Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Scotland’ Category

Rishi Sunak’s Westminster Parliament Blocks Scottish Parliament Transgender Law Reform – British Labour Leader Keir Starmer Surrenders to the Union-Jack Far-Right

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Rishi Sunak’s governing Tories at Westminster have blocked a minor administrative human rights reform adopted by the Scottish Parliament which protects the rights of a very small minority, transgender people. It is an easy-peasy issue for all people on the liberal/social-democratic spectrum in Ireland – ranging from the entire left into significant sectors of the big right wing parties Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

In Scotland a similar liberal/social-democratic spectrum includes the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP), the SNP’s government coalition partner the Greens, and the Scottish Labour Party.
The Scottish Parliament voted for this minor reform – which is less favourable to transgender people than the existing law in the 26 county bit of Ireland – by 86 votes to 39. This huge majority followed a very long drawn-out debate.

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Rishi Sunak’s Westminster Government Blocks the Scottish Parliament’s Gender Recognition Reform legislation – A “constitutional nuclear ☢️ option”

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Rishi Sunak’s Westminster government is using a “constitutional nuclear ☢️ option” (see Financial Times report below) to block a Scottish parliament gender recognition reform.

Financial Times, January 16 2023

This Changes Everything

Mike Small reports on the Scottish Bella Caledonia blog :

Alister Jack, the Scottish secretary, has confirmed that the British government is using article 35 to block the Scottish government gender recognition reform bill. This is unprecedented and represents a full-on attack on the devolution settlement. It’s a desperate escalation and dramatically ups the stakes for not just the British government but also the Labour and Scottish Labour party. Will Anas Arwar simply over-turn his parties own position? It is billed as an attack on the SNP but it is actually an attack on the Scottish Parliament where the legislation received cross-party support after years of delays, amendments and debate.

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Transgender Rights – “Scotland is now ahead of the rest of the UK – though still behind Ireland” – Michael Farrell

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Veteran human rights activist Michael Farrell has campaigned in favour of transgender people for many decades. He publicly posted this comment in support of a recent Scottish Parliament Law reform:

Congratulations to the Scottish Parliament for taking a big step to protect transgender rights and resisting a bitter campaign by anti-trans groups to prevent them from making it easier for trans persons to get legal recognition. The new law, passed by 86 votes to 39, means trans people won’t have to get a medical diagnosis and wait for two yeas to register their gender. Scotland is now ahead of the rest of the UK – though still behind Ireland. A good day for a small community of people who have been abused and discriminated against for generations.

Michael Farrell, a founding member of People’s Democracy, was a revolutionary socialist activist in the six counties of Northern Ireland during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

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“Four points on the war in Ukraine” – Murray Smith

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Murray Smith writes a very useful review of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24 2022. Some readers of this blog may not agree with parts of the historical analysis, and that is healthy. Debate on such issues is positive, and there is no need to impose a “political line”. For example, Smith’s article contains an implied criticism of the neutrality policy chosen by the southern partitioned bit of Ireland during World War 2. That said, anti-war activists living outside Ukraine today have a duty – an emergency duty – to unite in action around clear and unambiguous practical solidarity policies. Article Source :

Murray Smith is a member of the leadership of déi Lénk (“The Left”) in Luxembourg and is one of its representatives on the Executive Board of the Party of the European Left. Information Source :

Two parts of Murray Smith’s analysis deserve emphasis :

Number 1 :

We must insist on the nature of the war in Ukraine. What started the war was the Russian invasion, not NATO. This is a war of national defence of Ukraine in response to this invasion. And it’s a war of the whole people, not just the army bit the territorial defence units, and the trade unions in particular. So, no revolutionary defeatism on both sides, only on the Russian side. Ukrainian side, national defense. And for internationalists in other countries, solidarity with the Ukrainian resistance and the anti-war movement in Russia. And especially with leftist, political, trade union and feminist forces in both countries.

Number 2 :

The fact that Ukraine obtains weapons from NATO countries and elsewhere does not fundamentally change this. In a war situation you find weapons where you can. The Irish rebels in 1916 to Germany to seek arms. Countries threatened by the United States turn to Russia. And Ukrainians look above all to NATO. This does not change the nature of the Russian war in Ukraine. And even if the conflict were to spread, it would not change its fundamental nature. Any analysis that reduces the war in Ukraine to just one facet of an inter-imperialist conflict only serves to weaken solidarity with Ukraine.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine which began on February 24 is not only the biggest armed conflict in Europe since 1945. It is the first attempt of this magnitude to redraw the map of Europe by force. And it is on the initiative of Russian imperialism, not second-rank powers like Turkey or Serbia. It is too early to learn all the lessons and see all the consequences. But we can already say that nothing has happened as Russia had envisioned. We will not list here the weaknesses and mistakes on the Russian side. But the fundamental factor that thwarted Putin’s calculations was the strength of the Ukrainian resistance

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Diary of a Corbyn Foot Soldier (February, 2020)

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Diary of a Corbyn Foot Soldier (February, 2020)
— Read on

I highly recommend Michael Murray’s account – Days of Hope Started when Jeremy Corbyn was elected to the job of leading the British Labour Party.

The foot-soldier’s trek through a gloomy British political landscape ends on April 4 2020 when Jeremy Corbyn officially resigns from his leadership job, and Tony Blair style right-wingers take over the British Labour Party again.

