Thursday, 28 May 2015



RIC Edinburgh meetings

RIC Edinburgh has met fortnightly since November 2012, apart from the height of the referendum campaign and the recent election campaign (for selected Discussion Topics see Since the RIC-Scotland AGM on March 28th RIC-Edinburgh has held the following meetings.

March 30th - Margaret Bremner, Scrap Trident campaign, 13 people attended
April 27th - Gordon Maloney, Living Rent campaign, 15 people attended
May 11th - Lyn Jones, RIC Edinburgh Economics Working Group, Myths Lies and Austerity + striking Glasgow Homeless Careworkers and Dundee Hospital Porters -  35 people attended
May 25th - Ric Lander (Friends of the Earth), Ellen Young (Concerned Communities of Falkirk), Pete Cannell (RIC) - Capitalism and Climate Change  - 22 people attended.

We now have 72 RIC card carrying members in Edinburgh.


a) The General Election Campaign

RIC Edinburgh has SNP, Green and SSP members and TUSC supporters, as well as candidates standing for the Greens, SSP and TUSC. In line with RIC-Scotland's decision to be a movement including anyone who supported RIC's 5 Principles, we did not endorse any candidate but organised hustings. Two of these were under our own auspices (Edinburgh South West and Edinburgh East) and two with Common Weal (Edinburgh North & Leith, Edinburgh South). Before the two RIC organised hustings, we canvassed candidates' opinions over an a number of issues. Leaflets were printed with selected opinions and distributed in the local community near the advertised meeting place. At these hustings RIC's Peoples Vow and Edinburgh RIC promotional material were also distributed.

RIC organised Hustings
March 25th - Edinburgh South West constituency, Wester Hailes Community High School - 55 people attended
April 1st - Edinburgh East, Jack Kane Centre, Niddrie - 57 people attended

Common Weal Hustings backed by RIC Edinburgh
April 21st - Edinburgh North & Leith constituency, Area C Coffee house - approx. 80 attended
April 25th - Edinburgh South constituency, Kings Buildings, Edinburgh University- approx. 200 attended

b) Saturday, April 18th, The People Are in the Streets -
Yes campaign in Edinburgh, hosted by Edinburgh RIC

World Premiere of Joel Venet's documentary, The People Are In The Streets (plus Chappin about Liam McLaughlin campaigning in Glasgow) at the Out of the Blue Centre, Leith - 80 people attended

c) Publication of Myths Lies and Austerity

The RIC Edinburgh Economics Working Group has published this pamphlet, which has been distributed at various meetings, the May Day march and Word Power Bookshop.

Edinburgh RIC also acts as place where members can raise local and national campaigns. Information is circulated to several hundred contacts.

c) May Day rally, 2nd May

RIC - Edinburgh members joined the attended the local May Day rally. Cat Boyd (RIC) was one of the speakers.

d) Scotland's Radical History & Culture Event, May 16th,
Methodist Halls, Nicolson Square

Welcoming session 11.00 - 11.15

Session 1 - 11.15- 12.30

A. Scotland's Radical Culture
Scott Hames, University of Stirling, editor of Unstated: Scottish Writers and Independence
Meaghan Delahunt. University of Stirling, novelist and short story writer

B. Scottish Factory Occupations
Andy Clark, Strathclyde University on Lee Jeans occupation

Lunch break - 12.30 - 13.45
Screening of The People Are in the Streets,
Introduced by Amie Robertson

Session 2 - 13.45 - 15.00

A. Scotland - the Impact of the '68 Generation
Ray Burnett, contributor to the first Red Paper on Scotland
Geraldine Gould, recollections of a political activist in Edinburgh in the early 1970's

B .The 1984-5 Miners Strike
Jim Phillips, University of Glasgow

Session 3 - 15.15 - 16.30

A. The Legacy of James Connolly in Edinburgh
Jim Slaven, James Connolly Society
(apologies from Chloe Alexander Ross, Aberdeen University, researcher into radical and labour links between Ireland and Scotland)

B. The Poll Tax in Scotland
Ewan Gibbs, PhD student, Glasgow University
Julie Smith, activist in Edinburgh & Lothians Anti-Poll Tax Federation

Session 4 - Report Back, 16.30 - 17.00

75 people attended this event. Suggestion also made for a national Radical History Working Group to organise future events.

Allan Armstrong - RIC Edinburgh Minutes Secretary, 26.5.15

Wednesday, 27 May 2015


 Lyn Jones, Edinburgh RIC Economics Working Group, 11.5.15

 Lyn took the meeting through the pamphlet, Myths, Lies and Austerity, produced by Edinburgh RIC Economics Working Group. This can be seen at:-


Matthew asked where does the government get its money from?

