COLIN Fox, Lothians candidate for Scottish left-wing party RISE Coalition, answers six questions ahead of next month’s Holyrood elections
Q If you had the power to change one thing in Scotland what would it be?
A I’d abolish poverty in Scotland by introducing a £10 per hour national living wage, ending benefit sanctions and creating full employment. More than 400,000 Scots live on “poverty wages”. The government say you need to be earning £10 per hour before you stop qualifying for in-work benefits such as tax credits, housing support and free school meals – and yet the national minimum wage is just £7.20.
Q Do Scotland’s mainstream parties offer a truly left-wing alternative for voters?
A No, of course not. They offer four variants of a Scotland run by unelected, unaccountable corporate interests, only the trivial details differ. That’s not democracy, its misery. The choice facing voters on 5 May is 1. Death by hanging. 2. Death by drowning. 3. Death by poisoning. 4. Death by firing squad. Choose life. Vote RISE: Scotland’s Left Alliance.
Q What’s missing from the Holyrood election campaign so far?
A Life. And a reflection of the reality of life for millions. The Leaders Debates were awful. Where was the anger at the outrageous poverty and inequality and where were the solutions to the widespread insecurity and exploitation in the workplace, the desperate deprivation so many children, disabled people and pensioners face, or at the chronic shortage of affordable housing? The mainstream parties are simply going through the motions of an election that is a foregone conclusion and where the turnout will again be derisory.
Q Are tax rises for higher earners a danger to economic growth or needed to fight austerity?
A What tax rises for high earners? I mean, honestly, where is the evidence that wealthy Scots are being asked to contribute as they should to the fabric of our society? The mainstream parties have no such plans. They are all quick, however, to warn us that the rich will leave the country if we tax them. That’s blackmail. Let’s order them a taxi.
Q Do you think there will be another independence referendum in Scotland – and if so, how soon will it come?
A I note the SNP have no plans for one. They have put party interest ahead of the independence cause. Yes supporters need to remind the SNP they cannot deliver independence on their own. RISE is in favour of a second referendum within the life of this Parliament when the polls show prolonged support for independence. In the meantime, the power to call another referendum should be transferred from Westminster to Holyrood.
Q If a politician had to do a normal job for a day, what would it be?
A A support worker. They [politicians] need to appreciate the impact of the cuts they are making on vital public services. I have huge admiration for Scotland’s many dedicated carers. They look after our most precious assets day in day out with too little recognition or reward. Why do we as a society reward those professions we have such low regard for so well – lawyers, bankers, accountants and politicians – and yet treat our precious NHS staff, nursery nurses, carers and support workers so badly? That needs to change