The year ahead with RISE

The year ahead with RISE

 A RISE National Organiser shares their  thoughts and ideas for the year ahead in 5 short points. 


1 - Organise our neighbourhoods to defend ourselves economically and politically.



Over the course of 2018 we must strive to organise our neighbourhoods, build community networks and relationships with local groups to defend ourselves against the harshest aspects of the current political and economic system.



Whether defending a local library, preventing the sale of public land or overturning those who have been sanctioned. We must build the power of our neighbourhoods to not only defend these hard earned working class institutions, but to enable our communities to go on the attack winning must needed reforms and new publicly owned infrastructure.



We must rally round and resist the closure of every publicly owned facility, service or instituion. These lifelines are the hard earned reparations, won by millions of working class people who toiled for generations building the wealth of todays elite. Physical resistance cannot be ruled out but must be backed up and supported by extensive and engaged neighbourhood organisation.




2 - Win the Campaign for 150,000 publicly owned new homes.




With approximately 150,000 people on waiting lists for social housing and 40% of all households suffering from fuel poverty. Scotland faces a housing crisis. At the same time rents are steadily increasing, frequently ahead of inflation and ahead of average wage rises for tenants. This squeeze is increasing poverty, ill health and giving abusive landlords free reign to act outside the law.

All of this is adding to the extreme pressure put on our housing services already unable to cope, with more and more people being made homeless and even dying on the street (1 every week in Glasgow alone). We feel that in such extreme times, extreme measures must be taken.

We have done it before from 1945 to 1951 the UK government built 1.2 million publicly owned houses. This laid the groundwork for decades of improvement in people’s lives. We believe a similar house building programme can do the same again, lifting hundreds of thousands out of poverty and into prosperity.

An extensive house building scheme such as this would serve to stimulate our domestic economy, provide jobs and apprenticeships for thousands of young workers. Scotland has invested heavily on infrastructure projects to help business grow, now it’s time to invest in housing to help people grow.



3 - Expose and fight Land Banking through occupations and community ownership.


With local authorities forced to put public land up for sale as part of any development package, we believe that we must firstly fight to ensure public land stays in public hands. Across the country millions of pounds worth of privately owned land is deliberately left vacant to avoid paying tax whilst the value skyrockets. These derelict spaces have an immediate adverse effect on our communities and neighbourhoods.

In the growing fight to ensure that the continued aftermath of de-industrialisation is mitigated and in the fight to ensure growing automation has an emancipatory affect rather than an oppressive one, we must control and own our infrastructure. Vacant land, buildings and private property must be used to benefit neighbouring communities or handed over to those communities to do it themselves.

In 2018 we will be continuing our campaign by serving the worst offenders with a notice period, occupying strategic buildings and a wider use of the community empowerment act to highlight these issues, and to ensure power and control of our communities is rooted in our communities.


4 - Help to organise our workplaces through trade unions, to ensure increased job security, a shorter working week and an increase in wages.

This year we will continue to support and build trade union membership across the country. Our members are represented in nearly every major union, from workplace reps to seats on national bodies. Our members commit themselves fully to building trade union density and engagement within their workplaces and beyond.

We believe that organised, engaged, collective action through our unions can help build real economic power within our workplaces. This economic power will give everyone the best possible chance of achieving greater job security, a shorter working week and an increase in wages.

These 3 demands are the basic needs for any worker to improve their conditions and have the economic freedom to enjoy life that little bit more.



5 - Education and Agitation for an alternative to Capitalism and for an Independent Scotland.


Through wider platforms such as Conter and the Popular Education Network we will continue to share ideas and debate the most innovative and exciting theories with others from across the left.

We all have a duty to not only educate ourselves but also learn and share ideas, reimagine history and build a vision of what our society can and should look like. The Independence movement helped to engage and educate hundreds of thousands of people around the belief that Another Scotland is Possible. It is essential that we continue to learn and engage to build that very Scotland.

