Socialist Worker

Tommy Sheridan: Scotland is on the front line against New Labour

Tommy Sheridan MSP, co-convenor of Solidarity – Scotland’s Socialist Movement, looks at the potential for socialists in Scotland this year

Issue No. 2033

Following the tumultuous events of 2006, Solidarity – Scotland’s Socialist Movement goes into the new year as the new force on the Scottish left.

We are attempting to restart where the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) experiment failed – in uniting the left in a single, potent, political movement.

We have joined with serious and principled activists in Scotland, with the trade union movement, anti-war campaigners and those on the frontline against New Labour’s assault on public services, minorities and immigrant communities.

We want to unite the progressive forces of protest in what could be an historic election year in Scotland.

Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and their millionaire cronies will launch a final attack on our public services, with cuts, closures, redundancies and privatisation as the weapons of a party that has turned its back on the working class.

Hundreds of thousands of workers will be fighting for the very existence of civil and public services across Britain. Solidarity will be at the forefront of those battles, standing side by side with the unions.

Our Muslim communities are facing brutal racist policies designed to divide the working class. We must make sure that we show that Solidarity is willing to treat this as an attack on all of us.


We will give our support to campaigns against Islamophobia, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, the Muslim Association of Britain and the other groups who are fighting back and making a stand.

The occupations of Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan are carried out in our name, and it will be to our shame if we do not unite as a force to combat this on the ground, at home and abroad.

Irrespective of what powers are devolved or not, we must use the election campaign to highlight the murders and gross injustice being perpetrated on our sisters and brothers in the Middle East.

Last year, I was privileged to be part of a group from Glasgow that visited Lebanon and saw, at first hand, the courage and strength of the resistance.

It was an inspiration that I will never forget and that has given me new strength and energy.

In 2006 the working class in Lebanon fought back and defeated one of the world’s most powerful military forces. We owe it to them to continue that fight and to never falter in our support for resistance across the planet.

The elections in Scotland in May will be very difficult for a new party. But we hope to take courage from those who have joined us and those who fight through industrial action, civil disobedience and direct action, and return an MSP in every region of Scotland and councillors in every local authority.


Some of us were part of the historic 2003 elections when the SSP had six MSPs elected. This was done through action in communities and through uniting the forces of the left, not through perceived notions of socialist purity.

Solidarity hopes to repeat that effort this year and establish ourselves as the only principled party of the left in Scotland.

We will campaign for an independent, socialist, nuclear free Scotland, for public ownership of Scotland’s resources and the scrapping of Trident at Faslane.

In an answer to a question in the House of Commons recently, it was revealed that the true cost of scrapping, replacing and maintaining Trident for 30 years will be £76 billion.

In our campaign we will offer the people of Scotland the choice of spending this on weapons of mass destruction or spending it on working class communities, on social housing for those who need it, on pensions, on free education and student grants.

We will offer the choice of a Scotland with open, welcoming arms to the oppressed people of the world, not based on narrow national interests and global capital.

I ask all principled socialists, and our brothers and sisters in all communities to join us in the fight. We can make a difference if we all pull together in solidarity.

Join us.

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Sat 13 Jan 2007, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2033
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