A group of students and teachers from Copenhagen, Denmark, contacted me some weeks ago to ask if they could meet me whilst they were in Edinburgh and talk about the Scottish Socialist Party's ideas and achievements. I met them today in the sunshine outside The Dynamic Earth and had a thoroughly engrossing chat.
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Thursday, 15 March 2012
Like other Edinburgh householders I've just received my Council tax bill for the coming year. And as unwelcome as the financial demand is, it's the unfairness of it I find hardest to swallow. In the current economic climate, with incomes falling in real terms, millions of Scots find the Council tax a significant drain on family budgets. Yet in 2007 Alex Salmond promised to scrap the Council Tax because it was unfair. He told us he would bring forward a Bill to replace it with one which was fair, based on your income and related to people's ability to pay. But 5 years later we are still waiting. The Council Tax is even more unfair than it was, but the First Minister has done nothing to address this injustice, where those on modest incomes carry the greatest burden. There are pensioners in this city paying one quarter of their income on this bill, whilst others on seven figure salaries, like RBS CEO Stephen Hestor, pays 'buttons' relatively speaking. His Council Tax bill is twice the average despite his salary being 300 times greater. SNP apologists will doubtless point out that Council Tax bills have been frozen in recent years but freezing it doesn't somehow make it fair. And since the First Minister's excuse for not abolishing the Council Tax between 2007 and 2011 was that he didn't have a Parliamentary majority, I am sure I am not the only one asking when will he make good on his promise now that he does?
Saturday, 3 March 2012
I was speaking on Jeremy Vine's BBC Radio 2 programme on Friday, March 2nd about benefit fraud. You can listen to my contribution by visiting this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01c9y6x. Apparently the link doesn't last forever so you may need to be quick.
I am happy to say I received many emails and - would you believe - Tweets of support following the show.