Welcome to the Edinburgh North branch!

This is the web page of the Edinburgh North branch of the Scottish Socialist Party.  This site has only just been put together.  The aim is to have it operating as a source of information about the Edinburgh North branch and the Scottish Socialist Party in general.

If you would like to contact us or join the SSP, please follow the links on the site.

Posted in Informative

You tell us

What would like this blog to be used for?  Let us know by leaving comments below this article.  We’ll do our best to meet your needs!

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SSP launch 2011 Manifesto

SSP Manifesto 2011

Click on the link above to open the manifesto for the 2011 Scottish election.

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SSP Election broadcast 2011

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Forthcoming hustings featuring the SSP

The following hustings will take place around Edinburgh.  Please attend if you can make it.

Sun 17th April – Newington Churches Together, Kings Hall, Newington 3pm
Wed 20th April – Craigentinny Residents Group 7pm

Thurs 28th April – Edinburgh Trades Council 7pm

Tues 3rd May – Juniper Green Hustings, Juniper Green Parish Church 7pm

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SSP National Conference

SSP National Conference will take place on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd
April in The Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline.

Resolutions for Conference should be returned by branches to me no
later than Tuesday 1st March.

Amendments, branch delegations and nominations for elected positions
should be returned no later than Tuesday 22nd March.

I attach details from SSP Constitution detailing Conference
arrangements, office bearers and Executive Committee members due for

8. Executive Committee

(b)              To ensure gender balance for the directly elected
positions National Conference will elect seven women by STV and seven
men by STV.

9. National Conference

9.1              National Conference is the sovereign body of the SSP.
National Conference should take place within 13 months of the previous
annual conference. Between times, however, the elected National
Council should conduct the party’s affairs with the elected Executive
Committee and eight elected Regional Councils supporting it.

9.2 (a)              National policy is democratically decided by a
National Conference. SSP conferences are organised on a delegate basis
from branches with one delegate for every three branch members, to be
elected by branch consensus, or, in the event of a contest, by single
transferable vote. Branches are not entitled to mandate delegates to
National Conference.

(b)              Branch delegations to Conference are equally gender
balanced, through the use of reserved seats. If a branch is entitled
to an even number of delegates, 50% are reserved for women, and will
be left vacant if no women members are able to fill the place. If a
branch is entitled to an odd number of delegates, no more than 50% + 1
of the delegate places can be filled by men.

(c)              Branches are expected to ensure that their conference
delegates are up-to-date with their membership subscriptions.

(d)         Branches should provide a full list of members to the
Membership Secretary/National Secretary as soon as possible after a
conference has been called and certainly no later than the deadline
for motions.

(e)         National unions would be entitled to 1 delegate per 1,000
union members or part thereof to the SSP national conference – all
delegates must be individual SSP members. The union would determine
how best to democratically elect such delegates. Each delegate would
have one vote at SSP national conference.

(f)           Union branches, Trades Union Councils and stewards
committees would be entitled to 2 elected delegates – who must be
individual SSP members – to the SSP national conference. The union
would determine how best to democratically elect such delegates. Each
delegate would have one vote at SSP conference.

(g)              All party members are actively encouraged to attend
National Conference as visitors. Party visitors can participate in
debates (including to move a branch, network or platform/tendency
motion) but they will not have voting rights.

(h)              Non party visitors to National Conference can speak
if invited to by the Conference Arrangements Committee.

9.3 (a) SSP branches, national trade union affiliates, union branches,
Trades Union Councils and stewards committees can all send 2 motions
and 2 amendments to national conference.

(b)              The Executive Committee can send two motions to
National Conference in order to initiate debates on areas of key
strategic and political importance.

(c)              National Council can submit the proposals of sub
committees, working parties or standing committees, as amended by
National Council, to National Conference in the form of motions.

(d)              Sub committees or working parties established by
conference motion may be charged to submit proposals directly to
National Conference.

(e)               National Networks have the right to send two motions
and two amendments to National Conference.

(f)              The national structures of Scottish Socialist Youth
and the SSP’s student groups each have the right to submit one motion
and one amendment to National Conference.

