The piece I wrote for the Morning Star Voices of Scotland published today (2 December 2014) has been given by the editors a more positive and hopeful heading than perhaps I would have put myself. “New leaders could deliver what Yes and No voted for” refers to the prospect of a double act at the top of the Scottish political tree.
Indeed our new First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, is a self-confessed social democrat, presumably on the European model rather than the British one. Neil Findlay, a current contender for Scottish Labour leader is an avowed socialist. So perhaps there is a chance of moving the Scottish body politic a step to the left.
The main thrust of my article today however sought to focus on the very real impact of mainstream austerity politics on public sector workers – and this week, members of my union, PCS in the Scottish government sector have launched a winter season of industrial campaigning in which we call on John Swinney not to be a pantomime villian and end the public sector pay squeeze. The power is already devolved and with the political will, this can be put right for hardworking civil and public servants who will see their earnings since 2008 drop 20% in real terms by 2015.
However, let’s carry forward the pantomime theme. However committed to social justice and antipoverty Nicola and Neil might be, unless there is an accord on fighting austerity, then they might be no more than Babes in the Wood. Look out, the real pantomime villian is behind you, the Wicked Uncle who banished the Babes so that he could inherit their fortune and rule austerity over the poor. “Oh, yes he is!”