Thursday September 07 2006

A tale of two rallies

Last weekend saw the SSP and Tommy Sheridan's Solidarity grouping organising rival rallies to formally signal the completion of the split. Nick Rogers reports from Glasgow

Both the Scottish Socialist Party and Solidarity - Scotland's Socialist Movement had chosen the same room in the Victorian-era Central Hotel - the SSP on Saturday September 2; Solidarity (which includes the Socialist Workers Party and the Committee for a Workers' International) on Sunday September 3. Since the Solidarity launch rally was announced first, it would appear that the SSP was attempting to steal a march on its rival.

If the SSP was hoping to overshadow Tommy Sheridan's new venture, however, the plan backfired in so far as a direct comparison was possible between the size of the two rallies. Solidarity's was clearly larger - almost twice as big. But comparing the two mobilisations this weekend may not be a pointer to future success. What is clear is that the forces of socialism in Scotland face a fierce - and destructive - struggle for supremacy over the months leading up to Scottish parliamentary and council elections in May 2007.

'Worst behind us'

The SSP's rally - with something over 350 present - started on Saturday with a montage of Scottish heroes of the past and campaigners and activists of today. Some of the SSP's crop of MSPs featured in this, but Tommy Sheridan was notable by his absence.

Morag Balfour chaired the first half of the rally. With her first comment she noted the absence of the SSP's best-known figure: as national co-chair she declared herself as feeling "a bit more lonely" - Tommy Sheridan had been elected as the other co-chair. The first of a couple of heckles to interrupt the evening rang out: "If it wasn't for Tommy, you wouldn't be there!"

Richie Venton was the first speaker. He spoke in his capacity as SSP national trade union organiser rather than that of Glasgow regional organiser. Rejecting the charges levelled at the SSP's leadership by Tommy Sheridan and his supporters during the bitter faction fight of the last months, he announced he was not a liar, not a perjurer, not a conspirator, not a faction fighter, not a Nazi collaborator. Neither was he an actor who thinks he is a politician, or a politician who thinks he is an actor. He was a socialist.

Richie went on to describe his political evolution towards socialism during a childhood and adolescence in Ireland, continuing with the statistics of poverty in Scotland. To combat the ills he had described required the unity of socialists. Tommy Sheridan and his "new-born detractors and deserters" had no justification in forming a new socialist party.

Richie took issue with the new organisation's name: Solidarity. He listed the trade union and workers' struggles in which the SSP had played a role. The Liverpool dockers' strike, when the comrades had apparently earned praise as the "best support group in Europe". Back then, though, it was Scottish Militant Labour doing the business. The 1996 Glaziers occupation, when Richie Venton had been coopted onto the organisation committee. That was the Scottish Socialist Alliance. To more recent struggles when the SSP had undoubtedly made a significant contribution: the firefighters, nursery nurses, RMT and so on. Whether newly recruited civil servants will look so kindly on the deal negotiated by the CWI and SSP comrades on the PCS exec to resolve the civil servants' pensions issue is open to question. Richie Venton's message was that the SSP would take no lessons in solidarity from the organisation that had adopted that name.

The party had "sweated and toiled" to get their former convenor elected. They had been repaid with the "mother of all inventions" - referring to Sheridan's conspiracy allegations. Sheridan had taken £30,000 from the Daily Record and been put up in a hotel, declaring in the newspaper's pages that it was "Me or oblivion" for the SSP. But SSP members had minds of their own. It was "sad and disgraceful" that Sheridan had chosen to trash the SSP. There was "no time for self before socialism", which was a collective endeavour or it was not socialism. "Breaking the unity of the most successful united socialist party" was not "a new dawn".

According to Richie, the vast majority of the party's activists were staying with the SSP. The new formation was faced with two choices. Either it would steal the SSP's manifesto and seek to fight with the same policies. Or it would water down those policies "to suit its biggest faction" and transform itself into a Respect-like organisation. But then by refusing to accept the principle of a worker's wage what 'respect' had Galloway shown?

The SSP and its members had been through the "toughest, most horrible time in the last few months". They had been "hammered" by these events, but a "hammer tempers steel". Venton concluded by promising that "the future is ours if we seize it!"

