This past Saturday our nation’s capital played host to the Scottish Socialist Party Conference. There was one issue in particular which was eagerly anticipated, that being the discussions regarding the SSP’s potential involvement in the Scottish Left Project. I have made no bones about my position in this regard. I believed, and still do that an electoral alliance in 2016 will not be effective and that time negotiating and building a left project will deplete the time spent on rebuilding the SSP. At conference, members took the decision to support the Executive motion to enter into negotiations with the SLP and while I am disappointed in the result, I fully support the democratic will of the membership and look to move forward and continue to do all I can to progress our party and the principles we hold so dear.
We as a party have grown steadily since the referendum and we look to continue to do so. Having built up 30 branches and have activists in local communities across the country, it is clear that the SSP is very capable of becoming a major force in Scottish politics. I am particularly excited in playing my role with a great many others in writing a new chapter for the party and wider social movement. Despite the conference vote regarding the Left project this does not change.
What is worth remembering is that all that has been agreed is to negotiate, nothing more has been decided at this stage. I place full trust in the Executive Committee, of which I am very proud to have been elected to, to ensure that the values and integrity for which this party stands will not disappear, nor will the very existence of the party be lost. The Scottish Socialist Party will continue to play an important role within working class communities and we will continue to increase our local and national activism which was evident in the very recent demonstrations which defied Tory dictatorship here in Scotland.
Looking forward to the year ahead until the Scottish Elections, I am very excited to work with such a talented and committed Executive Committee. There is so much talent, drive and ideas within this leadership team that we can only continue to progress as a party. More so than that, within the last 8 months I have been fortunate to get to know comrades throughout Scotland, whose ideas and commitment to the cause are exemplary. One of the ways I most look forward to contributing is to provide an avenue for members to put their views and ideas to the Executive,it is these activists who have the truest sense of what is happening in communities across the country and we must find a way to ensure their voice is heard more frequently.
Make no mistake, we as a party are aware of the long, hard work we have ahead of us. We must regain our positions within communities, ensuring we are a place of respite and protection, a party which fights for the rights of those we wish to represent. We must ensure that we not only oppose those who wish to destroy the fabrics of our society, but that we also project an alternative vision for people to support.
We know that to become a political force in Scottish politics is no easy feat. Yet with a Conservative Government determined to destroy all safety nets and protections and instil further austerity and cuts and with a Labour Party no longer reflective of the people they were created to represent and an unopposed SNP Government in Scotland means that our task is more important than ever.
The Chinese Philosopher Laozi said that A journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step. Now more than ever that step must be taken. Join the SSP and make that journey with us.
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