Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/392/4444

From The Socialist newspaper, 12 May 2005

Scotland - general election 2005

Rebuilding SSP support under a third Labour term

IN SCOTLAND, the opposition to New Labour policies was underlined by a 4.5% fall in their vote to 39.5% compared to the election of 2001.

Philip Stott, CWI, Scotland

As in England and Wales it was the Lib-Dems posing as the main "anti-war" party who were the main beneficiaries, their support increased by more than 6% to 22.6%.

This is despite the fact that in Scotland they are part of the governing coalition with New Labour in the Scottish Executive. The Lib-Dems have championed record levels of privatisation in schools and hospitals in Scotland as well as backing the stock transfer of local authority housing away from council control.

Even their flagship policy of the abolition of tuition fees is in reality a con. In Scotland fees are effectively paid after finishing university in the form of a graduate tax rather than up-front fees.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) failed again to tap into the anti-New Labour mood that exists in Scotland and were pushed into third place by the Lib-Dems.

The SNP share of the vote fell by 2.5% to below 18%. It was the lowest share for the SNP since 1987 and was the fourth election in a row where the SNP have lost support since 1999. Despite that they did pick up two seats to end up with six MPs compared with 41 for New Labour and eleven for the Lib-Dems. The Tories flat-lined again with only one MP elected in Scotland.

The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) share of the vote fell from 3.1% to 1.9%. In last year's PR based European election the SSP won 5.2% of the national vote and 6.8% in 2003 for the Scottish parliament elections, when six SSP MSPs were elected.

While the swing to the Lib-Dems and the fact of a first-past-the post election at which the SSP had no chance of winning any seats meant that the SSP vote would have been squeezed, the scale of the drop in support for the SSP was a shock to many activists in the party.

Nationally the SSP won 43,514 votes (1.9%) of the vote compared to the 72,518 (3.1%) the party won in 2001. In Glasgow, where the SSP has two MSPs in the Scottish parliament the vote fell to 4% from 6.8% in 2001.

Unlike four years ago when the SSP held nine deposits (5% or more of the vote), out of the ten constituencies in Glasgow, this time only one deposit out of the seven Glasgow seats was secured (one of two seats nationally). In Glasgow, the Greens polled higher than the SSP candidates in the four seats that the Greens contested.

Ronnie Stevenson, a CWI member, won 1,303 votes in Glasgow South (3.4%). This was the eighth highest share of the vote for the SSP in Scotland.

In Edinburgh, where Colin Fox the SSP's national convenor is an MSP, the SSP vote fell to 1.48%. The Greens picked up an anti-establishment vote by winning 4.88% across the city.

Lessons

CWI members in Scotland stood in six seats for the SSP. In Dundee the SSP polled just over 2%, with Jim McFarlane in Dundee West securing 994 votes (2.7%) and Harvey Duke polled 538 votes (1.4%) in Dundee East. Jim's vote was joint 12th highest for the SSP out of 58 seats contested. And the highest vote for the SSP in the 25 constituencies that make up the east of Scotland.

For the SSP, with a national profile and six MSPs in the Scottish parliament, this result is a setback. This is the first electoral test for the party since the events surrounding Tommy Sheridan's resignation as SSP convenor in November last year.

Without doubt this was a significant factor in the drop in support for the SSP. Alongside the swing amongst a section of voters to the Lib-Dems and to an extent the Greens (who stood in 19 seats in Scotland and polled higher than the SSP in all of them), in order to kick New Labour.

Despite our political differences with Tommy Sheridan, he has significant authority amongst the working class in Scotland. We explained, at the time, that the actions of the SSP leadership, which effectively forced his resignation, would damage the standing of the party. It could also put a question mark in the minds of workers and young people as to the future viability of the SSP.

Despite this setback the CWI believes that the SSP can recover and move forward.

There are big opportunities for the SSP around the G8 summit in July. The third-term New Labour government will see an unprecedented attack on the working class. Under these conditions the SSP can rebuild its support. However, this means there is a big responsibility on the SSP leadership to draw all the lessons from some of the mistakes of the past period.

Above all it requires the SSP to turn outwards to the working class and young people with a fighting programme to combat New Labour's assault and advance a clear international socialist alternative to capitalism.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 12 May 2005:

NHS - Stop the profit vultures

Defend public services

Everyone has a right to education

Join the G8 protest

1945 - Victory in Europe: When 'liberation' meant socialism

Blair battered but what's the alternative?

Rebuilding SSP support under a third Labour term

Discontent with the 'Blair project'

Polarisation widens in Northern Ireland

Coventry - the best campaign ever

Building a base in Lewisham

Big vote for socialism in Bolsover

Left victory in firefighters' union

Workers demand justice on pensions

Amicus conference: Size isn't everything

UNISON health conference: Fight low pay and privatisation, defend pensions


 

Home   |   The Socialist 12 May 2005   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Scotland:

triangleWhere is Scotland going?

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Is the National Question finished in Scotland & Wales?

triangleScotland - SNP loses but Labour could've won more

triangleMay and Tories must go!

Labour:

triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleTories torn - bin them now

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

Election:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleThe Tories must be driven out

triangleGermany: Election results in political earthquake

CWI:

triangleCampaign against political repression in Hong Kong

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

Glasgow:

triangleGlasgow jannies win famous victory against council cutters

Tommy Sheridan:

triangleCoulson case collapses amid stench of hypocrisy

Scottish Socialist Party:

triangleThe left unions and the Labour Party affiliation debate

International

International

18/10/17

Hong Kong

Campaign against political repression in Hong Kong

11/10/17

Catalonia

Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

4/10/17

Catalonia

Solidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide

4/10/17

Catalonia

Eyewitness: Irish socialist MP participates in events

2/10/17

Catalonia

Exemplary resistance by the people of Catalonia

27/9/17

Germany

Germany: Election results in political earthquake

27/9/17

Catalonia

Strike against Madrid's 'state of emergency'!

27/9/17

Germany

German elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance

27/9/17

France

French Labour reform protests

25/9/17

Catalonia

Catalonia: Student strike called

20/9/17

Myanmar

Brutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis

20/9/17

Catalonia

Solidarity with Catalonia in the Spanish state

15/9/17

Germany

Berlin hospital strike

13/9/17

Korea

Korean peninsula: is nuclear war likely?

13/9/17

Students

Interview with leader of students' union in the Spanish state: "When we fight, we win!"

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

triangle25 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2