Joanne Kelly spoke on behalf of Scottish Socialist Youth, which is one of the SSP's genuine success stories of the last few years. The large number of young people at the party's national conferences is noticeable. According to Joanne, the SSY has continued to grow even while crisis has engulfed the parent body.

She saw the split as an opportunity to start afresh. She admitted that there has been a loss of energy and enthusiasm within the party, as it focused on internal dissension rather than the campaigning "which we prefer". She insisted that the party should learn from past mistakes, without really elaborating on what these were, but suggested that the "new participative educational methods" that the SSY was pioneering should be spread throughout the party. A reference that turned out to be something of a mantra in the course of the evening.

Joanne outlined the recent formation of the SSY's women's group. As far as the SSY was concerned, feminism was "non-negotiable". Women's liberation should be central to the party's work.

A 'Fuck Abstinence' campaign was on the verge of being launched as a response to moralistic sex education in schools that "lets down working class women". SSY packs containing a leaflet explaining reproductive rights and a condom are to be distributed among young people. This campaign follows in the SSY's tradition of taking up cultural/social issues, as well as the left's traditional economic campaigning. The SSY previously took the lead in the SSP's campaign to decriminalise drugs.

Joanne discussed the SSY's summer camp, Camp Squirrel, where everyone was encouraged to speak using the earlier mentioned (but still to be described) participative techniques. A discussion about the future of the SSP apparently revealed much enthusiasm among the SSP's young people. However, Joanne did not mention an incident in which Tommy Sheridan's photograph was burned on the campfire - reaching the proportions of a 'wicker man' moment in the Scottish media.

Carolyn Leckie, MSP for Central Scotland, opened by observing that she had nowhere to park her broomstick - a reference to Tommy Sheridan's attack on the "witches" in the party in the weeks after his resignation in 2004. The last few months had been "politically and emotionally traumatic" and, like other speakers, Carolyn promised to "learn a lot for the future".

Indeed she had been reflecting on the pluralistic, participative party she had joined, opposed to racism and sexism and committed to challenging members who displayed these attitudes. But an enormous, selfish ego had taken the SSP to "the brink of disaster". The party's "biggest asset" had turned into its "biggest disaster".

Tommy Sheridan had participated in sexual activity where a profit was made, he had lied, he had cast women as gold-diggers and mentally ill, he had cross-examined women with whom he had had sexual relations about their sexual history and then accused them of lying. This behaviour was not socialism.

Tommy Sheridan had been given succour in his own party by the SWP and CWI. Carolyn pointed to the supposed hypocrisy of the CWI in leading the call to stand aside for John McAllion in Dundee when McAllion was in the Labour Party, but now that he was in the SSP proposing to stand against him in next year's elections.

Tommy Sheridan might accuse women in the party of opposing him - sexism and misogyny had sought out targets, such as Carolyn Leckie - but it had been two courageous men who had stood up to Tommy Sheridan. Carolyn is referring here to Alan McCombes and Keith Baldassara, who rejected Tommy Sheridan's private appeals for support in his libel action even before it came to the November 9 2004 executive meeting.

For the future the SSP must be built on solid foundations that can withstand egotistical individuals. The party has an open and democratic constitution, but methods and culture got in the way. The structures would have to be examined again. Everyone should be valued for their life experience. No one should be made to feel guilty or stupid. Men should examine their actions and be aware of their impact on those around them. The SSP must be a party of equals where no-one is more equal than others.

Carolyn expressed the view that the fight for women's rights in society generally had been set back 30 years. There should be a fight in which the SSP should participate to recover the consciousness of former years. Carolyn concluded by expressing admiration, love and respect for those who have stood in the firing line.

John McAllion, former Labour MP and the SSP candidate for next year's Scottish parliamentary election in the North East region, had phoned SSP headquarters just a few days before the rally to assure the party that he was sticking with them and offering to speak. John McAllion, quoting Tony Benn, said that there were "too many socialist parties and not enough socialists".

The great tragedy of the left was its splits and divisions. Socialists talked the language of "solidarity, unity and a broad-based party of workers", but it was a language that hid a very different reality. John quoted a number of examples from the history of Scottish socialism, including John Maclean's dismissal of Willie Gallagher as a "communist clown" - bravely engaging in something less than hagiography when it comes to the SSP's iconic hero of yesteryear.