We are still in the the centenary of the ‘revolutionary decade’, from the Dublin lockout of 1913, the massive Glasgow rent strikes of 1915, to the Russian Revolutions of the early 19th century and our own ‘Red Clydeside’ era throughout this period including the infamous Battle of George square in 1919.

These are all examples of hidden working class history, What we learn from these struggles can provide harsh lessons for today, but also empower a confidence that these ideas are not alien concepts or abstract ideas that cannot and never have been won.



RISE Activists Stage Occupation In Demand For Public Housing

RISE Activists Stage Occupation In Demand For Public Housing

24 hour political occupation to highlight the urgent need for more publicly owned housing and the detrimental effect widespread land banking has on working class communities.

Today on Human Rights day we have occupied 190 Trongate. This building has a long history. It was built on the site of Shawfield Mansion which was erected in 1711 and was the scene of an infamous riot in 1725 over a new tax on Scottish Malt. Glaswegians blamed Campbell who was an MP for the passing of the act and sacked the mansion.

More recently the listed building has been renovated to include residential dwelling from the first floor up and a retail unit on the ground floor that to our knowledge has never been let out. Recent firms tasked with managing this lease include Cushman and Wakefield, global property vultures.

Cushman & Wakefield is among the largest commercial real estate services firms with revenues of $6 billion.The firm operates in more than 70 countries and 45,000 employees.

Over the past few months RISE members have been highlighting empty buildings around Scotland. This has been part of a wider campaign to highlight the negative impact that land banking and property gate-keeping has on local working class communities.

We stated that unless these properties were used in a manner that would directly benefit our communities we would take actions to ensure that they were.

As Christmas is approaching, families are forced to stretch household budgets further and deeper into debt, whilst land and property is hoarded and locked off to protect the wealth of a tiny minority. Our continued campaigning will focus on a variety of issues and topics that will highlight the deeply adverse economic and social effects property gate-keeping has on our working class communities.

We feel that present circumstances force us to focus on the pressing housing crisis and struggles people are facing whilst homeless. We commend the great work done by homeless charities and outreach groups, who a providing invaluable help and support to people in our communities. We believe it is imperative to support the work being done by people on the frontline by demanding that society tackles the root causes of homelessness and insecure housing. It is time to take direct political action to further highlight these issues.

Latest Scottish Government figures for September 2016 show that there were 35,727 residential properties that had been empty for more than six months, compared with the 34,100 homeless applications made between 1st April 2016 to 31th March 2017.    These figures show that the majority of people facing homeslessness could be housed over the winter months. As these buildings lie empty, working class people forced out onto the streets of our biggest cities are dying. We believe this is unnacceptable.

We believe that only the mass building of publicly owned housing will stand a chance of eradicating homelessness permanently. You can support this by signing our petition to build 100,000 publicly owned houses here

We invite politicians from all parties, Glasgow city council and those who work on the front line of homeless services to come down and provide support to anyone who may seek shelter during the occupation. If the need arises we will accompany anyone seeking emergency accommodation to the appropriate services by marching from the occupation to appropriate services.

If this action does not provide the appropriate political stimulus to ensure that everyone is housed during the winter months we are fully prepared to repeat these tactics and others until we feel appropriate action has been taken.





RISE statement supporting the Independent Republic of Catalonia

RISE statement supporting the Independent Republic of Catalonia

 RISE statement supporting the independent republic of Catalonia.

“RISE is unequivocal in its support for the independent republic of Catalonia, after the historic vote on Friday 27 October in the Catalan Parliament.

“RISE believes the international community must now recognise Catalonia as a sovereign and independent state. In particular, we call on the Scottish Government, the UK Government and the European Union to recognise Catalonia’s new independent state status based on the right of nations to self-determination.

“This vote was the only possible democratic response of the Catalan Parliament to the violent repression of the Spanish state of the 1 October referendum and its attempt to impose direct rule through article 155.

