Socialists ‘set agenda of leadership debate,’ writes Zoe Hennessy in Glasgow
SCOTLAND’S left has “changed the political landscape of Scottish Labour” following the party’s leadership election, the Campaign for Socialism (CfS) heard yesterday.
Speaking at the first meeting of the left grouping since rightwinger Jim Murphy won December’s election, Katy Clark MP (pictured) said that while the result was disappointing Labour’s left had set the political agenda.
The unsuccessful deputy leader candidate slammed the SNP for its opportunism in attempting to tap into the anger and frustration people felt with the Labour Party, when nationalist policies clearly show it is on the side of big business and not working people.
It “makes no sense to drive our working-class communities into the dust with savage cuts that are ideologically driven,” she said.
But Ms Clark warned that despite the surging support for pro-independence parties austerity was not about borders.
The leadership campaign had paved the way for activists to build a labour movement that fights for working people, she said, adding: “A progressive Labour Party is what the Scottish people are crying out for — and if we offer it, they will seize it.”
Leadership contender Neil Findlay MSP welcomed the broad support for both his and Ms Clark’s campaigns, and the strong presence of a new generation of young activists.
He called for better organisation and training of progressive candidates and activists in the future.
Mr Findlay echoed the attack on the dual nature of the SNP, slamming the council tax freeze which has led to devastating cuts in local government and services.
The AGM called on activists to mobilise for the general election to prevent the Tories being re-elected, focusing support on Labour candidates who support CfS aims.
Party members also raised concerns about Mr Murphy’s bid to shake up Scottish Labour’s constitution, inserting a new symbolic clause four — where previously the aims had been in clause two — pledging to “work for the patriotic interest of the people of Scotland.”
The move, widely seen as a “smoke and mirrors” ploy to win back SNP voters, would further elevate “national” interests above class ones, campaigners warned.