Divisions served no other purpose than to help the enemies of socialism and "let down the people we represent". This was a criminal dereliction of duty now that the British electoral system was finally off our (Scottish) backs, with next year's parliamentary and council elections to be fought under proportional representation.

The SSP was not the kind of party that was dependent on one person. Socialists must teach workers to be confident in themselves. As Eugene Debbs, the American socialist, had said, "I won't lead you to the promised land, because someone else would lead you out."

Colin Fox, the SSP's current convenor, brought the rally to a close. He asserted that it was a day of celebration: a celebration of what the SSP stood for, what it had achieved and that it had survived a grotesque and brutal experience. The SSP would "not allow anyone to destroy what so many had built".

Colin observed that a year and a half ago, when he was first elected convenor, he had optimistically declared that the party's "best days were ahead of us". He had been wrong: "The worst days had been ahead." But now the worst was behind and "the nightmare is over". Tommy Sheridan had won his court case, but he would never defeat the SSP. The project of one united socialist party went on because to divide on the basis of "the same political programme" was "grotesque".

Colin was proud of his party. The SSP had done the right thing in court in defending the party's decision of two years before. Tommy Sheridan had decided not to stand against Colin for convenor because he knew he would be defeated and had "took off in a huff and set up another party".

The SSP's tasks in the period ahead were to provide a clear explanation of the nature of the world and a programme of action ("unity in action on the campaigns that unite us"). South of the border there are "too many socialist parties, punching below their weight". Scottish socialist must avoid the same fate.

Then Colin made the day's only contribution on the SSP's pro-independence policy (although Carolyn Leckie did observe in her speech that the statement from the Workers' Unity platform seemed to blame the problems of the SSP on nationalism - Carolyn was pleased that Workers' Unity figures such as Sandy McBurney were at the rally and she looked forward to discussing Sandy's perspective with him "in the pub").

In Colin Fox's view, the rise of David Cameron - making possible the election of a Tory government (when the Tories struggle to survive in Scotland) - would return the national question and independence to the top of the political agenda. The SNP were "chancers" - one moment manoeuvring to the left of Labour, the next to the right. They saw the SSP as the prime political threat. In the last Scottish parliamentary elections, for every vote the SSP took from Labour, it took two from the SNP.

Independence was the most important political issue the SSP faced. The party was 100% committed to the Independence Convention. It would mobilise in working class communities, selling the idea that independence was in the material interests of the working class - offering better health, better housing, better education. Independence would lead to a "different type of Scotland".

Colin urged support for the September 23 anti-war lobby of the Labour Party conference in Manchester - the SWP's current focus for their mobilisation efforts - before the rally closed with the singing of the Internationale.

Impossible dream

Sunday's Solidarity rally had a larger audience - 500 to 600, according to Tommy Sheridan - and a longer list of speakers (who generally gave shorter speeches than at the previous day's rally). Slides of demonstrations and campaigns were projected behind the speakers throughout the afternoon. At this rally, by contrast with the day before, images of Tommy Sheridan were plentiful.

Rosemary Byrne, MSP for the south of Scotland, and the only other member of the SSP's parliamentary group to join Tommy Sheridan in splitting from the SSP, chaired the rally and opened proceedings. She promised an inclusive, open and democratic organisation: a party built "from the grass-roots up".

Steve Arnott, regional organiser for the Highlands and Islands (and formerly of the International Socialist Movement) who has taken his region en masse into the new formation, was the first designated speaker of the afternoon. He claimed that there were more people at the rally than at the last full SSP party conference - not necessarily a valid comparison, given that conference is delegate-based - and sent a "message of hope to every corner of Scotland". He predicted between 1,000 and 1,200 members within a month.

Solidarity would not be "backward looking" or "name-calling". Nor was it about prominent individuals - it was about "the working class of Scotland". Responding to Colin Fox's prediction that there was no room for two socialist parties in Scotland, Steve predicted that come May 2007 Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne would be returned in their respective regions and Solidarity candidates would be elected to council seats all over Scotland.

He argued that those who backed Solidarity were demonstrating the principle of integrity ('integrity' being part of the motto of the SSP rally, of course). They had upheld the decision of the tempestuous national council meeting of May 28 to give 100% backing to Tommy Sheridan's libel action (overturning in the process the decisions of previous national councils and executives). It had been an honour to testify for Tommy Sheridan against the "scab Murdoch press". There was only "one socialist truth" - to stand on the side of a socialist against the enemies of socialism.

