Saturday, 28 July 2018


                                     RIC-Edinburgh banner at Holyrood before the crowds assemble to march

                                                         One of the many humorous placards on the march


                                                           ....and another

                                          Trump baby blimp joins the rally on The Meadows after 20,000 strong march


Meeting held on Wednesday, June 27th

Speaker- Jonathon Shafi 
Facilitator -   Pat Smith 

(Jonathon's contribution was filmed and we hope to post it here soon)

There was a good discussion in which everybody participated. This discussion also formed the basis for the debates at the National AGM held in Glasgow on Saturday, June 30th. 


Present- Jonathon S (Convenor); - Angus C (Angus & Mearns); Craig L (East Kilbride); Allan A, David S, Nick G, Pat S, Pete C (Edinburgh); Grant B (Fife); - Jane L (Glasgow South) Stirling - Billy McC (Stirling); Steve F (London).

Apologies- Cat B (Glasgow), Stuart F (Dundee)

1. Introduction - Jonathon gave a political outline of the situation RIC faces. This was followed by contributions from all those present.

2. Motions Discussed 

i) Motion from Angus in bold with preamble
Meetings of Radical Independence Angus have repeatedly agreed the need to be more forthright in demanding a new referendum on independence without delay. Although our group is committed to this, at present, it appears to be the position of RIC, as a whole, that, while we will, of course, play an active part in any new referendum campaign (if and when one is called) we don't appear to be actually demanding a new referendum. So :

"The case and the mandate for a new referendum on independence is well established, and the risks involved in delay are greater than the risks of pushing ahead vigorously. We demand the Scottish Parliament act. Either an MSP from the Green Party or from the SNP could put to the Scottish Parliament a proposal for a new referendum on independence to be held within a specified time (such as six months) of their proposal. The Scottish Parliament should back such a proposal. Our demand is addressed to the Scottish Parliament, NOT to Westminster. We don't recognise Theresa May or any other Member of Westminster has a right to say 'Now is not the time'."

This motion fell by 7 votes to 3, with 1 abstention

ii) Motion from Edinburgh in bold with preamble

In view of the deteriorating political situation since the Brexit vote, highlighted by:-
a) The government's growing centralisation of power in the UK state, which threatens the existing Devolution arrangements, and hard border
partition in Ireland
b) the growing state attacks on migrants (with no long term guarantees for existing EU residents), and on non-white British subjects (i.e. a return to old-style British racism shown in the Windrush Affair), and the refusal to take in Syrian refugees (despite being directly involved in the war there)and in view of the positive example given by the Catalan people in voting for a Catalan Republic in defiance of the Spanish state, and the British government and Labour opposition's silence in the face of Spanish state repression. So

"RIC urges its supporters to:

Part 1
a) re-establish local RIC groups
b) develop the proposals discussed at the RIC Spring National Conference on 10.3.18
c) participate in the local autonomous, non-party Yes campaign groups (brought together, along with bella caledonia and Commonspace, by the Scottish Independence Convention at the Building Bridges conference on 4.11.17)
d) support the activities of the Scottish Catalan Defence Committee
e) support others opposing reaction and pushing for greater democratic rights, e.g. in Ireland, Wales, Euskadi
f) continue to provide support for workers in struggle and for
democratically run campaigns organised to fight exploitation and
g) back cultural initiatives which promote a Scottish internationalist outlook

Part 2.
Within the broad autonomous Yes campaign, RIC will:-
a) continue to uphold its Five Principles
b) highlight the obstacles in the path of a UK state sanctioned IndyRef2 due
to the reactionary unionist nature of the current government
(Conservative/DUP alliance) and the encouragement it takes from theSpanish government clampdown
d) emphasise that any new independence campaign under the current or future Tory governments will have to be in defiance of the UK state
e) call on Corbyn and Labour to recognise the right of Holyrood (given its already established mandate) to hold an independence referendum
f) highlight the impossibility of a federal constitutional settlement under the UK's Crown Powers
g) support the right of the Scottish people to determine its future
relationship with other bodies, and with reference to the EU to be given a choice between:-
         i)   membership of the EU
         ii)  membership of European Free Trade Association
         iii) membership of neither of these
h) uphold the principle of a civic Scottish nation against all attempts to redefine Scottishness on the basis of racial or ethnic criteria, including attempts to restrict any franchise on this basis."

