Holyrood turns 18: Socialist MSPs make a profound difference

by Colin Fox

The Scottish Parliament is 18 years old today. And what promise it had. Some of it squandered, and some made clear gains for working class people. The Scottish Socialist Party can speak from experience as Scotland’s most electorally successful left wing organisation. We had MSPs representing working class Scots in the Parliament for eight years. In the elections of 2003 we received more than 130,000 votes and won six seats.

Our experience is richly rewarding for those studying socialist politics in Scotland, for we achieved many remarkable successes and struck a strong balance between the work we did inside and outside Parliament.

The SSP used the credibility our elected representatives enjoyed and used the platform Parliament afforded us to champion socialist ideas internationally.

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Indyref2 strategy was based on “Wrong Issue, Wrong Time”

Responding to the First Minister’s statement today, retreating from her previous timetable for indyref2, Scottish Socialist Party joint national spokesperson Colin Fox said:

“Behind the First Minister’s much-anticipated climbdown over indyref2 is an acceptance of the Scottish Socialist Party’s warning that the strategy she announced on March 13th was a serious error of judgement.

“We warned then that reducing independence to a tactic in the Brexit negotiations was a very serious mistake. She has been forced into this retreat today because she chose to go for a second referendum when we were behind in the polls and over Scotland’s EU membership.

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Colin Fox: closing speech to the RISE Conference

Comrades, RISE is the most important left unity project Scotland has seen in a generation.

Last weekend we reached another milestone in RISE’s development when we conducted simultaneous interventions into the Climate Change march in Edinburgh & the STUC Anti-Racism celebrations in Glasgow. Whilst the weather was foul the fact RISE was actively involved in both mass movements augurs well for the future and will not have been lost on our ‘dreich’ political opponents. This is the shape of things to come for Scotland’s Left Alliance.

The progress we have made should be a source of encouragement to us all. The programme we have agreed today represents the biggest challenge there is to neo-liberalism, warmongers, climate change deniers and unscrupulous employers everywhere.

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The last remaining Scottish steel plants in Motherwell and Cambuslang threatened with closure by Tata should be taken into public ownership to protect jobs, communities and Scotland’s industrial base – SSP national spokesman Colin Fox said today.

Fox who was brought up in Motherwell and whose family worked in the steel industry for decades said:

“Scotland cannot afford to lose its last steel making plants. Hundreds of skilled jobs and dozens of communities depend on them. The social costs of closure would be huge. Governments in London and in Scotland must act and if necessary take these vital facilities into public ownership.”

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The G8 Gleneagles Summit: 10 years on

The eyes of the world were on Scotland. Over 225,000 protesters came to Edinburgh to promote the ‘Make Poverty History’ (MPH) campaign’s demands. Organised by the various churches, aid charities and NGO’s it aimed to put pressure on Gordon Brown and the G8 Finance Ministers to write off billions of uncollectable Third World debt. On the same day, the Live 8 concerts took place before the G8 summit to encourage activism and debate within the G8 member countries, with the aim of increasing political pressure on the leaders.

With hindsight, the SSP’s national co-spokesperson, Colin Fox, is critical of the tactics and expected outcome.

“The ‘MPH’ organisers were of course very naive about the politics involved and incredibly weak in their moralistic demands. 

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‘Better to break the rules than break the poor’ 

The Scottish Socialist Party today declared its solidarity and support for the Syriza Government in Greece ahead of Sunday’s referendum and called on the SNP to do likewise.

colin_foxSSP spokesman Colin Fox told us ‘Greece’s ongoing battle against crippling indebtedness and imposed neo-liberal austerity reaches a crossroads today. And the Greek people need the support of working people everywhere as never before.

For the first time a payment due to the ‘Troika’ [IMF/ECB/EU] today has not been made. The Syriza Government faced a clear choice and has rightly chosen to defy the moneymen rather than heap further misery on the impoverished Greek people.

The 1.6bn Euro debt to the International Monetary Fund due is a minor detail.

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Alexis Tsipras’s Groundhog Day

colin_foxby Colin Fox

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Government for 5 months faces the same dilemma over and over and over.

Greece owes 330bn Euro’s to the IMF/ECB/EU and has no way of paying it back. For the umpteenth time he stood on the precipice again this week, looked over and backed down. If anything his situation only gets worse. The Greek economy has shrunk 25% in the last 5 years, it is currently in recession again and shows no sign of recovery. Yet next week Tsipras has to pay the International Monetary Fund [IMF] 1.6bn Euros. If he cannot do so he loses the 7bn Euros promised to Greece under the terms of previous loans.

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Westminster’s Trojan horse sent north

SSP is proud to announce its new websiteby Colin Fox, SSP national co-spokesperson

Full Fiscal Autonomy and the Scotland Bill

I met the eminent economists Jim and Margaret Cuthbert of Stirling University this week to discuss the details of the Tories plans for so called ‘Full Fiscal Autonomy’ and the new Scotland Bill. We both heralded the earlier than usual arrival of the ‘silly season’ at Westminster.

The columnist David Torrance writing in The Scotsman this week probably put the issues best when comparing Full Fiscal Autonomy [FFA] to the famously inscrutable Schleswig-Holstein Question that vexed 19th century Germany and Denmark. FFA he said sees the “SNP ask for things they don’t really want, the UK Government make sure they don’t get it by insisting ‘it’s bad for Scotland’,

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