Janice Godrich, president of the PCS union and a member of the CWI, was up next. Like Steve Arnott she expressed "excitement" and "enthusiasm" - the SWP's fever pitch of delight must be infectious. She spoke about the campaigns of the PCS to defend low-paid, often women workers and against the privatisation of services.

The "preoccupations" of the SSP meant that it could "no longer play a role". She and her colleagues in the PCS (mainly fellow CWI members in Scotland) had no hesitation in joining Solidarity and she appealed to other trade unionists, including those still in the SSP, to join.

Billy Coates of the FBU in Paisley asked, if Solidarity could achieve such a splendid turnout after two weeks, what could they do in two months or two years? He referred to the "Scottish Solidarity Party" - might Solidarity, in addition to members and policies, attempt to steal the SSP's initials?

Trish McLeish, who had been third on the SSP's list in Glasgow in 2003, spoke primarily about the sell-offs of the Labour city council and the travails of Glasgow's council housing stock since its transfer out of council control. Trish had been born and had lived all her life in Shettleston - the constituency with the worst health statistics in Britain.

Trish had been a socialist for over 20 years and did not want to fight other socialists. The only way she could remain active was to join Solidarity to fight for "an independent socialist Scotland" (and the only mention of that talismanic slogan this observer noted over the whole weekend).

Trish McLeish is one of the few activists in Glasgow who is not a member of the SWP, the CWI or the Sheridan family to sign up for Solidarity - and certainly the most prominent. Like the CWI, she voted against the admittance of the SWP into the SSP back in 2001 (members voted on the proposal at regional meetings across Scotland). In 2002 she was backed by the ISM in order to block a member of the SWP taking the third slot on the Glasgow list for the 2003 Scottish parliamentary elections.

Jim Walls, TGWU convenor for the open cast mining industry (representing 3,500 miners), explained that he could not come to terms with socialists taking the witness stand against Tommy Sheridan. For him, there were "no shades of grey" when it came to standing up to Murdoch. He applauded "everyone who stood true and firm". Solidarity was "a movement built to last".

He concluded by pulling out of his pocket 100 application forms to join Solidarity from his members. Down from the 500 or so he had promised the SSP when he joined it earlier this year. And down even from the 300 he was offering Tommy Sheridan a few weeks ago. Nevertheless potentially a significant straw in the wind.

Osama Saeed of the Muslim Association of Britain came to the rostrum to add the "experience of his brothers and sisters in England in working with socialists". In England in the anti-war movement and in Respect the left had stuck by muslims through "thick and thin". This was a "central lesson" that could be applied to Scotland.

Angela McCormick, billed as speaking for the Stop the War Coalition and as the SSP's former candidate in Milton, failed to mention she was also a member of the SWP. It was noticeable that while none of the SWP speakers owned up to their affiliation, every single CWI speaker did.

Angela discussed recent anti-war activity and significantly called for a "no borders policy". Or was that only for refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan?

Angela declared that the doors of Solidarity were open and that the organisation would provide a home for all. She urged "old friends and new friends" to travel with her to Manchester. SWP members were furiously selling bus tickets for the lobby of Labour Party conference. There might be some lively discussions on those buses if some of Angela's "ex-friends" were to take up her invite.

Rose Gentle, who lost her son in Iraq, spoke at both meetings on behalf of Military Families Against the War. She emphasised that she did not see it as her business to support either group and that, anyway, her organisation intended to stand in coming elections in its own right. Rose Gentle's quandary highlighted the difficulties that the SSP split is going to cause in campaigns and trade union branches across Scotland.

Gary Fraser, a former SSP activist from East Lothian, admitted that he had shed tears over his decision to leave the SSP. But rather than stay in the SSP and fight the United Left majority faction, he preferred to fight new Labour at Westminster and Holyrood - the afternoon's standard rationale for splitting the SSP.

Sinead Daly, the CWI's former representative on the SSP executive, spoke about poverty and privatisation, and the need to link these issues up to socialism and "the nationalisation of the banks and top monopolies" - no mention at all of any democratic issues. She attacked the SNP's vision of an independent Scotland rivalling the Irish Celtic tiger.

