Scotland

It has been an explosive couple of weeks at Holyrood (the devolved Scottish Parliament), as Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond testified before a special parliamentary inquiry, pitting current and former Scottish National Party (SNP) First Ministers against one another. Representing rival factions of the party’s upper echelons, the personal break between Sturgeon and Salmond over the latter’s inappropriate conduct has had deep political implications.

Just before Christmas, outgoing US Attorney General Bill Barr announced additional charges relating to the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988. This announcement is clearly politically motivated, and is symbolic of how the entire investigation has been focused on imperialist interests, rather than a genuine desire to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Under pressure from Keir Starmer and wealthy donors, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has stepped down. The right wing wants to expunge all remnants of Corbynism from the party. But this will only hasten the right's decline.

This week has seen thousands of women council workers taking strike action in Glasgow in an ongoing dispute over pay equality. The dispute dates back to equal pay claims from 2006, when Glasgow City Council introduced a Workforce Pay and Benefits Review System, which aimed to tackle the gender pay gap. However, under the scheme, low-paid jobs tending to be occupied by women – such as cleaning, catering and care – are being paid significantly less than jobs such as refuse collection, which are male dominated.

100 years ago, on 9 May 1918, the Scottish socialist John Maclean went on trial at the Edinburgh High Court facing charges of sedition. Maclean, however, used the trial to make an impassioned defence of himself and his socialist ideas (lasting 75 minutes in total), which we publish in full here.

Richard Leonard, the left candidate for Scottish Labour leader, has won a close fought race to succeed Kezia Dugdale. His victory represents the most significant gain for the Left in its struggle to win control of the overall party since Corbyn’s victory itself.

With the rise of Corbyn, the SNP government needed to move to the left. Given the actual rise of a Frankenstein Tory right in Scotland, we were hardly risking anything. Besides, this morning we might have been celebrating a Corbyn government backed by the votes of nearly 59 SNP MPs.” - SNP MP, George Kerevan

Nicola Sturgeon this week finally delivered the speech that had seemed almost inevitable ever since the Brexit vote in June last year. By announcing her intention to seek a second independence referendum, Sturgeon has started a political storm that will likely rage on - at the very least - until any referendum takes place.

We have entered into a new period on an international scale: a period of deep economic crisis, social and political instability. The masses everywhere are beginning to question things that were previously taken for granted. The whole political scene is a seething cauldron. In such a period sharp and sudden changes are implicit in the situation. The Scottish referendum was just such a sudden change, a political earthquake that upset all the calculations of the politicians. It represented a fundamental turn in the situation.