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Friday, 4 March 2016

Where now for the SSP?

If you had have asked me 'where does the left in Scotland have to go now,' just over a year ago, I would have given a very clear answer. It had to go where it had gone for the previous two years, with the left folk who had joined the SNP during the referendum and be their critical friend.

This tactic worked well for the SSP during the independence referendum- building it and as we were inside the Yes family (unlike any of the "pressure groups" and celeb lefties), our critical friendship had _legitimacy_ with those supporters of independence who wanted to place their second vote with a party who would ensure the SNP had some left pressure in Parliament (maybe). In my opinion, a newly invigorated party- one that at last had, in the eyes of a large chunk of the electorate  left the Sheridan debacle far behind, and one that had over the years again laid roots down in communities (especially outside the Glasgow bubble), there was definitely a place for left pro independence people to give a second, third or fourth vote in targeted Wards in next years Council Elections. Although the SSP had announced its place inside the Rise sinking ship pre-October, polls had them on 3% in Mays election -before  any campaign had started. That has of course, dissipated and gone to second vote to SNP or Greens.

Instead, Some lefties outside the Yes "family" - and in actual fact outside the Yes campaign for most of the preceding 2 1/2 years we had been campaigning- were given a credibility they had not earned. Those who pressurised Colin Fox to push the SSP into a damaging "alliance" with people who had little support outside the very strange dynamic of RIC (and other very tacit supporters of Yes who did not as I say, get very involved in the independence campaign). The new respect the SSP had gained in local Yes Scotland groups,  was dismissed for the support of the much smaller and loosely formed RIC. A case of "let's just talk to those like us."

There were huge errors in judgement in the past year across the "principled left." As I have said, the left, the SSP etc really have to give serious analysis of 1 what they have sacrificed in the past year and 2 what the relationships with certain "personalities" and "pundits" should be post May.

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