Yesterday began with the 25,000-strong long march for Independence, and ended with a memorial gig for Davie Fraser, whose death last year can be laid at the foot of the DWP.
Indy marches and rallies are inspiring because, unlike the politics served to us by the telly, they focus on the need to end Austerity and the possibilities of a more equal nuclear-free Scotland. Yesterday’s speeches were unapologetically socialist, and the most frequent chant on the march was Tories out! Our leaflet (reproduced below) called for a tactical SNP vote to maximise the chances of beating off the Tories – and Tony put the point forcefully from the platform – you can see his speech here.
The gig, headlined by the Wakes was organised by Davie’s friends, and entrance went towards SUWN funds. We included part of Sean Cudden’s obituary of his friend in our book, but you can find the full piece here. Davie Fraser’s death is a very personal reminder of the urgency of ending Tory rule. You can get a taste of the gig here.
And here is our leaflet from the All Under One Banner march and rally:
NO TO THE TORIES! – YES TO INDY!
Decisions about Scotland should be made in Scotland, by a government that is readily accessible. But we don’t want simply to replace a British elite with a Scottish one. We want a Scottish Government for all Scotland’s people. A central purpose of Independence has to be to make Scotland a more equal society. We have always been glad to see defence of the welfare state and demands for better social security at the heart of the Indy movement, and we will make sure they stay there.
People who are unable to find work or unable to work are facing a regime of cuts and stigmatisation that is forcing hundreds of thousands to turn to foodbanks. ‘Welfare’ has become a new penal system that is causing widespread breakdown of people’s mental health, and even suicides. This is not primarily about cost saving – in fact all those private subcontractors cost a lot of public money – this is a deliberate attack on the welfare state, and it affects people in work too. It is much harder to protest about poor pay and conditions when the prospect of being made unemployed is truly frightening. The Tories are turning Britain into a low-regulation, low-wage economy.
The SUWN campaigns for a better deal for the unemployed at all levels. We support people directly through our stalls outside the jobcentre, we publicise what is happening, we protest each new restriction and try and push for all we can under the present devolved system. And we fight for the freedom to create a new and fairer alternative.
If we want to see a more equal Scotland, the demand for that equality must be central to our movement. That means not waiting until after independence. We need to demonstrate that social security is important, and by doing all we can under current circumstances, we prove the need for Independence.
At next week’s election it is vital that we maximise the anti-Tory vote. In Scotland that means voting SNP. Even a small shift from SNP to Labour could let in Tory MPs. That could make the difference in enabling May to form the next government. It would also let loose a Tory unionist triumphalism that would try and throw everything in the way of a second referendum. We would love to see a Corbyn Labour government, supported – as it would be – by the SNP MPs, but a vote for Labour in Scotland can make this less likely. A Labour vote would also give a lifeline to a Scottish Labour party that thinks the most important issue is unionism, and the main enemy is not the Tories but the SNP. Both UK Labour and the SNP are social democratic parties. Both are cautiously centre-left, and far from radical (Labour may now be a bit more progressive on taxation – but then there’s Trident…) They look their worst when they are arguing against each other because they share much more than divides them. But in this crucial election the choice should be easy. A vote for the SNP is the surest way to keep out the Tories, and a vote for the SNP maintains the pressure for Independence.