Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/503/3153

From The Socialist newspaper, 27 September 2007

Salmond's first hundred days

THE SCOTTISH National party (SNP) government recently marked its first 100 days in power in Scotland. Approval ratings have shown First Minister Alex Salmond outpolling his opponents by around three to one. The SNP are riding high in the polls with the SNP's "Holyrood hike" trumping the "Brown bounce" which saw Labour move ahead of the Tories at a UK level.

Philip Stott, Dundee

The first months of SNP administration have seen the abolition of tolls on the Forth and Tay bridges, reversals of decisions to shut Accident and Emergency departments at Monklands and Ayr hospitals and the intention to abolish the graduate endowment for students. These are all widely welcomed.

At the same time however, the SNP has underlined its support for big business and capitalist interests. Alex Salmond announced the establishment of the Council of Economic Advisors, full of neo-liberal ideologues.

This body is chaired by the Royal Bank of Scotland's former head, George Mathewson, who infamously told RBS staff protesting at a lack of decent pay that: "Staff who have not received increases under our approach are poor performers or those who are paid at the maximum salary scale." This was at a time when RBS profits had grown to 7.1 billion a year.

The SNP say this body will play a crucial role in developing government economic policy. Clearly the driving down of tax rates for business and "efficiency savings" i.e. cuts in the public sector, will be at the heart of their approach.

The SNP were elected on a manifesto pledge to end the use of private finance to build schools and hospitals. PFI/PPP is being replaced by a "Scottish Trust" - a government bond that would provide a cheaper way to allocate capital spending for public-sector projects.

However, Enterprise Minister Jim Mather recently told Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce that he was meeting with international business to encourage them to "invest in Scottish public services."

The SNP see this alternative to PPP as being underpinned by international finance but big business will want their pound of flesh for their investment. Mather commented: "We have had financiers from the US recognising that something is happening in Scotland now, and the message they are taking back to America is that if investors wanted to get into Ireland in 1986, they should be investing in Scotland now."

Alex Salmond admits some hard decisions lie ahead. The Scottish Executive's budget, based on a Treasury block grant, is likely to be squeezed when Gordon Brown announces the public spending plans later this autumn. Salmond commented: "The general impression points to a much, much, much tighter spending round than has previously been the case."

The SNP, who want to prove themselves a 'competent' government, will "face up honestly" to these challenges. In other words they will make the necessary cuts.

The SNP, in coalition with the Lib Dems in Edinburgh council, have unleashed a vicious 10 million cuts programme on schools, communities and nursery education. This shows the likely direction that the SNP government in Holyrood will take, bringing the SNP into conflict with increasing numbers of trade unionists, workers and communities.

Building a socialist alternative to the parties of big business remains a vital task in the months ahead.


Talking about a constitution

THE SNP manifesto promised to deliver a referendum on Scottish independence by 2011. But, with most Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) opposed to any referendum, the SNP face an obstacle.

Alex Salmond and the Executive have produced a document to kick-start a "National Conversation" on Scotland's constitutional future. The SNP still advocate independence, but have for some years accepted a gradualist approach involving building extra powers for Scotland's parliament. Most of the Choosing Scotland's Future document does not deal with independence but with which powers should be accrued.

The SNP's commitment to capitalist interests is underlined when the document explains that: "devolution of responsibility for economic and fiscal policy would allow a Scottish government to design a business tax environment calculated to encourage investment in Scotland." In other words it would allow a Scottish government to cut corporation and other business taxes to boost big business profitability.

A consistent majority in opinion polls favours increased powers while a minority back full independence. The SNP strategy partly reflects this opposition to independence among much of the population, including most of big business.

Salmond aims to prove the SNP's ability to govern "responsibly" while seeking to push ahead on the constitution. By dangling the carrot of a low-tax paradise for big business in a Scotland with a form of fiscal autonomy, they aim to win the backing of these interests.

The Lib Dems favour more powers as do the Tories. Even New Labour now concede that the devolutionary settlement needs looking at, although they have all joined forces in a "unionist alliance" to oppose any referendum that includes an independence option.

The Socialist (Scotland) supports a multi-option referendum with the Scottish people's right to decide on greater powers for the parliament, the status quo and full independence.

Whatever the outcome of the 'national conversation' the need for clear socialist policies based on public ownership and democratic control of the economy, an end to privatisation, the abolition of the anti-union laws, a decent minimum wage and the removal of Trident are vital if real change is going to be delivered.

A socialist Scotland is not an optional extra, it is the only antidote to the capitalist market defended by all the main parties.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 27 September 2007:

Support the postal workers


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Scrap PFI!

Local health services under private control

Swansea NHS trust - balancing books at patients' expense


Socialist Party news and analysis

Brown's blue bluster in Bournemouth

Union protest at Labour's sterile conference

Liberal Democrats - Struggling in third place

Salmond's first hundred days

Stoke's 'unpopular front' council coalition


Socialist Students

University freshers fairs


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

British banking crisis: Toxic system exposed


International socialist news and analysis

Greek elections: Support slashed for New Democracy and PASOK


Socialist Party workplace news

PCS prepares for more strikes

Belfast Airport workers continue their battle

Bus workers win victory


 

Home   |   The Socialist 27 September 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Scotland:

triangleWorkers' victory over anti-union Scottish council

triangleAberdeen workers step up strike action against profiteering First Bus

triangleAberdeen bus drivers strike against pay cuts

triangleUndercover policing legal challenge

triangleWhat does the left victory in Scottish Labour mean?

Scottish National Party:

triangleWhere is Scotland going?

triangleScotland - SNP loses but Labour could've won more

triangleCorbyn could re-win Scotland with a socialist approach to independence

triangleScotland 'indyref2' for socialist independence not the capitalist EU

International

International

18/4/18

Catalonia

Catalonia: 1m marchers demand self-determination

13/4/18

Syria

No to the bombing of Syria!

11/4/18

Poland

Poland: huge demos against right wing government's abortion ban

11/4/18

Kshama Sawant

Defend socialist councillor Kshama Sawant against lawsuits

11/4/18

Ireland

Ireland: March against misogyny and injustice

11/4/18

Hong Kong

Workers' protests against state repression in China and Hong Kong

10/4/18

Syria

No to bombing Syria

4/4/18

Gaza

Gaza - protest is not terrorism!

4/4/18

Catalonia

Catalonia: new Francoist coup - general strike now!

28/3/18

USA

USA: Huge 'march for our lives' protests

28/3/18

France

France: Pressure mounts on Macron government

28/3/18

Russia

Russia's predictable presidential election

21/3/18

Brazil

Brazil: Psol councillor Marielle Franco murdered

21/3/18

US

US school shootings: student walkouts challenge establishment

21/3/18

US

West Virginia teachers' strike victory

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999