Jul 07 2020

GLASGOW KILLING RAISES MAJOR QUESTIONS ABOUT TREATMENT OF ASYLUM SEEKERS

E&L is posting this article by Mike Picken (Socialist Resistance, SSP and Renfrewshire RIC) about the issues raised by the stabbing of six people and the police killing of the attacker, Badreddin Abadlla Adan,  in the Park Inn Hotel, which is being used to house asylum seekers.

 

 

GLASGOW KILLING RAISES MAJOR QUESTIONS ABOUT TREATMENT OF ASYLUM SEEKERS

In a major event in Scotland, one person was killed by armed police in a Glasgow hotel used to accommodate asylum seekers. The call ‘not to politicise’ the incident from SNP and Labour politicians is completely misplaced.

As the dramatic events unfolded on the afternoon of Friday 26 June, the BBC first reported that three people had been killed in a knife stabbing incident. This turned out to be untrue: six people including a police officer were seriously injured and hospitalised, while the apparent perpetrator was shot in a rapid and large armed police response in Glasgow city centre.

Interviews with eye-witnesses seemed to indicate that while all the 100 residents of the hotel were asylum seekers, there were also hotel staff on duty who may have been victims.  Motivation for the knife attack and details of the victims other than the police officer are not yet confirmed at the time of writing, though Sky News is reporting that the perpetrator was an asylum seeker about whom mental health concerns had already been reported.

But while everyone will wish the victims a speedy recovery, the events raise important political questions about the use of the hotel and the treatment of asylum seekers by the UK government and its private contractors.

Glasgow’s Hotel Asylum Seekers

The incident happened at the Park Inn Hotel, one of six in Glasgow used by a large outsourcing private company, the Mears Group plc, on behalf of the UK government Home Office. They Mears agreed a ten-year long contract with the UK Home Office in 2019 worth over one billion pounds to provide accommodation for asylum seekers.

At the beginning of the UK’s lockdown, the Mears Group had relocated nearly 400 Glasgow asylum seekers who had been living in the city as part of a longstanding Home Office ‘dispersal’ policy.  This policy dates back 20 years to the Blair Labour government and moves asylum seekers who usually arrive in south east England to other locations across the UK, such as Glasgow, described by a Tory minister in 2015 as “areas where there is a greater supply of suitable and cheaper accommodation”.

With only a few minutes’ notice to pack their belongings, the hundreds of asylum seekers living in a wide range of properties across Glasgow were rounded up in April and moved into six major city hotels empty during the lockdown.  Positive Action in Housing (PAiH) [1], a Glasgow-based charity working to support asylum seekers, raised concerns in May with both the UK Home Office and the Scottish Government [2] over the treatment of the asylum seekers by the Mears Group.

They particularly highlighted that relocating hundreds of people in vans carrying three or four people at a time appeared to breach completely the Scottish Government’s then imposition of a total lockdown and the strong message to “Stay Home”; that people should only move if absolutely essential for medical or other reasons. PAiH argue that it was completely unnecessary to move the asylum seekers. The previous landlords accommodating the asylum seekers were simply told that they would no longer be paid in circumstances in which it was clearly almost impossible for them to get new tenants.

PAiH Director, Robina Qureshi, raised numerous complaints about the treatment of asylum seekers in the hotels including the lack of social distancing during meal times, the inability to open windows, the danger of air conditioning circulating the Coronavirus and other infections, and particularly the withdrawal of the weekly payment of £35.50 – meaning that residents were unable to purchase , toiletries, fruit and other necessities. Including mobile phone credit to stay in touch with family and representatives

The situation escalated when a Syrian asylum seeker, 30 year old Adnan Olbeh, was tragically found dead in one of the hotels prompting local press coverage.

