The Point
Last updated: 01 May 2017.

...red sky thinking for an open and diverse left

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In Praise of Beethoven

Arthur C Clarke - A Very Modern Odyssey

Tackling Private Landlords

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The Eternal Dark Heart of Empire

If You Build Them, They Will Come

Radical independence; Britain is for the Rich, Scotland can be ours

aaa Rad indy demo

 

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.

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Building YES locally: one group's inspiring story

All over the country a mass movement for independence has formed organically over the last year. Toni Vastano of YES Badenoch Strathspey recounts the YES adventure so far in the shadow of the Cairngorms

 

YES! Badenoch & Strathspey formed in September 2013. Some of us had been on the Independence March & Rally, Calton Hill, Edinburgh and we were amazed by what we saw and felt there. A real sense of community. People from all over Scotland and from many other countries too. All races, all ages, all backgrounds. It didn't matter. We saw a glimpse of what our country can be. People representing their own communities, meeting together to celebrate a vision of Scotland as national community. Elaine C. Smith's words "What we need to talk about now is the kind of place we want to live in."

 

I thought "Well, there must be other people living in my local area who would like to have exactly that sort of conversation. We should start our own YES campaign group." I asked the local branch of the SNP for advice and they offered us the use of a room they'd hired for a routine meeting. There was no advertising, word just got round that there was to be a YES campaign group in our area. The response was overwhelming. We had over thirty people, most of whom were not connected with the SNP and many of whom had quite different ideas about how we should proceed. Everybody did agree on one thing - independence. They then all agreed to have me as Chairman.

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Independence and the red herring of working class unity

Gregor Gall deconstructs the argument that Scottish independence would break trade union unity and solidarity across the UK.

 

There are a number of red herrings in the debate within the left about what the consequences of and motivations for independence. Amongst these are the equation of independence with nationalism and the notion that an independent Scotland would see the peoples of England consigned to permanent Tory rule. This article will focus on another one: that independence will split the unity of the working class in Britain, because this is one of the most potentially damning arguments on the left.

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Paradigm Poll – UKIP and the Euro elections

Green left activist Adrian Cruden looks at this years euro-elections, and why this time, it’s quite different

 

Tradition has it that the European elections don’t really count. And yet, whatever the case in the past, the received wisdom has never been further from the truth than this year.

Perhaps because of a combination of the proportional voting system and the perception that the Euro-elections are different, voters clearly feel freer to vote the way they really would like to in other elections but for various reasons don’t. Consequently, if you review the previous Euro-results, the so called main parties have frequently performed extremely poorly even when they have come first[1] for example, in 2009, the Tories “won” with barely 27% of the national vote.

But this year more than ever we see a political class in crisis as the Euro-vote threatens to make a major and lasting impact on the British political scene.

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Homelessness in Scotland: Progressive Legislation for a Progressive Nation

Yes activist Kevin Kane looks at the differences in housing legislation north and south of the border

Introduction

Homelessness in England has increased dramatically since the UK coalition government came into power, with a 37% rise in rough sleepers in the country since 2010.1 This is in stark contrast to Scotland, where the Scottish Government has introduced the most progressive homelessness legislation in Western Europe2 and homelessness is steadily decreasing. Given that homelessness in Scotland is falling even in the face of harsh Westminster Government policies is a testament to the progressive, forward-thinking ethos of the Scottish Government.

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Tony Benn - An Obituary by Graeme McIver

 

By Graeme McIver

Earlier this morning I watched the BBC Breakfast News as they crossed to their political correspondent at Westminster to discuss the recently announced death of Tony Benn. "So just how divisive a figure was he?" asked the presenter. Divisive is not a word I immediately think of when I consider the life of Tony Benn. I inhabit the often harsh world of left politics where invective and the bitter dismissal of alternative views and those expressing them are the normal currency. Yet this elder statesman of socialism was held in almost universal high esteem, respect and affection within the left and progressive movements. He was a unifying figure. This is an achievement and accolade that is afforded to only a select few.

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Curious George and the Case for Naw

 

In the midst of all the doubt and uncertainty over the outcome of the September 2014 Referendum on Scottish Independence one thing is for sure…there’s never a dull moment on the campaign trail with George Galloway. The Respect MP for Bradford and his anti-Independence road-show, “Just Say Naw” rolled into Edinburgh at the beginning of February. The Point sent along Graeme McIver to listen to the arguments and dodge the brick-bats.

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The Man Who Stares at Groats

Green Left activist and blogger Adrian Cruden looks forward to a positive debate on Scotland's currency future

The Scottish Government has launched a far reaching white paper, Scotland's Future, outlining its plans for a new, independent country if Scottish voters say Yes next September. In a polished performance, as well as presenting the proposed constitutional settlement and complex division of assets and liabilities between Scotland and the remainder of the United Kingdom, First Minister Alex Salmond and his deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, outlined a range of key policy objectives should the SNP be successfully elected as the government of a newly independent country.

The SNP's plans are mildly left of centre, with economic growth at the heart of their plans for a settlement along a vaguely Scandinavian type model of mixed ownership and social welfare - an objective probably reflecting the broad political consensus within Scotland but something increasingly alien to the gradually harsher, neoliberal approach of the two and a half main parties south of the border.

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Hope at Last? Gary Fraser reports on the Radical Independence Conference (RIC)

 

Only the hardest of political cynics could have walked away from Saturday’s second Radical Independence Conference (RIC) unimpressed. The size of the conference said it all. 1,000, maybe more, ‘radical’ campaigners gathered in the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow for a day of speeches and workshops. The workshops were actually so big that they felt like mini conferences. One delegate said to me, could you imagine how many supporters Better Together (labelled Bitter Together by RIC) would get if they had organised a conference? My silence said it all.

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Scotland, Renewables and Oil

IPCC REPORT SHOWS RADICAL POLICY SHIFT NEEDED, SAYS PATRICK HARVIE

 

 

The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that the world, and the Scottish Government, must embrace radical policy shifts.

The report, which cites almost 10,000 scientific publications, concludes that concentrations of greenhouse gases are at levels unprecedented in 800,000 years and that human influence on the climate system is clear.

It also projects that global temperatures could rise by up to 4.8 degrees by the end of the century.

The tone of the report is clear - the need for action to reduce emissions has never been more urgent. Scotland has apparently "world-leading" emission reduction targets, but we've failed to achieve them two years running. The government's policy response has so far been feeble.

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External links:

Bella Caledonia

Bright Green

George Monbiot

Green Left

Greenpeace

The Jimmy Reid Foundation

Laurie Penny

New Left Project

Newsnet Scotland

Richard Dawkins

Scottish Left Review

Socialist Unity

UK Uncut

Viridis Lumen

Wings Over Scotland

Word Power Books