“All attempts by the Spanish state to destroy the independent republic of Catalonia must be resisted internationally. RISE will be participating in protests and other forms of solidarity to show that supporters of democracy across Europe and the world stand with, and will defend, the Catalan republic.”


  1. For more information contact Sean at
  2. RISE is supporting the Catalan Defence Committee Scotland as part of an international movement to defend the Catalan Republic, for more including a list of supporters visit
  3. RISE members Deborah Waters and Jonathon Shafi are currently in Catalonia with our comrades from CUP, the radical left party in Catalonia, showing direct solidarity with the Catalan republic. For more information or to arrange interviews please get in touch.

RISE places Landbankers on notice.

RISE places Landbankers on notice.

RISE Scotland members placed hundreds of posters on vacant commercial properties around the country on Tuesday night. Aiming to draw attention to the thousands of empty buildings that blight our towns and cities, and to encourage our neighbourhoods to look at how we can use vacant properties for the benefit of our local community.

Posters with the following text were placed on old bank buildings, empty BHS stores and council properties that are tendered out at inflated costs.


Failure to use this building for the benefit of the local community, will result in the occupation and expropriation of the property, by the local community for the local community.

Whilst this property lies empty and derelict thousands of our people are forced into poverty, hunger, homelessness and in extreme cases death.

We have grounds to believe the land banking of this property is a direct contributing factor to these problems.

It is for the above stated reasons that we request that this empty property is put to a use that directly benefits society or actions will be taken to ensure it does.

Signed: RISE Scotland"

Last year we were involved in various campaigns in the aftermath of a number of homeless deaths in Glasgow, at that time the high number of empty properties was a major talking point. Even after a Sunday Herald front page story revealing that one homeless person was dying on the street a week in the city, thousands of the same buildings are still vacant.

We believe that this can help not only provide political pressure and support for our homeless communities throughout the hard winter months, but can be the ripple that starts a wave of actions across Scotland.  We are asking our local Circles, Networks and Affiliated organisations to get out into their neighbourhoods and start planning how these commercial spaces could be used to directly benefit our society. 

From community cafe's to rave's and gigs these spaces could be used for a diverse range of events designed to bring our people together, empowering them to transform our high streets and city centres into places that everyone can enjoy and benefit from.

We now encourage everyone to download our letter, grab a few friends and set out to begin transforming our society.

 RISE announces new National Organiser

RISE announces new National Organiser

RISE Scotland is pleased to announce the appointment of our new National Organiser - Deborah Waters Deborah comes to the role with a wealth of political experience. Originally a Labour Party member who helped organise Labour for Independence during the referendum campaign, Deborah quickly got involved with Radical Independence Campaign and The Left Project shortly after.

A mainstay of RISE since its inception, Deborah stood as a candidate in Glasgow during the Holyrood elections in 2016. Deborah has since immersed herself in fighting homelessness within the city, starting up and maintaining a drop-in and day kitchen for those facing life on the streets.

In a professional capacity, she has a 25 year record of outstanding community organising, working with some of the city's most vulnerable groups. A carer for much of that time, she has first hand experience of some of the worst exploitation within the care industry. It is these injustices that have helped shape her politics and given her the drive to make RISE a success and a force to be reckoned with in Scotland.

We wish Deborah all the best in this role and look forward to working with her to transform our society.

RISE Welcomes range of motions passed at the SNP Conference.

RISE Welcomes range of motions passed at the SNP Conference.

It would have been easy to baulk at the strange choice of slogan for this years SNP Conference. The word ‘PROGRESS’ emblazoned on every possible screen in the SECC may have given some people horrible flashbacks of New Labour, but the there was plenty to look forward to from the SNP Conference.



The 3 day event started well with a motion passing from the party’s youth wing to increase the minimum age of military recruitment from 16 to 18. This should go a long way to preventing military recruitment in schools a policy we have long campaigned on.