Robina Qureshi explained the treatment of the Glasgow Hotel asylum seekers to the public:

“The “hotel asylum seekers” are very isolated. It’s true they are treated as less than human, a number, one of many. Many people, men and women are suffering from severe mental health conditions.”

and in a letter to the First Minister she went on to say

“Levels of depression are increasing. Many people are survivors of trauma and torture and suffering mental health problems because of the length of time they have been in the asylum system. People are growing increasingly desperate.”

PAiH were also concerned about the welfare of hotel workers and transmission of the virus:

“Hotel employees may also be subjected to an increased viral load in the workplace and then must go back out into the general community for a variety of essential purposes.”

 

 

By Wednesday 17 June, so desperate was the situation that a demonstration was called to protest about the conditions of Glasgow Hotel asylum seekers in nearby George Square, outside the Glasgow City Chambers, offices of the SNP-led Glasgow City Council.  However, that demonstration also coincided with a gathering of far-right “loyalist” activists who claimed to be “defending statues” in the Square and opposing the Black Lives Matter movement.

The far-right attacked the asylum seeker protest demonstration in scenes the First Minister described as “appalling”. The police largely stood by, though eventually arresting around six people believed to be far-right thugs.  But the Scottish Police Federation issued an awful statement saying that both sides were to blame and that the police were caught in the middle between “statue attackers” and “statue defenders”.  An emergency demonstration was called in George Square on Saturday 20th June to protest the attack on the asylum seekers demonstration, but SNP politicians called on people to stay away [3].

 

SNP calls “not to politicise” wrong

In response to the killing and stabbing incidents SNP politicians such as Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, told the BBC:

“I would absolutely urge anyone not to politicise this, not to use this to divide the city.” 

While Aitken obviously has genuine concerns about the far-right mobilising on Glasgow streets, this is the completely wrong approach, but one shared with the Scottish Labour Party whose spokespersons issued similar responses.

Important political questions need to be asked now about the UK Government/Home Office of Priti Patel and Mears Group policy of relocating the Glasgow asylum seekers to empty hotels during the middle of a pandemic.  This also means questioning why the SNP at Holyrood and Glasgow City Council apparently did nothing about the “powder keg” situation.

Even a retired former senior police officer told Sky News in an interview on the morning after the incident that “we have got to question” the putting of hundreds of asylum seekers from stressed backgrounds, “packed” into such an environment.  Robina Qureshi of PAiH highlighted in a radio interview for the BBC that there were no proper risk assessment procedures for the asylum seekers and that it was the “cheap” accommodation that was the motivation, not their welfare.

The UK Government’s privatisation of accommodation for asylum seekers through organisations like the Mears Group also needs to be challenged.  Its predecessor in Glasgow, SERCO, also attracted massive criticism and then they moved on to a lucrative contract for the UK government’s currently privatised and failing contract-tracing service for coronavirus.  While Mears claims to be a “social” landlord and outsourcing organisation, it is also a public limited company, trading shares on the stock market and making a profit for its shareholders.  One of the directors of Mears is a former Chief Operating Officer of the massive profit-making insurance concern, Lloyds Register, and a leading light in the privatised water industry in England.  Such people do not have the interests of asylum seekers at heart, only the pursuit of profit.  As the official opposition in the Westminster UK Parliament, the Labour Party have an important responsibility to challenge the Tory government on the issue of private firms running public services.

Rather than calling for the situation not to be “politicised”, SNP and Labour politicians should be looking to face down the far right actions by mobilising public demonstrations of support for asylum seekers, seriously challenge the Tory UK government’s “hostile environment” over immigration, and question the role of private companies in running public services for profit rather than public good.

27 June 2020

 NOTES

[1] Positive Action in Housing [PAiH] http://www.paih.org/ “is an independent, anti-racist homelessness and human rights charity (SC027577) dedicated to supporting women, children and men from refugee and migrant backgrounds to rebuild their lives. We believe in a society where everyone has the right to live safe and dignified lives, free from poverty, homelessness or inequality.” (PAiH website).

