06 May 2007

The Left in Scotland

Thw writing was on the wall for the demise of the Left in Scotland: even without the split, opinion polls had the combined SSP & Solidarity showing at around 5% - the sort of level which wold cause a near-wipeout, save for the unified SSP's stronghold in Glasgow. So it proved. The only place where either party had even a sniff at a seat was Glasgow, where Solidarity missed out by a whisker. To make matters worse, the combined vote of the SSP and Solidarity would have been enough for one of them to win a seat at the expense of Patrick Harvie. This goes to prove how damaging the split was: both sides have almost destroyed themselves in fighting with each other, and the electorate's view has been very clear: "A plague on both your houses!". But the Left will re-emerge, in some form.

Solidarity are the likeliest to survive and re-build, as long as Tommy Sheridan is still involved, but will that mean anything by 2011? My guess is that it will: the Party has a Councillor in Glasgow (Ruth Black), so still has a platform to advance Tommy, who took 19.3% of the vote in Pollok in the 1992 Westminster Election, 7.6% across the city in the 1994 European Election, 11.1% in the re-drawn Pollok in 1997, 21.5% in Pollok in 1999 (with the SSP taking 7% across the city on the Regional Vote), and 27.9% in Pollok in 2003 (with the SSP taking 16% across the city on the Regional Vote). So the 4.1% support for Solidarity in Glasgow is the worst level of support that a Tommy Sheridan candidacy has received, well, ever. Even combined with the SSP, he'd only have scored 5.3%. Basically, Glasgow doesn't necessarily like Tommy, but people at least know who he is. So the personality, combined with the chance to develop the Party's organisation over the next four years, and the presence in the City all mean that we haven't seen the last of him.

Socialist Labour are now the second leftist force in Scottish politics. They don't have (and have never had) the electoral success of the unified SSP, or the presence in any Council chamber. They haven't ever had representation in Holyrood either. Their main asset comes from their UK head: Arthur Scargill. As long as he's still going, they're still going. Not necessarily successful, but still going. They might never be successful, but they'll be hard to shift. Until Scargill snuffs it, when they're screwed.

The SSP, on the other hand, are toast. They are now the third force in Socialism, rather than the largest, with major debts, few backers, and no MSPs contributing from their salary. The have one Councillor in West Dunbartonshire (Jim Bollan), but that's it. The only place where the even managed to get 1% of the vote was Glasgow, the Party's original birthplace, and even there they were outpolled by Socialist Labour. And both Christian parties. And the Senior Citizens' Unity Party. And the BNP. They're in real trouble.


Richard Havers said...

As the ol' joke goes, what's the difference between Tommy Sheridan and Walt Disney. Tommy tap dances and Walt disney. Come the appeal and Tommy maybe being entertained elsewhere instead of entertaining the electorate.

Moray & gordon BNP said...

The BNP beat the Reds all over Scotland with an increase in people voting for us, the left has had its day and I for one am glad,
why no link to BNP blogs on your page? scared people might find out the truth about the real BNP?