Over the course of the week there was motions and announcements ranging from increased financial help for those wishing to retrain as teachers, free sanitary products to be made available in places of education to feasibility studies being made into a Land Value Tax and a commitment to end the Public Sector pay cap.


One of the biggest announcements was made by Scotlands First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, in the closing speech she announced plans to create a publicly owned not for profit energy company in the lifetime of this parliament.


We fully support all of the above motions and welcome the competition between the SNP and Corbyn’s Labour party in the battle to move further to the left. We believe this can only benefit the majority of people in Scotland who are facing ever increasing hardships, however the public spats about who is has made the least cuts does nobody any favours. Austerity will only be defeated not by fighting each other but a direct combined assault on a crumbling Tory leadership.


There are of course things we do not agree with and statements we would not have made ourselves, we feel it is disingenuous to parrot the figures championed by the Conservatives around low unemployment. Today’s low unemployment is fueled by increasingly precarious employment and bogus self employment industries, our economy can never be sustainable whilst thousands of young workers rely on these as a primary source of income.


Traditional economists are still scratching their heads as to why wages have not risen in the face such low numbers of unemployment, the answer for us is clear to see. In a world with little job security and atomised workplaces fueled by privatisation, workers are prevented and bullied out of achieving increased terms and conditions.


Our workplaces and economies must radically change if we are to create a society where our communities can truly flourish. Independence therefore is still the key to achieving a better Scotland. We must continue to fight for independence on the same ideas and grassroots level as we did pre 2014. The vision for a better Scotland was most tangible when the power lay with the people, the local yes groups and neighbourhood campaigns.


In the fight for a better future, our struggle must be rooted in issues and campaigns that can begin to transform our society into that vision we all shared for an Independent Scotland.

RISE Scotland call for National Rent Cap and 100,000 homes to be built.

RISE Scotland call for National Rent Cap and 100,000 homes to be built.

To 'celebrate' National Housing Day, we have launched a National campaign calling for a National Rent Cap across all rental sectors and the mass construction of 100,000 publicly owned homes.

These homes will be democratically run by the tenants themselves, built to the most energy efficient standards and rent pegged 1/5th of a minimum wage workers salary.

Drastic times call for drastic measures.

The need for this is undeniable with approximately 150,000 people on waiting lists for social housing and 40% of all households suffering from fuel poverty. Scotland faces a housing crisis. 

At the same time rents are steadily increasing, frequently ahead of inflation and ahead of average wage rises for tenants. This squeeze is increasing poverty, ill health and giving abusive landlords free reign to act outside the law.

All of this is adding to the extreme pressure put on our housing services already unable to cope, with more and more people being made homeless and even dying on the street (1 every week in Glasgow alone). We feel that in such extreme times, extreme measures must be taken.

Support RISE - Scotland's call for the Scottish Government at Holyrood to immediately enact a cap on all rent increases in Scotland in both the private and social sector. We further call for the building of 100,000  publicly owned houses for affordable rent, built to minimise fuel poverty and to stringent environmental standards.

We have done it before from 1945 to 1951 the UK government built 1.2 million publicly owned houses. This laid the groundwork for decades of improvement in people’s lives. We believe a similar house building programme can do the same again, lifting hundreds of thousands out of poverty and into prosperity.

An extensive house building scheme such as this would serve to stimulate our domestic economy, provide jobs and apprenticeships for thousands of young workers. Scotland has invested heavily on infrastructure projects to help business grow, now it’s time to invest in housing to help people grow.


Sign the petition here

Join RISE in the fight for housing fit for this century.

RISE Women Stand With The KJA

RISE Women Stand With The KJA

On 12th November, Turkish security forces raided and shut down the building of the Free Women’s Congress (KJA) in Diyarbakir. KJA are a Kurdish women’s group who have, for over 40 years, fought for women’s liberation, democracy and the rights of self-determination for the Kurdish people.

The group has experienced continuous harassment from the Turkish State in the past six months, with officers raiding KJA premises four times and seizing internal documents such as registration books and membership lists. KJA is the latest victim of state repression, as over 370 NGOs have been shut down in recent months by the Turkish authorities.

