Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/297/13890
Scottish elections: Socialist Challenge To Capitalist Parties
1 MAY will see the second elections to the Scottish parliament. After four years of devolution, extreme disappointment would sum up the mood of working-class people over the inability of the political establishment to reverse the rising levels of poverty and inequality in Scotland.
Scandalously, one-in-three children grow up in poverty in Scotland. Hospital waiting lists and times are increasing. And the Scottish economy is mired in recession, causing thousands of manufacturing and electronics jobs to be wiped out.
But the bosses continue to make handsome profits. Up to £7 billion of public service contracts have been handed out to the private sector through PFI and PPP schemes. Now Scottish Water is shedding 900 jobs, part of a cost-cutting exercise prior to its expected privatisation by New Labour.
The limited powers of the parliament, with Holyrood having no control over income and corporation tax, welfare benefits, pensions and defence etc, has proved incapable of reversing the impact of the crisis of the capitalist system on working-class communities in Scotland.
The pro-big business political parties that dominate the parliament have an almost indistinguishable approach to the economy and social issues. All of them want to see the illusion of a "Smart Scotland", a modern, vibrant free-market economy. All of them put 'law and order' and 'getting tough on offenders' at the forefront of their manifestos. None of them have any real answers.
The one exception in this election is the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP). The SSP has put opposition to poverty and inequality at the heart of its agenda. It can make a big breakthrough in these elections. The election of a number of SSP MSP's (Member of the Scottish Parliament) would be a victory for socialism.
However, with electoral success there could be pressure on the SSP to back an SNP administration. This must be resisted. The SSP could grow rapidly but it must maintain its independence from the big business parties.
The International Socialists (CWI Scotland) are working hard to ensure a big vote for the SSP in this election. At the same time we argue inside the SSP for a clear internationalist and socialist alternative to end capitalism, poverty, hunger and war.
Vote SSP on 1 May
- For public ownership under democratic working class control of the major sectors of the Scottish economy.
- For an independent socialist Scotland as part of a socialist confederation with England, Wales and Ireland.
From International Socialist, paper of International Socialists.
Following a proposal from the International Socialists, the Scottish Socialist Party in Dundee East agreed not to stand against John McAllion the sitting MSP in the Scottish parliament elections. The SSP press release says:
"After detailed debate and discussion the Scottish Socialist Party has taken the decision not to contest the Dundee East constituency at the forthcoming Scottish Parliament elections.
The reasons for this decision were in recognition of the principled campaigning record of the sitting MSP John McAllion.
John has been an outspoken and consistent opponent of the war on Iraq. Unlike many politicians he opposed the war whether or not it was supported by the United Nations.
He was the co-sponsor of SSP MSP Tommy Sheridan's bill on free school meals. He backed the SSP bill which won the abolition of Warrant Sales in the Scottish Parliament.
John has been to the fore in supporting the firefighters. He has also condemned New Labour's privatisation of public services through the use of PFI and PPP schemes."
In The Socialist 26 April 2003: