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Nicola Sturgeon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Right Honourable
Nicola Sturgeon
MSP
First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.jpg
First Minister of Scotland
Assumed office
20 November 2014
Deputy John Swinney
Preceded by Alex Salmond
Leader of the Scottish National Party
Assumed office
14 November 2014
Deputy Stewart Hosie
Preceded by Alex Salmond
Deputy First Minister of Scotland
In office
17 May 2007 – 19 November 2014
First Minister Alex Salmond
Preceded by Nicol Stephen
Succeeded by John Swinney
Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities
In office
5 September 2012 – 19 November 2014
First Minister Alex Salmond
Preceded by Alex Neil
Succeeded by Keith Brown
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing
In office
17 May 2007 – 5 September 2012
First Minister Alex Salmond
Preceded by Andy Kerr
Succeeded by Alex Neil
Depute Leader of the
Scottish National Party
In office
3 September 2004 – 14 November 2014
Leader Alex Salmond
Preceded by Roseanna Cunningham
Succeeded by Stewart Hosie
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Glasgow Southside
Assumed office
6 May 2011
Preceded by Constituency created
Majority 9,593 (38.5%)
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Glasgow Govan
In office
3 May 2007 – 5 May 2011
Preceded by Gordon Jackson
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Glasgow
In office
6 May 1999 – 3 May 2007
Preceded by Constituency created
Succeeded by Bob Doris
Personal details
Born Nicola Ferguson Sturgeon
19 July 1970 (age 45)
Irvine, Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Political party Scottish National Party
Spouse(s) Peter Murrell
Residence Bute House, Edinburgh
Alma mater University of Glasgow
Profession Solicitor

Nicola Ferguson Sturgeon PC (born 19 July 1970) is a Scottish politician who is the fifth and current First Minister of Scotland and the leader of theScottish National Party, in office since 2014. She is the first woman to hold either position. Sturgeon has been a member of the Scottish Parliament since 1999, first as an additional member for the Glasgow electoral region from 1999 to 2007, and as the member for Glasgow Southside since 2007 (known as Glasgow Govan from 2007 to 2011).

A law graduate of the University of Glasgow, Sturgeon worked as a solicitor inGlasgow. She was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999, and served successively as the SNP’s shadow minister for education, health and justice. In 2004 she announced that she would stand as a candidate for the leadership of the SNP following the resignation of John Swinney. However she later withdrew from the contest in favour of Alex Salmond, standing instead asdepute (deputy) leader on a joint ticket with Salmond.

Both were subsequently elected, and as Salmond was still an MP in the House of Commons, Sturgeon led the SNP in the Scottish Parliament from 2004 to 2007, when Alex Salmond was elected to the Scottish Parliament in the 2007 election. The SNP won the highest number of seats in the Scottish Parliament following the 2007 election, and Alex Salmond was subsequently appointed First Minister of Scotland. He appointed Sturgeon as Deputy First Minister andCabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing. She was later appointed asCabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities in 2012.

Following the defeat of the “Yes” campaign in the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum, Alex Salmond announced that he would be resigning as party leader at the SNP party conference that November, and would resign as First Minister after a new leader was chosen.[1] No one else was nominated for the post by the time nominations closed on 15 October, leaving Sturgeon to take the party leadership unopposed at the SNP’s annual conference on 14 November. She was formally elected to succeed Salmond as First Minister on 19 November.[2]

In 2016, Forbes magazine ranked Sturgeon as the 50th most powerful woman in the world in 2016 and 2nd in the United Kingdom.[3][4]

Early life and education

Nicola Ferguson Sturgeon[5] was born in Ayrshire Central Hospital in Irvine,Ayrshire, on 19 July 1970. She is the eldest of three daughters born to Robin Sturgeon (born 1948), an electrician, and Joan Kerr Sturgeon (born Ferguson, 1952), a dental nurse.[6] Her family has some roots in North East England; her paternal grandmother was from Ryhope in what is now the City of Sunderland.[7]

Sturgeon grew up in Prestwick and Dreghorn. She attended Dreghorn Primary School from 1975 to 1982 and Greenwood Academy from 1982 to 1988. She later studied at the University of Glasgow, where she read Law. Sturgeon graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) in 1992 and a Diploma in Legal Practice the following year.[8] During her time at Glasgow University she was active as a member of the Glasgow University Scottish Nationalist Associationand the students’ representative council.

Following her graduation, Sturgeon completed her legal traineeship at McClure Naismith, a Glasgow firm of solicitors, in 1995. After qualifying as asolicitor, she worked for Bell & Craig, a firm of solicitors in Stirling, and later at the Drumchapel Law Centre in Glasgow from 1997 until her election to theScottish Parliament in 1999.

Early political career

Sturgeon joined the Scottish National Party (SNP) in 1986, having already become a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and quickly became their Youth Affairs Vice Convener and Publicity Vice Convener.[9][10]She first stood for election in the 1992 general election as the SNP candidate in the Glasgow Shettleston constituency, and was the youngest parliamentary candidate in Scotland, failing to win the seat.

