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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‘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. Greece has total debts of 330bn Euro’s. Yet their refusal to pay marks a watershed in Greece’s relationship with its creditors.

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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.

The Greek economy simply cannot afford the loss.

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PODCAST: Colin Fox on Apolitical’s weekly programme

Our national co-spokesperson, Colin Fox dropped in for a chat in the Apolitical studios – they publish a weekly Scottish politics podcast featuring interviews with people from across the political spectrum. Covering a wide array of political topics, both current and past: post-referendum activism, the emergence of the Scottish Left Project, and the fortunes of the Scottish Socialist Party post-2003, it’s a good and entertaining interview.

Their series of other political podcasts can be found on their website. Enjoy!

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