Socialists Storm Scotland

In the recent Scottish parliament elections, the Scottish Socialist Party made impressive gains. discusses the reasons for their success

Did anyone ever think they’d live to see a socialist James Bond? Dougray Scott, the Scottish actor tipped to be next in line for the role was recently quoted as saying, "If I lived in Scotland, I would vote and campaign for the Scottish Socialists without a doubt".

In supporting the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) he is joining an increasing number of Scottish people who are looking for a viable left alternative to New Labour.

Tony Blair’s policies abroad, prosecuting an illegal and bloody war in an alliance with a right-wing Christian fundamentalist (Bush) and a Franco-sympathising Spanish right-winger (Aznar), as well as his domestic policies of privatisation, union bashing and eroding civil liberties are pushing people to look for alternatives.

North of the border the SSP is emerging as a powerful new political force which offers a complete alternative to New Labour’s neo-liberal policies. In the recent elections to the Scottish Parliament the SSP managed to increase its number of representatives from 1 to 6: a major breakthrough for a party formed only a few years ago.

The SSPs youth organiser Keef Tomkinson believes that the BNPs success in the recent council elections in England contains an important lesson for the left, "Across Europe parties from the far right are increasingly picking up votes. In areas like Burnley the left and the Trade Unions have got to start putting forward an alternative around the issues of poverty and bad housing which the Nazi BNP are currently exploiting".

In its manifesto, at its regular public meetings and in its weekly newspaper Scottish Socialist Voice the SSP has been uncompromising in its anti-war message as well as standing up against racist attacks on refugees and asylum seekers. It has also called for a ‘war on poverty’, advocating a radical redistribution of wealth and power, a substantially increased minimum wage and democratic public ownership over key sectors of the economy.

The SSP has been central to organising anti-war demonstrations, blockading the Faslane nuclear base and supporting workers on strike, most notably during the recent firefighters dispute. Tomkinson asserts an active stance is key to the party’s success stating "SSP MSPs don’t just turn up every four years and say ‘vote for me’. They are activists who get involved with campaigns on a wide range of issues, whether it is fighting to save a local community centre or blockading the Faslane nuclear naval base".