In May 2020 it issued three important statements detailing the Glasgow Hotel Asylum Seekers issues:

  1. a) Letter to the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, 11thMay 2020: https://www.paih.org/letter-to-the-home-secretary-about-the-death-of-syrian-refugee-adnan-olbeh-in-glasgow/
  2. b) Letter to the Scottish First Minister, 13thMay 2020 https://www.paih.org/letter-to-the-first-minister-about-glasgows-hotel-asylum-seekers/
  3. c) Protest statement about press coverage of the death of a Glasgow Hotel Asylum Seeker 11thMay 2020 https://www.paih.org/statement-about-mr-adnan-olbeh-syrian-refugee-who-died-in-glasgow/

[2] Under the UK’s complex devolution arrangements, the UK Government of the Conservative Party, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel are responsible for immigration and borders policy/control including asylum seekers, while the Scottish Government of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of the social democratic/nationalist Scottish National Party (SNP) are responsible for policing, housing, health and other local services and has overseen dealing with the pandemic and lockdown.  The two governments disagree about policies on a wide range of issues including immigration and asylum but have generally tried to minimise such differences during the pandemic crisis.

[3] See: https://socialistresistance.org/glasgow-anti-racists-defiant-against-far-right-attacks/20250

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Comment by Mike Picken

Statement by the Glasgow No Evictions Campaign:

The No Evictions Network is extremely concerned to hear reports from MORE – Migrants Organising for Rights & Empowerment that after the events of yesterday, residents of the Park Inn hotel were left distressed, some waiting in the street for hours with little communication about their fate until late last night. Due to their financial support having been stopped by the Home Office, they were unable to purchase even a bottle of water, and are completely reliant on receiving support from others.

This meant in the hours following the incident, people who were shocked and traumatised by the events, were left without basic needs such as shoes, adequate food or medicine. Over and above practical needs, many of those being accommodated in these hotels have experienced past trauma, so it is absolutely imperative that they are given proper treatment and support for their wellbeing.

Prior to this incident, they have had their financial and social autonomy stripped from them in a series of Home Office decisions and systemically unjust hostile environment policies. This means access to healthcare, privacy and social support is extremely difficult. We believe that the Home Office, now more than ever, needs to treat people in the asylum system like human beings – beginning with reinstating and raising financial support immediately along with moving people to safe, secure housing.

We, and other NGOs are doing everything we can to help, however this should not have to fall on volunteer-led advocacy groups. Ultimately, the duty of care must lie with those responsible for their care.

https://twitter.com/no_evictions/status/1276870399616323584

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This article was first posted at:-

https://socialistresistance.org/glasgow-killing-raises-major-questions-about-treatment-of-asylum-seekers/ 20295

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also see:-

  1. ITALIAN DOCK WORKERS SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH MIGRANTS

 

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2019/07/22/italian-dock-workers-show-solidarity-with-migrants/

 

  1. INDICTMENT SUBMITTED TO THE PERMANENT PEOPLES’ TRIBUNAL

SESSION ON THE VIOLATIONS WITH IMPUNITY OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF MIGRANT AND REFUGEE PEOPLES (2017-2019)

“HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT ON TRIAL” LONDON HEARING
3-4 November 2018

 

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2019/04/06/indictment-on-violations-with-impunity-of-the-human-righrs-of-migrants-and-refugee-peoples/

 

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Feb 27 2020

COMPETING STRATEGIES IN THE FACE OF THE BREAK-UP OF THE UK AND THE CASE FOR A SOCIALIST REPUBLICAN ‘INTERNATIONALISM FROM BELOW’ ALLIANCE

Allan Armstrong has added an addendum to his book From Pre-Brit to Ex-Brit   (https://allanarmstrong831930095.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/socialists-and-december-12th-election.pdffollowing the December 12th UK and February 8th Irish general elections.

