The General Election.

The 12th December General Election is less than a week away, and with it comes the possibility of seeing the Tories ousted before they can cause any more irreparable damage to our society. In England and Wales, the choice is clear. In Scotland, the choice between the SNP and Labour is, for many people, more difficult- the decision will centre around two major points of political conflict. The handling of Brexit and the future of Scottish independence, issues which have divided the country for years now.

While the SNP will no doubt redouble their efforts towards a second referendum should they retain their seats, they will never be able to secure that second referendum if the Conservatives remain in power. If that were possible, there would have been a second referendum by now. Additionally, they stand no chance of being able to meaningfully handle the Brexit negotiations, even if the whole of Scotland was to vote for them. This increases the risk of the conservatives returning to power to enact their harmful Brexit deal that will have a negative effect on the working class all across these Isles.

It also bears remembering that the SNP have proved themselves to be, time and again, a centrist party, pandering to trendy progressive ideals while doing very little in support of the Scottish working class, possessing no real vision for a genuinely progressive society beyond Scottish independence. With the drop in Labour turnout in 2017, the SNP have continued to turn away from more progressive policies. Their 2017 manifesto included proposed reforms to Thatcherite union laws and support of the Gender Recognition Act, both of which have been dropped this time around.
The SNPs continued refusal to enact real change is evidenced in their 2019 manifesto, where they make nebulous proclamations that they

“will consider proposals to ensure fairer pay by ensuring that the balance of salaries of all employees within a company or organisation are considered when senior pay packs are decided.”

Improving pay and working conditions for workers is not a primary concern for the SNP, and the vagueness of this statement and others like it within the manifesto show that. Labour are the only party attempting to represent the voice of the British working class, who have more in common with each other across national boundaries than with the managerial and upper classes of their own respective countries. By contrast their manifesto speaks to the evident need for drastic and urgent change. There is still work to be done- in a number of areas Labour don’t go far enough- but a vote for the SNP does nothing to shift the conversation towards meaningful change, and will only weaken Labours position against the Tories.

Labour will have a difficult time winning back support after the numerous failures in previous Scottish Labour campaigns to speak to and galvanise the Scottish electorate, which ultimately resulted in mass losses in trust and position to the then rising SNP. This does mean, however, that it wasn’t Labour who failed to prevent the resurgence of the Conservatives in Scotland.

The prospect of a strong Labour government so threatens the establishment that the likes of the BBC have found it almost impossible to disguise their inherent bias; from editing out crowds laughing at the idea of Boris Johnson being trustworthy to showing 3 year old footage of him at the cenotaph to cover for yet another blunder, the blatant manipulation has been staggering. Corbyn himself has been put through the ringer more violently than any other recent Labour figure, meaning his Labour party- which has at last remembered its own history- stands a fighting chance of dismantling the hegemony which sees 6 people own as much wealth in the UK as the bottom 13 million.

While we at the ACU support independence and fully understand the organic political support behind the cause for a better say in how our wee country is run, we believe now is the time to show solidarity with workers across the UK. That means not abandoning them to suffer under a callous Tory premiership. Democracy is best served by the dismantling of large structures of governance and power, but an independent Scotland would nevertheless benefit from a neighbouring Labour government. The desire to vote SNP as a means of sending a message to Westminster is understandable but would in fact likely delay or discount the very possibility of a second referendum should the Tories maintain power. While it seems likely that Labour will be forced to seek a coalition with the SNP- the price of which, Sturgeon has been clear, is a second referendum- this isn’t actually preferable to what is being tabled by Scottish Labour. A second referendum will come- we can trust the tenacity of the SNP in that regard, and we will have another chance to show support for it come the Scottish elections. But right now, the best use of your vote is to get rid of the Conservatives while at the same time shifting the conversation on domestic policy dramatically in a better direction.

Vote Labour!

Food Bank Struggle

by James McLean

As a community North Ayrshire has had it’s fair share of difficulty over the years. Our wee patch of Scotland, famed for things like delicious tatties and hardworking dairy cows, is still somehow constantly topping lists of worst in Scotland for poverty. This won’t be a startling realisation for anyone that has had to grow up in one of the many schemes in the area.

For a place that was once filled with industry; North Ayrshire suffers from a lack of employment opportunities, an ineffective welfare system and poor wages for many of those that do find employment for themselves. In 2017 it was recorded that almost a quarter of households in North Ayrshire were workless and we are second only to Glasgow in terms of children living in poverty.

All of these things and more have resulted in an increasing number of struggling people turning to help from the local food banks. The North Ayrshire food bank has been open for 6 years now and has been invaluable in ensuring that the generosity of people donating food is sorted and applied effectively to those that need help in the community. Last year alone the food bank handed out 5124 three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis and is looking to continue to help those in need going forward. This means that a steady supply of donations is required to keep up with demand.

After a seemingly bountiful December the food bank took to social media on the 2nd of May with an urgent appeal. “Donations urgently required. We are now unable to fulfil our orders for food parcels and we are turning people away.” There has since been a number of donations from various businesses and locals but how long until the next shortage?

In a community as troubled as ours we shouldn’t fall into apathy. In a modern society everyone should have access to food to feed themselves and their families. As we seem to be consistently ruled by a government that cares little for the poorest in our country and are constantly surrounded by negativity and struggle it is up to us, the people, to do what we can to take care of each other.

If you feel you would like to help check out their website at https://northayrshire.foodbank.org.uk/locations/

Photo by Peter Wendt on Unsplash