Solidarity Statement on the UK General Election, 8 June 2017.

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“Solidarity calls for progressive anti-Tory vote in Scotland – Vote for progressive candidate most likely to defeat the reactionary Tories.

Solidarity is an unashamedly socialist party that stands for an irreversible shift in wealth and power from the rich and powerful to the real creators of wealth, the working class.
SOLIDARITY IS ALSO COMMITTED TO AN INDEPENDENT SCOTLAND. We believe in and fight for an independent socialist republic.”

This statement was prepared by Tommy Sheridan and reflects the position agreed at a recent meeting of the Executive Committee.

JUNE 8TH GENERAL ELECTION 2017
Solidarity calls for progressive anti-Tory vote in Scotland – Vote for progressive candidate most likely to defeat the reactionary Tories.
Solidarity is an unashamedly socialist party that stands for an irreversible shift in wealth and power from the rich and powerful to the real creators of wealth, the working class.
SOLIDARITY IS ALSO COMMITTED TO AN INDEPENDENT SCOTLAND. We believe in and fight for an independent socialist republic.


Solidarity emerged from the 2015 Scottish General election as the best-supported party of the left in Scotland securing over 14,000 votes for our vision of an independent socialist republic.


At the last UK General Election in 2015 Solidarity democratically debated the issue of our approach to that election and voted to stand aside in every seat and argue for our supporters and other socialists across Scotland to ‘lend’ their vote to the SNP in the interests of maximising the Pro-Independence, Anti-Austerity and Anti-Trident vote. We also believed such a vote would pressure the SNP to place IndyRef2 on the political agenda with a target of 2018 for a new poll. Events have proved us to be correct on this question. This was a controversial decision that attracted criticism from various quarters, including on the left.


However, in the in the context of a Miliband-led Labour Party that had disgracefully campaigned alongside the Tories to seek to crush the independence campaign with a mixture of scare stories, lies and bullying it was appropriate to describe the Labour Party as ‘Red Tories’ and seek to maximise the YES vote behind the SNP and their anti-austerity and anti-Trident commitments. The Labour Party offered nothing different to the working class but further cuts at perhaps a slower rate. They were clearly ‘Red Tories’. We believe it was the right thing to do in 2015 and if others on the left had followed suit the Tories would have been wiped out completely and even the Red Tories could have been dislodged everywhere. 2015 saw the various strands of Tory unionism in the blue, yellow and red corners reduced to an embarrassing one seat apiece. That the SNP won 56 of the 59 available seats was a remarkable and seismic result in Scottish politics. It was the necessary mandate for IndyRef2 and a colossal rejection of Tory austerity cuts and nuclear weapon expenditure.


The political landscape of 2015 demanded Solidarity took the decision we did in the interest of the wider independence movement and in opposition to Tory cuts and nuclear weapons. The landscape in 2017 is different due to the election and re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as the Labour leader. Corbyn is a socialist. Corbyn is promoting a radical agenda of wealth redistribution and public investment and ownership. Corbyn is an anti-Austerity leader and his position as the leader of the Labour Party makes any continued references to ‘Red Tories’ politically redundant. Corbyn and John McDonnell are promoting a socialist agenda not a watered down Tory agenda as under Miliband. Solidarity cannot ignore this reality. We face a much more complex situation politically than was the case in 2015.


Faced with an extreme right wing Tory agenda our priority as a socialist party has to be the defence of our class. We have to maximise the anti-Tory vote across Scotland. Promoting a vote for a Corbyn led Labour party across England in Wales is a no-brainer for Solidarity. Corbyn’s policies and political vision is shared by Solidarity. The key difference is his attitude to independence. Corbyn does not support independence for Scotland and we differ from him on this important question. Jeremy Corbyn is fundamentally wrong on this constitutional principle to self-government. However, he has stated publicly that he will not oppose another referendum in Scotland. In other words, he will not block or oppose IndyRef2. That is a very important issue to consider.


Solidarity cannot allow ourselves to be positioned as anything other than an enthusiastic supporter of Jeremy Corbyn and his political programme to transform the UK in favour of ordinary working people across England and Wales. We are first and foremost anti-Tory. Defeating the Tories on June 8th has to be the political priority. Given the fact the SNP currently hold 56 seats in Scotland and that they have already declared for an anti-Tory Progressive Alliance after the election it is difficult to argue for the displacing of any of the 56 and anything other than a vote for SNP in seats they hold or are best positioned to defeat the Tory candidate. In other words, Solidarity in Scotland is calling for our members and supporters to vote for the progressive anti-Tory candidate most likely to beat the Tory. In reality that will almost universally result in a vote for the SNP candidate.


The political landscape in Scotland is different to that in England and Wales and the Scottish Labour Party is sadly a pale reflection of Corbyn’s policies and represents one of the biggest barriers he faces. Scottish Labour is still polluted with former Blairites whose leadership has reduced them to the third force in Scottish Politics.


In the circumstances of 2017 we should concentrate on dislodging the Blue and Yellow Tories in Scotland and enthusiastically endorse a vote for Corbyn’s Labour Party across England and Wales. Instead of a ‘Lend Your Vote’ strategy for the SNP, as in 2015, we should instead advocate strongly a progressive anti-Tory vote, recognising that such a position will almost inevitably mean voting SNP. This is not a comfortable position compared to 2015 as apart from the key question of independence Solidarity is politically closer to Jeremy Corbyn than to Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP. But we are also closer to Corbyn’s political policies than the Scottish Labour party. The Scottish Labour party is still stuck in a Blairite time-warp and tarnished by its pro-British union Better Together role of 2013/14.


We reiterate that Solidarity stands for an independent socialist Scotland as part of a socialist world. If Scottish Labour was for independence and behind Corbyn’s political vision things would be different. But sadly they are not. Independence is at the heart of this election in Scotland. Solidarity supporters should vote accordingly for progressive, anti-Tory, anti-Austerity, pro-Indy, anti-Trident and anti-Fracking candidates.


The note of caution we fraternally send to the SNP is be aware. Meekly accepting and passing on unacceptable and unnecessary Tory austerity cuts at either a Scottish Parliament or Local Authority level is simply not good enough. The people of Scotland deserve committed and combative politicians determined to fight for expanded and well-funded public services, not further cruel cuts. Scotland needs political fighters not cowardly administrators who just do as they are told by Westminster Tory masters. If SNP politicians are not able or willing to fight Tory cuts at a local or Scottish Parliament level they will sow disillusionment and undermine the case for independence. This general election on June 8th must be a pro-independence and anti-Tory austerity election. Securing victory must be the green light for either a new independence referendum or convey authority for a unilateral declaration of independence should the future Westminster Government refuse permission to hold IndyRef2.

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