 

COMPETING STRATEGIES IN THE FACE OF THE BREAK-UP OF THE UK AND THE CASE FOR A SOCIALIST REPUBLICAN ‘INTERNATIONALISM FROM BELOW’ ALLIANCE

 

 

 

 

Although Johnson gained an overall Right Populist electoral victory in the UK on December 12th, this disguises the fact that in Scotland the constitutional nationalist SNP emerged as the electoral victor, pushing the Tories and Scottish Labour into retreat. In Wales, the still largely liberal unionist, Welsh Labour and the constitutional nationalist, Plaid Cymru retained an overall majority, but the Tories made substantial gains. In Northern Ireland, the reactionary unionist DUP lost its overall majority, giving a tentative constitutional nationalist (Sinn Fein and SDLP) and liberal unionist (APNI) alliance a majority. Furthermore, there are wider national democratic movements in Scotland, Wales and Ireland/Northern Ireland, which will be prepared to challenge Johnson’s reactionary unionist clampdown. This is a recipe for continued constitutional crisis, with Scotland in the front line at present. Continue reading “COMPETING STRATEGIES IN THE FACE OF THE BREAK-UP OF THE UK AND THE CASE FOR A SOCIALIST REPUBLICAN ‘INTERNATIONALISM FROM BELOW’ ALLIANCE”

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Feb 09 2020

TWO SCOTTISH RESPONSES TO THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION

We are posting two responses to the results of the December 12th general election, the first from activists within the Scottish Labour Party and the second form Gavin Lundy, National Convenor of Young Scots for Independence.

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1. Open Letter: Scottish Labour for Radical Democracy

(this was first posted at:-  https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2019/12/15/open-letter-scottish-labour-for-radical-democracy)

We demand radical self-determination for Scotland. The Scottish people have, in successive elections to both Holyrood and Westminster, elected majorities in favour of a new referendum on independence. Setting aside the arguments for and against independence, we must not allow a hardline Tory government – which has no mandate here – to override Scotland’s democratic will.

Should all attempts to secure a second referendum by legal and constitutional means be obstructed by the UK government, we support an escalating strategy of non-cooperation and civil disobedience against that government, pursued at all possible levels: from the Scottish Government legislating on, or refusing to cooperate with, matters ‘reserved’ to Westminster, to grassroots non-violent direct action within and outwith Scotland. Continue reading “TWO SCOTTISH RESPONSES TO THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION”

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Jan 24 2020

THE IMPACT OF THE DECEMBER 12TH GENERAL ELECTION ACROSS THE CONSTITUENT PARTS OF THE UK

Allan Armstrong follows up his article, The Continued Rise of Right National Populism and Reactionary Unionism in the Run-up to the December 12th General Election (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2019/12/09/the-continued-rise-of-right-populism-and-reactionary-unionism/). He examines the impact of the general election results across the constituent parts of the UK and the prospects for the immediate future. 

 

THE IMPACT OF THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION ACROSS THE CONSTITUENT PARTS OF THE UK

 

 

a)    The three possible outcomes of the December 12th Westminster general election

b)    How Corbyn’s Left social democracy, its complicity in British chauvinism and racism and its support for the UK state helped to pave the way for Johnson

c)    Other factors undermining the Corbynista challenge to Johnson

d)    The election results in England

e)    The election results in Wales

f)     The election results in Scotland

g)    The election results in Northern Ireland

h)    Conclusion

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  Continue reading “THE IMPACT OF THE DECEMBER 12TH GENERAL ELECTION ACROSS THE CONSTITUENT PARTS OF THE UK”

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Jan 23 2020

THE CREATIVE ECONOMY? – TOWARDS A CULTURE OF POSSIBILITY

Emancipation & Liberation has viewed cultural creativity as a significant arena in which to challenge the alienation associated with the the exploitation and oppression found under capitalism. We are reposting an article by Mairi McFadyen, first posted on bella caledonia, which provides evidence from the rural areas of Scotland.

