Perspectives on Scotland and Covid 19

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

Read the full statement here.

SNP Socialists statement on Covid-19

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 …

Covid 19 and the Green New Deal

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.

In memory of Neil Davidson

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. 

May Day rally for climate justice


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.

There are two ways you can join the rally.

Go to Edinburgh and Lothians May Day Face Book Page – it will be live streaming to the page from just before 1pm. 

Join the rally via Zoom – see details below. Be sure to start logging in a few minutes before 1pm to avoid missing any of the event.

If you haven’t used Zoom before – here’s a a link to a short guide to how to link up.

Topic Edinburgh and Lothians May Day Rally
Time: May 1, 2020 01:00 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 720 340 993

Report: Scotland and the pandemic

Our online meeting with Ben Wray was well attended (36 participants) and provoked an excellent discussion.

You can watch the video of Ben’s introduction here:

Ben Wray on Scotland and the pandemic

You can also read or download a text version of the talk.

There is an edited and anonymised recording of Ben’s response to the comments and questions here:

Ben’s response to the questions and contributions

The article by James Urquhart that Ben refers to is here

In his talk Ben refers to Nicola Sturgeon’s tweet:

He looks at data from Germany, the lag in the UIK response and comparisons between Scotland and England:

He also refers to AirBNB while discussing the economic and social impact on Edinburgh

Other useful links are the Facebook page and group set up to support the statement “Trade unionists, health workers, independence supporters and community activists demand radical action from the Scottish government to fight the pandemic”

You might also want to follow up the Coronavirus information and action group   and their petition

Scotland and the pandemic

Online Meeting: Wednesday 15th April 7pm – 8.30pm  

Ben Wray who has been writing daily reports on The Source will introduce the discussion.  From the start Ben has been critiquing the response of both the UK and Scottish governments., the shortage of PPE and the way in which years of cuts and austerity have undermined essential infrastructure.  We hope this discussion will be a chance to share information and ideas on organising to keep people safe through the immediate challenges of the pandemic and to think about how we organise into the new world post-pandemic.

You can join via the internet (computer, tablet or smartphone) using the link below or you can use one of the listed numbers to dial in from a mobile or landline (audio only).

Topic: RIC Assembly April 15th

Time: Apr 15, 2020 07:00 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 896 252 531

Password: 375024

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