(g)              A platform/tendency whose platform is registered with
the National Council has the right to send one motion and one
amendment to National Conference in its own name signed by 10 members
of the SSP.

9.4                Each national office bearers and spokespersons is
expected to submit a written report to National Conference on their
activities (including the implementation of any relevant decisions
made by the preceding conference), and on developments over the
previous year in their field of responsibility. Reports should not
seek to develop new policy and will not be voted on by conference.
Branches may submit questions about any aspect of the reports.

9.5              If a motion or amendment seeking to amend, delete or
add to any part of the Aims & Principles section of the constitution
is agreed by conference by less than two-thirds of votes cast, a full
debate on the motion/amendment will take place throughout the party. A
debate and a vote will take place on the motion/amendment at the next
National Conference (or at a Special Conference) at which a simple
majority of votes cast will be required to ratify the

9.6               Branches/Regional Councils have the right to
determine local/regional policy on local/regional matters within the
framework of national policy agreed by National Conference and
National Council.

10. Social and Cultural Activities

10.1               A Social & Cultural Co-ordinator will be elected
and seek volunteers to organise a range of social and cultural
activities including family-friendly and non-pub based activities.

11. Office Bearers and Spokespersons

11.1              National Conference elects all national office
bearers. Office bearers are responsible for processing the decisions
of National/Special Conferences and National Council. Office bearers
are as follows:
•        National Joint Spokespersons (one male, one female);
•        National Secretary (preparation of agendas, dealing with
external correspondence & communications, liaising with Regional
Secretaries, reporting to the Executive Committee and the National
Council on progress etc);
•        3 National Assistant Secretaries (one for Minutes, one for
Membership records and one for maintaining the Website);
•        2 National Co-Chairs (presiding over Executive Committee
Meetings, National Council meetings, conferences etc. To liaise with
Secretary over agendas for meetings etc);
•        National Press & Policy Co-ordinator;
•        National Treasurer (to keep details of party income and
expenditure, preparation of quarterly financial reports to be sent to
all Branch Secretaries, and presentation of audited accounts to
National Conference, fundraising etc.)
•        National Deputy Treasurer
•        1 National Trade Union Co-ordinator;
•        1 International Co-ordinator;
•        1 Student Co-ordinator;
•        1 Youth Organiser (elected by SSY Conference – see 12.1 (a)) ;
•        1 Magazine Editor;
•        1 Editor – Scottish Socialist Voice;
•        2 Auditors – to, in cooperation with National Treasurer,
audit national accounts for presentation at National Conference.
Auditor cannot be a member of the executive or finance committee.

11.2               Should a national office become vacant between
conferences, the National Council shall elect a member to the office.
During the interim, the EC may appoint a member to the office in an
acting capacity. Should a vacant National Office have a depute, the
depute officer shall fill the office.

11.3               The National Conference/Council can also elect
members as Party Spokespersons to communicate with the media on
specific topics (eg on the Environment, Employment etc). The Executive
Committee can appoint Spokespersons between National Council meetings
but the appointment can only be until the appointment is ratified or
not by the next National Council meeting.

11.4 (a)              All national and regional office bearers,
including members of national committees, have a four year limit to be
introduced on a staggered basis from 2008. If at the end of the four
year period there are no nominees to take over the post, the
incumbent(s) may stand for a further temporary rolling term of six
months, during which time a replacement should be actively sought and
training offered as required.

These will be introduced on a staggered basis from 2008, to avoid a
situation whereby all national office bearers and experienced EC
members stand down together in 2012:

i.  National office bearers four years from 2008
ii.  EC, committee members (national) and spokespersons/office bearers
four years from 2009
iii. Regional office bearers four years from 2010.

(b)              After the maximum time limit has been served
continuously, a one year ‘lie in’ period will apply before comrades
are eligible to stand for election at that level (i.e. national or
regional) again.