This motion was passed unanimously

iii)     Steve Freeman, international supporter, London

a.     This meeting recognises that a majority of the Scottish people voted to remain in the European Union.
b.     We condemn the Tories imposing a hard anti-working class ‘all British Exit’ on Scotland.
 c.     We call on the Scottish government to hold a ratification referendum on the Tory deal. 
 d.     We note that if a majority of the Scottish people vote against the Tory deal this would be a justification to trigger a second Independence referendum.
This motion passed 7 votes to 3, with 2 abstentions

3. It was agreed to organise a major conference later in the year

4. The next RIC National Forum would be in Edinburgh at 13.00 on 12th August (venue to be circulated) (this has now been changed to 11th August)

Sunday, 22 July 2018


Meeting held on Wednesday, May 30th

Speaker- Craig Dalzell, Commonwealth Head of Policy & Research
Facilitator -   Pat Smith

Railways - A Private Monopoly

●“Market Forces” don’t work for railways 
●With rare exceptions, you can’t choose one rail operator over another. 
●The only “competition” that exists is during the tendering process. 
The Franchise Model 
●The Railways are fragmented and privatised between service operator, rolling stock provider and infrastructure provider 
●Tendering contracts issued every ten years. 
●No incentive for investment. In fact, weaker performance can attract subsidies. 

East Coast Rail - Nationalisation 
●2009: National Express East Coast defaults on East Coast Franchise 
●2009-2015 – state-owned company takesover 
●£30m profits; net contribution to public finances 
●94% customer satisfaction – highest ever for long-distance franchises. 
●Record levels of employee engagement – sickness absence down by one-third. 
East Coast Rail - Privatisation 
●Franchise privatised again in 2015 
●Taken over by Virgin East Coast – Stagecoach (90%) + Virgin (10% - until 2023 
●Collapsed in 2018 – running at a loss 
●UK Govt lets it off with £2bn in owed premium payments 
A Public Scotrail 
•2025 contract up – 2020 break clause 
•Scotland Act 2016 gave power for a public bidder 
•Public-sector bid will have to compete on tender criteria 
•If bid wins – 6.5% operating profits can be re-invested – reduce ticket pr raise wages 
•Bid could include worker/passenger democracy •Scottish Government indicated they are interested 
•Rolling stock still privatised •infrastructure still UK controlled •£30m lost in tendering process 
•limits to how big a change a public operator could make... 
Integrated Transport 
•Control all aspects of rail system: eliminate non-productive costs and have unified rail system and integrated transport strategy (bus, cycle, rail) 
•Re-think of rail part of bigger re-think of transport: modal shift away from roads to sustainable, efficient transport 
•Roads 2017-18 budget spending nearly £1bn (£200m more than railways) 
•Borders Railway shows potential of rail investment: 40,000 people shift from cars to rail; 27% increase in B&B use; prevent decline in local population 
Environmental Case 
•Transport 27% of all emissions (up from 20% in 2003) – fallen by just 2% since 1990. 
•73% of emissions from road; 1.35% from rail.
•22ktCO2e reduced for every 1% of passenger kilometres currently 
travelled by car switched to rail. 
•Each tonne of freight transported by rail rather than road produces 76% less CO2 
•Only one-quarter of rail track is electrified – CO2 of electric trains 20- 35% less. 
•Major air pollution problem in cities from congestion. 
Economic Case 
•Expanding rail network can open up local economies, increase domestic tourism and connect people to employment opportunities 
•Levenmouth example: closed in 1969 in Beeching cuts, line still owned by Network Rail, largest town in Scotland without a rail line (38,000 people), Whisky distillery keen to use line for freight cargo (currently 8 HGV’s a day). 
•HGV’s create congestion and damage roads, increasing repair budget – one freight train removes 43-77 HGV’s; £2.4bn annual cost of congestion to economy. 
•Reduced road repair budget can be reprioritised. 
Policy changes can make rail infrastructure investment cheap: land 
Social Case 
•30% of people don’t access a car – nearly half of poorest 20%, compared to 18% of richest 20%. 
•Investing in motorways rather than rail benefits the better off. •Levenmouth closure example – high deprivation and unemployment since deindustrialisation. 
•Rail investment in poor towns a class issue. 

This was followed by discussion