 

THE CREATIVE ECONOMY? – TOWARDS A CULTURE OF POSSIBILITY

Cultural engagement on the banks of the River Nith in Dumfries

 

This month I have been on a journey from Shetland to Dumfries reflecting on creativity, community and cultural commons. In the last of the summer sun I sailed north across the whale road to a conference organised by the Centre for Rural Creativity, University of the Highlands and Islands, in partnership with Shetland Arts at the Mareel. Invoking the old Norn dialect word for where the shore meets the sea, the event was called Shoormal – an invitation to explore issues of creative practice, collaboration and the ‘shifting sands in the creative economy’. Continue reading “THE CREATIVE ECONOMY? – TOWARDS A CULTURE OF POSSIBILITY”

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Dec 09 2019

THE RISE OF NATIONAL POPULISM AND REACTIONARY UNIONISM IN THE RUN UP TO THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION

In the lead-up to the December 12th general election Allan Armstrong updates  his analysis of the drift to the Right populist and reactionary unionist politics in the UK and what this possibly means for the future of the Union.

This is followed by an article by  statement from  the Radical Independence Campaign in Scotland on the general election.

Finally we are posting an article by  Tony Greenstein, expelled Labour Party member from Brighton. He predicted the unexpected rise in support for Jeremy Corbyn in 2017, but thinks that Labour’s chances have declined in the run up to the December general election.

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  1. THE CONTINUED RISE OF RIGHT POPULISM AND REACTIONARY UNIONISM 

IN THE LEAD-UP TO THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION

 

(A fuller explanation of what is meant by Right national populism can be found in the article:- https://allanarmstrong831930095.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/right-populism-2.pdf

Neither the UK nor Great Britain have ever been unitary states. All forms of unionism are based upon the unionist nature of the UK state, which has recognised England, Scotland, Ireland (later Northern Ireland)  and Wales as constituent units. This has led to the adoption of various forms of hybrid Britishness.

Three key terms used in this article  are:-

Conservative unionism – This acknowledges the unionist nature of the UK state through administrative devolution (or later acceptance of liberal unionist devolutionary measures  which it once opposed, but have become part of the status quo)

Liberal unionism – This also accepts the unionist nature of the UK state but promotes political devolution as a better method of holding the state together

Reactionary unionism – This upholds the UK state and openly celebrates  its most repressive aspects. e.g. the crown powers, the armed forces and judiciary. It is also prepared to mobilise extra-constitutional force to prevent national self-determination, greater measures of political devolution, and reverse political devolution and even some administrative devolutionary measures that have already been accepted.) Continue reading “THE RISE OF NATIONAL POPULISM AND REACTIONARY UNIONISM IN THE RUN UP TO THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION”

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Oct 22 2019

THE CONTRADICTIONS UNDERLYING BREXIT AND SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE

Allan Armstrong sent  this article to Conter, on September 13th, hoping  to open up one of the debates on the Left in relation to Scottish independence, before and during the Radical Independence Campaign conference in Glasgow on October 26th. There has been no acknowledgement of this article by the Conter editor, despite Allan being a member of RISE, Conter‘s main sponsor. This seems to reflect a unwillingness, highlighted at the founding of RISE, to discuss controversial  issues.

However, since then articles have appeared in Conter, or by RISE members writing for CommonSpace, which have been pro-Lexit. Allan’s article was written in an attempt to ensure that a fuller range of Left opinion was addressed on a specifically Socialist site claiming  to promote wider debate. This could then contribute to  the best traditions of RIC, where such controversial issues have been openly debated. A Left that is afraid to debate issues, in a democratic and respectful manner, is doomed to irrelevance.

Fortunately, both Socialist Resistance (http://socialistresistance.org/the-contradictions-underlying-brexit-and-scottish-independence/18211) and bella caledonia (https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2019/10/24/republican-internationalism-from-below/) have now posted this article. 

