Offering a socialist alternative
by Kevin McVey, SSP National Secretary
The Scottish Socialist Party will be aiming to offer a glimmer of light in the grim, grey landscape that is looming for the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary elections.
Party members have decided to stand on the Regional Lists across Scotland and so give every voter the opportunity to vote for socialist candidates who will challenge the dismal consensus for cuts that will define the election.
The elections in May 2011 will take place against the background of the imposition of savage cuts to public spending being demanded by the Parliament’s ConDem pay masters in Westminster.
A glimpse of the severity of these cuts was given in the recent Beveridge Report produced for the Scottish Parliament, which has highlighted options including the loss of 60,000 public sector jobs, scrapping free personal care for the elderly and imposing tuition fees for students as it spells out ways that ordinary people can be made to pay the price for restoring bankers profits.
So far the response from the capitalist parties has been telling; with offers of cross party discussions, not to consider how this cuts agenda can be defied, but on how best they can implement the cuts without losing their cushy parliamentary positions.
The growth of support for a Scottish parliament was linked with the need to resist an unwelcome Tory government through the 1980s and 1990s and people will be expecting more than a Parliament that simply acts as a transmitter belt for the dismantling of our key public services.
This background throws into sharp focus the need for the SSP to stand on a platform of building resistance and defiance to Westminster’s cuts. The impact that socialists in parliament can have has already been shown by the impact of our campaigning on issues like scrapping the Council Tax, for free school meals and scrapping prescription charges.
In a similar vein the SSP will use the election campaign as a platform to promote mass defiance to the imposition of cuts, whilst elaborating a socialist alternative that will call for a massive re-distribution of wealth from rich to poor and for a massive extension of the public ownership of Scotland’s economic resources to offset the need for the destruction of the welfare state to pay for capitalist greed.
With our candidates committed to taking no more than the average skilled workers wage, the SSP remains committed to ensuring that MSP’s have some understanding of the problems we all face in paying the bills and don’t end up living on a different planet to the vast majority of their constituents.
Similarly, our commitment to gender balance across regions and on our lists remain as a way to tackle the serious under representation of women amongst our elected representatives.
Particularly significant as this under representation has become even more marked in both the Westminster and Holyrood parliaments.
Opinion polls have shown support for the SSP on the list vote, generally known as the second vote, at about 3 per cent, although our recent showing in first past the post elections have been lower than that.
No one is underestimating the scale of the challenge involved in fighting a campaign across Scotland.
However, against a background of the most unprecedented attacks on working class people for many years the need for at least one party manifesto that points out who caused this economic crisis and demands that it should be them that are made to pay for it, is an absolute necessity.
These elections will be another opportunity to advance the case for socialism and independence as a real antidote to the poisonous prescriptions of cuts and privatisation that will be on offer from all the other free market parties in Scotland.
Originally distributed via the SSP national website.