RISE Women stand in solidarity with the Free Women’s Congress in their struggle against the repression of Turkish State security forces. We know despite the intolerable conditions under which you are working, you will continue to resist authoritarianism and fight for the rights of your people, and your activism inspires us to continue the fight against women’s oppression wherever it is found. We stand with you, in sisterhood and solidarity, and hope that this message of support gives you strength to continue the fight for liberation and democracy.

Campaign For Equal Pay Grows

Campaign For Equal Pay Grows

Last Thursday was labelled Equal Pay Day by equality campaigners, as it effectively represents the last day of the year that women will be earning in relation to men. The gender pay gap currently sits at around 13.9%, meaning that women will effectively be working for nothing from Thursday until 2017.

Despite the fact that it has been more than four decades since the Equal Pay Act, it is clear that women are still facing significant barriers in terms of pay and employment. In a report released earlier this year by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, it was revealed that women are facing a “motherhood penalty,” where the gender pay gap widens significantly for women after the birth of their first child. Women are far more likely than men to work in low-paid and undervalued sectors of the economy such as care, and 63% of people not receiving the living wage are women.

This situation is unacceptable. RISE Women calls on the government to work with campaigners, employers and trade unions to tackle the problem of gender wage segregation and widen access for women into more senior roles in the workplace. It is time that the work traditionally done by women is given equal value. This must be done by the introduction and enforcement of a real Living Wage, which will make a positive impact upon women working in the lowest paid sectors. We also reiterate our call for unpaid carers, the vast majority of whom are women, to be paid a Living Wage for the invaluable work they do in looking after the most vulnerable people in our society whilst saving the economy billions of pounds annually. We further demand that the government provide affordable, high quality, universally available childcare that would be transformative to the lives of women with children.

RISE Central Scotland Meetings

RISE Central Scotland Meetings

RISE are hosting public meetings in Cumbernauld and Motherwell in the coming weeks to highlight some of the very important campaigns taking place in those areas.

Under the title, 'Campaigning Communities, Defending Democracy,' RISE is offering a platform to various campaign groups as part of its declared intent to build an alternative to an economic model that is failing to deliver for the vast majority of people.

Cumbernauld RISE candidate for last May’s election Kevin McVey commented:

 “It is important that space is provided to not only hear how people are challenging decisions that can damage our communities and our environment but to share experiences and ideas about building an alternative that prioritises people not profit.

 "RISE is delighted to offer that space because there are so much that these diverse campaigns share in terms of challenging the received wisdom that decision making rests only with powerful corporate and political interests.”

RISE has invited representatives from Cumbernauld’s anti-fracking campaign, save Monklands Orthopaedics A & E, campaigners against library closures in North Lanarkshire and Save Cumbernauld Tax Office.

Cumbernauld: Wednesday 26th October in the new Muirfield Community Centre at 7.30pm.

Motherwell: Wednesday 9th November in Daisy Park Community Centre, Cassels Street at 7:30pm.

Public meetings, events and regional meetings are also being organised across Scotland.



Support staff in colleges across Scotland will go on strike next Tuesday 6th September in a dispute over pay. Despite Colleges Scotland promising a return to national bargaining and an equal pay increase, Scotland’s college employers offered a £450 flat-rate increase to college lecturers, but only offered an increase of £230 to support staff.

This cost of living increase has been set at a considerably lower level for support staff in colleges around the country. Support staff including cleaning, catering, security, classroom assistants, technicians and administrative staff, have voted overwhelmingly for strike action.

Support staff are striking to demand that they are afforded the same cost of living increase as their teaching colleagues. College bosses have as yet failed to offer support staff in our colleagues a fair and equitable sum to settle the dispute. Lecturers and support staff are both affected equally by the rising cost of living and therefore any pay settlement should reflect this reality.

