Save Bonnyton House
On Wednesday evening, along with some of the workers from Bonnyton House, I took part in a protest outside East Renfrewshire Council’s headquarters. Bonnyton House is a council owned care home which is at risk of privatisation from the Labour-SNP coalition that runs the Council.
Later that night I wrote a letter to The National newspaper. The first and foremost of the letter intentions was to publicise the Save Bonnyton campaign. It was good that the letter was published and that that was achieved.
What I hadn’t noticed until late Friday night was that the letter had been edited to remove the fact that the protest was supported by local members of Common Weal, Women for Independence and the Radical Independence Campaign. In the letter, I had wanted to draw attention to the irony between the current rhetoric of a Westminster ‘progressive alliance’ and the actions of East Renfrewshire Council’s Labour and SNP coalition. There’s no point of locking the Tories out of power if they are simply replaced by different shades of neoliberalist, Thatcherite policy makers. A progressive alliance shouldn’t be about locking the Tories out of power but of locking neoliberalist ideology out of power: blue Tory, red Tory or tartan Tory they’re still fuckin’ Tories. We oppose all of them all.
The letter’s irony, that we are the progressive alliance, was lost in that edit unfortunately.
So what did I learn this week from the protestors, and from then reading Shafi and Ali?
It’s long been evident that Labour can’t be trusted to oppose neoliberalism (you don’t need to have read Ali’s book to know that) but if anyone was in any doubt about the SNP, the evidence from the Bonnyton House campaign is that neither can they. A coalition that proposes to privatise a publicly-owned care home cannot be called progressive. An opposition that does not oppose the neoliberalist, Thatcherite ideology of the establishment is not an opposition. It’s nothing more than a variation.
We already are the progressive alliance: we can be that opposition.
Ali, T. (2015) The Extreme Centre: A Warning, Verso, London
Arnott, G. (27 March 2015) Letter, The National, Glasgow, http://www.thenational.scot/comment/letters-to-the-national-march-27.1474, accessed 28.03.15
Loney, J. ‘Bonnyton protesters take fight back to Council HQ’, The Extra, 26th March 2015, http://www.glasgowsouthandeastwoodextra.co.uk/news/local-headlines/bonnyton-protesters-take-fight-back-to-council-hq-1-3729516, accessed 28.03.15
Shafi, J. (26.03.2015) Westminster Cannot Contain Britain’s Historical Crisis, Scottish Left Project, http://thepeopledemand.org/?p=1059, accessed 28.03.15