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Update from Reid Foundation during COVID-19 crisis

May 06, 2020 Comments Off on Update from Reid Foundation during COVID-19 crisis

Due to the coronavirus crisis, our planned fringe meeting at the STUC in April – and the STUC itself – was cancelled. The title for the meeting was ‘Constitutional options for Scotland – which way forward for progressive politics?’ It was to launch a pamphlet the Foundation has commissioned from Professor James Mitchell of the University of Edinburgh on constitutional options for Scotland. When the crisis is over and social distancing rules are relaxed, we shall arrange to launch the pamphlet.

Meanwhile, COP26 in Glasgow in November 2020 has also been cancelled. The Foundation was intending to launch a paper during that week in Glasgow from Dr Eurig Scandrett of Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh on reducing the working week as part of a move to ‘A Just Transition’. We hope that this launch might still yet be possible at that time.

Meanwhile, we shall shortly be bringing out a publication on progressive ideas for shaping the post-crisis reconstruction of economy and society. Hopefully, this will be useful in preventing neo-liberalism from trying to benefit from the crisis in order to further embed itself in our economy and society.

Jimmy Reid Foundation supports the right to a referendum

Feb 05, 2020 Comments Off on Jimmy Reid Foundation supports the right to a referendum

At the first meetings of both the editorial committee of the Scottish Left Review magazine and the project board of the Jimmy Reid Foundation since the 12 December 2019 general election, the following motion was unanimously passed:

We assert our belief in the right of the people of Scotland to determine their own future and therefore, whilst maintaining our stance of not taking a position on the specific question of independence for Scotland, that is, being pro- or anti-independence,  we support the right of the people of Scotland to determine that future through a constitutional referendum.

This provides the basis for Scottish Left Review and the Jimmy Reid Foundation to provide much needed balanced and informed materials in the on-going constitutional debate. The first in an array of such activities will be the hosting on a fringe event at the 2020 annual congress of the Scottish Trades Union Congress in Perth on Tuesday 21 April. The second will be the publication of an educational pamphlet by Professor James Mitchell of the University of Edinburgh assessing each of the constitutional options for Scotland.

Editor of Scottish Left Review and director of the Jimmy Reid Foundation, Professor Gregor Gall, commented:

Jimmy Reid’s last political project was the creation of the Scottish Left Review. Its founding aim is to provide a forum for balanced and productive debate on the left about developing a progressive, left agenda. By passing this motion, the Scottish Left Review and the Jimmy Reid Foundation have taken the step to support the democratic right to a referendum without prejudging which option in the referendum people should support. We believe this is very much in the spirit of what Jimmy Reid would have intended.

Note: The Scottish Left Review was established by Jimmy Reid in 2000 and the Scottish Left Review set up the Jimmy Reid Foundation in 2011 following the death of Jimmy Reid in 2010. Scottish Left Review magazine is a sister organisation to the Jimmy Reid Foundation and vice-versa.

Successful launch of Jimmy Reid biography at UNITE Scotland offices, 25 Oct 2019

Oct 25, 2019 Comments Off on Successful launch of Jimmy Reid biography at UNITE Scotland offices, 25 Oct 2019

The Jimmy Reid Foundation, in association with UNITE Scotland (as the successor union to the engineering union of Jimmy Reid’s time), launched the new and definitive biography of Jimmy Reid on Friday 25 October at UNITE Scotland’s Glasgow offices.

The biography, with the cooperation of the Reid family, has been written by Alan McKinlay and Bill Knox – see https://www.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/books/id/51544/

An audience of some 50 union activists, officers, former officers and UCS veterans, along with Jimmy’s widow, Joan Reid, heard UNITE general secretary, Len McCluskey, as the guest speaker and was followed by Alan McKinlay and Bill Knox.

We thank UNITE for providing the facilities to launch the biography and to the general secretary for speaking.

Below is a photo of Len McCluskey with authors Bill Knox (left) and Alan McKinlay (right).

