1. He gives his neighbours a hand by leaving gifts for all.

2. He says thanks for all the cookies he is given.

3. He visits everyone regardless of economic background.

4. He wears his red suit with pride.

5. When he shouts “Ho Ho Ho” in the small hours folk understand and smile.

6. He might only have a seasonal job but he gets by the rest of the year.

7. He meets folks from all different kinds of backgrounds and treats them all the same.

8. He saves up all year so he can pay for all his gifts in advance. There was that time a few years ago when Farepack left him and many others high and dry he has learned his lesson.

9. He might not have a car but his system of transport is very eco-friendly.

10. He wishes everyone a happy Hannuhkah, Id, Holi  Christmas, or festive cheer He is grateful to be surrounded by such a diverse group of neighbours.


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Campaigning with Autism

I am going to the Faslane demo on Sunday.proud to be part of the movement which has come over since the Referendum and the Smith Commission. I always though have to think of my children who live with autism. Most of my campaigning  has to be fitted around my childrens’ lives. They are the reason I do what I do. We have gone on a few marches but Callum especially hates the noise and unpredictability of demos. So I had to write him a social story about why we are going to Faslane tomorrow.

I am a cold war child. I grew up hearing aeroplanes in the night and wondering if this was the time the bomb would drop. Nukes were part of the stories and television I watched. 2000AD my favourite comic even had a story called “meltdown man” where a man right at the detonation point of a nuclear bomb was hurtled into a parallel universe. The threat of the bomb did cast a shadow over my childhood. I wanted a different childhood for my own children but with no Independence the threat still looms there. I had not been to Faslane or the peace camp until a comrade organized a visit now I feel I have to give more time to them. They stand in the gap for all of us as a living protest against the weapons that may mean the end of all of us.

We live at the edge of the Glennifer Braes and if you go to the car park in the sky you can see across the water to the gates of Hell which is Faslane. Not that I tell my children that but we live less than 40 miles from Faslane meltdown central. I try to shelter my children as we all do but Cally like my earlier self is a worrier. He already feels sad that we didn’t win Independence. We were part of the “YES team” and believed we could wake up one day in a better country but it wasn’t to be. Not yet anyhow. So this is part of the reason I am taking Callum to the demo tomorrow.

We have spoken all this week about nuclear weapons which frighten him and I have written a social story about going to demos. A kind friend has given me a loan of her daughter’s wheelchair and we have ear protectors. I will take his favourite snacks and of course his tablet so he can retreat into his wee world if he needs to. I hope he won’t though I hope he will grow up to be a man who protests and cares for others. So we are going to the demo tomorrow and I am having to take him out of his comfort zone. I hope though for his future that Scotland can lead the way and be free of these weapons. I hope because I have to as a mum and am doing this for all our children.

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More care charities face the cuts cosh

More care charities face the cuts cosh.

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More care charities face the cuts cosh

Originally posted on Scottish Socialist Voice:

Glasgow Association of Mental Health demo

CUTS COST LIVES: 500 people recently protested against the cuts to Glasgow Association of Mental Health’s budget. PHOTO: UNISON Scotland

by Sandra Webster, SSP national co-spokesperson

Recently we saw the extravaganza that is Children in Need, where a plenitude of celebrities urge us to donate to a charity which funds many projects for the most vulnerable. The irony is, like the good causes funded by The National Lottery, it is ordinary people who donate the most. Charities are becoming part of statutory services, providing services usually provided by local authorities.

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Fracking and Ineos.

One of my proudest moments at the latest SSP conference was when we voted to oppose fracking. For me it is the death throws of our exploitation of the Earth. For big business such as Ineos who were given a cash hand out from the Scottish government to keep the Grangemouth distillery open. For their views on tracking check out their press release last year which highlights their views.

Material gain about sums up their approach. A global corporation who as well as importing shale gas from America for processing now owns the rights of 80% of Petroleum Explration and Development licenses. PEDLS. Big words for fracking. How ironic on Nicola Sturgeon’s first FM question time this is announced. Corporate bosses showing who really control the puppet strings? It is easy too to feel cynical and wonder when the deals had been signed. Thankfully people who have become more politically engaged since during the referendum have raised their concerns in the social media.

Apparently Nicola Sturgeon has said she has not been persuaded that there are some benefits to fracking. However do a few jobs make up for the downside of fracking and the environmental catastrophes it may lead too. Most of the Central belt and the Fifth of Forth have been identified as potential sites. This is the ultimate NIMBY campaign as it will be affecting all the areas we live in. My belief is you have to be red to be green and that is why I am glad we as a party oppose fracking and call for investment into renewables which would be a fantastic opportunity for the Scottish economy. Proud to be a socialist and part of a movement which will always put people before profit first. I will always campaign for the rights of individuals before the schemes of exploitation of greedy global corporations. Hope you will join us.

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SSP women’s network is back on track

Originally posted on Scottish Socialist Voice:

sandra and glasgow ssp in edinburgh for conf 2014

LEFT PLATFORM: some west coast delegates arrive for SSP conference

by Sandra Webster, SSP national co-spokesperson

Our conference of a few weeks ago was an inspiration. Democracy is bursting out all over the SSP. There was great debate and a great mix of older and newer comrades all there to support each other.

We had all come together to begin the fightback and stake our claim to share our vision of an independent socialist Scotland. Part of this was our unanimous decision to re-establish the women’s network—one of the groups I believe will help build the party, as well as being a safe place for women to become more confident and contribute in an environment that is appropriate to us.

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The Ghost Train.

The Ghost Train..

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