:: Sunday, June 30, 2002 ::

New on redflag.org.uk, my pictures from the General Strike in Spain, June 20th 2002

And the report can be found on the the Scottish Socialist Voice website.

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:: Friday, June 28, 2002 ::

Red MP3's

The Morning Star (daily newspaper widely read in the trade-unions and connected to the Communist Party of Britain) has a couple of sample tracks from its benefit album 'Fear of a Red Planet' at this site.

Brilliant French lefty musicians Compagnie Jolie Môme also have a couple of their excellent tracks downloadable in mp3 format. In French naturellement. Their sixties lounge version of the internationale is fantastic, but you'll have to get their cd for that.

Please let me know if you have any other lefty mp3 links.

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:: Thursday, June 27, 2002 ::

Irish Socialist Network Declares Its Manifesto

"Irish Socialist Network Declares Its Manifesto
by Colm Breathnach

A new radical democratic socialist organisation, called the Irish Socialist Network (ISN) has been set up in Dublin. The ISN is committed to the complete abolition of capitalism and its replacement by a socialist society, by which is meant:
*A transformation of power relationships leading to democratic control of all aspects of society and an end to elite rule.
*Collective ownership and democratic control of, and access to, all economic structures, wealth and resources, by workers and consumers.
*Equality of all people and an end to all forms of privilege and discrimination.
*Vindication of all human rights; social, political and individual.
*A sustainable society developing in harmony with the natural environment.

The Irish Socialist Network will carry out its work on the basis of the following principles:
*Change is brought about by the empowerment of ordinary people not by a revolutionary vanguard or a parliamentary elite.
*A socialist organisation is characterised by openness, equality and internal democracy.
*Non-dogmatic Marxist thought is essential for analysing society and advancing the struggle for socialism.
*While acknowledging differences we will work in a non-sectarian manner with, and promote dialogue among, all socialist and progressive groups.

A key component of socialism is internationalism. The struggle for justice, equality and our environment is global."

Fair play to the comrades, and nice logo ; )

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Parties unite to condemn public service underspend

Tommy Sheridan, leader of the Scottish Socialists, said Scotland had the worst child and pensioner poverty in Europe, a deplorable health record, and severely underfunded education and transport.

"Yet now the New Labour-led government in Scotland tries to pass a massive underspend off as a success story. They should be condemned, not congratulated."

And they said we couldn't afford free school meals...

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:: Wednesday, June 26, 2002 ::

I don't care much about national flags really but I suppose it says something about the maturity of Scotland as a nation that it is agreeing the colour of its national flag. But the values of Pantone 549C8771B do not look right for the saltire IMO. I have asked Pantone about this and will let you know!

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Well the saltire is supposedly Pantone 549C8771B, which would give the rgb values r=91 g=151 b=177 and the cmyk values c=66 m=29 y=22 k=1

But it doesn't look right to me. Much closer to Pantone 287C in my opinion.

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rebelinccoffeeshop.com weblog

Kevin Williamson has launched a weblog for his proposed cannabis coffee-shop. He writes:

this weblog is all copyright-free stuff so readers can feel free to cut-and-paste if anything grabs you.

I will!

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The Herald

ROSES are red, violets are blue, for the hue of the saltire, only Pantone 549C8771B will do.

I find the fact that the Scottish flag now has an official Pantone colour faintly reassuring. Check back here later where I promise to reveal the cmyk and rgb values corresponding to Pantone 549C8771B (azure blue).

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Sheridan is cleared of Faslane demo charge

After the verdict, Mr Sheridan said: "What’s vital now is the establishment of the right to peaceful protest as is clear in article 11 of the European Court of Human Rights.

"Those who attend Faslane naval base to express their opposition to nuclear weapons quite simply have the legal right to do so."

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:: Tuesday, June 25, 2002 ::

MSP cleared of nuclear base protest

The Scottish Socialist Party leader has been cleared of causing a breach of the peace during an anti-nuclear protest at Faslane naval base.

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The Scotsman is currently having an online poll:

Should cannabis be available in Amsterdam-style coffee-shops in Scotland?
current voting:
But of course. 75.9%
Certainly not. 24.1%
87 votes

I recommend you check out Rebel Inc. Cannabis Coffee Shop

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SNP backs MacDonald - The Scotsman newspaper

THE SNP leadership has promised to throw all available resources into the fight for Edinburgh South at the next election in an attempt to prevent maverick MSP Margo MacDonald leaving the party.

