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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The Ghost Train.

She had taken the tablets and the optional extra half bottle of tequila. She felt sleepy waited for the darkness she wished would soon cease to be an exclamation mark on history. She felt sleepy now and expecting there to be nothing else just the darkness.

Awake shit. This was not meant to happen. As I come to myself I can hear a distant melody. “da da da di diddly da da da. A song of childhood and trips to the circus. I become more aware of noises around me. I feel pressure on my hands. I am upright. I slowly open my eyes. My hands are clamped tight. I smell candy floss and hotdogs. When I open my eyes I see garish colours so I shut them tight again. Then I feel a tap on my shoulder. I peek out and see the grinning face of a circus clown. His eyes are sad though. I notice he has a clipboard in his hand.

“Hola  Mirabel” he says. A faint hello is all I can muster.


I look at him more closely. If it wasn’t for the clown costume he could be just another suit. I know what to expect. I look at the pity in his eye and know he has seen it many times before but I am used to that and am ready to engage.

“The handcuffs, why am I here? Can you take them off they are hurting me”.

I lunge towards him but he moves his head slightly back so I can’t feel his skin. He is used to this.

He smiles with fake concern in his voice.

“Mirabel, Mirabel. I wish I could spare you this but this will be the most uncomfortable three minutes of your life”.

His adam’s apple gulped. I am worried now.

“You have to appreciate you see” he said.

“We have many different species to process.”

He took out a mobile phone and pressed a red button.

“We are going to take the ride of your life”

My eyes are opening wider. I can see that I am on a ghost train. When I was little I used to like the feeling of being frightened. This time it was different though. The car lurched ahead. We entered the tunnel. Darkness all around us at last but also the flickering fingers of loved ones. He could read my mind.

“Yes they are.” He said.

And we go through the doors into my primary one classroom. I remember my teacher and her expectations of me. Nada. I was an Sebastian after all. The next day the birth of my children. I cried and the handcuffs got tighter. I understood what was happening.

“Please no more”.

He looked at me again and put his hand in mine. I resisted but I could not anymore.

“Mirabel. You must watch to remember and be remembered.”

It came into my mind that today was el dia de los muertes. When we remember all that have passed so we can stay in the land of the remembered. We they. Was I remembered?

So I sat and watched and remembered all the good, all the bad and all the inbetween that was the miniscule of my life. It was hard. We exited the ghost train. I could see the administrator of the next life checking off all his tick boxes. As we left the tunnel I could see the queue that went on forever. He looked at me.

“So do you want to go back?”

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Let’s target the real scroungers

Originally posted on Scottish Socialist Voice:

100_2631by Sandra Webster,
SSP national co-spokesperson

In the lead up to the referendum vote, the future of the welfare state was one of the issues referred to by the Scottish Government. Nicola Sturgeon talked of a fairer welfare state with little detail but the hope rested there in the ether. Unfortunately, the No vote will impact on many peoples lives of all ages, gender and abilities and lead to the further dismantling of the welfare state. As the SSP meets for our first post-referendum conference, it is important to be aware of some of the benefit cuts which are coming our way and will affect those both in and out of work.

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