Solidarity (Scotland)


Solidarity (Scotland)

Infobox Scottish Political Party
party_name = Solidarity – Scotland's Socialist Movement
party_articletitle = Scottish Socialist Party
party_
leader = Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne
foundation = 2006
ideology = Democratic socialism scottish independence
position = left-wing
international = "none"
european = "none"
europarl = "none"
uk = "none"
colours = Red, green, white
headquarters = Glasgow, G42 2DN
website = [http://www.solidarityscotland.org/ Solidarityscotland.org]

Solidarity (full name Solidarity – Scotland's Socialist Movement) is a political party in Scotland, launched on September 3, 2006 as a breakaway from the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/5297040.stm "BBC News Online" - New socialist party for Sheridan] ] in the aftermath of Tommy Sheridan's libel action. Formed by two of the Scottish Socialist Party's six MSPs, Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne, it has been backed by the Socialist Workers Party and the Committee for a Workers' International [ [http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/2006/453/index.html?id=pp2.htm "Socialist Party website" - New socialist party launched in Scotland] ] ; both former SSP platforms.

Launch

On its launch, the party described itself as being an open, democratic, bottom-up party as a response to the perceived lack of the same in the SSP, and because Sheridan claimed that due to the depth of division within the SSP between its leadership on the one hand and his supporters on the other that the SSP had "run out of breath" [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/5307316.stm "BBC News Online" - Sheridan unveils Solidarity party] ] . The launch rally held in September 2006 in Glasgow featured several speakers and attracted around 600 people [ [http://www.theherald.co.uk/politics/69352.html "The Herald" - Solidarity wins on decibel count] ] .

More than 1,000 people in total attended the ten public meetings Solidarity held in Scotland, with the largest meeting, in Dundee, attracting a crowd of 250. These public meetings attracted 600 members to the new party, of which 250 attended the founding conference on Saturday 5 November 2006. [ [http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/article.php?article_id=10098 "Socialist Worker Online" - Solidarity founding conference] ]

The conference witnessed debates on the name of the new party and its political orientation. During the conference the Socialist Workers Party argued that Solidarity had the potential to develop into a natural home for all anti-establishment protest movements (including anti-nuclear, anti-war, environmental, refugee and asylum seeker, housing, pension, anti-poverty, lesbian and gay rights campaigns as well as the growing movement against Islamophobia and reach out to minority ethnic and religious communities). The SWP whilst recognising the key role socialists could play within the new party argued that Solidarity's name should not include a reference to socialism, as this could potentially discourage people who are active in left-oriented political campaigns but who do not perceive themselves as socialists from joining. This motion was argued against by Ronnie Stevenson, Unison convenor for workers in Glasgow City Council and member of the Committee for a Workers international. After a close vote the interim title of "Solidarity - Scotland's Socialist Movement" was adopted as the name of the party. The party's draft constitution was adopted by a unanimous vote and Rosemary Byrne and Tommy Sheridan, the party's then two MSPs, were unanimously endorsed as Co-Convenors. [ [http://www.socialistworld.net/eng/2006/11/07scotland.html "Socialist World" - Solidarity conference agrees to build a socialist party] ] [ [http://www.solidarityscotland.org/content/blogsection/1/2/10/80/ "Solidarity Website" - Solidarity Conference Elects Co-Convenors, Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne 04 November 2006] ]

Electoral Performance

The party registered 9 combinations of "Solidarity" and "Tommy Sheridan" with the Electoral Commission [Sheridan's name is 'key to success' as Solidarity aims for six seats, "The Herald", January 18, 2007] [ [http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/regulatory-issues/regpoliticalparties.cfm?frmGB=1&frmPartyID=723&frmType=partydetail Electoral Commission Site] ] , as well as "Solidarity".

In their first electoral test, the party failed to win any seats in the Scottish Parliament election, 2007, although they did win more votes than the SSP and Sheridan was close to being re-elected.

The party won one council seat in Glasgow in local elections, Ruth Black [ [http://www.solidarityscotland.org/content/view/266/2/ Solidarity Emerge as Scotland's Largest Left Party] - Retrieved 26/08/07] who subsequently defected to Labour in December 2007. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/7154934.stm Solidarity councillor defection] ]

The party contested the Glasgow East by-election, 2008 with local activist Tricia McLeish as its candidate. However their vote share had dropped from the previous year, and they were narrowly out-performed by the SSP.

Controversy

In the immediate aftermath of the split, members of the SSP complained that a transfer of funds from the account of the regional SSP to Solidarity was fraudulent. [ [http://www.theherald.co.uk/politics/70230.html "The Herald" - Transfer of funds to Sheridan’s party probed] ] [ [http://www.shetland-news.co.uk/pages/news%20stories/09_2006/shetland_socialists_call_in_cops.htm "The Shetland News" - Shetland socialists call in cops] ] [ [http://www.theherald.co.uk/politics/70399.html "The Herald" - Solidarity is cleared over funds ‘smear’] ] [ [http://www.shetland-news.co.uk/pages/news%20stories/09_2006/party_fraud_probe_still_ongoing.htm "The Shetland News" - Party fraud probe still ongoing] ]

In Autumn 2006, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) [ [http://www.scottishsocialistvoice.net/back%20issues%2006/issue%20278.htm Letter from NUJ Rep published in "Scottish Socialist Voice"] ] and the Industrial Workers of the World [ [http://www.iww.org.uk/about/updates/061115-solidarity/index.html "IWW website" - Sheridan betrays his own workers] ] [ [http://www.iww.org.uk/about/updates/061123-solidarity/index.html "IWW Website" - NUJ backs dispute with Sheridan] ] alleged that Sheridan and Byrne ignored workers rights of consultation about the impending redundancy of parliamentary staff and unilaterally removed funding from the collective body which employed parliamentary staff.

In December 2007, Tommy Sheridan was charged with perjury in connection with his 2006 libel trial against News International in which he contested allegations that he had visited a swingers club and had several affairs. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7146907.stm Sheridan charged in perjury probe] ]

In February 2008, co-convenor, Rosemary Byrne, National Organiser Graeme McIver, Regional Organiser Jock Penman, former SSP executive member Pat Smith, and Sheridan's wife and father-in-law were also charged with perjury in connection with the case.

They will put forward a candidate for the Glenrothes by-election, 2008 after the death of Labour Party MP John MacDougall. cn|date=August 2008

References

External links

* [http://www.solidarityscotland.org/ Party Website]


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