For more on SYRIZA and the election in Greece.
September 23, 2015 — Stokokkino.gr, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Scotland is also in the grip of austerity today says Colin Fox, leader of the Scottish Socialist Party (pictured).
“Scotland is also in the grip of austerity today. The right-wing Conservative Party/Liberal Democrat coalition government in London have attacked the standard of living of working-class people. They have cut public spending on our health, education and social services by many billions of pounds. Britain also has unprecedented levels of debt as a result of bailing out greedy, reckless private banks with huge sums of public money.
“While our economic and social conditions have not declined as badly as Greece, working-class people are nonetheless struggling to maintain their living standards. The average family is £50 per week [or 70 euros/week] worse off today compared to 2008. And this despite our economy returning to growth, albeit weak growth. People in Scotland are angry at the London government for making workers families pay for a financial and economic crisis the bankers in the City of London caused.
“While official unemployment is low the truth is many jobs are poorly bad and very insecure. Moreover one in three families in Scotland live in fuel poverty as their incomes have fallen as the price of energy has soared. Millions of families cannot afford the gas and electricity they need to keep warm. The temperature in Scotland this week fell to -15 degrees Celcius. I am glad to be in Athens!
“But not everyone is suffering of course. Britain’s millionaires and billionaires are doing very well, especially the financiers. They avoid paying any taxes and benefit from many government programs aimed at ‘stimulating’ the economy. Employers are always squeezing pay and changing working conditions particularly of young migrant workers from eastern and southern Europe who come to Britain desperate for jobs.
“So make no mistake SYRIZA’s victory on Sunday [January 25] will be loudly cheered by working-class people in Scotland. The Greek spirit of rebellion and courage to stand up to bullies who threaten is a characteristic we greatly admire. The threats made by the Troika and by New Democracy in the last few weeks remind me very much of the view the British political establishment took to Scotland’s Independence referendum in September. They said we were too small, too poor and too stupid to run our own affairs. They were wrong. And although the vote went down history will undoubtedly show that Scottish Independence was not defeated in September 2014, simply delayed.”
[Colin Fox is the leader of the Scottish Socialist Party. He is in Athens at the invitation of SYRIZA to see for himself the impact of the Troika’s austerity program and to witness the election of Europe’s first radical left-wing government.]