The selection of candidates for the Scottish National Party left left-wing MSP Margo MacDonald in a probably unwinnable position on their party list. Realistically I don't think they have any chance of winning the Edinburgh South FPTP seat either. While she has ruled out joining the Scottish Socialist Party (although saying she was "flattered") there is still a possibility that Margo may stand on the list as an independent. She would only need to get 6% of the vote. If this came largely from SNP supporters it may not do the SSP any harm.

Previously Margo hinted at going independent and forming a new group:

Shunned MSP hints at rainbow alliance with independents

"Ms MacDonald said she thought it would be a good idea for all the independent and minority party MSPs to join together in a grouping which could then influence the parliament to a much greater extent than was possible at present.

This would mean a new, loose association of Tommy Sheridan, the Scottish Socialist, Dennis Canavan, who is independent, Robin Harper of the Greens, independent Dorothy-Grace Elder, who was formerly with the SNP, and Ms MacDonald herself."

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:: Monday, June 24, 2002 ::

Fiery reaction to 'private' brigade

Scottish Socialist leader Tommy Sheridan branded the proposals: "New Labour gone mad."

He said: "They've thrown away any shred of public sector credibility they have ever had and they are now out-privatising even the Tories."

Now New Labour even want to privatise the fire brigade!

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Margo and Tommy.... a match made in media heaven

"Tommy Sheridan has also shown just how effective a one-man band can be in Holyrood. Not just a pretty face, the SSP leader has been a shrewd tactician, with a powerful oratorical style and a hotline to the old socialist soul of West Central Scotland."

As New Labour predictably vote down the free school meals bill (party point scoring being more important than childrens health) they will suffer for it at the ballot box. The article above from the Sunday Herald outlines the threat the SSP poses to Labour and the big mistake the SNP made in not ensuring Margo MacDonald had a decent place on their regional list.

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:: Friday, June 14, 2002 ::

A Scottish Parliament committee has rejected the free school meals bill (proposed by Tommy Sheridan of the SSP), despite the overwhelming evidence that it improves childrens health significantly, and the support of dozens of professional organisations including the BMA, EIS and STUC. The Bill now goes forward for debate at the Scottish Parliament next week

read the full article at BBC News Scotland

Free school meals call rejected

A move to provide free school meals for every pupil in Scotland has been rejected by a Scottish Parliament committee.

Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan brought forward the proposal in a Member's Bill.

He said he was trying to rid state schools of the stigma of free meals.

"Our committee is not persuaded that the free provision of school meals will automatically increase uptake "

Cathy Peattie MSP

But the education committee said it was not convinced that the move would lead to more children taking school meals.

Some 30,000 Scottish pupils do not take up their entitlement to free school dinners.

Mr Sheridan said this is because of the stigma attached to them.

He argued that if everyone got a free meal, there would be no cause for embarrassment.

The SSP leader believes his Bill, which sets out nutritional standards, would be an investment in the future health and well-being of Scotland's children.

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:: Thursday, June 13, 2002 ::

Tommy Sheridan, who is a Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Scottish Socialist Party is introducing a bill to provide free nutritious school meals for every child in Scotland. The New Labour executive are doing their best to sabotage it. The article below from the NY Times outlines why the bill is so important.

June 13, 2002 At Summit, a Push for a Proven Cure for Hunger: School Lunches By ELIZABETH OLSON

GENEVA, June 12 — While world leaders at the Rome food summit meeting were sparring over how to tackle global hunger, the World Food Program said today that one proven way was to provide school lunches, which now guarantee that more than 15 million children have a good meal every day. The school-lunch program seems prosaic when compared with the grander schemes of abandoning agricultural subsidies, dropping trade barriers and investing in rural development that are being debated by 80 world leaders at the United Nations meeting on world hunger. The four-day gathering, which has been criticized as more of an excuse for shopping than a serious effort at addressing world hunger, was called to revitalize government pledges made five years ago to halve the level of world hunger to 400 million people by 2015, a goal that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has said will not be met.

