Forwarded from Ernie Tate

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri May 2 06:51:57 MDT 2003

A big step forward for the Left in Scotland!

We just got this from the Scottish Glasgow Herald newspaper on the
election results from yesterday.

The SSP has so far won five seats in Holyrood Parliament and more than
15% of the popular vote, coming in third, not far behind the SNP.

                               Ernie Tate and Jess MacKenzie

Socialists increase support across country
Sheridan’s party wins up to 10% of vote in fresh territory

THE Scottish Socialist party emerged as a force in Scottish politics
last night as the first results showed substantial gains throughout the

On both the east and west of Scotland, the SSP won between 4% and 10% of
the vote, even in seats where they had never before fielded a candidate.

Tommy Sheridan, the SSP leader and possibly one of the most charismatic
candidates in the Scottish parliamentary elections, hailed the party's
success as "a good performance".

The earliest results showed the SSP, which for the first time had
candidates standing in every seat in Scotland, taking votes mainly from
the SNP.

Mr Sheridan, who hoped the SSP would return four MSPs to Holyrood, was
pleased with the party's performance and was containing his excitement
at the prospect of having five MSPs, which would give the SSP group
status in the Scottish Parliament.

Such status would give the SSP automatic membership of the bureau,
giving the party a say and a vote in the business of the parliament from
which it has to date been excluded.

Earlier this week, The Herald's System Three poll predicted eight new
SSP MSPs in Holyrood bringing the total to nine.

In Jack McConnell's Motherwell and Wishaw constituency, the SSP polled
1961 votes, mostly taken from the SNP, whose vote dropped by 12% in the
first-past-the-post poll vote. Mr McConnell, the first minister,
increased Labour's vote by 8%, hailed by the Labour hierarchy as "a
great personal victory for Mr McConnell".

In Hamilton South, the first constituency to declare its result, the SSP
polled 1893 votes (9.23%). In Greenock and Inverclyde, Tricia McCafferty
polled 2338 votes (an increase of 6.84%)

In Dunfermline East, the SSP took 1537 votes, or 6.64%.

In Rutherglen, Bill Bonnar, the SSP candidate polled 2259 (9.5%) of the
vote, an increase of 1427 votes from last year.

The SSP won 1301 votes (4.37%) in Angus where Andrew Welsh was returned
as the first SNP success of the night.

In Kirkcaldy, the SSP's Rudi Vogels took 1544 votes (7.04%) and in Perth
which was held by the SNP. In Cunninghame South, the SSP took 2677 votes
(11.76%), again squeezing the SNP to a greater extent than Labour.

In Fife North east, a LibDem hold, the SSP won 1366 votes (4.66%). In
East Lothian, Hugh Kerr, the SSP's press officer, and former Labour MEP,
took 1380 votes (4.42%).

In Fife Central, the seat formerly held by Henry McLeish, the former
first minister, the SSP took 1391 votes (5.43%). Christine May, the
former convener of Fife council comfortably held the seat for Labour.

The SSP chose not to put up a candidate against Dennis Canavan, the
former Labour MP and Independent candidate in Falkirk West, Mr Sheridan,
whose party inflicted most damage on the SNP, positioned his party to
the left of the Labour party but mainly succeeded in splitting the
nationalist vote.

The success of the SSP is all the more remarkable since it only
officially emerged as a force in Scotland four years ago and Mr Sheridan
attributes their success to their grassroots allegiance.

Earlier this week, Mr Sheridan told The Herald's Alf Young: "We started
off at a conference in February 1999 and we had no members.

"We had big ideas, we had big visions of how we wanted to improve
Scotland. We had a lot of honesty and lot of integrity but we had few

- May 2nd

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