Leading from the left

Written by Scott Campbell, Cumbernauld Media's Senior Reporter.

Published at 00:54 on 24 June 2015.

Politics    Scottish Socialist Party

The Scottish Left Project aims to take forward the ideals of the 'Yes' campaign, from last year. Picture: Scott Campbell for Cumbernauld Media
AS THE countdown to the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections prepares to kick start, local Scottish Socialist members are urging voters to consider a united left-of-centre political campaign in next year’s vote.

Members of the Cumbernauld Scottish Socialist Party branch are inviting anybody interested locally in hearing their case for what has been dubbed a ‘left front’ to come along to a special meeting on Thursday evening.

Pulled together by the Cumbernauld SSP branch, the special meeting on Thursday evening will be addressed by Jonathon Shafi.

A prominent figure in the pro-independence Radical Independence Campaign during the independence referendum last year, Mr Shafi is now involved with the newly formed Scottish Left Project.

Aiming to build a united, credible left-of-centre political alternative to the current politics of the Scottish Parliament, without sacrificing what the group has called a “united challenge to Westminster's corruption and imperialism”, the Scottish Left Project is asking supporters to consider a socialist vote in next year’s Holyrood election.

“Although at a tentative stage, our immediate aims reflect the best goals of the independence movement,” a spokesperson for the group explained.

“We are constructing a replacement for Labour that truly reflects the needs of Scotland's working class, and a policy program that reflects the needs of European societies to escape skyrocketing inequality, anti-immigrant hysteria, endless war, and the degradation of democracy.”

Supporters of the project’s aims and opening statement have been urged to put their name to the Scottish Left Project opening statement, which calls for “a new citizens’ politics”. 

Current signatories include academics such as Glasgow Caledonian University’s Dr Nick McKerrell and Dr Stewart Davidson, as well as past and present MSPs, including Central Scotland MSP John Wilson and former SSP MSP, Frances Curran. 

Prominent pro-independence figures such as Jim Sillars and Cat Boyd have also put their names to the opening statement and ethos of the Scottish Left Project.

Condorrat resident and Cumbernauld SSP member, Kevin McVey is one of the local branch members behind the organisation of this week’s meeting. He’s urging people to come to the meeting to learn about an “alternative vision” of Scottish politics.

“The tectonic plates in Scottish politics have shifted over the last number of years, but one factor that remains is the need for a challenge from the left,” he said.

“A socialist voice, that will not only build campaigns and resistance to austerity, but will offer an alternative vision of a society based on redistributing wealth and prioritising the needs of people not profit. 

“The SSP is always looking at ways that we can develop and find ways to continue to evolve a left alternative to the inequalities of capitalism in the twenty first century. That is why our recent National Conference agreed to discuss with the Scottish Left Project and others about how we can maximise the unity of those with a left wing perspective and seek to have socialists back in the Scottish Parliament.”

Mr McVey added: “There are many people who have been inspired by the independence campaign and events in countries like Greece who want more than what mainstream politics are offering. 

“There is no reason that the wave of opposition that is sweeping across Europe against the inequality and injustice that blights people’s lives cannot have an impact in Scotland. We hope people will come along to the meeting and consider how that can be done.”

The meeting will be held in The Link Community Centre on Thursday 25th June, starting at 7.30pm, with any interested members of the public welcome to attend.