Video of Aamer Anwar’s 2019 Jimmy Reid Foundation lecture

Oct 13, 2019 Add a comment

In all its glory, here is the video of Aamer’s lecture at the Bute Hall, University of Glasgow on Thursday 10 October 2019 (with introduction from Neal Juster and Lynn Henderson). Thanks again from the Foundation to Aamer for giving the lecture and to the University of Glasgow for allowing the Bute Hall to be used. The standard has been set very high for the next person that delivers the 2020 annual lecture.

 

 

 

 

Text and slides from Aamer Anwar’s 2019 Jimmy Reid Foundation lecture

Oct 11, 2019 Add a comment

To a large and rapturous audience, Aamer Anwar delivered a barnstorming and heartfelt lecture on poverty and injustice in the Bute Hall at the University of Glasgow on a wet and windy evening on Thursday 10 October 2019.

The video of the lecture will shortly be available but for now here is the text of the lecture and the accompanying slides.

The Jimmy Reid Foundation records its thanks to Aamer for providing such a stimulating and enjoyable evening – he has certainly set the bar very high for the speaker of the 2020 annual lecture!

Extract from Aamer Anwar’s 2019 Jimmy Reid Foundation lecture

Oct 09, 2019 Add a comment

Tomorrow (Thursday 10 October 2019) Aamer Anwar will say 

In an extract from his forthcoming 2019 Jimmy Reid Foundation lecture called ‘The struggle for justice, equality and freedom in Scotland’, Scotland’s leading human rights and criminal defence lawyer, Aamer Anwar, will set out a wide-ranging analysis, saying:

‘Jimmy Reid is often described as the best MP that Scotland never had, but he was much more than that: he was the conscience of his generation. Many claim to honour his legacy and, as a nation, we claim to be left of centre. But I believe we are failing the weak, the poor and the vulnerable. There is much I will try to cover in my memorial speech and it is a daunting task to try and follow in the footsteps of the giant that was Jimmy.

But I am tired, some 20 years after the murder of Surjit Singh Chhokar, of seeing families still screaming for justice whilst young people incarcerated in our prisons take their own lives as their cries for help go unheard. Be it in Scotland – or, indeed, England – those who wear a uniform appear immune from any sort of justice when it comes to as death at their hands.

Behind the scenes the Scottish Legal Board is slowly preparing to dismantle our legal aid system along the very same lines as the Tory government did, which will leave the weak, the vulnerable, the guilty and the innocent without justice.

On the political front we have a Tory government with a veneer of positive Britishness but a reality of imperialist values, racism, and anti-immigrant hysteria. We are in dangerous times as the right, with the failure of the left, begins to fill the vacuum.

For Scottish Labour, so obsessed with its own internecine warfare, there is simply no point in constantly mentioning one hundred years of previous labour struggles, if in this century there are none to see. Where there is an opportunity to unite, they oppose through a visceral hatred for the SNP.

As for the SNP, being a party of government for twelve years, has created a sense of complacency and arrogance. The inevitable road to independence must not blind it to immediate demands for justice and accountability. Ordinary people are desperate and they cannot or will not wait.

Be it in Scotland, England or Wales, we cannot build a ‘land of opportunity for all’ on the ruins of a million more children living in poverty or the bodies of those broken by being forced to work till 70.

But whilst Jimmy would have been angry at the political landscape we see today, he would also have been full of optimism, because he had a fundamental belief that there has always been a spirit of dissent in the younger generation, untouched by the defeats of the past.’

This Is What Democracy Looks Like event in Manchester, Sat 31 August

Aug 01, 2019 Add a comment

Supporters of the Jimmy Reid Foundation may be interested in the major conference being organised by the ‘Politics for the Many’ campaigning group. It is called ‘This Is What Democracy Looks Like: Building A Politics For The Many’ and takes place in Manchester on Saturday 31 August. The depute-convener of the Foundation, Lynn Henderson, is one of the speakers in her capacity as the PCS union national political officer. Details of the event and how to by tickets can be found here.

