Saturday, 24 February 2018

RIC - NATIONAL SPRING CONFERENCE, 10.3.18


           City of Edinburgh Methodist Church, 25 Nicolson Square
Edinburgh  EH8 9BX

Saturday, March 10th

Doors are open at 11.00am and the event starts promptly at 11.30pm.

Session 1: 1130-12.30
The effect of Brexit on Scottish independence -
Maggie Chapman (Scottish Greens) and Neil Davidson (RS21)

Lunch : 12.30-13.15
There is a cafe in the venue and several excellent places for lunch close by.

Session 2: 13.15- 14.15
What now after the Scottish Independence Convention Conference
Jonathon Shafi (RIC) and Lesley Riddoch

Session 3: 14.15-15.30
The effect of Corbynism and the election of Richard Leonard as Scottish Labour leader on Scottish politics
Cat Boyd (RIC), Rory Scorthorne (Labour Party), Tommy Sheppard (SNP)

Session 4: 15.30-16.30
International connections Catalunya and Ireland
George Kerevan (SNP) + Gerry Carroll (People before Profit MLA for West Belfast)

All the speakers are speaking in a personal capacity

Winding Up: 16.30-17.00


Everyone is welcome. There is no upfront ticket charge but we ask for £10/£5 on the door.

Sign up to secure a place: 


Sunday, 4 February 2018

CONTESTING EDINBURGH CITY CUTS

This meeting was held on Wednesday 24th

Speaker - Duncan Smith - Chairperson of City of Edinburgh Unison (ipc)

Apologies - Susan Rae (Greens)

Facilitator - Pete Cannell

Duncan gave the following presentation on the impact of the austerity

A) in Scotland

· The budget allocation from the Scottish Government to Local Authorities in December 2017 saw a revenue cut of £225m – this has been partly mitigated by changes to Council Tax bands and the ability to raise the CT by 3% - but still leaves a shortfall of at least £55m

· Between 2010-11 and 2017-18 funding for local government has fallen 8% in real terms – funding for core services has reduced by £590m

· Some 30,000 council jobs have gone in this period – nine out of ten jobs lost across the public sector in Scotland have been in LA’s 

· Councils have responded to austerity by a combination of increased local taxation, increased regressive service charges (up by 13%), and workforce and service cuts 

· They also have attempted outsourcing of services as the then Lib-Dem/SNP coalition in Edinburgh attempted a few years ago - fortunately our successful ‘Our City’s not for Sale’ campaign stopped big private companies like Carillion taking over important council services

B) In Edinburgh 

· Our Council boasts it has saved(cut) £240m since 2012, including £40m in 2017-18 

· The forecast is for £151m to be cut in the period to 2022-23 

· Proposed cuts for this coming year amount to £21m – including £3m from Health and Social Care – while the Chief Social Worker admitted last year that there was 7000 hours of unmet need in social care 

· Since the Council’s Transformation plan began some 1000 jobs have been lost – may highly skilled experienced have left making it difficult to maintain the quality of services – in some areas there is a lack of supervision and support for staff who are trying to maintain continuity of their service to the public despite years of disruptive departmental reorganisations 

· Demand for many services is rising while the number of staff is steadily diminishing – bullying, stress and sickness are on the rise – this was recently revealed in a Unison survey of members in Health & Social Care 

· A telling statistic is that at any one time 500 staff are absent and almost a third of those are off with stress or other mental illness 

· Current reviews threaten the conditions of school janitors, cleaning staff, and the library service – where staff-less libraries are to be piloted two areas 

· Unison has balloted janitors who are facing reduced hours and covering multiple premises – schools and community centres – community groups may be left with responsibility of locking up and Unison has real concern about health and safety in this situation 

· School cleaners are also faced with cuts to their hours, changes to shift patterns and working across schools – this is a largely female part-time workforce - these are some of the lowest paid staff, earning £6000 per year on 38 week contracts – these proposals could mean that schools are not cleaned every day – while it is recognised by health professionals that daily cleaning is essential for stopping the spread of sickness caused by, for example, the highly contagious Norovirus 

· There is also a recruitment crisis in Building Control – given the experience of Grenfell Tower tragedy and collapse of walls in local schools– you would have thought that maintaining building standards would be a priority 
Consequences : 

· I’m always amazed at the complacency of our elected officials – they are proud to produce a balanced budget but remain shy about admitting the consequences of year after year of cuts 

· Summing up – budget cuts have serious consequences not only for staff but for the safety and well being of the citizens of Edinburgh 


