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Solidarity: National Conference Report

By Bill Mair


Saturday 6 February saw Solidarity candidates and members converge on Glasgow from across Scotland for the party's national conference.

The event was held to finalise manifesto points in advance of the Scottish Parliamentary elections in May.

Policies debated include:

• Repeal of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act – unanimously approved

• Solidarity statement in support of the Palestinian people and against the illegal occupation and dispossession by Zionist Israel. Against all arms sales to the rogue state of Israel - unanimously approved

• Solidarity statement on refugees: Refugees ARE welcome here, we should throw open our borders and welcome as many as seek safety in Scotland – unanimously approved

• Europe: Solidarity is for a socialist and trade union-led campaign for withdrawal from the bureaucratic and undemocratic bosses' EU in favour of a People's Europe – unanimously approved

• Dying with dignity: calling for legalisation of assisted suicide under strict guidelines – approved by majority, following debate.

• Education: class sizes of max 20 for P1 to P4; free school meals; breakfast clubs in every school; free education from cradle to grave; no return of National Tests; reinstate student grants – approved by majority, following debate.

• Solidarity opposes the Named Person Scheme as: it infringes civil liberties and Health Visitors do not have sufficient time to adequately assess each family. Solidarity proposes investing in more posts and better training for all those working with children - approved by narrow majority, following detailed debate.

• Decriminalisation of drugs – remitted to Executive Committee for further discussion

• Solidarity MSPs to accept only the average wage of a skilled worker – approved and remitted to Executive Committee for further discussion on the detail

These are now added to the pre-existing policies on:

• Scottish Service Tax – as moved by Tommy Sheridan in the Scottish Parliament in 2006 – an income-based alternative to the regressive Council Tax

• Anti-austerity: not just verbal opposition to Tory austerity cuts but defiance. Councils must set needs-based budgets. Defiance not compliance.

• Second Independence referendum by 2018

• Democracy and Accountability Bill for MSPs: Right of Recall, Reduction in all MSPs salaries to average wage of skilled worker in Scotland; Oath of allegiance to the people of Scotland; Legally enforceable job description

• Bairns not bombs – unilateral nuclear disarmament

• No to Fracking – outright ban, not a mealy-mouthed moratorium

• Publicly-owned pharmaceutical industry: nobody should profit from ill health

Delegates also heard from guest speakers from the Afghan Human Rights Foundation, Mohammed Asif and father and son Dr Nadir Shah & Ferooz Khan, who have cycled 5,000 miles from Afghanistan to promote peace in Afghanistan and to raise awareness that the British intervention in the country has worsened conditions and allowed bandits and terrorist groups such as DAESH and Al Qaeda to flourish.

Trish Buchan from Scotland Against Fracking also spoke, praising Solidarity for continued support of the campaign, right from the very start.

Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne, as Co-convenors, said in a joint statement:


"Yesterday's conference was a very successful day. We are now positioned to campaign on a full agenda of policies for an independent, nuclear-free, Socialist Scotland. A Scotland where all are welcome, all are free and all are equal. We will build a society where the poor get richer, the rich get poorer: where people come before profit."


Pic shows, from left: Mohamed Asif, Tommy Sheridan, Rosemary Byrne, Trish Buchan


External links:

Bella Caledonia

Bright Green

George Monbiot

Green Left


The Jimmy Reid Foundation

Laurie Penny

New Left Project

Newsnet Scotland

Richard Dawkins

Scottish Left Review

Socialist Unity

UK Uncut

Viridis Lumen

Wings Over Scotland

Word Power Books

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