11.5              All national and regional office bearers, including
spokespersons/policy co-ordinators, should ensure that in public, they
follow party policy. If a member feels that this is not the case, they
should refer their complaint in the first instance to the National

Posted in Election 2011, Whole-party issues | Leave a comment

Glasgow University occupation

This is an action that party members across the country should do what
they can to support and any help we can offer will be greatly

On Tuesday 1st February students (and supporters, including many SSY
and SSP members) active in the struggle against cuts and for free
education took over the abandoned Hetherington Research Club at
Glasgow University. This much loved postgraduate student union was
forced to close because uni management were no longer willing to fund
it, and has since been lying empty. We had received word that the
university intended to begin building work to rip out the bars and
meeting rooms and completely transform the nature of the building very
soon. As a result, as a last ditch effort to save the building for
students, and to build a space at the disposal for the struggle
against cuts, we’ve taken over and re-opened the building for use by
students, staff and the wider community.

Currently we have full freedom of access and the occupation has proved
incredibly popular on campus, with many students dropping by
throughout the day. We have begun building up a busy programme of
events, some of which I’ve detailed below. We have two main spaces
here, and we are very open to being booked by groups for meetings,
talks, film showings etc. Please get in touch by emailing
glasgowoccupation@gmail.com to book an event – I’d love to see the SSP
making full use of the space. Comrades should also feel free to drop
by any time for a free cup of coffee/tea or a bite to eat. It’s a
lovely space to just relax and socialise.

Comrades can show support can show support by giving us donations of
cash or food and drink many comrades have already done a sterling job,
much appreciated!) Here’s our wish list of things we need:

– Electric hob
– Bedding
– Blu tac
– Rack for drying dishes
– Tea towels
– Camping stove
– Can opener
– Washing up liquid
– Soap
– First Aid supplies
– Tea spoons
– Books for our library (and Voices/SSP literature to leave lying
around the bar area!!!)
– Coloured pens
– Door mat
– Brillo pads
– Washing up cloths
– Vegetable peeler
– Art materials: paper, acrylic paint, canvas, sugar paper.
– Cheap socks
– A mop
– Dettox/Anti-bacterial spray

And here we have some of the events we’re putting on over the next few
days; please come along and enjoy!

Friday Feb 4th
2pm – Guest lecture with Dr Ben Franks, philosophy lecturer at
Crichton Campus, on ‘The Ethics of Private Property.’
4pm – Rebel Clown Training
7pm – Workshop on Good Sex and Good Consent
8pm – FILM SHOWING – The Baader Mainhof Complex, followed by iscussion.

Saturday Feb 5th
5pm – Getting to know you session for occupiers and supporters to meet
and greet, followed by dinner. Hopefully featuring participants in the
Edinburgh uni occupation.

Sunday 6th
4pm – Meeting to plan action on the day of Glasgow City Council’s budget
7pm – Film showing of work by the artist Haroun Farochi

Monday Feb 7th
9 – 11 – Quiz night!

There’s lots more to come! This space is available for comrades, so
get in touch and let us know how you’d like to use it!


Jack Ferguson

Posted in Cuts | 1 Comment

SSP Special Conference

Dear all
Just a reminder that the SSP Special Conference is on tomorrow in Glasgow, see below details from Kevin McVey and attachment containing statements and resolutions.
For those of you who will be taking a train through I propose to meet at 11:30 outside WH Smith at Waverly Station in time for the 11:45 train that arrives at Glasgow Queen St at 12:37.
Special Conference this Saturday 5th February, 1 – 4.30pm, Woodside Halls, 60 Glenfarg St, Glasgow, G20 7QU. maps.google.co.uk

Also details of meeting called by International Committee after
Conference finishes:

The International Committee is inviting interested SSP members to come
to a meeting to relaunch the Calton Hill Committee. This is with a
view to launching a series of republican events to coincide with the
various royal celebrations this year. The ruling class and all the
mainstream parties hope to divert people’s attention away from their
current austerity drive. They want to continue to  use the various
royals’ honourary or real participation in her majesty’s armed forces
to attempt to win support for ongoing imperial wars.  They hold  the
anti-democratic Crown Powers in reserve to to rein in any substantial
exercise of Scottish self-determination. It’s time to challenge this.

