May 22 2013

OFFENSIVE BEHAVIOUR AND THE INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM

In the following two articles, Jim Slaven of the James Connolly Society shows that SNP government’s Offensive Behaviour Act represents the latest attempt to create a ‘sectarian’ smokescreen to avoid tacking anti-Irish racism in Scotland, whilst the Labour Party’s ‘opposition’ is nothing but the rankest opportunism from a party that has long upheld the UK state’s divisive role in Ireland.

Celtic fans in Glasgow protest against the Offensive Behaviour Act

Celtic fans in Glasgow protest against the Offensive Behaviour Act

As another football season draws to a close it is fair to say this one will not be remembered for much of the action on the pitch. While off the field the increasingly shambolic nature of the administration of the national game continues to infuriate and amuse in about equal measure. However as we ponder the 2012-2103 SPL season one thing does stand out as requiring further consideration, namely the way in which football fans are policed in Scotland. This issue has been brought into sharp focus with the consistent and ongoing harassment of the Green Brigade and the excellent job the Fans Against Criminalisation group has done to highlight much that is wrong with the treatment of supporters at the hands or the police and the clubs.

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Mar 18 2013

SINGLE ENDS AND HOBBIT HOUSES

Murdo Ritchie places  the so-called ‘Bedroom Tax’ into the  wider economic and political context of housing provision today.

Inside a  Glasgow single end

Inside a Glasgow single end

When debating supporters of capitalism and capitalist markets I am told about the system’s greater efficiency in the use of natural resources. At this point, I ask my opponent if they have an indoor toilet. They smile at the bizarreness of the question. The answer is always yes. I then ask the obvious question, “Why are you not sitting on it?” Usually they consider me flippant or simply scoring a trivial debating point. But I always add that for decades houses in Scotland were built on the efficient use of natural resources with many houses sharing one toilet usually on the tenement landing. Economic efficiency was socially disgusting.

The single end was term for a one-room house that has largely ceased to exist. It is no longer as common as it once was. As a term, it described more than a kind of accommodation. It was a highly descriptive term of housing despair. The so-called bedroom tax is enthusiastically bringing its return. Some 94,000 Scots will overnight be plunged into rent arrears and forced to move. The single end is a sentence of punishment.

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