 

THE CONTRADICTIONS UNDERLYING BREXIT AND SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE

 

To date articles in Conter addressing Brexit have concentrated more on the neo-liberal opposition, and those on the Left perceived to be tail-ending this section of the British ruling class. There has been no real analysis of the aims of the hard right and national populist advocates of Brexit, whether the Boris Johnson-led Tories, or the Nigel Farage-led UKIP and now his Brexit Party. Brexit  has not been adequately placed in the context of the global rise of right national populism, highlighted by Donald Trump’s ‘Brexit, plus, plus, plus’, US presidential electoral victory in November 2016.[1] These people are still seen by some on the Left as political outsiders, despite now having their hands  on the US state’s anti-democratic presidential powers and the UK state’s anti-democratic crown powers. Nor have the machinations of such ‘left’ Brexit union leaders as UNITE’s Len McCluskey been addressed.[2]

 

The RIC conference on 26.10.19

The Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) has formed an important arena for discussing such issues.[3] Indeed RIC’s Scottish internationalism is highlighted on its banner – ‘Another Scotland is Possible; Another Europe is Possible; Another World is Possible’. Hopefully, the October 26th RIC conference in Glasgow will extend this opportunity for discussion related to the situation we now face. Understanding the political forces, which the Left is up against, is essential, not only in the UK and wider world, but for us in Scotland, when we consider the future for Scottish independence. Continue reading “THE CONTRADICTIONS UNDERLYING BREXIT AND SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE”

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Aug 30 2019

It’s the constitution stupid – After the Boris ‘coup’ let’s fUK it!

Allan Armstrong gives his response to the latest constitutional crisis hitting the UK state

 

It’s the constitution stupid – After the Boris ‘coup’ let’s fUK it!

 

Contents

  1. A constitutional and legal coup under Crown-in-Westminster sovereignty
  2. The UK’s growing constitutional crisis, the retreat of neo-liberalism and liberal unionism and the growth of right populism and reactionary unionism
  3. The continued rise of right national populism and the hard right in the UK
  4. The May 23rd Euro-elections – Farage’s right populist victory paves the way for the hard right take-over of the Tory Party
  5. The asymmetric polarisation of UK politics
  6. From Maybynism to Borisbynism? – Labour’s role in helping to move official politics to the right
  7. Neo-liberal attempts to turn back the right populist challenge over Brexit
  8. The right and centre Remainers take politics to the streets
  9. The Lexiters’ (and Irexiters’) economism and abstract propagandism
  10. The emergence of left Remainers, Another Europe Is Possible, and their turn to the streets
  11. Conclusions

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  1. A constitutional and legal coup under Crown-in-Westminster sovereignty

The decision taken by Boris Johnson and his backers  to prorogue Westminster on the 28th August represents the culmination of a prolonged constitutional crisis, which began with the Scottish independence referendum between 2012-14, and has been accelerating in the aftermath of the Brexit vote in 2016. Today we have liberals (in all the mainstream British parties), and even some conservatives, bemoaning  the unconstitutional and illegal nature of the decision taken by the unelected prime minister, Johnson, along with privy councillor, Jacob Rees-Mogg (Tory MP representing the eighteenth century), and the unelected head of state, queen Elizabeth. However, the UK state, based on the sovereignty of the Crown in Westminster, with its armoury of anti-democratic Crown Powers, gives enormous power to the dominant section of the British ruling class. Proroguing parliament is both constitutional and legal. Continue reading “It’s the constitution stupid – After the Boris ‘coup’ let’s fUK it!”

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Feb 20 2019

THE CONTINUING BREXIT CRISIS

The National Forum of the Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) held on June 30th, 2018  agreed to take up the issue of a Ratification referendum over Theresa May’s Brexit Proposals (http://radicalindyedinburgh.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-case-for-eu-ratification-referendum.html). A letter advocating this course of action was published in The National on  24.7.18. 

A ratification referendum could unite those in RIC who supported a Remain vote, and those who supported a Leave vote. The crisis over Brexit has brought about a new situation where Lexiters and Left Remainers have different views of the way to move forward.  RIC has continued to organise discussions,  where both sides could put their case. Cat Boyd  put the case for a new Lexit campaign in her letter to The National on 18.11.18, to which Allan wrote a reply 0n 27.11.18.

