Friday, 31 January 2014


The letter below was sent to The Scotsman on Wednesday in response to an article the previous day attacking Scottish Education Secretary Mike Russell for being 'revolted' by UK immigration policy.
Dear Sir,

I am bound to say I agree - on this occassion at least - with Education Secretary Mike Russell for being 'revolted by UK immigration policy.' [Scotsman 29/1/14] He s right to be disgusted.

When BBC reporters are sent to Bucharest bus station on New Years Day to cover a mythical story about thousands of Roumanians heading for London's Victoria coach station to take advantage of Britain's 'generous benefits system' the influence of UKIP is self-evident. The fact the story revealed no 'hordes of Roumanain immigrants' or 'generous benefits' ought not to obscure the gullibility of BBC news editors who fell for this UKIP myth.

Meanwhile the Tories try to cauterise support ebbing away to their right continue to blame immigrants for Britains economic problems. Their latest proposal is to deny immigrants access to the NHS for two years. Of course I appreciate the Tories would like to deny everyone access to the NHS in favour of private medicine but this idea is surely their worst yet. They shoud be constantly reminded that immigrants make this country richer in coming here. They pay far more into the UK Treasury in taxes than they take out in benefits and services.

There was a time when Labour would have fought such a dual attack on migrant workers and the NHS but those days are sadly long gone. Now they tail end the Tories on immigration policy just as they did on privatisation, on public spending cuts, on anti-union laws, on warmongering, on Trident and ultimately of course on the UK itself.

UKIP want to pin the blame for the 2008 financial collape and the subsequent recession on immigrants. I am confident the people of Scotland will continue to reject their xenophobia and remind them it wasn't the Roumanians who caused the recession, it wasn't the Bulgarians who bankrupted the country it was bankers like Nigel Farage.

Friday, 17 January 2014

UKIP: Blaming Immigrants for Britains Failures

Have you noticed how editorialising journalists repeatedly tell us ‘UKIP will do well in this years European elections’? The BBC’s Sarah Montague on Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme was the latest exponent of this art of talking up Nigel Farage's party. 

Not only is his relentless right wing bile not challenged by our populist media they in fact pander to it. Take the BBC for example. On New Years Day they broadcast live from Bucharest bus station where reporters disappointedly announced that the buses they had hoped to show full of Roumanian ‘benefit tourists’ bound for London to ‘sign on’, as UKIP had forecast, were nowhere to be seen! I watched dumfounded as one reporter after another, instead of hammering UKIP’s offensive, xenophobic nonsense, promised ‘We will come back tomorrow’.

Politicians at Westminster are similarly complicit. Having given up confronting UKIP's racist opinions they follow them. Guided by ill informed ‘focus groups’ fed on a diet of Daily Mail myths they attack the civic and human rights of immigrants. All three parties of big business at Westminster now vie with one another to present the most punitive anti-immigrant proposals such as prohibiting access to the NHS or welfare support.

The findings of the latest British Social Attitudes Survey released this month also made for some very unwelcome, if not altogether surprising, reading as far as people’s views on migrant workers are concerned. I do not question the surveys findings but I do reject the views held by respondents. They show the consequences that flow from a badly informed public debate fuelled by ignorance and prejudice. The Daily Mail is seldom outdone in publishing the most offensive portrayals of migrant workers and social security beneficiaries. Their thinly veiled racist 'inexactitudes' have done enormous damage and yet go largely unchallenged.

It is surely time to confront such prejudices with a rational examination of the issues. Lets start with some facts The Daily Mail and the BBC refuse to mention. Immigration is good for Britain. It benefits our economy and our society. By coming to work and live here immigrants make Britain richer as their skills and hard work improve the economy. Immigrants moreover tend to be young men and women with skills who pay far more into the UK Treasury than they take out. Moreover in Scotland the arrival of these young workers has reversed our prolonged population decline.

And UKIP’s most recent idiotic and offensive contention that immigrants are drawn to Britain by our ‘generous social security benefits’ shows just how little they know because there is no such thing as ‘generous benefits’ as anyone familiar with the £65/week you get on Income Support will testify. Second, no one comes here to ‘sign on’ they are attracted by the prospect of work only to find they are often grievously exploited by unscrupulous employers paying miserable wages when they do.

It's time to remind Nigel Farage that it wasn’t the Bulgarians who caused Britain’s financial crisis, it was the bankers. It wasn’t Romanian immigrants who caused the worst recession in 80 years, it was the rich. It wasn’t his mythical ‘benefits tourists’ who embezzled £100 billion avoiding tax. It wasn’t immigrants who introduced the bedroom tax or sold off the Royal Mail. It wasn’t immigrants who forced one million households in Scotland into fuel poverty. It wasn’t immigrants who stole ten million pounds from the public purse at Westminster with their fraudulent expenses claims and ‘second homes’ scam.
But we don’t hear UKIP or the Tories calling for the real culprits to be brought to justice, do we? 

Lets resolve to make 2014 the year we expose the real culprits and expose the lies, prejudice and racism of UKIP and their fellow travellers once and for all.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Year Message

Happy New Year and what an exciting year 2014 promises to be.

If Scotland votes Yes in September 300 years of British domination will come to an end as will the democratic failure at the heart of UK politics. We are governed by those without a mandate to do so and are penalised by an economic model biased towards the South East of England that has failed us over decades. A Yes vote will change all that and signal our preparedness to build a new society that rejects the exploitative and iniquitous laissez-faire model in favour of harnessing the full potential of our nation and its resources for the benefit of every one.  

Self-determination is the progressive choice in this Referendum and the polls say we will win if we offer the people of Scotland hope against a background of prolonged Unionist pessimism and failure. Our message to the people of Scotland today must therefore be ‘come and change the world with us on September 18th’.

And my message to YES supporters is borrowed from Martin Luther King who said at a juncture similar to this one ‘Keep your eyes on the prize’. For what a remarkable ‘prize’ Independence will be for the people of Scotland!

The Scottish Socialist Party will continue to do all we can to deliver a Yes vote in Scotland’s working class districts and we are confident we can persuade those in most need that they will be economically, socially and politically better off with Independence. 

Yes 2014 promises to be both an exciting year and a turning point in Scottish history.