Sturgeon also stood unsuccessfully as the SNP candidate for the Irvine Northward on Cunninghame District Council in May 1992, for the Baillieston/Mount Vernon ward on Strathclyde Regional Council in 1994, and for the Bridgetonward on Glasgow City Council in 1995.

In the mid 1990s, Sturgeon and Charles Kennedy went together on a political study visit to Australia. Sturgeon recalled that she and Kennedy ‘skived off’ to watch Trainspotting in a Melbourne cinema, where they received very strange looks from other members of the audience for ‘uproariously laughing’. She believed this was due to the fact that they were the only two Scots in the audience and were therefore the only ones able to understand the jokes.[11][12]

The 1997 general election saw Sturgeon selected to fight the Glasgow Govan seat for the SNP. Boundary changes meant that the notional Labour majority in the seat had increased substantially. However, infighting between the two rival candidates for the Labour nomination, Mohammed Sarwar and Mike Watson, along with an energetic local campaign, resulted in Glasgow Govan being the only Scottish seat to see a swing away from Labour in the midst of a Labour landslidenationwide. Sarwar did, however, win the seat with a majority of 2,914 votes.[13] Shortly after this, Sturgeon was appointed as the SNP’s spokesperson for energy and education matters.

Sturgeon stood for election to the Scottish Parliament in the first Scottish Parliament election in 1999 as the SNP candidate for Glasgow Govan. Although she failed to win the seat, she was placed first in the SNP’s regional list for the Glasgow region, and was thus elected as a Member of the Scottish Parliament. During the first term of the Scottish Parliament, Sturgeon served as a member of the Shadow Cabinets of both Alex Salmond and John Swinney. She was Shadow Minister for Children and Education from 1999 to 2000, Shadow Minister for Health and Community Care from 2000 to 2003, andShadow Minister for Justice from 2003 to 2004. She also served as a member of the Education, Culture and Sport Committee and the Health and Community Care Committee.

Depute Leader and Deputy First Minister

Sturgeon (front right) with Alex Salmond and the rest of the Scottish Government cabinet following election in 2011

On 22 June 2004, John Swinney resigned as Leader of the SNP following poor results in the European Parliament election. His then-depute, Roseanna Cunningham, immediately announced her intention to stand for the leadership. The previous leader, Alex Salmond, announced at the time that he would not stand.[14]On 24 June 2004, Sturgeon announced that she would also be a candidate in the forthcoming election for the leadership, with Kenny MacAskill as her running mate.[15]

However, Salmond later announced that he did intend to stand for the leadership; Sturgeon subsequently withdrew from the contest and declared her support for Salmond, standing instead as his running mate for the depute leadership. It was reported that Salmond had privately supported Sturgeon in her leadership bid, but decided to run for the position himself as it became apparent she was unlikely to beat Cunningham.[16] The majority of the SNP hierarchy lent their support to the Salmond-Sturgeon bid for the leadership, although MSP Alex Neil backed Salmond as leader, but refused to endorse Sturgeon as depute.[17]

The results of the leadership contest were announced on 3 September 2004, with Salmond and Sturgeon elected as Leader and Depute Leader respectively. As Salmond was still an MP in the House of Commons, Sturgeon led the SNP at the Scottish Parliament until the 2007 election, when Salmond was able to be elected as an MSP.[18]

As leader of the SNP in the Scottish Parliament, Sturgeon became a high-profile figure in Scottish politics and often clashed with First Minister Jack McConnell at First Minister’s Questions. This included rows over the House of Commons’ decision to replace the Trident nuclear weapon system, and the SNP’s plans to replace council tax in Scotland with a local income tax.[19] Sturgeon defeated Gordon Jackson with a 4.7% swing to the SNP in the 2007 election in Glasgow Govan. The election resulted in a hung parliament, with the SNP the largest party by a single seat; the SNP subsequently formed a minority government. Sturgeon was appointed as the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeingby First Minister Alex Salmond. In the position she saw through party pledges such as scrapping prescription charges and reversing A&E closures, she also became accredited internationally for her handling of the 2009 flu pandemic.[20][21] She was supported in this role by Shona Robison MSP, the Minister for Public Health and Sport, and by Alex Neil MSP, theMinister for Housing and Communities.

At the 2011 election, the SNP won a landslide victory and achieved a large overall majority. Sturgeon was retained as Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing until a reshuffle one year later, when she was appointed as Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities and an additional role overseeing the referendum on Scottish independence, essentially putting her in charge of the SNP’s referendum campaign.[22] In December 2012, atFerguson Shipbuilders in Port Glasgow, Sturgeon launched the Caledonian MacBrayne hybrid vessel MV Hallaig. Sturgeon said at this time that she believed that independence would allow Scotland to build a stronger and more competitive country, and would change spending priorities to address “the scandal of soaring poverty in a country as rich as Scotland”.[23]

