It has been on my mind for some time now as we progress closer towards the Scottish elections the first conference we had where I was very fortunate to speak to the party and was warmly welcomed into the party and excited by what we could achieve With 3000 new applications for membership, a motivated growing group of activists meant the SSP were placed to be the party of those who needed a real voice, to help communities that needed support.An opportunity to be a force in Scottish Politics.
It is just over 15 months later and things have not went according to plan. 2015 has been all about a divisive decision to join an electoral left alliance with RISE. Rather than address the weaknesses we have as a party over that time to prepare for 2016 we have instead chosen an alliance which is far weaker and with far greater detrimental capabilities than the SSP. At the time of conference as you know I was against the idea. I felt it was not the right road for the party nor for ensuring our continued work in the communities to be maintained. Nonetheless the democratic will of those who attended the National Council ensured that the SSP would be involved. Within the EC meeting before that vote I was the first to say that the leadership should be united and so accepting our decision I supported the motion despite my personal misgivings.
Since then I have supported the decision as much as possible and persuaded many members not to leave the party because of this. I had hoped during this time that while opinions differed there would not be a fractured relationship amongst comrades on real issues which we should be addressing. What has followed has not been the case. Debates on real issues have been cast aside to be replaced by personal attacks. This is not solely a RISE issue, rather one which invades our own party.
What I have seen during these debates and discussions which mainly fall on social media, only because it gives those lacking in confidence in real debate a forum to offend. The issues are there, I have been saddened and at times sickened to see members of the same party be labelled all things to all people. Scab, misogynist, sexist, racist. These words just roll off the tongue of members of our party who with respect, have little knowledge of the implications and meanings of these words. Unfortunately this also includes a small number of members of our Executive Committee. This is the brave new world of left wing politics?
The more I have sat and watched the infestation of RISE and the response by members who support this alliance, (who unfortunately due to the raft of resignations from the party are becoming a much larger group within what is left of the party). The more difficult it is to maintain any kind of support for the decisions we have made as a party. Furthermore it is clear that with ill thought out policies like maximum income, this alliances version of equality is a race to the bottom not working class aspiration as I believe we should strive for.
I believe that members of the Executive Committee should stand by the decisions of the party regardless of how wrong they believe it to be. As I can no longer with good conscience maintain this stance, I believe it is only right that I resign my position as a member of the Executive Committee. This decision has not been taken lightly in fact it is with a heavy heart. I was immensely proud to have been selected by members for this position and I feel I have tried to follow through my duties with the best of my abilities.
It is also important to say that I had seriously considered leaving the party entirely but for my strong belief in what this party can achieve should it become organised, modernised and grounded in the communities that badly need our party to be a voice for them. I do not believe RISE is capable of doing this, nor do I believe the SSP will survive long should we continue to stay aligned with the group after May. It is therefore my intent to campaign for the party to remove itself from this alliance after this election and would see no place for myself in the group should we opt to remain.
On a final note I would like to thank you and fellow members of the executive for your professionalism and comradeship. It has been a pleasure to serve in the EC and perhaps will have the honour again in the future.