Monday, 2 August 2010

By-election in Edinburgh South

I am delighted to have been selected as the Scottish Socialist Party's candidate to fight the forthcoming City Council by-election in the Liberton/Gilmerton ward of Edinburgh.
I live in the area and have been an active campaigner here for the past 15 years. This ward is amongst the poorest in the city and it has been deprived of investment and support for many years. If Edinburgh is the second richest city in Britain then you wouldn't know it living in the Liberton/Gilmerton ward.
SSP activists were out across the constituency this afternoon delivering the first of our election materials. The by-election arises because the sitting Labour Councillor was elected as the MP in May.
Labour are hot favourites to retain the seat at this stage but it will be interesting to see how the SNP and Liberals do given the fact they run the City Council and have implemented many unpopular cuts in services in this area recently. Uppermost was their disgraceful decision to close Burdiehouse Primary School against the wishes of local parents and thus ripping the heart out of this already disadvantaged community.
Of course further interest will also focus on how much anger is directed at the Liberal Democrats for going into coalition with the Tories at Westminster. This by-election is the first test of public opinion since Clegg 'rowed in' with the Tories.
For the SSP the key issues will be our commitment to scrap the hated Council tax, to oppose the cuts agenda of all other parties and to re-iterate the need to distribute the enormous wealth Edinburgh has from better off to those most in need.
Finally the SSP will not shirk from making the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan a central issue in this election. I believe Edinburgh City Council could do much to reflect the democratic wishes of the majority in this area who want to see our troops brought home from Afghanistan and this pointless occupation at last brought to an ends after 9 years.
I am looking forward to pressing the socialist case in this by-election over the next 6 weeks and I am confident our message is increasingly falling on fertile ground.
I intend to keep regular readers of my blog fully informed of all the twists and turns in this selection.


  1. Dear Colin,

    I lived in Gilmerton for 5 years and was a member of the local Gilmerton Labour
    Party in the early 1980's. It’s a great area to live and be active. I had the chance to stand as a local councillor but declined, because to be a revolutionary Marxist councillor (Militant) you must have a base of support within the council chamber otherwise you will be isolated and picked off.

    Local politics, whilst very important to the community, absorbs much time and effort and cadres like you were also thought to be better involved with the building of the rank and file towards a socialist society instead of wasting time and energy on arbitrating on disputes over dog muck in the local park etc. Nothing has happened to change my view over this.

    Apart from that, I am afraid, Colin, that as a member of the SSP you will struggle to get enough support at the council election to win the seat. As you know, Colin, when push comes to shove, working people have a history of turning to their traditional party, the Labour Party at local and General elections as proved in the recent General Election in Scotland . That is despite the failures of the previous Labour Government.

    This is the message that Ted Grant repeated over and again and has been proved to be
    correct right up to the present day. Sadly, by standing for the SSP against a Labour candidate you will only be repeating the same mistakes of the past that all so called ‘alternative’ Labour parties make.

    I suppose that the one consolation is that at least you will be putting a socialist
    perspective on the doorstep and I have no doubt that you will get support on the doorstep, - but along with ideas you must have at least a reasonable chance of success of being able to turn the ideas into positive action.

    We must work within the party that the vast majority of working people support
    and not stand aside this, however worthy your message may be.

    That is the best way to create a socialist planned society, not only in
    Gilmerton and Liberton, but across the world.

    Yours, Comradely
    Richard (Dick) Vivian
    Socialist Appeal