Alex Miller

An authoritative opinion poll for the Scotsman newspaper indicates a strong increase in support for the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) in the run-up to the Scottish Parliament elections on May 3. The April 6 Scottish Socialist Voice reported that “in both the constituency and regional list vote, 5 per cent of Scots voters plan to vote Scottish Socialist”, according to the ICM poll. This represents a 3% rise in the regional vote and a 4% increase in the constituency ballot — the biggest increase in support in the previous month for any political party in Scotland.
Dances in Deep Shadows: Britain’s Clandestine War in Russia 1917-20
By Michael Occleshaw
Constable, 2006
360 pages, US
Darwin’s Origin of Species: A Biography
By Janet Browne
Allen & Unwin, 2006
174 pages, $22.95
Official British government figures released on March 27 revealed that in the past year, the number of children in Britain living in relative poverty increased by 200,000. According to the March 27 BBC News, in 2005-06 the total number of children who satisfied the official definition of relative poverty — living in households with incomes equalling less than 60% of the national average when housing costs are included — rose from 3.6 million to a staggering 3.8 million.
More than 120 branch delegates and a substantial number of visitors attended a conference in Glasgow on March 3 to finalise the Scottish Socialist Party’s manifesto for May’s Scottish Parliament elections.
On February 24, 60,000 anti-war protesters took to the streets of central London in a demonstration against the US-led occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and against the threat of military action now hanging over Iran. On the same day, thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Glasgow, demonstrating against the Labour Party’s plans to upgrade the Trident nuclear weapons facilities based in the Clyde estuary.
An official European Union report issued on February 20 revealed that one in six people in the EU live below national poverty thresholds. The February 21 British Morning Star reported that according to the European Commission’s social inclusion report 10% of people in the EU — one of the wealthiest regions in the world — live in households in which no-one has a job.
A man released without charge after a week in detention as one of the latest batch of police “terror suspects” has branded Britain as “a police state for Muslims”. Abu Bakr, one of nine men arrested in high-profile raids in Birmingham on January 31, made the comment on the BBC Newsnight program following his release on February 7. One other man was released along with Bakr; another seven are still being held in police custody.
More than 200,000 public service workers in the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) held a nationwide strike on January 31, which is being followed by a two-week overtime ban. The February 1 Morning Star reported that “the action hit 200 government departments, halted important court cases and paralysed passport offices, benefit centres, and tax offices”. In addition, the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff was forced to abandon proceedings, and in London the British Library, Tate Modern and Tate Britain were closed.
Trotsky
By Ian D. Thatcher
Routledge, 2003
240 pages
Parliamentarians from the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP), the Dutch Socialist Party, the Greens and the Welsh nationalist Plaid Cymru party were arrested on January 8 following a protest at the Faslane nuclear submarine base on the River Clyde. The protest was organised by Faslane 365, which is promoting a year-round blockade of the base.
Murder in Samarkand: A British Ambassadors Controversial Defiance of Tyranny in the War on Terror
By Craig Murray
Mainstream Publishing 2006
400 pages $59.95 hardback.