News from Nowhere

The campaign blog for Socialists in Scotland campaigning in the Livingston by-election - uniting for world socialism.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Global Logo

Euroelection manifesto

Friday, March 14, 2014

Interview with Tony Benn January 1980

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

Friday, September 30, 2005

A Post-Mortem of the Poll Result

( The following is taken from one of the Party's on-line discussion forums )

My conclusions from the election result are:

1. We got 0.12% of the vote which is what we got at the Scottish Parliament elections when there were 10 or so candidates, and is pretty much what we should expect at a by-election when there is more than just Labour, Liberal , Tory to choose between.

2. I think when we have stood in the absence of any other " Socialist " ( by name ) party then we gain a fair number of votes ( up to 1% of the vote ) simply because we have " socialist " in our name . When someone else uses that name and offers a more immediate or apparently reasonable position ( based on a set of carefully-focussed reform demands ) , then most of those votes disappear , leaving the residual 0.1% who actively go out and vote for the SPGB and against SSP or whoever....

3. ...it seems to me to be a fairly consistent trend . Does the 0.1% actually represent voters with some sort of socialist consciousness ? I think so , although anyone standing on any sort of position is likely to get around 0.1% of the vote ( e.g. we were beaten by the independent Tory who stood on a mixed bag of issues, and the Alliance for Change was a religious nut ) . The key question of course is how do we get that 0.1% of the voters ( or 0.03% of the adult population ) who are prepared to actively go out and vote at elections , actually involved ? It does represent 15,000 people in U.K. In other words , only one in thirty of those who are prepared to actively vote for the SPGB ( even when other socialist parties are on the ballot ) are actually members of the party . Not sure if that is good or bad news ?!

4. Given that the SSP and Greens stood on a raft of apparently attractive reforms (do away with prescription charges , defend local services etc ) , the idea that offering such reforms is a gateway into political change is somewhat smashed against their combined 3% of the vote . Far better to actually say what it is you are standing for , than be caught halfway between , and ending up without influence and without putting a genuine case for change.

5. Anyway , tempting as it is to read significance into the poll result , the main reason for standing was in order to get our leaflet thru' 50,000 doors at low cost . I think the overall cost ( for deposit , leaflet printing etc ) worked out at about 3p per leaflet , which is very cheap I think for production and distribution . The real measure of the worth of standing at election is whether we perceive any sort of increased website clicking , or contacts with Head Office , or attendances at local branch meetings . It strikes me that this is something we can measure , to try and compare the effectiveness of standing at elections against other publicity options we have.

6. Bearing in mind Alan Johnstone's comments regarding the numbers of leaflets coming through doors etc , it might be more worthwhile contesting elections that aren't by-elections, when our leaflet will stand out a little more . On the other hand , general elections are completely TV-dominated that we are maybe even more suffocated . Local elections are a cheaper option and may be an arena where our voice can be heard a bit better , and people are more inclined to vote for something ( as opposed to just keeping the Tory out etc ) . On the otherhand , I think it can be quite difficult to put forward real revolutionary politics in a local election environment, when everyone just wants to talk about the positioning of a bus shelter etc

Brian Gardner , Socialist Party candidate

Election Result

Alas , there will be no Socialist Party MP taking his seat in Parliament . Instead , yet another Labour Party functionary will be going to the House of Commons . Our candidate , Brian Gardner , received 32 votes and , unfortunately , came bottom of the poll .
But are we despondent ? No ! !
We offered the working class of Livingston the choice of remaining with the parties of Capitalism and more of the same or choosing the Socialist alternative and voting for revolutionary change . The truth of the matter , though , is that faced with the sophisticated machinery of the mainstream political parties , the indifference of the media to minority parties , the reliance upon photo opportunities and soundbites , and the lack of a forum for genuine political debate , the voices of real socialists was not effectively heard .
We will continue arguing our case , carry on exposing political fraudsters , and never cease advocating Socialism .

The full results of the by election is as follows :
Jim Devine (Lab): 12,319
Angela Constance (SNP): 9,639
Charles Dundas (Lib Dems): 4,362
Gordon Lindhurst (Con): 1,993
David Robertson (Greens): 529
Steve Nimmo (Scottish Socialist Party): 407
Peter Adams (UKIP): 108
Melville Brown (Ind): 55
John Allman (Alliance For Change): 33
Brian Gardner ( Socialist Party of Great Britain ): 32

There is always a next time .

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Taking to the Streets

With Royal Mail proving rather tardy with delivering our leaflet through the doors , four members took matters into their own hands yesterday , Tuesday , and began handing out our election address outside the entrances of the main shopping centre .
Alas , the weather was against us . Too blustery to set up the lit. stall and sudden downpours forcing us to seek shelter in a nearby hostelry .
We did manage , however , to distribute several hundred leaflets .

" Candidates take safe route to Cook seat " was the headline in yesterday's Scotsman newspaper .
This may be true of the rest of the political parties contesting this election and offering the same old stale remedies to the problems of Capitalism , but , of course , the Scotsman fails to mention the Socialist Party and its case for Socialism , which is certainly not a safe slogan to raise if it is just votes wanted to get a seat in Parliament to maintain the status quo .
We , in the Socialist Party , desire the electors to seek an understanding of the realities of the World . We leave the popularity campaign to simply just get Xs on ballot papers to the PR men and spin doctors of the Coalition for Capitalism . We only want votes from those who agree with our sole aim and objective - The Abolition of the Wages System - No Middle Way .

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Unequal time

Unlike for the press, there is a obligation on radio and TV to mention all candidates and their party standing in a particular constituency. In the past the letter of this was respected by at least mentioning the names of all the candidates even if some were mentioned more than others. Then the TV stations dropped mentioning all the candidates in favour of rapidly scrolling the names of those not mentioned across the screen, generally too fast for people to note them properly. On radio as the way round even just mentioning all the candidates, let alone giving them equal time, the practice has been crept in of referring listeners to the BBC's website which lists them. Radio4's World Tonight programme has just done this. After giving the Labour, SNP, Liberal and Tory candidates 10 seconds each the journalist, one of the many John Knoxes that exist, simply mentioned that there were 10 candidates in all and referred listeners to the BBC news website. This isn't good enough. First, because not everybody has access to the internet and, second, those that do have are unrealistically assumed to know what the address is since it wasn't given.
In fact, it's http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4275546.stm and there is in fact a link to our website at http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb . That's OK as far as it goes, but it doesn't go far enough.
An official complaint has been lodged.