(http://radicalindyedinburgh.blogspot.com/2018/12/where-now-for-brexit.html)

But in his new letter published in The National on Sunday on 17.2.19, Allan Armstrong argues that the time for this has now passed. He advocates a different course of action needed to meet the current political situation. Allan’s new letter to the National on Sunday is also written from the perspective of a critical Remainer.

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And ALL includes EU residents and 16-18 year olds denied the vote last time

LETTER TO THE NATIONAL ON SUNDAY, 17.2.19

In all the bourach surrounding Brexit at Westminster, no particular alternative commanding majority support has yet come forward. Last year The National published a letter I had written suggesting that Holyrood organise a ratification referendum over Mays’s proposed Brexit deal (24.7.18). The Scottish people have already voted decisively to reject Brexit, so there is no need to re-run the original 2016 Leave/Remain referendum. One of the most important things about a Holyrood organised referendum is that it could have included all those EU residents and 16-18 year olds who voted in IndyRef1. An additional benefit of a Holyrood run a ratification referendum is that it would have given focus to the Scottish independence campaign at a time when May had put the shutters up on any IndyRef2.

Given the Tories’ continued resort to all the most anti-democratic powers given to the government under the Crown-in-Westminster set-up, it is unlikely that May would then have conceded some separate Scottish deal. Separate deals are only made for those who want to reinforce all the most reactionary aspects of the Union, like the DUP in Northern Ireland. However, it would have forced the smug Scottish Tories to defend their constant Brexit U-turns. But more importantly, by organising a referendum that included those excluded in 2016, this would have shone a spotlight on the profoundly anti-democratic way by which the Right’s Brexit vote victory was achieved. And given that the Cameron government was responsible for agreeing the franchise criteria in both the IndyRef1 and the EU membership referenda, it would also have shown up the Tories’ hypocrisy.

The time has now run out for any ratification referendum in Scotland, and the possibility of supporting the so-called Peoples Vote has attracted SNP MP’s support. To allow a rerun of the original EU referendum is to invite trouble. The people most affected by any Brexit are EU residents and 16-18 year olds. Their voice needs to be heard, as May and Corbyn manouevre to introduce a new gastarbeiter system of labour control in the new Immigration Bill. We have had to fight a series of defensive battles to stop the Home Office deporting people from Scotland. Our most recent success, supported by SNP MPs, has been the case of Iranian born Rezvan Habibimarand and Mozaffar Saberi.

However, instead of mounting a series of rearguard actions to defend people the UK state deems not to be British subjects, we need to start by including EU residents (and 16-18 year olds) as part of our people. Therefore, if a People’s Vote proposal is placed before Westminster,  it should only be backed by SNP MPs, following an amendment restoring the franchise arrangements made for IndyRef1.

 

Allan Armstrong, 15.2.19

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and for an earlier response written immediately after the Brexit vote see:-

JUNE 24th – THE FUKers’ BLACK FRIDAY OR RED FRIDAY FOR A EUROPEAN DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION?

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Feb 19 2019

BREXIT AND WHAT IT MEANS IN IRELAND

The E&L blog  has been reporting the situation in Ireland since we started up. However, during  current Brexit negotiations , the  ‘backstop’ has pushed the issue of Northern Ireland to the fore. We are publishing two articles which share a lot in common in their analysis of Ireland, but which offer differing perspectives on the role of the EU. The first is written by David Jamieson and first appeared on the Commonspace blog. The second is written by Allan Armstrong and forms the seventh chapter of his new pamphlet From Blatcherism to Maybynism.

 

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  1. ANALYSIS – MICRO-POLITICS ISN’T ENOUGH – WE MUST ADDRESS

THE  PARTITION OF IRELAND

 

Debates around the UK border in Ireland and the so called ‘backstop’ bring the crisis elements of the British state into sharper focus. Continue reading “BREXIT AND WHAT IT MEANS IN IRELAND”

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