Gill Hubbard of the SWP, but, for the purposes of the rally, from "G8 Alternatives" (a one-off school organised over a year ago), took up the question of the relation between leaders and movements or parties. Echoing Chris Harman's column in last week's issue of Socialist Worker, Gill argued that any mass movement of resistance must have leaders, but that it was the mass of supporters who made the real difference. Nasrullah and Hezbollah, Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian movement, George Galloway and the anti-war movement were all mentioned - kind of making the counter-argument that it is how the movement holds the leader to account (and specifically the structures and culture which makes that possible) that is crucial. Who knows how Respect would ever hold George Galloway to account? It was the manoeuvring of the SWP and CWI that allowed Tommy Sheridan to evade his responsibilities to the SSP.

Gill was not worried what label people attached to themselves - I guess we are talking about not restricting the new organisation to socialists - but about what they did. In terms of doing things, Gill was very keen to see members of Solidarity in Manchester come September 23.

Anne McLeod, of the Highlands and Islands region and a leader of the former SSP Majority platform, moved the launch statement and was followed by Graeme McIver, up to last month SSP South of Scotland regional organiser (like Steve Arnott he has taken his whole region into Solidarity - revealing in the process the disproportionate influence of regional organisers in the old SSP). Graeme moved the provisional constitution, which provides for an interim steering committee composed of the two MSPs, two representatives from each region and two representatives from each platform.

A number of speakers from the floor did not so much debate the statement and the constitution as reiterate the themes that other speakers had initiated. For example, Mike Gonzalez (who introduced himself as an ex-member of the SSP exec, although he also happens to be one of the leading members of the SWP in Scotland) stated that the SSP had failed to make a connection with the mass of voters - to bring them "all into a single political space". Solidarity could do this by being "broad and diverse" and not imposing entry requirements. That was the way to build a movement with a "strength no-one could have imagined until now". It was certainly beginning to sound as if the SWP was making more than a few nods in the direction of Respect.

Brian Smith of Glasgow Unison - and openly the CWI - also wanted a "wide movement" that went beyond what the SSP had been. However, Brian was "up for a debate about socialism with anyone". What was needed was an active political voice for working people. Something pretty close to the Campaign for a New Workers' Party then?

The statement and constitution were voted on. The votes were declared to be "nearly unanimous" (they clearly were overwhelming), but neither votes against nor abstentions were counted. It would appear that democracy at public rallies is meant to be by acclamation.

The time had now come for Tommy Sheridan to speak - and he really was restricted to not much more than the allotted 10 minutes. That is after the standing ovation he received for uttering the three words, "Brothers and sisters", had subsided.

Tommy thanked everyone for their solidarity against the reactionary News International scab outfit, which had enabled him to beat them on their own turf. A source in the BBC had told Tommy that at a News International meeting following the verdict, Murdoch had insisted that, no matter how long it took, Tommy was "to be destroyed" because Murdoch was "not having some two-bit commie bastard beating" him.

Tommy went on to say that, while we may "collectively as socialists never realise the dream burning in our hearts of a society of love, cooperation and solidarity", we will fight with all our energy for that kind of world. However, it would be "criminal to spend any more time fighting among ourselves".

He wanted to fight the real enemies and he did not regard those in the SSP as that. They were fellow socialists and the door of Solidarity would remain open to them. But he went on to declare: "Judge not the man in time of tranquillity, but in time of adversity" and stated that some in the SSP had failed that test and taken "the side of the boss class".

Tommy did not want to focus inward any more. It was "baloney" to argue that there was no room for Solidarity - "What a poverty of ambition." In 2003 the SSP had won 7% of the electorate - ie, not much more than 3% overall when you take into account the 49% turnout. Tommy was aiming to turn that 3% into 53%. Millions could be won to the banner of social justice. Look at the levels of support for the socialist republic of Cuba, for the Bolivarian republic in Venezuela and for Evo Morales in Bolivia.

For Tommy, it had been a long and uplifting day. 500-600 people had filled the room. If they all recruited one person, Solidarity could have a membership of 1,200 in a few days and could look to thousands joining in the near future.

After Rosemary Byrne signed off as chair by declaring that it was "a relief to have the shackles taken off", Alice Sheridan, Tommy's mother, transported those assembled into a realm the SSP had never quite explored. While gazing at her son, she gave a full-throttle rendition of 'Dream the impossible dream'. Will it be the SWP or the CWI (or perhaps Jim Walls) who plays Sancho Panza to Tommy Sheridan's Don Quixote?

