Monday, March 05, 2007
Boosts for SSP
Scottish Socialists gained two boosts recently.
Firstly, the Scottish executive announced that all parents on Working Tax Credit would receive free school meals for their children, this is a tremendous gain for low income families.
This action was clearly the result of the exemplary campaign led by the SSP to give free nutritious school meals to all Scottish children. Not content with merely presenting a parliamentary bill, they assembled an impressive coalition of supporters for the initiative, including trade unions, health professionals, child poverty campaigns and single parent groups. They presented a reasoned case, for example comparing the experience of Finland which used to have a health record as bad as Scotland’s , and which has turned it around with free nutritious school meals. The SSP also took to the streets with petitions, information stalls and posters to publicise the campaign. A national consultation received one of the highest responses ever for a Scottish parliamentary bill, with over 500 submissions, 97% on favour. It is this pressure which has forced the executive to act, although scandalously the bill istelf was blocked by a parliamantary committee of the main parties.
The original version of this post reported that the the Communist Party is recommending people vote for either the SNP or SSP in May’s Hollyrood elections, in the hope of achieving a pro-Independence majority. (The d’Hondt system of proportional representation used in Scotland is a gift for armchair strategists of tactical voting as you have two votes, and a vote for the SNP in the first past the post contest and the SSP in the top up list is a defensible option).
However it seems that even as world weary an observer of the left as I can be bewilderd by the number of differnt organisations, and it was not the CPB Scottish region, but the rather less significant Communist Party of Scotland who have recommended the vote for the SSP. Oh well.
The CPB SCottish region is - I beleive - one of the firmest parts of the CP in supporting a vote Labour line, but really should reconsider that situation given the support of labour for the Union with Westminster, and the prospect of rebuilding left politics around the inclusive traditions of the SSP