Chris Greenshields, chairman of UNISON’s Further Education Committee said, “Our demand is simple and fair. Pay college support staff the same amount that you gave to our teaching colleagues. We work for the same colleges, help deliver the same courses, support the same students and deserve the same cost of living increase.”

RISE fully supports the industrial action been taken by union members in their fight for fair pay in our colleges; we urge you to visit your local college and offer your support and solidarity on the picket line in any way that you can. Support staff are an indispensable commodity in student’s learning environment, and deserve fair and equal pay.

After Brexit: RISE ready to support new drive for independence

After Brexit: RISE ready to support new drive for independence

The UK has voted for exiting the European Union. The immediate consequences will be faced most by the hundreds of thousands of immigrants and refugees in Scotland and across Britain who face a more racist and intimidating environment that has been whipped up by some of the leaders on both the Remain and Leave side of the referendum campaign.

RISE stands against anti-migrant racism and xenophobia and believe a strong and united opposition is needed on the streets, in workplaces and communities throughout the UK. Everyone who has moved to this country has as much right to be here as anyone else, and we must protect and defend that right completely.

The ramifications of Brexit in Scotland - where 63% of voters and all 32 local authorities voted Remain -  make a second Scottish Independence Referendum in a timely fashion absolutely essential to end our democratic deficit in the UK once and for all.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has indicated indyref2 is highly likely to happen, and RISE believes it must happen if the will of the people of Scotland is to be respected.

We will throw our full weight behind a renewed Yes movement to make sure a Yes majority is secured. In doing so, RISE will be making the case for a socialist Scotland based on the redistribution of wealth and power away from elites and to the people of Scotland.

We will also stand with radical left parties internationally in demanding a democratised Europe and an end to austerity and racist policies towards refugees.

- No to anti-migrant racism and xenophobia

- Yes to a second independence referendum

- Yes to a democratised, anti-austerity Europe.

RISE members will be meeting locally and nationally in the coming weeks to collectively discuss how best to move these and other issues forward after Brexit.



Today the first of six 24 hour strikes begins across Scotland's trains. Scotrail's train guards have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action due to franchise holder Abellio's refusal to end the continued role out of Driver Only Operation Trains.

This proposal will not only undermine the work undertaken by hundreds across Scotland every day, it will also have a very serious impact on public safety with guards being the only Safety Critical member of staff on board a train other than the driver.

We fully support the industrial action being taken by these RMT members and would urge you to visit a nearby station's picket line  to offer your support, solidarity, and some tea and coffee, to trade unionists who are standing up for their jobs and our safety.

Gary Anderton, RMT and RISE Trade Union Network member said:

"Guards are vital to our rail network. They are responsible for your safety on trains, I fear the consequences should they no longer be there.

"We all must support these strikes as this is more than just a campaign against job loses. This is one which focuses on the most basic needs of passengers. Should Abellio win this fight, our railways will be a completely different place in the years to come."



RISE: Scotland’s Left Alliance today welcomes the decision that allows Caledonian MacBrayne to remain public.

This ferry service is one that is vital for Island communities and is often described as a “life-line service” for Scottish communities.  This decision has been well received across Scotland and RISE believe it to be an important victory in the fight for public transport to be in public hands. This moment is one where the people have won against private companies.

The campaign to keep Calmac public has been inspiring.  Not least symbolised by the iconic protests at the STUC conference in Dundee.  The RMT Union led campaign has been endorsed and supported by the Left across Scotland.  This cross party support greatly benefited the Keep Calmac Public campaign and is an example of what solidarity and unity can achieve in Scottish politics.  RISE applauds the brave work carried out by the RMT Union and are proud to have been able to give our support to their campaign.

RISE has worked closely with the RMT Union in the past and will continue to do so in the future to build good relations with our trade unions in our fight against the privatisation of public services and in support of workers’ rights.

We believe that public services should remain in public hands and not be sold to the highest bidder.  This is important to protect jobs, keep prices low and deliver an invaluable service to our communities.  We hope that this decision shall set precedent in years to come in relation to the Scottish Government’s public service policy. 

