Click here to access a summary of the discussion that followed Benitha’s introduction. During the discussion we agreed unanimously to send a message of support and solidarity to Debora Kayembe. You can find more details of her campaign against racist harassment on Facebook.
Here’s the video of David Jamieson, Source News journalist and editor of Conter speaking at our meeting on 24th June.
Unfortunately we don’t have notes of the verbal questions and contributions that followed David’s introduction. However, this was complemented by written comments in the text chat. We have copied this below.
L: My impression on a superficial read of the SNP government’ post-Covid19 Advisory Report was that there was some stuff about shortening supply chains etc
P: It seems to be less about shortening and more about rebuilding new chains and rebuilding confidence.
C: So I’m not hearing anyone talking about young people just now and what’s been happening with school education. Working with young people and the education system I was gobsmacked to hear that our schools would be returning after the holidays with school staff given half a week to prepare for the new terms – alongside all the many things they have to prepare for. But my biggest issue is about the number of young people who are going to be hit really hard at the leaving end of school in that their jobs, courses, apprenticeships are disappearing faster than a Scottish summer does. So when we’re hit by huge levels of administrations, broken supply chains, economic instability it will be the people who are most likely to be vocal who would be likely to react – young people! unfortunately this often manifests itself in anti-social behaviour but sometimes through dissent – as per with the school strikes. At my earlier comment I mentioned schools not being prepared for coming back next term but there’s quite a bit. There is dissent coming through with the EIS.
G: Agree on Education and Young People, Although the mobilisation of young people around BLM is astonishing and very positive.
C: Although I agree there are many young people engaging in demonstrations like black lives matter there’s an increasing number of working class young people are becoming “disaffected youth” – we’ve not seen anything like what this might become for a few generations though!
S: Agree with job guarantee for young people, concerned that it may push other unemployed even further from labour market
P: How can the Common Weal Resilient Report be promoted to gain traction not only with the Scottish public but become an alternative model/focus within the SNP?
A: Politics are polarising. The Labour Party has just issued its report into its poor performance in the December general election. In its summary of recommendations there is only policy advocated – No IndyRef2! In today’s Herald, David Leask announced that Gareth Bennet, Brexit MWA, has formed the Abolish Party with the intention of ending devolution first in Wales. He has contacts in Scotland. Boris Johnson’s government acts at an all-UK level and can resort to the state’s Crown Powers too. The SNP has no strategy to bring IndyRef2.
During IndyRef1, RIC campaigned in all the four nations on these islands and further afield. To counter the UK state and the Unionists – whether Abolish, Tories or Labour – I think RIC needs to organise again on an all-islands level and act in effect as a republican internationalist campaign.
G: Agree with Allan’s points, well made.
D: I agree that RIC needs to organise internationally. One obvious place is Ireland, Sinn Fein’s electoral success in the February Dail elections has put Irish reunification back on the political agenda. RIC has contacts in Ireland. We also need to take a warning from Quebec. Two failed independence referenda have led to a decline in pro-independence forces. The Far Right has now stepped in and has the largest presence in Quebec compared with anywhere else in Canada.
G: I think that’s hugely important, David. Do we need a RIC conference – but one that determines specific actions? I currently admin 2 RIC pages. Insofar as this can be considered indicative, there are new likes almost daily. people are looking for something different to what’s on offer elsewhere
A: The issue of organising a RIC conference had been raised by other RIC groups. It will be discussed at RIC-Edinburgh’s Organising Zoom Meeting on Monday, at 6.00 pm.
P: This meeting is open to any RIC-Edinburgh member who wishes to participate,
J: The Commonweal campaign is a bit disappointing so far. Quite a few people I know have signed up but nothing is happening after the public launch
Thanks were given to David for his introduction and Eileen for Chairing
Our recent and forthcoming online meetings explore perspectives on the current crisis. We share three statements as further background reading.
Trade unionists, health workers, independence supporters and community activists demand radical action from the Scottish government to fight the pandemic
The Covid-19 outbreak poses a real and significant threat to the people of Scotland, a country with a large elderly population, massive health inequalities and rural communities who will have difficulties accessing the health service when they need it most.
