Why Doesn’t the Scottish Socialist Party Join the SNP?

Submitted by cathy n on 15 May, 2011 - 10:10

The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) won just 8,722 votes (0.4% of the total votes) in the recent Holyrood elections.

A pretty poor result?

Not according to the election analyses which the SSP has now posted on its website. In fact, or so we are to meant to believe, the election outcome is a harbinger of great things to come for the SSP.

And here’s how it’s done.

Stage one: Argue that the SSP’s score is not really as bad it might appear at first sight.

Yes, the result was “disappointing”. But this was “inevitable when the fiasco of the Sheridan affair is added to the steamroller effect of the SNP surge.” The result was “dire, though not shockingly so, unless you haven’t been paying attention recently.” In fact, “it could have been worse.”

Stage two: Find something positive in the SNP’s victory, but refer to it only cryptically (and don’t admit just how many SSP members actually voted for the SNP).

It should not be overlooked, explains one analysis, that “all political sides were crushed under the SNP steamroller, but some of those forces can view the outcome with more enthusiasm than others.”

Stage three: Lapse into scenario-mongering. (Masses switch from Labour to SNP. SNP implement savage cuts. Masses lose illusions in SNP and turn to .... You can work the rest out for yourself.)

Salmond will implement the cuts, “risking huge public opposition and with it huge opportunities for the left.” On the one hand, “new expectations have been invested in the SNP to fight the cuts.” On the other hand, “The raised hopes of being sheltered from the cuts will turn to bitter strife as the reality bites.”

Stage four: Salivate at the mouth at the prospect of a referendum on independence.

The most significant feature of the SNP victory was “the prospect of a referendum becoming a reality.” A referendum is “probably the one almost-certainty in our immediate political future.” This offers “an unprecedented opportunity for the left.”

We are living in “a time of great opportunity, and history will not forgive those who either stand in its way or fail to grasp it.” The SSP needs to “look beyond our party boundaries” and build “a

movement for a progressive ‘yes’ vote (for) a progressive independent Scotland, a feminist Scotland, an environmentally just Scotland, a Scottish republic.”

Stage five: Define the left in such a way as to exclude large layers of the left.

There can be no question of working with “the groupuscles of the nasty left – neither those who remain subject to the rule of London-based bureaux, nor those who have carped from ideologically pure clusters of two or three since the SSP was founded.”

Stage six: Denounce those who do not share the SSP’s enthusiasm for Scottish independence in particularly colourful terms.

The “backers of the imperialist British state” include “hopelessly muddled ‘internationalists’ on the British left” who will side with “policies of plunder, war and cuts” in order to keep Scotland in “Europe’s most belligerent junior partner in the US drive for global dominance and plunder ... the bloodstained British slash-and-burn state.”

(Pass me my sgian dbhu! Put the Corries on and turn up “A’ The Blue Bonnets” full volume!!)

Stage seven: Confuse being bag-carriers for the SNP with fighting for socialist class-struggle politics:

“The SNP is incapable of delivering a majority for independence on its own, and to be fair it has acknowledged this frequently in the Independence Convention, which the SSP joined. It remains our job on the left to outline the alternative vision for independence. ... The SSP are better able to persuade progressive Scotland of the case for independence.”

Stage eight: Given that a referendum will probably not be held until around 2014 (700th anniversary on Bannockburn – the SNP’s ‘civic nationalism’ has not entirely eclipsed their atavistic tendencies), finding something else to boost morale in the short -term:

“The electoral plain is but one of many in politics and the 2012 Council elections offer an opportunity for a breakthrough.”

Stripped down to its bare essentials, the SSP advocates an anti-cuts fight under the slogan “Stand Up for Scotland!”, wants to build what the Communist Party used to call “a broad democratic alliance” for Scottish independence, and promises to deliver the plebeian vote for independence.

If it was logical about fighting for those policies, the SSP would dissolve itself as a party and re-constitute itself as a left-nationalist current in the SNP.