Apr 272011

By Aberdeen Against Austerity.

This Saturday, trade unionists, socialists, environmental activists, students and working people will march in Aberdeen to mark International Workers’ Day, more commonly known as May Day.  In so doing, they will be joining with thousands of people all over the world in commemorating the struggle of the labour movement against injustice and exploitation.

Yet, May Day is not just an opportunity to celebrate the victories of the past, but also to continue that struggle today.

Historically, the day has been used to campaign for the current demands of the movement, from the eight-hour day at the end of the nineteenth century, to the anti-capitalist assertion that “Another World is Possible” at the turn of the millennium. This has also been true of May Day marches in Aberdeen, which have taken place here for over one hundred years. In 2007, the Save Our Services campaign against the closures of schools and the Glencraft factory swelled the march to well over a thousand people.

In 2009, no march took place, as the City Council imposed a £2100 charge on Aberdeen Trades Council, the organisers of the march, for the use of Union Street.  The decision to effectively price out democracy and dissent was undoubtedly informed by the potential of the march to be used to voice general opposition to the council.

A compromise would seem to have been reached, with last year’s march only going from St. Nicholas Kirkyard to the Castlegate, where a rally is traditionally held, rather than the length of Union Street.  This will be the case again this year.  Nevertheless, the march presents the perfect opportunity to campaign against public spending cuts at local and national level.

Aberdeen Against Austerity ( mailing list at aberdeenagainstausterity@lists.riseup.net ) will be joining the march to voice our opposition to these regressive and unnecessary measures, and to argue for an alternative programme of taxation and investment. All are welcome to march under our banner, but the important thing is to be there, whoever you march with.

Aberdeen May Day march
Saturday 30th April
Assemble on Back Wynd at 11am.
The march starts at 11.30am.


Jan 282011

Its been a ‘trying’ week for Old Susannah as two former political party leaders are ‘court’ up in controversy. As one faces a lengthy term indoors, and the other attempts to shake off the ‘terminator’ tag, Old Suz tackles some tricky terminology.


(noun) an expression of regret, acknowledging some form of mistake, error or wrong doing..  Examples:  I gave my granny an apology for breaking a piece of her china years ago.  I apologised when I was late for an appointment last week.

Tony Blair has now apologised to everyone at the Chilcot Enquiry into the Iraq War.  He said that he is sorry tens of thousands of people – soldiers, civilian men, women, children, innocent bystanders in short – got killed in the war.  He could not have foreseen that war would lead to any of that.  The one million strong protestors who marched to Hyde Park to protest the war clearly did not have all the facts, and did not know what was really at stake like Tony did; so he was right to ignore them.

This is a democracy after all; he was elected and was able to do what he wanted.  Hans Blix, and other weapons inspectors likewise, were wrong to conclude that Saddam did not have stores of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ (as compared to ‘weapons of mass irritation’ or ‘weapons of a tiny bit of destruction’) and could not attack us in 45 minutes.  Blair had the dossier to prove it, so fair dues.

The UN likewise was misguided: not having any of Blair’s intelligence and intuition.  Blair had promised President Bush ‘we were with you all the way’ some 8 months before the war started, and as we all know, it is important not to break a promise.  Good on you Tony.  Now that is what I call foresight and planning ahead.  I guess if you needed expert guidance at the time, you couldn’t have done any better than listening to Bush, Cheney , Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and the rest of the American experts, who waged this war with no fear of the personal sacrifice it would cost each and every one of them.  To those who say that there are things that are beyond an apology, they are wrong:  this apology will immediately heal all physical and emotional wounds.   The soldier in rehab, the widow, the orphans, those left destitute will find Tony’s ‘sorry’ all the tonic they need.  Apology accepted.


(noun) To genuinely regret an action, even to the point of feeling guilt and sadness.

It should be noted that Tony Blair’s apology over the Iraq War has absolutely no remorse in it, and even less sincerity.  He is ‘glad we removed Saddam’.  He would ‘do it again’.  It could be Old Susannah, but I don’t see the remorse in that attitude.  Why this one particular dictator was more important to ‘remove’ than the hundreds of others who blight this world, particularly in Africa and Asia, is in no way connected to then President Bush’s determination to avenge his daddy, whose own war on Iraq was not a great success.

Those who pushed this war on us were not interested in making a profit; any sudden enrichment to their bank balances was coincidental.  A certain former US Chief of Defence might have had a teeny connection to a certain oil company; it could happen to anyone.  He was just in the right place at the right time.  We must remember how the war instantly brought peace, stability, equality and human rights to the region.

For some bizarre reason the jury failed to see that Mr Sheridan is the victim of a massive conspiracy reminiscent of the Davinci Code’s plot

Another important power couple are not feeling much in the way of remorse or regret either:  Mr and Mrs Sheridan, who are having a tough time of it.  For some bizarre reason the jury failed to see that Mr Sheridan is the victim of a massive conspiracy reminiscent of the Davinci Code’s plot.  He angrily denied any wrongdoing; his lovely wife stood by him – and yet somehow people think he might not be telling the truth, and he has cruelly been found him guilty of perjury.  Mrs Sheridan is a model to all us ladies – stand by your man no matter what.  What a lovely woman she must be, and if she’s single-handedly set women’s rights and independence back by 7 to 10 years, so what.  After his angry protestations of innocence and being set up, Mr Sheridan is now pleading for mercy in his sentencing.  I wonder if he is feeling remorse for having brought the lawsuit to ‘clear his name’ which led directly to where he is now.  What’s wrong with a man in power cheating on his wife in sleazy sex clubs then suing newspapers that print the tale?  I guess a shared interest in perjury helps keep this power couple together.

Trade Union

(noun) A Trade Union is a bad, bad thing that costs people jobs, ruins the global economy, and cuts into everyone’s pockets.  Believe it or not, the Unions representing Aberdeen City Council workers have actually rejected the kindly offer of taking a 5% pay cut for its members, who the Council now has no choice but to sack 900 people.

Unions came about to protect the rights of the workers, but things have now moved on, and it’s the poor employer that is suffering.  Through no fault of its own, Aberdeen City Council is being forced to cut jobs by the greedy unions.

The Council might own more real estate, buildings, offices and land than your average king.  The City might have written off millions of pounds in bad debts over the years.  They even might have sold land for a fraction of its value to a few lucky developers.  They could even have introduced a sliding scale for these proposed salary cuts, with the overpaid – I mean higher paid – managers taking a larger than 5% cut, and had smaller cuts for the lower-paid.   But Aberdeen’s not a charity.  If you’re going to work for the City, count yourselves lucky.  Take the cut.  You’ll be getting a brand new desk and chair when you move to Marischal College!  And if you still feel unfairly treated, do keep your stories coming to Old Susannah.   They are getting juicy!