’, which for one commentator, means supporting capitalism, but not democratic socialism; perhaps missing the point of social democracy entirely. Meanwhile, the left is dismissed with dog whistle simplicity; ‘unrealistic’, ‘utopian’, ‘1970s student politics’ and that most original of comments, ‘detached from reality’.

      I am not a member of the Scottish Left Project but could it be that it’s just a generation who experience a different reality; and dare I say it a different SNP; they see the SNP as an establishment in waiting; who don’t go far enough; a party complicit in cuts; we have all met the stooges in local government who are about as radical as a pond of ducks; a party which claims to be radical whilst being pro-monarchy and pro-NATO; and is ambiguous about privatisation; the party of Police Scotland; a party which demanded a currency union with one of the most pernicious neo-liberal governments in Europe; a party where for every social democrat there is a machine politician indistinguishable from every other machine politician…

      1. Broadbield says:

        “Detached from reality” is not original, I know, but neither are any of the cliches in the article. I’m afraid we’ve heard it all before and it always goes nowhere, and usually ends up in internecine strife. Look at the SSP & Sheridan. I support the SNP because they are the only means by which we will get independence. They are a rainbow alliance and after we achieve indy then it’s all to play for, left, right and centre. I will then support a credible left wing socialist agenda, if such a party appears in whom I can have confidence that they will do as they say, and not like Labour and betray everything they ever stood for.

      2. Ryan says:

        Here, here Frank. I am behind your comments. Yes the SNP are good in that they want Scotland to be independent but we can’t just sit back forever and wait for things to “change”. We need to take action. We need to start changing Scotland with the powers we have. Common Weal are publishing their plans to transform Scotland with devolution later this year with plans for a new banking system, a National Investment Bank to invest in infrastructure and initiate the process of reindustrialisation (funded from the National Investment Bank), alternatives to the Council Tax, etc. Will the SNP endorse any of their ideas? I am, like you, fully supportive of this new party or “party of the Left” if you prefer.

  22. old battle says:

    A left movement is always useful in the context of a nationalist ruling party. It acts as a pressure group and nudges the centre from national consciousness to social consciousness. They often stand firm on economic issues that support working people when social democrats cave in to markets and big business lobbyists. The Left project full of eager radical idealist young people deserve support as a movement: as a party seeking seeking state power- well?
    The Left Project is keen on the Syriza model on a multi party coalition thud the SSP has joined and left nationalists like JIm Sillars.
    But as I speak it would appear that the Greek left-model has fallen into compromise and accepted TINA.
    Until and unless any left movement can debunk : There Is No Alternative to neo-liberal market driven capitalism then we should work with parties like the SNP who try to ‘manage’ the monster rather than eliminate it.
    The Greek left Govt on the back of a resounding NO to austerity has given in to the Troika really a Triumvirate: Syriza is splitting as we speak in the face of the compromise and abandonment of key red lines on austerity. Sadly TINA appears to have won.
    The TINA dragon needs slaying for any political success for the new Left Project. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts of promises of hope this Sadurday.

  23. Donnie McCaig says:

    The Tory win in England should have thought us or re-enforced one thing – Divide and rule!

    Unite behind the SNP, seek to alter its course or policies from within and always keep the main goal in the forefront – independence.

    Setting up sideshows equates to one thing – F¥^king about in the bushes.

    “F¥^king about in the bushes” means Scotland’s poor and vulnerable people will be at the mercy of tory governments for two thirds of their lifetime.

    Scotland will never be utopia, nowhere is, but it can be better managed inline with our views and we can have a country we take pride in. Don’t endanger Independence,

  24. Albamac says:

    “Beware of Greeks Bearing Rifts”, Craig Murray, July 3, 2015

    “So far as I can follow, the Greek electorate now have the choice between voting Yes and agreeing to the IMF austerity package, and voting No and having their leaders agree to any “face-saving” variation, however miniscule, before accepting the IMF austerity package. You can be quite sure that the international elite will thoroughly humiliate Syriza by making abundantly clear that if they offer any change at all, it is absolutely miniscule. A change of nominal leader of Greece may result from the referendum, but nothing that changes the life of anybody who is not a politician. Either way in six months time we will be exactly back where we are now, only with opposition to the IMF broken as the next wave of pillage of the public sector comes.

    The Euro project will continue to be extremely strong. New money will be funnelled into the pockets of bankers. It is important to recall that 100% of these bailout funds go to bankers, none of it goes to the Greek people and none of it stays in Greece. The same bankers will become the beneficiaries of servicing of new loans provided to vast corporations to buy up Greek public assets, cheap.

    It would require a particular heartlessness to be indifferent to the demise of the idealistic hopes that backed Syriza. But in the end it proved they did not offer any actual choice of any significantly different outcome. There is no real choice on Sunday, no difference in outcome from which way people vote. Beware Greeks bearing rifts

    “Bail-Out or Sell-Out”, Craig Murray, July 6, 2015

    “The resignation of the Greek Finance Minister is the clearest possible indication that my last posting was correct and that Greece is ready to climb down in negotiations, in exchange for any sliver of a fig-leaf. The “Troika” is very keen that there will be another bail-out because of course the money goes to the bankers to whom the political elite are beholden. It is increasingly plain that Tsipras does not have the balls for debt repudiation. Yesterday’s choice was meaningless; debt repudiation is the only real alternative”

    As predicted, the poor people of Greece, lifted on a wave of hope, have been dumped back in the ditch.

  25. Steven says:

    May I suggest that buzzwords such as “neoliberal” this and “neoclassical” that are left at the door. Pardon the pun. Your average punter on the street won’t go for it.
    A common sensist party, aye!

    1. leavergirl says:

      Gadz. “The Left Project” sounds like 1968. I am with the common-sensists, any day!

    2. Frank says:

      Steven, may I suggest that you read more widely, and then you might not dismiss terms such as ‘neo-liberalism’ and ‘neo-classical’ as buzzwords!!!!!!

      For information, the ‘average punter’ does not exist.

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