Doctor Strangeloves are lining to press a nuclear button, and prepare the funeral rites of the British Labour Party, which has already lost its one-time electoral fortress in Scotland.

Dictionary definition of foot soldier”:  “…a dedicated low level follower…” 


*The Labour leadership election;

*The Trump “Plan” – the end of the 2 State solution to the Israel-Palestine question?;

 *2020: 100 years of the Jewish Labour Movement/ Poele Zion.   

*The Labour leadership election Read the rest of this entry »

Brexit in Trouble “EU fishing deal ‘far from acceptable’ to Scottish industry”

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The question is : can the British Tory Government hold its competing factions together?

Douglas Ross, the Conservative MP for Moray, said no matter what the UK government claimed, it had delivered “far less than I hoped and expected”.
He tweeted: “There is no spinning this as a good outcome, it would be easier to get someone to drink a pint of cold sick than try to sell this as a success.”
Skip Twitter post by @NicolaSturgeon
This is shaping up to be a massive sellout of the Scottish fishing industry by the Tories. The promises that were made to them during #EUref and since are already being broken – as many of us warned they would be.
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) March 19, 2018
End of Twitter post by @NicolaSturgeon
The Scottish government accused the Conservatives of “a massive sell-out” of the Scottish fishing industry.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “The promises that were made to them (Scottish fishermen) during #EUref and since are already being broke – as many of us warned they would be.”
Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Ruth Davidson should be shame-faced for her fastest broken Brexit promise yet.
“Just last week she said Britain will leave the CFP as of March 2019.
“Now we know not only will the UK have to abide by CFP rules during the transition period, it will lose the voting rights it has now. The Tories have delivered the worst possible outcome for Scotland’s fishing industry.
“It is outrageous that Ruth Davidson and Michael Gove could have issued such a misleading statement last weekend when they must have known what was about to happen – and they must both now apologise for their broken promise.
Mr Ewing added: “The Tories have demonstrated once again that for them Scottish interests are expendable.”
Environmental coalition, Greener UK, said continuing to co-operate with the EU during the implementation period “does not have to be seen as a capitulation”.
Dr Lyndsey Dodds, of WWF and Greener UK, added: “Having longer to negotiate the sharing of over 100 stocks can reduce the risk of rash quota setting, and heightens our chances of achieving thriving coastal communities and sustainable fisheries in the longer run.”
— Read on

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Written by tomasoflatharta

Mar 19, 2018 at 10:58 pm

ULA: What kind of party do we need? 4

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ULA: What kind of party do we need? 4

Guest post

1. Publish and be damned.

At a People Before Profit Alliance Activists Meeting in May Kieran Allen of the SWP responded to Brendan Young’s call for a ULA publication – not a PBPA publication – by firmly ruling it out. His argument was that to have a publication you need to have agreement on what to say in it and the ULA was a diverse formation and therefore was not in a position to produce a publication. If that were the only obstacle it would be easily overcome by acknowledging that the publication should, in any case, carry debate within the overall context of the agreed message.

On this site Mark P of the Socialist Party took issue with Brendan in response to his article ‘United Left Alliance “A Work in Progress” -Steps Towards a New Party’:

Brendan had asserted that “the production of an independent publication for the ULA – to give expression to our views and an independent identity to the organisation – remains an argument to be won”. Mark P did not agree and commented: Read the rest of this entry »

Irish Soccer Players Won’t Play for Prodestan (aka Northern Ireland) – but Will Tog Out for Trapattoni’s Boys in Green – Let’s Discuss the Elephant in the Room

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Irish Soccer Players Won’t Play for Prodestan (aka Northern Ireland) – but Will Tog Out for Trapattoni’s Boys in Green – Let’s Discuss the Elephant in the Room


Protestant Christian Fundamentalists of the North of Ireland’s Bible belt. Often claim that the world is only 6000 years old. This belief is founded on the work of James Ussher. Many also believe that the Giant’s Causeway of North Antrim was formed after the biblical flood experienced by Noah in the bible. Many of the prodiban also believe that Catholics on grounds of their Popery should not be allowed the right to vote.

Followers of the Free Presbyterian Church are members of the Prodiban

Prodiban Definition


An imagined community/nation/country/province, soccer team of the Prodiban.i Under pressure because many young players are declaring their allegiance to international near-neighbour and rival team, the Republic of Ireland.


Fans of the Splintered Sunrise blog know all about Mullah Jim and the Prodiban – Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) leader Jim Allister. Mullah Jim Rallies the Prodiban Troops

That blog also features hard-to-believe-but-true stories about Ian Parsley – a party-hopping Alliance/Conservative/UCUNF/Unionist candidate who unsuccessfully sought the votes of dyslexic Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) faithful, unaware that Ian Paisley (Senior)’s name is no longer on Euro-Parliament ballot papers.

Ian (not Paisley) Parsley of North Down

Not-Paisley-Parsley did not run in the recent Stormont Assembly poll – he seems to have run out of Unionist-lite parties which will nominate him for yet another electoral defeat. Ian is now examining sporting failure on his chosen home patch – the Norn Iron soccer team is doing badly, and their prospects are darkened by the decision of a magnificent sevenBarton, Duffy, Ferguson, George, Gibson, Kearns and Wilson – to pledge their international allegiance to the Republic of Ireland team and refuse a call-up from Prodestan manager Nigel Worthington. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by tomasoflatharta

Jun 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm