‘Put socialism back at the forefront of political life’by Allan Grogan For the last two and a half years I have campaigned within Labour for Independence to win a Yes vote at the referendum. Not only did I feel that this was an incredible opportunity for Scotland and it’s people but also it provided a real chance to return the Labour Party to it’s founding principles. Back to becoming a real Labour Party again. Throughout the campaign, debating with the likes of Margaret Curran, Lynsey Roy and Anas Sarwar has made me realise that a Yes vote was the last chance to save the soul of the Labour Party. Unfortunately the referendum result did not go our way; and after much soul searching I realised I could no longer be a member of the British Labour Party.
The final straw for me personally was seeing the Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont outside Asda, smiling for a picture because they had announced raised prices in an independent Scotland. What a vile act for someone claiming to be Labour, let alone the leader of the party. Regardless of her voting preference the fact she should take enjoyment out of rising prices that will effect the poorest and the working class the hardest is unconscionable.
I am incredibly proud to have been the co-convenor of Labour for Independence throughout this campaign and look forward to continuing within the group as it becomes a campaign and political education-based organisation.
Personally I feel that there is a void that needs to be filled by a major political party in Scotland. The position is the real Labour values or to put it another way… socialism. At the post referendum LFI planning meeting I made my opinion clear that due to dramatic influx of members into other Yes parties that while there is a prospectus of huge Real Labour/Socialist vote in Scotland. It would have to come from one of the existing Parties.
Throughout this referendum I have been especially impressed with the hard work, commitment and cross party work of members of the Scottish Socialist Party. It was a great pleasure to have worked with them throughout this referendum. As most people are aware the party have had issues which has held them back in the past but thanks to the terrific leadership of Colin Fox and Sandra Webster they have helped to bring socialism back to the political debate in Scotland.
I was pleased to hear that the party’s membership has risen rapidly since the referendum. It is clear that they are the only party which reflect the traditional or real Labour sentiments which so many in the Labour Party still cling to… Put it another way, they are the only political party that represents socialism and the inherent values which was the basis for creation of the Scottish Labour Party in 1888.
It is for this reason that I have decided to join the Scottish Socialist Party. I do so as I believe they reflect the real socialist values that I have campaigned on during the referendum and throughout my life as a Labour Party member.
I am aware that the SSP is currently considered a minority party in Scotland, however I am confident after speaking with many within the party that there is real determination to create something much bigger. I am delighted to add my name to this and work hard to ensure the SSP becomes a major player in Scottish politics.
John Smith once said that to succeed in politics you have to be prepared to take a risk. It is time for the Scottish Socialist Party to step out from the comfort zone of the political fringes, to begin to campaign for the 40 per cent of Real Labour socialists who are lost and without a home, to step into the political mainstream bringing forth our values and ideas, showing the Labour movement that the SSP is the home you have been looking for.
The referendum debate created a more involved, more democratic people, the opportunity for serious, sensible socialism is at hand. I am fully confident that with the leadership of Colin Fox and Sandra Webster we can further professionalise our operations, create a political thunderstorm and put socialism back at the forefront of political life in Scotland. I am committed to doing all I can to further our cause both at local and national level.
While disappointment prevails after the referendum, there is much to be hopeful about. After 18 September we were plunged into darkness but we should not fear. Darkness is just the other side of light it’s what comes before dreams. Our day in the sun is yet to come comrades, we will have an independent socialist republic in Scotland and the SSP will continue to play a major role in that.
I look forward to working with you all to achieve a better way.