Socialist Worker

Organise for a united left alternative in Scotland after Labour defeat

by Raymie Kiernan in Glasgow
Issue No. 2452

SNP supporters watch the votes come in in Glasgow

SNP supporters in Glasgow watch the votes come in (Pic: Socialist Worker)

The Labour Party in Scotland has been wiped out. The Scottish National Party (SNP) took 56 out of 59 seats with Labour, the Tories and Lib Dems sharing the remaining three.

Scottish Labour leader, Blairite Jim Murphy, lost his seat suffering a 30 percent swing from Labour to the SNP. Turnout in his Renfrewshire East constituency was over 80 percent. Leading Lib Dems such as Danny Alexander suffered the same fate.

Labour’s traditional support in working class heartlands such as Glasgow – where all seven of the city’s MPs went to the SNP - is seriously diminished. The count was like a funeral for Labour.

Across Scotland Labour received 300,000 votes less than the million it got in 2010. Murphy failed to win back independence supporters who voted Labour at the last general election.

The SNP took half of all votes cast in Scotland, almost 1.5 million. That’s one million more than it got in 2010, half of which came from Labour and the Lib Dems.


The SNP successfully tapped into an anti-austerity mood among working class people. This was inspired by the debates around last year’s referendum and fuelled by a desire to punish Labour for its alliance with the Tories. The left’s vote was squeezed but its message to fight austerity was very popular. 

The crucial task for all on the left in Scotland is to quickly discuss and organise for a united left alternative in next year’s Scottish parliament elections.

Scottish TUC general secretary Grahame Smith described the result as “a monumental movement for change, a movement that has, at this time, invested its hopes and trust in the SNP”.

The Tories have no mandate to govern in Scotland. There are now huge expectations on the SNP to follow through on its central campaign message to “end austerity”.

We must hold it to account and demand it immediately stops implementing Tory cuts. It should refuse to cooperate over Trident.

We can’t just sit back and wait for promises to be delivered. It’s time to turn words into action.

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