This Saturday, RISE, Scotland’s Left Alliance launched their first democracy conference. Within the last 7 months, as a member of the Scottish Socialist Party and their Executive Committee, my agenda has been predominantly consumed by this electoral alliance. While as an individual I have been against this, I fully respect and intend to honour the democratic decision made by our party to be a part of this alliance and try to ensure a socialist voice in Holyrood following the Parliamentary elections in May 2016.
Personally, however I cannot put my name towards this alliance as it is not something which I believe is in the best interests of the Scottish Socialist Party or the people of Scotland as a whole. When I joined the SSP after the referendum I fully believed that we could move from the periphery of the Scottish political landscape and appeal to the 60% of Scots who have socialist values but do not recognise it in name, than the 6% of the wider left we were attempting to court. This belief has not changed, although the task has become somewhat greater with the creation of RISE.
I still passionately believe that the SSP has a huge role to play in Scottish politics, that with a coherent message we could become the pivotal bloc which ensures Scottish politics remains on the terms of fairness, equality and social justice.
This is why it pains me to say that our alliance with RISE will further push us to the extremes of the political debate, that we will continue to appeal to the 6% than the 60% as long as we are a part of this alliance. I would also suggest that our values of democracy, of which coming from the Labour Party greatly appealed to me, have taken a hit in the creation and forced nature in which our voting process on this took place.
I have been asked by many friends and colleagues as to whether I will put my name forward for the RISE candidacy within the North East. Rest assured, had this been a nomination to represent the Scottish Socialist Party I would have gladly thrown my hat into the ring. However I cannot consciously stand for a political group in which I do not believe in nor feel represents my views and the great majority of the constituents which I would seek to serve.
It is in light of this that I will not be seeking the candidacy for selection for the RISE alliance in the North East of Scotland.