Last word went to Tommy himself, who urged a singing of the Internationale, while apologising to those new to the movement who did not know the words.


It was not only in the singing of the Internationale that the two meetings covered very similar ground. In none of the weekend's speeches or in their statements so far released is there a cigarette paper's worth of difference between the two organisations' policies. This is a split over personalities and, for the SWP and CWI, for factional advantage.

But there is a principle involved. That is whether socialist leaders should be held to account by their organisations. The SSP played the Tommy Sheridan card for all it was worth. Even in the 2003 Scottish parliamentary elections his name was appended to that of the party on ballot papers. In November 2004 the party tried to assert the primacy of the collective over the charismatic individual. It was too late and the outcome is to be seen in the rival meetings of last weekend.

So what are the prospects for the two organisations? The SWP would clearly like to take Solidarity in the direction of Respect: a loosely organised movement designed to maximise support from all corners and in which the SWP has the greatest room for manoeuvre. It is the largest faction in Solidarity - boasting, perhaps, 150 members - and clearly had a big influence on the range of speakers on Sunday.

What the CWI hopes to achieve with at most 30 members is more difficult to divine. Those I spoke to thought that it would be possible to block the domination of the SWP by a process of rapid recruitment to the new organisation. No doubt Tommy Sheridan and the CWI will come to rely on each other for mutual support. Philip Stott, leader of the CWI in Scotland, supposedly drafted Tommy Sheridan's inflammatory open letter to the national council of May 28. Maybe Jim Walls will be able to dispose of something of a block vote on behalf of Tommy Sheridan.

There was evidence of a last-minute struggle to define the nature of the new formation in the days before the rally. Posters advertising the meeting spoke of "a movement of the left" - the same phrase that was used to launch Respect - while literature distributed on the day labelled Solidarity "Scotland's socialist movement" (the CWI had argued that Solidarity should be explicitly socialist).

The SSP split has caused problems for a number of platforms. Gordon Morgan, formerly the International Socialist Group's leading member in Scotland, and who has supported the SSP Majority and now Solidarity, told me he was no longer in the ISG. Both the ISG and Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire sent messages of support to the SSP rally. Other Scottish members of the ISG are to decide their position in the coming weeks. A majority clearly looks to be siding with Solidarity and thereby putting themselves outside of the ISG. What remains of the nationalist Scottish Republican Socialist Movement has also taken no collective decision on which of the two groups to back.

The SSP retains the majority of activists in the central belt. Barring a last-minute withdrawal of Tommy Sheridan from politics (which some members of the SSP are wishfully anticipating), next year's election in Glasgow is set to be a direct contest between Tommy Sheridan and his former friends and comrades. The contest will determine whether the individual or the collective wins out - or whether they fight themselves to mutual destruction.

SSP members sometimes used to speculate on the consequences for the party if the proverbial bus hit Tommy Sheridan. Now, not only is Sheridan no longer fighting by the side of SSP activists: he is fighting in the trenches opposite.

The temptation will be for the SSP to accentuate its nationalist credentials. It was striking that, Colin Fox's economistic version of the SSP's independence message apart, this issue barely raised its head over the weekend. Solidarity's statement does express support "for an independent socialist Scotland, a modern, pluralist republic". Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne have publicly signed up for the Independence First organisation and Sheridan in an interview last week stated he would leave an organisation that did not support independence.

None of the SSP's posters that adorned the meeting room on Saturday so much as mentioned independence. But Alan McCombes has spoken of "a unionist plot" to split the party. And prominent SSP member Bill Bonner (formerly of the Communist Party of Scotland) in a letter to The Herald emphasises that the SWP is "English-based and London-controlled" and that the CWI's main aim is apparently "to set up a British Socialist Party". He goes on: "There is space in Scottish politics for a radical party to the left of the SNP: the left wing of the independence movement" (September 5).

This is entirely the wrong lesson to draw. What this tragic episode demonstrates above all is that the SSP is not immune to the faults of the "English-based" left and that the crisis of socialism in Britain requires a British solution. Tail-ending the SNP is a recipe for abandoning socialism.

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