You Either Die a Hero, or Live Long Enough To See Yourself Become the Villain

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Chris Napier

“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you”. – Friedrich Nietzsche
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The meaning of austerity

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Alasdair Duke

The irony of the word “austerity” is that its main definition would appeal to many on the left. Dictionaries describe austerity firstly as “plainness and simplicity” (Oxford), or “living without unnecessary things” (Cambridge). Taken thus, austerity is a common lifestyle choice and political position: why should anyone have more than they really need? Why live frivolously when others don’t have enough? Continue reading

Too Cautious to Govern?

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Allan Faulds

When the SNP entered government in 2007, one of their first acts was to rebrand the “Scottish Executive” as the “Scottish Government”. This was a statement of intent from a party determined to make Scotland look just like any other country. An Executive is a dull, uninspiring thing. It doesn’t sound important. They wanted their administration, their Government, to be seen as a serious body, making the big decisions that affect the people of Scotland. Continue reading

Mythbusting the Holyrood Voting System

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Chris Napier

In the past few days, I’ve seen the leader of UKIP Scotland talk about preferences on the regional list vote as if it was calculated using Single Transferable Vote (it isn’t) and I’ve seen SNP supporters talk about splitting the vote and how polling shows a risk of the SNP’s majority being taken away.

Both statements are either terrifyingly ignorant or willfully manipulative and it pisses me off – not as a Green, but as someone who’s kinda interested in democracy and a bit of a geek about electoral systems. Continue reading

A new way of working

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Sarah Anderson

Originally posted on oneinfive.scot where I am proud to be an ambassador.

I’m writing this on a day where my health has taken a downwards dip and where I know I’m not going to be able to leave the house. I’m writing this on a week where my local council Renfrewshire have passed the goals of the oneinfive campaign. I’m writing this on a day where I’ve had to make apologies for not being able to attend a meeting I was due to attend due to being housebound for the day. I’m also writing this in a period of time (extended time) where my health has been the best it has been for a long time (many years) and where instead of being bedbound and housebound the majority of time the very odd instance when my body needs a rest is now in the extreme minority. This is my body telling me that it is not going to be able to perform and my mind, although very much active, having to listen because I know through experience that if I don’t listen that I’ll suffer even more the following days. Those with chronic health conditions will most likely understand that battle between body and mind where your mind is willing and your body isn’t able.

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Play the issue, not the person

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Chris Napier

It’s sadly true that in political debate, especially online and especially within the 140 character limitation of Twitter, potentially constructive argument is reduced to ad hominem attacks which seek to undermine the credibility, character or motives of the debater rather than dealing with their point.

The other day, rapper, social commentator and activist Darren ‘Loki’ McGarvey posted an article via STV where he offered an insight into his deprived upbringing and how it has shaped his political thinking – to the point where he cannot stand to vote for the SNP as they back away from radical rhetoric to centrist management, effectively handing Scotland’s most vulnerable people and deprived communities a ‘jam tomorrow’ promise that things will be better once independence is achieved.

This was a brave piece of writing. While I don’t always agree with Loki or find his mode of writing particularly appealing, I respect the argument that he made here.

The reaction on Twitter from SNP supporters was less favourable, invariably coming in the form of ad hominem attacks, either calling him a Yoon (unionist), accusing him of being self indulgent, resorting to poverty porn or (credibly, but still missing the point) saying that his poverty was caused by Labour/Tory governments and suggesting that attacking the SNP is counter-productive.

In none of the responses I’ve seen, has anyone actually made a coherent case that the SNP aren’t being needlessly meek and effectively selling out the poorest in Scotland to keep their middle class supporters sweet.

This kind of thing has happened to me as well, although of course on a smaller platform. I have been called a loony lefty, a naïve idealist, a cybernat, a Yoon, too working class, too middle class, and more. I have been accused of merely criticising other parties to further the interests of my own party, the Greens.

OK, there’s a degree of truth in that, because I do want more Green votes and more Green MSPs but my arguments are never cynically calculated for that effect.

I’m a Green because I believe in things like local democracy, equality, radical economics, independence, sustainability and not seeing the world turn into a hellish post-industrial dystopia – not the other way around.

Political affiliation should be based on which party most meets your priorities; and those priorities should be based on experience and observations, filtered through your reason and emotions – and all of that can change over time.

Like Loki, I used to support the SNP but I found that they no longer met my needs. Like Loki, I never saw independence as an end in itself, feeling that the future we aim for, and how we achieve it, are at the heart of progressive politics.

Is it too much to ask, that progressives stay away from ad hominem attacks at all times? We should never disregard someone becuase they are a Tory or a Labour supporter, and, as tempting as it is to mock David Coburn’s appearance, it’s far more constructive to tear down his policies.

Playing the person and not the point is effectively an admission that you can’t win the argument and as such you attempt to besmirch the arguer. It’s poor form and it demeans the level of debate to almost playground levels.

During the indyref, it seemed for a moment like Scotland was ready to embrace a more positive politics… while that hope may have dimmed a bit, one step forwards is to debate like rational adults, not petulant children.

Image originally from Pinterest

Just Transition and Trade Unions

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SANDRA OWSNETT

Climate change is one of the most urgent challenges we face.  A transition away from a high carbon fossil fuel economy is an opportunity for sustainable Scottish jobs.

A recent headline in the Herald stated “Britain’s oil industry could lose a further 45,000 jobs this year, a senior figure in the sector has warned.  Sir Ian Wood said that 150 jobs are being lost on a daily basis and cautioned that the rate of losses this year was comparable to 2015.” Continue reading