Friday, July 27, 2007

Gregor Gall on the SSP, Pam Currie replies

The forthcoming issue of What Next carries Gregor Gall's important assessment of the recent depresing electoral debacle for socialist politics in Scotland. A crucial analysis. It'll probably take an age for the hard copy edition of the magazine to appear, but Bob Pitt does us a service by carrying this.

MustSocialism in Scotland: A Cruel and Unnecessary Catastrophe
Gregor Gall
The only sensible and realistic motto for socialists to have approached the parliamentary and council elections in Scotland on 3 May 2007 was "prepared for the worst, hoping for something a tiny bit better". This is a cruel and devastating indictment of a situation four short years on from the Scottish Socialist Party’s electoral breakthrough in May 2003. The best opportunity in a generation for a left of Labour socialist project was squandered right in front of everybody’s eyes as well as our own. The SSP took socialism out of the ghetto and now it and socialism have been forced back into the ghetto. Solidarity: Scotland’s Socialist Movement makes no difference to this equation.

Read the rest here.

And there's a reply by Pam Currie: Why the SSP is Worth Fighting For

THERE can be no doubt that 3 May 2007 marks a low point in the SSP’s nine year history. The election result was a massive disappointment, following on the heels of the car-crash of the summer of 2006, the libel action and the split. But does it sound the death knell of the Scottish Socialist Party? Is the party so damaged and discredited that it cannot recover? And has almost a decade’s hard work by the activists who built the SSP – one of the most successful left unity projects in the world in recent years – been destroyed by the actions of one man? I would answer a resounding "no" – and I’m confident that the vast majority of the SSP’s members and supporters would concur.

On the face of it, the bare figures from May 3 would suggest otherwise – a vote of just 12,572 across the country, 0.66% on average in the regions, below the bizarre collection of uncomfortable bedfellows assembled in Sheridan’s hastily cobbled-together "Solidarity" faction and below the racist, far-right BNP. But disillusioned campaigners would do well to remember that an election takes place on one day – it is a snapshot, nothing more, nothing less. Reports from around the country during the course of the campaign suggest that the SSP’s percentage of the vote did not reflect the broader support for policies such as free school meals, scrapping the council tax and prescription charges, and free public transport.

The rest is here.

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