Sunday 24 August 2008

Salmond the brave? Or just stupid?

To say that Scottish people "didn't mind the economic side so much" of Mrs Thatcher's policies is either a very brave comment to make, or a very stupid one (BBC News: Salmond defends Thatcher comments). Working class people across most of the UK, but especially Scotland, suffered at the hands of Thatcher's mine and steelwork closures, Poll Tax, union bashing, and other neoliberal economic policies (as continued by Major, Blair and Brown).

True, Thatcher's social policies weren't good either. Yet, for all Thatcher is remembered for attacking civil liberties, she actually passed fewer laws curtailing social freedom than Bliar has done. Much of the social repression under Thatcher was tied in with her economic actions, such as the Thatcherite anti-union laws (still not repealed by Bliar or Brown) and the police victimisation of striking miners.

One notable stand-alone curtailment of social freedom by Thatcher, was Section 28 - a homophobic law banning the "promotion of homosexuality", which tended to have a chilling effect on any rational discussion of homosexuality. At the same time, Establishment-propagated brainwashing at the time was most definitely anti gay - small wonder, then, that at the time homosexuality was often considered as socially unacceptable as paedophilia is now!

But who has been one of the greatest defenders of Section 28 into the 1990's? Brian Souter, the arch-capitalist boss of Stagecoach buses, who has also been responsible for cutbacks in bus services and fare hikes in many areas. And was, in the late 90s, a supporter of the SNP (BBC News: Stagecoach tycoon donates to SNP).

On many issues, the SNP appears to the left of New Labour and the Tories (dead easy :-P ), such as their opposition to student tuition fees. Yet in other ways, they follow the Establishment parties close behind. SNP controlled councils have embraced privatisation and PFI with as much enthusiasm as their Tory and New Labour counterparts, while on the social front, they have championed such reactionary measures as the raising of the age for buying alcohol to 21 (BBC News: Drink age 'could be raised to 21').

So, whatever Salmond actually meant by his Thatcher comments, we cannot trust the SNP to defend the working class from the capitalist Establishment's attacks on us, either on the economic or social fronts. In elections, Scottish workers should vote for Solidarity. More importantly, we should support workers who are resisting the attacks of the Scottish political Establishment, such as the council workers there who recently went on strike (Solidarity website: Massive response to council workers' strike rocks employer)

Workers - not only in Scotland, not only in the UK, but all across the world - must unite in strikes, demonstrations and other extra-parliamentary actions, to defend ourselves from attacks on our wages and civil liberties. Not only by our immediate bosses, but by the capitalist Establishment in general, including those elected into government. Regardless of which party is attacking us!!!

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