This meeting will be held following straight on from the:-

February 5th
Woodside Halls
60 Glenfarg St,

Kevin McVey
National Secretary

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Public Meeting on Afghanistan

SSP Public meeting – After 10 Years in Afghanistan it’s time to bring home the troops
Colin Fox, SSP National Spokesperson
Joan Humphreys, Military Families Against the War
Thursday 27th January – 7:00pm
Nelson Hall Community Centre
St Leonards, 5 Spittalfield Crescent, Edinburgh EH8 9QZ
Posted in Afghanistan | 1 Comment

Merry Christmas!

Dear all
Greetings to everyone – I hope you have had happy festive season times.

A number of SSP meetings and events are scheduled for throughout January.  Individual notifications will be sent out before each event with all of the finer details about what when and where, but below is a summary so that you can get the dates in your diaries.  Feedback on any of this is welcomed.

Monday 10 January – Regional Council Meeting 7pm

This meeting will be dedicated to discussing the Scottish Parliament Elections and our campaigning.
Keith McKie and I are the delegates for the North branch but everyone is welcome at this meeting and encouraged to attend.
It is likely to be in one of the Edinburgh University rooms.

Sunday 16 January – SSP Regional Training Day for Scottish Parliament Elections 1pm-4pm
This will take place at Edinburgh University.  We will hold four workshops on the following:
  1. Writing and designing a Leaflet
  2. Canvassing
  3. Fundraising
  4. Media work

This training day will be a good opportunity for members to learn new skills, brush up on their existing skills or, for those of you who are already exceptionally skilled and experienced in these areas, to share your expertise with the rest of us.  We are inviting some comrades through from Glasgow and other areas to help facilitate the workshops so we are hoping to get a good turn out from everyone in the region.

Thursday 20 January 2010 – Edinburgh North South Joint Branch Meeting

Now that the Sheridan trial is over, we have decided to dedicate the next joint branch meeting to a discussion on ‘Where we go from here – moving on after the Sheridan trial.’  This will be an opportunity for all branch members to talk about where we see things going from now on.  The joint branch is scheduled for Thursday 20 January at 7pm in the usual Nelson Hall location.  We are hoping to get Richie Venton or Kevin McVey through from Glasgow to lead off on this discussion.

Thursday 27 January 7pm – Public Meeting on Afghanistan, Nelson Hall

The South branch decided they would like to hold a public meeting on Afghanistan and have firstly, invited all north branch members to attend and secondly, if we could help build for the meeting as well.   Mohammad Asif from the Scottish Afghan Society has been invited to speak at it so we would like to get a big turn out from branch members as well as the public.

Saturday 29 January – SSP Regional Fundraiser – Radical Pub Crawl.
The last one was successful – and fun so we decided at the last RC to do another one.

As previously mentioned – all finer details of each of these events will be communicated before they come up – this was mainly so you could get the dates in your calendar.  Please feel free to come back to me with any feedback or questions on any of this as well as with any other events that are happening.

Happy New Year for when it happens and look forward to seeing you all throughout January.

Posted in Edinburgh North meetings, Edinburgh-wide meetings | Leave a comment


Weds 17th Nov


Dear comrades,
As I have alerted many of you by text yesterday, the STUC has now publicly announced a lobby of the Scottish Parlmt calling for a budget that protects jobs, services, living wage, fair taxes, etc. It is on WEDNESDAY next – 17th – at 12noon.
We need a good SSP presence at it.
We were literally the first in Scotland to propose this event – through material in the Voice and our Public Sector Workers Voice on the STUC demo. We have campaigned for it in the different unions. We got the PCS to commit to such a lobby first at Scottish level – although that was planned for 11.30am Thurs 18th – the day most people originally thought was budget day. (we are now taking steps to try and get PCS to alter the date to coincide with the STUC lobby on Weds, for maximum numbers and impact … we will see..)

Our purpose in raising this concrete proposal is to
(a) keep up some of the momentum within the unions and beyond after the 20,000-strong STUC demo,
(b) focus pressure on the Scottish govt as they set their budget, demanding they defy Westminster, rather than pass on cuts,
(c) as part of that, raise our twin alternatives of demanding a No-Cuts defiance budget, demanding back the £1.3bn stolen by Westminster, and calling for a Bill to replace the Council Tax and thereby raise an extra £1.6bn through the income-based Service Tax, avoiding any excuse for cuts.