We shall continue our fight against privatisation and companies who profiteer from public services.



RISE - Scotland's Left Alliance has today (Tuesday) published a damning new report into the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 (OBA).

You can download it here.

The report, written by University of Glasgow PhD researcher Maureen McBride, shows how the controversial legislation is criminalising young people for actions as minor as swearing, is victimising fans from clubs outside the Old Firm, and is based on a flawed mechanism for identifying of sectarian behaviour. 

RISE opposes the OBA and has called for its repeal. 

Commenting, Cat Boyd, RISE's top candidate in on the Glasgow regional list, said: 

"The OBA is a disastrous piece of legislation and this report demonstrates that. It shows how this misguided law has criminalised young football fans for behaviour that is very far from offensive. 
"RISE stands wholesale against the OBA. If elected to Holyrood on Thursday, we'll do everything we can to overturn it."

Maureen McBride added:

"I wrote this report because it became evident very early on in my research that the Act had indeed ‘grown arms and legs’ and was being used in a worryingly broad manner. 
"I think that the supposedly high levels of ‘public support’ for the Act are based firstly on flawed polls and secondly on a general lack of understanding of what the Act actually is. 
"I hope this report goes some way to raising awareness about a piece of legislation that is effectively criminalising young working-class fans attending football matches."



Commenting on today's revelation, as reported by the Ferret, that Rosemary Agnew, the Scottish Information Commissioner, bowed to Scottish Government pressure to alter one of her decisions, James McAnaney, RISE's education spokesperson, said:

"These revelations are absolutely damning. They show that the Scottish Information Commissioner Rosemary Agnew has not met her own standards of political impartiality.

"It is now clear that Agnew faced pressure from the Scottish Government to change her decision relating to tuition fees in 2013. The Commissioner initially resisted this pressure and even felt strongly enough to invite the government to pay for legal advice on the matter. She also makes clear her view that acquiescing to the government's demands would compromise her independence.

"But in the end, and under clear pressure from the Scottish Government, she agreed to their demands.

"Given her office's recent correspondence with RISE, which revealed that the SIC intended to observe purdah rules irrelevant to its conduct, serious questions must now be asked about other decisions Agnew has made, including her decision to delay a request for information on national standardised testing.

"There are now real doubts about Agnew's ability to remain impartial and independent in the face of government pressure.

"To be clear, however, this story does not end there.

"Agnew described the Scottish Government's conduct in this matter as as 'inappropriate'. It is vital that we are made fully aware of the nature of that conduct. We also need to know the name of the Minister, or Ministers, on whose behalf this pressure was applied.

"We also need to know exactly why it was so important that the information in question was kept secret, particularly given the controversy surrounding the Scottish Government's claims regarding the application of tuition fees to English students in the event of Scottish independence. Why did the government fight so hard, and put the Scottish Information Commissioner in this position, in order to keep the truth out of  the public domain?

"Given the seriousness of these allegations nothing short of full disclosure is acceptable."

The Ferret's story can be read here:

Another Scotland Is Possible - A Report on the Future of Scottish Education

Another Scotland Is Possible - A Report on the Future of Scottish Education

RISE - Scotland's Left Alliance has today released a major new report on the future of the Scottish education system.

Another Scotland is Possible - A Report on the Future of Scottish Education, written by RISE Education Spokesperson James McEnaney, examines existing policy in a range of key areas including: Curriculum for Excellence and the New Qualifications; the issue of teacher workload and Continuing Professional Development; the imposition of National Standardised Testing; the school starting age; LGBTI+ Inclusive Education; Further Education; and private schools.

The report makes a number of specific recommendation for reform, including:

  • A simplified approach to Curriculum for Excellence in order to address the audit-based approach that has come to dominate schools
  • The government should abandon plans to impose National Standardised Testing and apologise to the teaching profession for this misguided proposal
  • An independent enquiry into the previous government's Further Education reforms
  • The raising of the school starting age
  • The stripping from private schools of tax benefits associated with their anomalous charitable status

Commenting, McEnaney said:

"This report is the most detailed look at the Scottish education system to have been published during this election campaign.

