With the formation of new ‘left alliance’ RISE, more parties will now be looking to your secure crucial ‘list vote’ in a bid to bag seats for their candidates at the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections. RISE have been accused in some quarters of stealing voters from the SNP and from traditional Labour stock. Here, Alessio Gentile, politicsandthat columnist and RISE campaigner, argues why you should consider giving this new, socialist party your backing.
First of all I would like to say this article is not an attack on anything Jeremy Corbyn. I have a respect for Jez, I was happy enough to “infiltrate” by paying £3 to see him become labour leader. I’d damn well rather have him challenging the Tories than some Blairite drone that will carry out the same cuts, but only in a “nicer way”.
Don’t get me wrong, there areas where I disagree with Jeremy, such as Scottish independence. Not because I am a nationalist but because I see Scottish independence as key to dismantling the British state and being a catalyst to bringing an end to the neo-colonial world we live in today, where society is driven by a war economy.
I know some of you reading this may be sceptical or even against the national question, but I ask of you, please try and be open. The best way to achieving socialism both in Scotland and out is by dismantling the British state and establishing a socialist republic.
However, on the whole, I like Corbyn and what he’s trying to do. The media and establishment, as we know, are determined to do a job on him and in all honesty I can’t see him lasting to 2020. Not because I don’t think he is cut out to be a potential PM but because the odds are stacked against him and the pressure will keep mounting as time continues, whether it be gutter hacks from Fleet Street or a stab in the back from a Blairite rebel, the establishment, I fear, will get him sooner or later.
We in the Scottish left know the dangers of putting all our hopes into one character and the devastation it can bring to a movement when things goes pear shaped. Turning a generation away from any sort of left wing politics, tarnishing its name, and those once hopeful supporters submitting due to the demoralisation of having hope crushed before them.
Of course there are things we can never change. The past is a reality we all have to face and it is how we learn and continue to evolve from that change that really matters most. I believe RISE can do this as we are a mix of some of the more experienced heads within the Scottish left and a whole new generation of young socialists, radicals, feminists and trade unionists. Nobody can predict the future but it is how we better equip ourselves to handle problems.
The Scottish left has had a second chance and a renewal since the referendum, the SSP which I am a member of, has since formed an alliance with RISE to work with the broader left once again to do what is important to us all; improve the lives of the many out there.
I ask you if you are labour, share some of the same values as Corbyn but can’t bring yourself to vote for the SNP, give RISE your list vote for the Holyrood elections this year.
As we know Corbyn doesn’t control Scottish Labour, Kezia Dugdale does. Since Jez got elected, Kez, in terms of the media at least, has changed the tune. However, it was not long ago the sound of Scottish Labour was that of Jim Murphy, which is still evident in Labour’s approach to Holyrood.
When it comes to policy, as promised, this is set to be Scottish labours “most pro-business manifesto yet” We have already seen what amounts to a £3k bribe floated to first time home buyers. Essentially ‘Osbornomics’, which will of course contribute to the manufactured global crash we are facing yet again this year, will put a financial chain round the neck of many as we await a surge in interest rates rise as wages in fiat currency value decreases.
There is a section within Scottish Labour who as we know, long before Corbyn was elected, want to end universal benefits such as free prescriptions. Something that if it was to go through, would add to the woes of many already living in destitution in Scotlandwho are malnourished and more susceptible to fall ill as a result of the brutal sanction regime the DWP under the Tories have implemented.
And that is just once section of society. Just imagine the relief ending universal benefits would for those who are struggling on a low income but don’t quite tick a box due to bureaucratic “means testing”. We all know someone whose circumstance might not quite tick the right box for the paper work, look at college bursaries for example. These are barriers that prevent resources truly being shared to all, and ones that are stopping many from having a route to improving themselves.
Ending universal benefits and using the money raised from the taxation generated, mostly by those on a low income to give a first time buyer £3k is not socialism. That is stealing from the poor to bribe those who are slightly better off for the time being.
RISE, if elected, will put the case forward for public servant’s wages to be at a minimum of £20k to a maximum of £100k a year, as no high end public servant should be earning five times than “someone at the bottom”.
We also advocate for the building of 500,000 council homes. Everyone needs a roof over their head, currently there are 150,000 on the waiting lists all across Scotland. The only way to solve this is build social housing, not let land developers create a supply and demand market. Housing is a right, not a privilege.
We have more policies and a manifesto yet to come for the election, so I ask of you, please keep an open mind with RISE as we are going to be bringing out some bold policies that can deliver a Scotland that is fairer for all, and of course making sure we are heard during this election.