The Tory Governments “herd immunity” strategy is a catastrophe. The Westminster government itself predicted over a quarter of a million UK dead following this approach. Boris Johnson has now declared that “herd immunity” isn’t their strategy anymore because the science had changed! However, according to the editor of the Lancet in a tweet,” it took a study from Imperial to understand the likely burden of COVID-19 on the NHS. But read the first paper we published on COVID-19 on Jan 24. 32% admitted to ITU with 15% mortality. We have wasted 7 weeks. This crisis was entirely preventable.”
The government knew as early as January 24th that their strategy would lead to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths. Confirming this horrific assessment, the Sunday Times claims: “At a private engagement at the end of February, Cummings outlined the government’s strategy. Those present say it was “herd immunity, protect the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad”.
Throughout this crisis the Tories have put the needs of the economy before saving lives. Until now they have ignored all of the expert opinion, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the experiences of China, South Korea, Taiwan and other countries that have been successful in reducing the rate of infection. Read all the statement here …
12th May 2020
Dumfries TUC statement on the Covid19 crisis
Dumfries Trades Union Council says STAY ALERT to the criminal negligence of the Johnson Government throughout the Covid19 crisis:
for failing to ensure adequate supplies of PPE for NHS and care workers from January onwards
for failing to organise enough test kits to do contact tracing (unlike Germany and the Scandinavian countries)
for exaggerating the PPE supplies by counting each individual glove as 1 item
for persuading their scientific advisers in the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) on 11th March to downgrade Covid19
for continuing the underspending on the NHS as part of the austerity measures (In 2017 Germany [a bigger country] spent 4,160 Euros per head on health to the UK’s 3,045 Euros [OECD figures]). Germany has 7,700 deaths to date. The UK has around 36,000.
for failing to test or quarantine travellers entering the UK during lockdown until now
for continuing till mid-March to prioritise PPP and PFI payments for new buildings to financiers (many based in tax havens) over all other NHS expenditure by health boards
for spreading confusion by putting out ambiguous messages about easing of the lockdown without consulting the 3 devolved governments
As socialists in the mass party for Scottish independence, we call on all working-class people and socialists to acknowledge, oppose and resist the UK government’s dangerously inadequate response to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.
We also call upon the Scottish government itself to be more willing to challenge UK government strategy, asserting an appropriate independence in public health policy.
The current crisis has raised a fundamental problem for all liberal democracies – in the UK, particularly those governed by the Conservative and Unionist Party; that is, the exploitation of workers and the need for our ruling classes to maintain this inequity by any means possible.
Against the advice of the World Health Organisation, the UK government has denied and delayed personal protection equipment, proportionate testing and track-and-tracing services to NHS and other key workers. But this has clear implications for those who have already contracted the disease and for the safety of workers and our entire community.
The crisis has highlighted the fact that those people who do the most essential jobs are also those who are least valued by the market which sets the price of our labour. Whilst public sector workers are generally exploited and poorly paid, it is clear that many private sector workers are even worse off and in fact, much of the vital social care in our society is entirely unpaid. We have to recognise the specific impact on women in this regard, especially those who are forced to continue going out to work with no childcare and no school. Read all the statement here …
In April we had an excellent discussion on Scotland and the pandemic introduced by Ben Wray (read the report here). This month we continue the theme looking at Covid 19 and the Green New Deal. Lorna Slater from the Scottish Greens will introduce the discussion. Please register on Eventbrite and you will be sent a link to join the meeting.
We are sad to announce the death of our friend and comrade, Neil Davidson. Neil was a founding member of the Radical Independence Campaign and as speaker, strategist and activist he played a big part in the campaign, in Edinburgh and across Scotland. We will miss him. We send our condolences to his family, in particular to his partner Cathy Watkins.
FRIDAY 1st MAY: EDINBURGH AND LOTHIANS MAY DAY RALLY, 1PM – 2.30PM
The speakers are: Asad Rehman (War on Want), Quan Nguyen (Climate Camp), Mary Senior (UCU and STUC) and Kate Rutter (actor/socialist). The compere will be Susan Morrison and there will be music from Penny Stone and Calum Baird.