Wealthy Western countries, which have sent lower-level officials to the meeting, have been accused of showing indifference to hunger. The European Union, in unusual public criticism, rebuffed the agency's demand for $24 billion a year for new agricultural development aid. James Morris, the director of the World Food Program, said important strides in reducing hunger can be made by focusing on the relatively cheap and uncomplicated effort of feeding the 300 million children who go to bed unfed every night.

"We can feed a child in school for 19 cents a day," he said, speaking in Rome. "For a very small investment, we can change a child's life." The World Food Program is urging expansion of the school feeding program, which began 39 years ago and has since branched out to 60 countries including Afghanistan, Uganda and El Salvador.

"This is a proven, concrete program to reduce hunger for school-age children," said Arlene Mitchell, head of the agency's school feeding unit.

A nutritious meal at school has a number of benefits, including encouraging children to attend, especially girls in countries where their education is not a priority, said Ms. Mitchell at a briefing in Geneva. Most of the children who do not attend school or do not receive a meal during the school day are girls, according to the program. Take-home rations that allow children to bring home some food also persuade parents to send children to school, she said. In Pakistan, the take-home food program increased enrollment of girls by 247 percent over a four-year period studied, the program found. In Morocco, twice as many girls began first grade when a food-ration program was started, according to the program.

A full stomach helps children to concentrate, aiding their ability to learn, and also fights common deficiencies in diet, including vitamin A and iron, Ms. Mitchell said.

Millions more children have been added to the school feeding rolls in the last few years, as the program grew from 11.9 million children in 1999 to 15 million last year, Ms. Mitchell said. No figures were available for the number of children being fed in 2002, but the program has expanded from 52 countries to 60 countries since 1999.

Thirteen countries have taken over the school feeding operations themselves. They include Brazil, where a school snack program began in 1954. Now children in 189,000 schools there receive at least one meal a day during the school year.

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  LONDON JUNE 8. In an impressive show of unity, the U.K.-based Indians and Pakistanis joined hands today and called upon the leadership in the two countries to pull back from their current standoff, start "meaningful'' negotiations to resolve the Kashmir dispute and end the nuclear arms race in the region.

They also protested the "continuing'' British arms supplies to India and Pakistan, and demanded a "blanket'' embargo saying the present policy based on Britain's commercial interests made a "mockery'' of its claim to pursue an "ethical'' foreign policy. The demand was supported by the Campaign Against Arms Trade, an independent group of British pacifists whose supporters include Labour and Liberal Democrat activists.

Hundreds of Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans held a peace rally outside Downing Street on Saturday and later submitted a memorandum to the Indian and Pakistani High Commissions voicing their "deep concern'' at the prospect of war. The memorandum, jointly addressed to the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, and the President, Pervez Musharraf, chastised them for threatening to plunge the subcontinent into a war.

While ordinary people in our countries face dire poverty, communal and sectarian attacks on the basis of religion, gender and caste oppression, your governments have sought to maintain this status quo and bolster your legitimacy with claims to protect national honour by resorting to war and diverting precious resources,'' it said, calling for withdrawal of "all violent and repressive forces'' by both sides. A peaceful solution to the Kashmir dispute could be found in a situation of "genuine peace'' in the region, and with the people of Kashmir being given a "central role'' in any negotiations.

Representatives of 15 India-Pakistan groups, organised under the umbrella of the South Asia Solidarity Group, signed the memorandum and joined the "human chain'' outside Downing Street. In a separate petition to the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, they urged him not to let his government push India and Pakistan "further towards nuclear destruction'' and suspend arms supplies to the two countries.

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:: Wednesday, June 12, 2002 ::


Eigg marks five years of independence

Residents of the Scottish island of Eigg have begun celebrating the fifth year of their land-owing revolution.

Those living in the 70-strong Hebridean community say that the spirit and will which was so strong half a decade ago remains strong today.

Residents of the island - which is located 10 miles off the Scottish mainland, near the fishing port of Mallaig - began a concerted campaign for autonomy in the early 1990s.

(more on link above...)

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OK this is just a sample post to get things under way. Stay tuned for more useful information. This weblog is mine, doesn't belong to any organisation and the opinions expressed are my own.

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