· The Council Coalition has many fine pledges on record – to reduce poverty and inequality for example – but we all know that cuts to public services hit the poorest and most vulnerable people the hardest – and they also affect women disproportionately 

· Edinburgh is a wealthy city and the super-rich in Scotland are doing very well – on the other hand the number of people dependant on food banks, including people in work, has grown massively - we need to see a return to progressive taxation that makes rich individuals and big business pay their fair share so that public services get the funding they need 


· Both parties in the ruling coalition - the SNP and Labour Party - claim to be anti-austerity – but up to now they have simply managed the impact of austerity locally – instead they need to join with the unions and community groups to pressure both Holyrood and Westminster to provide the funding necessary for the kind of high quality public services that we all deserve. 


After discussion it was agreed to circulate Following the discussion it was agreed to circulate RIC-Edinburgh supporters with notice of the Edinburgh TUC meeting on 3.2.18
 

EDINBURGH REPORT TO RIC NATIONAL FORUM, 13.1.18



Catalan Solidarity, Spanish Consulate, 11th November
an Scottish Parliament, 21st December

RIC- Edinburgh Assemblies

            i)         13.9.17- Catalonia and the Struggle for Self-Determination


            Speakers - Quim Arrufat, International Coordinator for the Popular Unity                                       Candidacy (direct Skpe link), Luke Stobart, London journalist who has lived in Barcelona for 13                           years

            Facilitator - Pat Smith

            23 people attended. The full report of this meeting can be seen at:-


           The questions and answers were recorded and can be seen at:-.       


            ii)        RIC-E sponsored Special Assembly, Wednesday, 27th September -
                        The UK, Brexit and the Road to Self- Determination.

            This meeting was jointly organised with Haymarket Books.

            Speakers - Sean Mitchell, author of Struggle or Starve - Working Class Unity                            in Belfast's 1932 Outdoor Relief Riots
                               Neil Davidson - author of Scotland After Brexit, published in                                    Jacobin.
           
            Facilitator - Eileen Cook

            Neil's articlc can be seen at:-


           
            18 people attended this meeting. The full report can be seen at:-



            iii)       5.10.17 - The Arms Trade   

            This meeting was jointly organised with the Campaign Against the Arms  Trade (Edinburgh) , CND (Edinburgh), Stop The War (Edinburgh),  Women's International League for Peace (Scottish Branch)    

            Speaker:- Andrew Feinstein author of Inside The Arms Trade

            Facilitator - Niina Ollanketo (CAAT)

            This talk can be seen at:-

            http://radicalindyedinburgh.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/the-arms-trade.html

            40 people attended this meeting.

           
            iv)        29.11.18 - Informal Meeting

            Signe Askersjo, a researcher from Sweden, had asked to speak to RIC activists. 11 people attended the meeting for a wide-ranging discussion of experiences of the Indy Ref1 campaign.


Future Edinburgh Assemblies

            Wednesday, January 24h, 19.00, Augustine Church

            Contesting the Edinburgh City Council Cuts

            Duncan Smith (Chair of City of Edinburgh UNISON)
            Susan Rae (Green councillor)


            RIC-Edinburgh Organising Meetings

            i)         Monday, 4.9.17
                        2 people attended

            ii)        Monday, 11.10. 17
                        3 people attended

            iii)       Monday, 4.12.17
                        5 people attended


            Activities RIC-Edinburgh has been involved in since last National Forum


            i)         Catalonia Solidarity demonstrations
           
            25.9.17 - Edinburgh demo at Spanish Consulate - about 150 people attended
           
            1.10.17 - National demo at Spanish consulate, about a 1000 people attended,  A report can be seen in The National at:-


            11.11.17 - Edinburgh demo at Spanish Consulate - about 200 people attended

            21.12.17- Solidarity with people of Catalonia on election day at Scottish Parliament - about 50 people attended

            RIC-Edinburgh banner was present on all demos. Allan Armstrong, RIC-Edinburgh speaker at Scottish Parliament demo

            ii)        Anti-SDL protest in Perth, 10.9.17
           
            iii)       Edinburgh World Justice Festival, 30. 9.17
            iv)        Resisting The Violence of Austerity - An evening of Politics, Music and Conversation, Out of the Blue 6.10.17
            iv)        Unison March & Rally, Pay Up Now - Scrap The Cap demo, 7.10.17                          
            v)         Let There Be Light - Defend Edinburgh Central Library against the Developers,  7.12.17

                        see article by RIC member, Ray Burnett

                                    http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2017/12/05/reclaim-the-city/