Ashten Regan-Denham looks at the language we use to frame the debate about Independence and progressive politics
In the very interesting book 'Don't think of an elephant - know your values and frame the debate. An essential guide for progressives' G. Lakoff a linguistic and cognitive science expert describes how the political right (he writes about USA politics but the general principles are relevant to us) are much better at 'framing' the narrative, creating a frame or picture using values to present their arguments and make them understandable and compelling. I suggest that more attention needs to be focused on this by the pro-indy campaign. What can we learn from this type of approach?
How it can be done, and why it should be done.
Liz Walker of Women for Independence and Radical Independence Inverness, and Steve Arnott, co-ordinating Editor of The Point, argue that progressives in Scotland should begin preparing now to take the case for a 50-50 gender balance in the Scottish Parliament to the post-independence Constitutional Convention.
The drive and desire for social, civic, legal and economic equality lies at the very heart of socialism; at the very centre of progressive thought.
While there is no room for complacency, and while much remains to be done, it would be self-defeating not to recognise that there has been a qualitative change in public perception and public support for many issues of equality over the previous generation – the recent public support for and passing of legislation enabling same sex marriage is just one striking example (but not the only one) of what can be achieved. The traction gained by Brian Soutar’s campaign against the abolition of Section 28, the Tory gag on teaching about homosexuality in schools, in the early life of the first Scottish Parliament seems to belong to a different era in comparison – yet it was scarcely over a decade ago.
Derek Durkin of Trade Unionists for Independence looks at Scottish Labour and the Independence referendum, and says there's an argument undecided Labour voters need to hear loud and clear.
With an ever increasing number of Labour members/supporters, both prominent and otherwise, declaring in favour of a YES vote in the referendum, now is a good time to look at the official Labour Party position and pose a few questions as to why they adopt the position they have, and what will be the consequences, whatever the outcome of the referendum, of their decision.
No, not those cops. Following a series of shocking revelations, the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance was launched in London at the end of February. Harvey Duke was there.
Over 100 people crammed into a room in the UNITE union HQ in London, on 27th February, 2014. It was the public launch of the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS). True stories told that night, sometimes funny, and often moving, were largely from people targeted by undercover police. A few years ago, the speakers may have been seen by many as 'conspiracy theorists'. Not now.
COPS was pulled together by socialists, trade unionists in the Blacklist Support Group, environmentalists, anti-racists (including the family of murdered youth Stephen Lawrence), and others. All were calling for an independent public inquiry into police spies.
Sean Robertson gives his opinion on the fracking controversy
In Middle America a housewife turns on her kitchen tap. Flames shoot out of the faucet, singeing her eyebrows. The ground shakes and a massive hole opens up in the street. No it's not a natural disaster or the coming of the apocalypse but an incident of a type which are likely to become more and more common as oil companies attempt to keep dwindling supplies of fuel flowing using the modified techniques of Hydraulic Fracturing or 'fracking'. This is the process used to exploit previously unextractable deposits of hydrocarbons, mainly natural gas or methane. The process involves blasting a mixture of sand, water and chemicals into shale deposits deep underground to release trapped gas.
Only days after the untimely death of Bob Crow, a great trade unionist and socialist, another giant of the British left has sadly died. Tony Benn, a Labour Party socialist who was unashamedly Old rather than New Labour passed away on the 14th March 2014. Born into privilege he was the first peer to renounce his title to remain an MP. An accomplished parliamentarian who won the respect of many on the right, Tony Benn never shirked from promoting his socialist values. He always remained loyal to his Labour Party.
Tony Benn 1925 - 2014
By Gary Fraser
Tony Benn was more than just a politician – he was an educator, a preacher and dare I say it, a visionary. His death, last week at the age of 88 profoundly upset me, even though I knew he was unwell. It’s strange how you can have genuine feelings for someone you didn’t know, and for someone that you only met once albeit for the briefest of moments. But I grew up feeling like I knew Tony Benn.
The week beginning 10th of March 2014 was a hard one to bear for socialists. Within days of each other we lost two giants of our movement the likes of which we may not see again for a long time.
Tony Benn lived a full and active life for 88 years and whilst he had been ill recently, and we had feared the worst only a few weeks ago, it still did not seem to soften the blow when we heard that he had passed away.
Bob Crow was a much younger man and still in the prime of his life. We have been abruptly and cruelly robbed of his vigour, tenacity and passion.
The socialist and trade union movements are undoubtedly the weaker for both of these great men’s passing.
Yet in this time of sorrow we can be consoled in the knowledge that their lives and actions have provided inspiration for thousands of working class people to pick up their cudgels and continue the fight for better, fairer society.
I penned the following tributes to both men who I knew well and considered friends and comrades.
Independence: Time for the front foot on the economy says Stevie Arnott
The battle to win a YES vote is now firmly in its second stage. Polls in January indicating that momentum was firmly with YES, and that the gap created by Project Fear was closing, brought forth an onslaught from the NO camp that was as incessant as it was hysterical and contradictory.
Far from it all being over except to 'bayonet the wounded' - as Labour Unionist MP Ian Davidson so charmingly put it – it was clear that there was everything to play for, and despite the advantage of a supine and, frankly, biased media, the YES movement was having some success in challenging and dispelling the constant negative tropes of the NO campaign. A full spring offensive by the NO campaign was launched.
Liz MacDonald of the Radical Independence Campaign (Highlands) outlines the progressive left case for independence.
By voting Yes for Scottish Independence on the 18th September 2014 we will begin the most challenging and exciting journey ever undertaken in our nation’s history. A journey hoped for, dreamt of, and worked towards by many courageous Scotsmen and women who could see the possibilities and potential for radical change.
It was John Maclean in 1923 who said, “The social revolution is possible sooner in Scotland than in England. The working-class policy ought to be to break up the Empire, to avert war and enable the workers to triumph in every country and colony. Scottish seperation is part of the process of England’s Imperial disintegration and is a help toward the ultimate triumph of the workers of the world.” Maclean could see that Britain was for the rich and that Scotland could be ours.