We need as many SSP comrades as can make it along on Weds.
Where possible by getting a delegation from your union and/or anti-cuts campaign, with a banner if possible.
But regardless of how feasible that is, we need a visible SSP presence, with banners and placards etc.
Can you attend?
Can you get any others from your union/anti-cuts campaign?
Can you persuade any other SSP members to come?
This is a national event – though of course a turnout from Edinburgh is more likely to be possible.

Please reply to say what you can do for it….and then we can plan travel arrangements too.
And where possible comrades should arrive at the parliament by 11.45am to make sure our visible presence is organised.
Yours in struggle and socialism,
Richie Venton – national trade union organiser

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September 1st meeting notes

This is just a wee note following up on the meeting on Wednesday.

For those of you who weren’t there, congratulations to our candidates for the Scottish Parliamentary elections! Colin Fox is top of the list, and the other 5 candidates, Catriona, Laura, Raphie, Andy and Barbara are all North branch members so hopefully we’ll all get out there and support them in the campaign.

Also welcome to Andy, our newest branch member, although he’s been around for ages and lots of you know him already.  Good to have you around though Andy, and thanks for the talk on Asylum seekers.  Clearly many SSP members have a proud history of supporting Asylum Seekers.  Andy produced a factsheet with some stats, I’m sure he’ll be happy to forward it on to anyone that wants a copy.

Future activities and fundraising

We need to raise some money, not least to make a contribution to the Scottish Parliament election campaign fund.  Please can you all have a think and either email me your fundraising ideas or bring them along to the next meeting.  Karly and I spoke about the possibility of running a film night or two, so if you’ve got any suggestions for that then let us know.  Other ideas include car boot sales and selling stuff on ebay.   If you’ve got anything you want to get rid of let me know and we’ll see if we could do that, possibly with help from Robert Mathie who has been raising quite a bit this way already.  We could run a stall in Leith, there are probably enough of us, and if we picked a busy spot it might be worthwhile.  Socials of course, I think there’s a pub crawl planned at some point (possibly 8 October?), and also some kind of christmas show in which we are all invited to participate.  Any other ideas please let me know, some of you have loads more experience than me so I’m sure you’ve got experience of what does and doesn’t work.

Also, should we be doing more than just meeting once a month, should we be linking up with other groups, getting involved in community activities – I know lots of you are already, but maybe you could use some north branch members’ help form time to time?  Is there any pre election stuff we could be doing, I quite fancy doing a bit of canvassing maybe once a month pick a few streets in the branch area and knock on some doors.  Tell me if you think that sounds daft.  Anyway, again ideas please by email or at the next meeting.


We agreed that more people would be given editing rights to our website so a bigger team can chip in, keep it up to date etc.  Let Karly or Colin W or me know if you’d be up for that.  Also please have a look at some SSP web sites, like the Scottish Socialist Youth one and the Campsie one and let me know what you like and what you don’t like, and we’ll maybe have a go at updating our site a bit.

Future meetings

Please let me and Karly know any ideas you’ve got for future meetings, Karly’s got a long list of ideas I’m sure, but the more the merrier.  One thing I’d like to talk about is ways we can get our messages out there, as a branch maybe we could do soething a bit more coordinated around writing to papers, getting on radio phone ins, responding to blogs or whatever, we can but try, and maybe if we can start to build up some relationships now, that’ll help come election time.

Next meeting

Next North Branch meeting will be on 6th October, and the Joint Branch Meeting is the 16th of September.

I’m trying to sort out a calendar for the region that will hopefully be linked to at the end of emails from me as regional secretary.  You can all let me know dates you want added in and I’ll put them in, hopefully there’s a link at the end of this rambling email you can click and see what’s going on, although I’ve not got a huge amount in the calendar yet.

Edinburgh South Council Bye election
Finally, please can you let Karly know if you can do any leafleting over the next week in the run up to the election on the 9th September.  I think people are doing stuff most days, so whenever you can lend a hand, there’s probably someone else who you can join up with.  Karly has all the details.
Right that’s it for now.


Posted in Edinburgh North meetings | Leave a comment