Seventh annual Jimmy Reid lecture, 10 October 2019 – tickets now on sale

Jun 23, 2019 Add a comment

Tickets are on sale here – click this link

Scotland’s leading human rights lawyer, Aamer Anwar, to give 2019 Jimmy Reid annual lecture

The Jimmy Reid Foundation, in conjunction with the University of Glasgow, is delighted to announce that Scotland’s leading human rights lawyer, Aamer Anwar, is to give the seventh Jimmy Reid annual lecture on 10 October 2019. Currently, Aamer is the Rector of the University of Glasgow, as Jimmy Reid was in the early 1970s, and will give the lecture in the Bute Hall where Jimmy gave his famous rectorial address in 1972 called ‘Alienation’ and known as the ‘rat race is for rats’ speech.

The title of Aamer’s lecture is ‘The struggle for justice, equality and freedom in Scotland’. In it, he will not only discuss the state of justice, equality and human rights in Scotland but examine how the battle for these can be pursued in the face of opposition from the Scottish establishment.

Looking forward to giving the lecture, Aamer said:

It’s an honour to walk in the footsteps of Jimmy Reid. As Rector, he gave what has been described as one of the greatest speeches since Lincoln’s Gettysburg address in which he spoke out against injustice and inequality, urging our students to reject the values of the ‘rat-race’. Since then, we have achieved much that as a nation we can be proud of. However, injustice, inequality and racism remain deeply rooted in our institutions and society. We continue to sleep walk in complacency whilst politicians issue sound bites of comfort.  Nearly 50 years after Jimmy spoke, the vulnerable, the poor, minorities and the weak are despised, abused and silenced. It is time that the voice of the voiceless was heard.

Professor Gregor Gall, director of the Jimmy Reid Foundation, commented:

Jimmy Reid would have been delighted that such a leading campaigner for social justice as Aamer Anwar is to give a lecture in his honour in the very hall where Jimmy himself gave his trailblazing 1972 rectorial address. In Scotland today, there is no one more qualified and suited to walk in Jimmy’s shoes than Aamer Anwar.

Tickets are on sale here – click this link

Notes:

  • Aamer Anwar is a longstanding anti-racist and human rights campaigner. He became a solicitor in 2000 before going on to found Aamer Anwar & Co, Solicitors & Notaries, in 2006. He was elected rector in 2017, having attended the University of Glasgow from 1986 to 1994. He was ‘Solicitor of the Year’ in the Herald’s Law Awards of Scotland 2016 and 2018, and ‘Lawyer of the Year’ at the fourteenth Scottish Legal Awards in March 2017. He is also a patron of the Jimmy Reid Foundation.
  • The 2019 lecture will take place from 6.30pm onward at the Bute Hall, University of Glasgow on Thursday 10 October 2019.

Tickets are on sale here – click this link

‘Neo-liberalism and the new institutional politics of universities’ – paper now available

May 30, 2019 Add a comment

The Jimmy Reid Foundation launched its latest paper called ‘Neo-liberalism and the new institutional politics of universities’ by Jeremy Valentine (formerly Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh) at the UCU Scotland offices on 30 May 2019.

The Foundation would like to thank Jeremy as well as Ann Gow, past president of UCU Scotland, and Eurig Scandrett, past vice-president of of UCU Scotland for being the discussants at the launch as well as Murdo Mathison and UCU Scotland for hosting the event.

The paper is  now available here.

Launch of ‘Neo-liberalism and the new institutional politics of universities’, 30 May 2019, Glasgow

Apr 29, 2019 Add a comment

The Jimmy Reid Foundation will launch its latest paper called ‘Neo-liberalism and the new institutional politics of universities’ by Jeremy Valentine (formerly Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh) from 6pm-8pm on Thursday 30 May 2019 at the UCU Scotland offices, 4th floor, 227 Ingram St, Glasgow G1 1DA

Jeremy Valentine will lay out the how, where and why of neo-liberalism now dominating the way universities are run and the purposes they are run for. Alongside Jeremy will be speaking Ann Gow, president of UCU Scotland, and Carlo Morelli, president-elect of UCU Scotland. There will be plenty of time for Q&A. All are welcome.

The paper will be available at the launch and uploaded to the Jimmy Reid Foundation’s website the day after the launch.