:: Wednesday, May 19, 2004 ::

Eurovision politics contest

Get the run down on all the European Election action from the BBC here. Including analysis of Respect. The Scottish coverage is here and you can see coverage of the SSP launch via the SSP news website here. A list of all the candidates in Scotland is here.

The Daily Telegraph had a rather well judged article (which I can't find online) on the SSP's election chances focusing on the threat to the SNP as well as Labour, and the key issue of Iraq.

A YOUNG lady of impeccable middle-class demeanour emerged on to the public stage yesterday as the great hope of Scotland's socialist revolutionaries and the possible despair of Jack McConnell and John Swinney.

Felicity Garvie tops the Scottish Socialist Party list for the European election on June 10 and as such hopes to land one of the Scotland's seven seats in the Brussels parliament. There were eight seats last time, Labour winning three and the SNP and Tories two each, with the remaining one going to the Liberal Democrats. However, in last year's Scottish Parliament elections the SSP won six seats — all thanks to proportional representation, a system that could well benefit the Left-wing party again. Last year the Trotskyist-leaning party made inroads into Labour's vote in the latter's traditional heartlands in west/central Scotland, and especially in Glasgow. But, of much more significance, was the dent the SSP made in support for the SNP.

Without so much as a "by your leave", the SSP has effectively replaced the SNP as the official party of opposition to Labour in much of this area, often through the advocacy — albeit it with much more gusto — of policies usually associated with the nationalists. Thus, while Jack McConnell, the First Minister and Labour leader in Scotland, is concerned about the effect the Trots will have on his vote, it is perhaps Mr Swinney who has more to worry about. He has all but staked his leadership on a successful election campaign, aiming to better the SNP's haul of seats but, and as a bare minimum, gaining a bigger share of the popular vote than Labour. With disenchantment within Labour's ranks wide-spread, this may not seem too tall an order but the impact of the SSP on the electorate is a huge imponderable for Mr Swinney. For one thing the SNP leader is compared, usually unfairly but often by members of his own party, with Tommy Sheridan, the charismatic SSP leader. And although Ms Garvie is the main candidate, it is Mr Sheridan who will make the running during the campaign.

Whilst I'm not sure what Fizz will think about being described as a "young lady" (she has teenage sons) the article highlights the excellent chances of the SSP "Because of the PR system to be used in these elections and as a result of the expected poor turnout, the SSP will need probably only about a 10 per cent share of the vote to win a seat. It is a by no means impossible target."

Interestingly there is only one independent, whose website gets a going-over from doctorvee's blog. Also, the Socialist Labour Party is not standing in Scotland. So the SSP will not have the confusion factor caused by the SLP who cost us maybe two additional MSP's last May.

:: Alister | 12:00 pm | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |


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