Lyn said that the bond markets are used to get loans. Bonds are bought by pension funds, investment funds, banks and corporations using spare money. Gilts are the favoured type of investment, since they are seen as ultra-safe - the Government will never default.

Stuart said that the opposition argued that just as you can not drink your way out of a hangover, so you can not spend your way out of debt. He suggested the use of a metaphor, which would be understandable even to those who thought in such terms. In order to buy a house you needto get a mortgage. In order to become more skilled you need to get loans for education.

He thought that the current austerity offensive had little to do with economics, but was a deliberate attempt to create the political conditions to enhance corporate power, as outlined in Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine.

Duncan said there could not be a better time for taking out government loans. The interest rates were low, and could be obtained on a long term basis.

? said we had seen a considerable rise of political lying by the Tories and their press and other media backers. Labour had just meekly accepted that they were responsible for the debt. However, Labour's  responsibility did not lie in the level of public debt in 2008, but in their prior moves to deregulate the banks. The Tories had wanted even greater deregulation.

? said that all the Second international parties have bought into neo-liberalism. They have become Tories.

Roger asked if it was not the case that if government spending increases, leading to increasing consumer demand. there would be a decline in the balance of payments, since Britain was no longer a manufacturing country, and goods would be imported from places like China.

Thomas Piketty, author of Capital, had also argued that the post-1945 period of historical growth was the exception rather than the rule.

Lyn replied that the first beneficiaries of increased consumer demand were most likely to be those companies in the UK which had capacity, but had been left without demand as a result of the 2008 Crash.

He said that any future model of economic growth had to be based on sustainability.

Ian said that any government committed to challenging the City would be held to ransom by Moody & Fitch. They would downgrade their credit rating making it much harder to sell bonds at a lower rate of interest. This is happening to countries like Greece now in the EU.

? said that after 30 years of neo-liberalism has become the new orthodoxy. However, corporate profitabilty continues to decline.

Roger said there is now a much more integrated world economy. Spending on construction is less likely to lead to a ride of imports. However, we need a European-wide response.

? said we need more discussions like this. Key myths needed to be broken down. The Greens are already discussing such issues.  We need a Green New Deal.

Alistair said that we needed to make contacts south of the border. The Peoples Assemblies are places where such arguments can be taken.

Mark said that the neo-liberal agenda isn't confined to economics. They want to radically change society. Social provision has to give way to private provision. There is an increasing concentration on the individual at the cost of the social.

Allan said that as well as the slippage of Labour into accepting that public spending was responsible for the 2008 Crash , there has been a slippage by much of the Left into ignoring the role of the banks and the financial sector. Instead people have moved on to the ground of suggesting neo-Keynesian anti-austerity measures to pay off the bankers' debts more effectively.

Allan said that Ian had pointed to one problem with this. Any country trying this in isolation would be subjected to offensive action by the world banks, IMF, European Bank and City of London. The global finance dominated economic order needs to be addressed, since it promotes an anti-social and unsustainable economic order.

Lyn said that RIC had been involved in the explosion of people in Scotland involved in a wider debate about our future. We needed to take this debate south of the border.


Stewart (Unison) from the Glasgow Homeless Careworkers and Ron (Unite) a porter from Dundee Ninewells Hospital spoke to the Edinburgh RIC on May 11th.

Stewart (UNISON Glasgow City branch), a striking Caseworker for the Homeless outlined the dispute his members were involved in with Glasgow City Council (GCC - Labour controlled). They have been involved in all-out indefinite strike action since March 31st, in a dispute over their pay grade. The dispute centres around the fact that caseworkers are paid a grade below that of their colleagues doing 'frontline' jobs in other Social Worker (SW) teams.
They provide both a Homelessness Service and a Housing Options service to some of the most vulnerable in the city, with caseloads in excess of 3500.

To date the GCC SW management have maintained that homeless services are operating in a 'business as usual' capacity, despite the fact that users are being advised that there is no scope to deal with their enquiries unless they are classed as an emergency.

Our members care about the people who relay on this service. However, they have been left with no other option. Their demand is to be treated the same way as the other 400 social care staff who do a similar job.

For further information see:-

Ron (UNITE Dundee) a hospital porter at Ninewells Hospital said that the UNITE porters at Ninewells and Royal Victoria Hospital in Dundee have been forced into strike action. UNITE has shown that errors in the Ninewells/RVH porters being evaluated as band 1, when they should have been evaluated the same as their colleagues in Angus and Perth, as a band 2.

NHS Tayside (SNP government controlled) refuses to acknowledge and rectify this error. It has now withheld porters' wages for time they are actually working, threatening them with dismissal. Management have spent substantial amounts of public money in taking legal action against the union. This was dismissed in the courts.

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