"Following on from our manifesto, which outlined a different approach to the problems facing Scottish education, we wanted to provoke a deeper debate about the direction in which we should be going.

"The rhetoric on offer from other parties regarding the so-called 'Attainment Gap' will do nothing to reduce educational inequality in Scotland. We believe - and this report argues - that the key to addressing this problem is to properly recognise its origins in the widespread social and economic equalities that blight our country.

"The report argues that if we are serious about improving Scottish education, we should focus on addressing those aspects of our system which magnify, rather than mitigate, pre-existing problems.

"We are also absolutely clear that placing full trust in the teaching profession is a prerequisite for progress. Unless we change the way we treat our teachers we will continue to fail our children.

"One of the key sections of this report concerns the unacceptable and unsustainable demands being made of the teaching profession. Given that the Scotland's largest teaching union has rejected government proposals to tackle this issue, and is now set to ballot its members on a boycott of SQA-related activity, our call for teachers to be trusted to do their jobs is more relevant than ever. This time the government must take the concerns of the teaching profession seriously."

"The report also considers a number of potential structural changes, the most radical - and beneficial - of which would be an increase in the school starting age from four to seven."





Commenting on the launch of Scottish Labour's Holyrood manifesto this morning, Cat Boyd, RISE's lead Glasgow candidate, said:

"On the surface, there are elements of Labour's manifesto that RISE welcomes. Ultimately, however, Kezia Dugdale's sudden conversion to socialism represents a last ditch effort from a dying party.

"Labour were in government for eight years at Holyrood and burdened Scotland with massive PFI debts and crumbling schools. During the 2014 independence referendum, they stood side-by-side with the Tories, putting the Union before the working people of Scotland.

"Dugdale presents herself as a late convert to Corbynism, but less than a year ago she argued that his leadership would leave Labour 'carping from the sidelines.' Her new-found socialists rhetoric is further undermined by the fact that Anas Sarwar, a Blairite millionaire, is currently measuring the drapes in her office.

"RISE, by contrast, has set-out a clear and consistent socialist programme.

"A £10 per hour minimum wage, higher taxes on the rich, universal free public transport, and a living income for Scotland's carers - these policies would have a transformative effect on the lives of thousands of Scots.

"Dugdale is desperately trying to rescue her disastrous campaign with a few token leftwing gestures. It won't work. Yes voters and independence supporters can’t trust the party of Anas Sarwar, Jackie Ballie and Blair McDougall.

"Scottish Labour politicians know they are on the way out and will say anything at this stage to avoid finishing third to the Tories.

"We are making a direct appeal to Labour voters to give their second votes to RISE, Scotland's real socialist alternative.




RISE is delighted to note the verdict delivered yesterday at the Hillsborough Disaster Inquest, confirming to the world what everyone else already knew to be fact – that 96 football fans were unlawfully killed, through no fault of their own.

The 27 year long campaign for ‘Justice For The 96’ has been an outstanding testament to the courage of the campaigners. Despite the outrageous lies, smears, media slander and disgraceful establishment cover-ups, the victims of this greatest miscarriage of justice have never wavered in their pursuit of the truth. RISE takes immense inspiration from all the campaigners in their unrelenting and unbroken spirit.

RISE stands fully behind the exonerated in their endeavour to bring forth formal criminal prosecutions. Those who have lied, misled and deliberately covered up the events of Hillsborough that day, must be held fully accountable for their actions.

Throughout these 27 painstaking years, police and state collusion has reinforced the misguided view that somehow Liverpool fans were culpable in the death of 96 of their own. RISE hopes that the verdict from yesterdays inquest can offer some form of closure for the families, and that their courageous campaign for justice is almost at an end.