On 19 September 2014, independence was rejected in the Scottish independence referendum, with 55.3% of the voters voting no and 44.7% voting yes.[24] Following the defeat of the Yes Scotland campaign, Alex Salmond announced his resignation as First Minister and Leader of the SNP. Sturgeon immediately announced that she would be a candidate in the election to replace him, and received huge support from the SNP hierarchy.[25][26][27] Sturgeon claimed that there would be “no greater privilege” than to lead the SNP. On Salmond’s resignation, Sturgeon said:

The personal debt of gratitude I owe Alex is immeasurable. He has been my friend, mentor and colleague for more than 20 years. Quite simply, I would not have been able to do what I have in politics without his constant advice, guidance and support through all these years. Alex’s announcement today inevitably raises the question of whether I will be a candidate to succeed him as SNP leader. I can think of no greater privilege than to seek to lead the party I joined when I was just 16. However, that decision is not for today. My priority this weekend, after a long and hard campaign, is to get some rest and spend time with my family. I also want the focus over the next few days to be on the outstanding record and achievements of the finest First Minister Scotland has had.

Sturgeon (top right) seated with the 2007–2011 Scottish Cabinet following the SNP victory in the 2007 election

Following the referendum defeat, Sturgeon has said that “further devolution is the route to independence”, further claiming that “the more responsibilities we can demonstrate Scotland is capable of successfully discharging, – and the more these are used to build a fairer country and more economic opportunity for all”.[28]Sturgeon also opined that Scottish independence is a matter of “when, not if”.[29]

Leadership of the Scottish National Party

On 24 September 2014, Sturgeon officially launched her campaign bid to succeed Salmond as Leader of the Scottish National Party at the November leadership election.[30][31] A huge number of SNP figures publicly backed Sturgeon’s campaign, and it quickly became apparent that no other candidate would be able to receive the required nominations to stand.[32]During the speech launching her campaign, Sturgeon announced that she would resign as Depute Leader, triggering a concurrent depute leadership election; the MSPs Angela Constance and Keith Brown and the MP Stewart Hosie all nominated themselves to succeed Sturgeon as Depute Leader. Stewart Hosie was elected depute leader with 55% of the vote.[33][33][34]

Nominations for the SNP leadership closed on 15 October, with Sturgeon confirmed as the only candidate. This left her poised to take the leadership unopposed at its Autumn Conference in November.[35] On this date, Sturgeon also came out on top in a trust rating opinion poll, which indicated that 54% of the Scottish population trusted her to “stand up for Scotland’s interests”.[36] After being confirmed as the only candidate, Sturgeon launched a tour of Scotland, visiting SNP members in different cities outlining her vision for Scotland.[37]

Sturgeon was formally acclaimed as the first female Leader of the Scottish National Party on 14 November 2014 at the Autumn Conference in Perth, with Hosie as her depute. This also effectively made her First Minister in waiting, given the SNP’s absolute majority in the Scottish Parliament.[38] In her first speech as leader, Sturgeon said that it was “the privilege of her life” to lead the party she joined as a teenager.[39]

First Minister of Scotland

US Deputy Secretary of StateAntony Blinken meets with Nicola Sturgeon at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on 10 June 2015

On 19 November 2014, Alex Salmond formally resigned as First Minister of Scotland with the election for the new First Minister taking place the following day on the 20th November 2014. Both Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives stood for election. Nicola Sturgeon received 66 votes, Ruth Davidson received 15 and there were 39 abstentions.[40] She was formally sworn into office before a panel of 15 senior judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh the following day, after which she presided over her first session of First Minister’s Questions as First Minister.[41] On 20 November 2014, she was appointed to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom and therefore granted the title, ‘The Right Honourable‘.[42] On 21 November, she unveiled her Cabinet with a 50/50 gender balance, promoting Finance Secretary John Swinney to become her Deputy First Minister.[43]

Sturgeon has attempted to take a more conciliatory tone than Salmond. For instance, during her first First Minister’s Questions after being sworn in, she said that she came into her new post “with an open mind and a willingness to hear proposals from all sides of the chamber.”[44]

UK 2015 general election

Sturgeon took part in several Scottish and UK wide TV election debates on the run up to the 2015 general election and according to opinion polls was regarded to have had a successful performance.[45] Though she did not stand for election, the SNP went on to win a landslide victory in Scotland, winning 56 out of 59 seats.[46]

On 4 April 2015, a leaked memo from the Scotland Office alleged that Sturgeon privately told the French ambassadorSylvie Bermann that she would “rather see David Cameron remain as PM”. This was in contrast to her publicly stated opposition to a Conservative Government on the run up to the election.[47] The memo was quickly denied by both Sturgeon and the French consulate.[48][49] It was later noted that the memo had contained a disclaimer that parts of the conversation may have been “lost in translation” and its release had been ordered by then Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael.[50][51]The scandal of the leak to the The Daily Telegraph became known as ‘Frenchgate’.[52]

Sturgeon stated that Carmichael had “engaged in dirty tricks” and that he should consider his position as an MP.[53]

2016 EU membership referendum

The UK Government held a referendum to decide the future of the United Kingdom’s European Union membership in which all 32 council areas in Scotland voted by a majority for the United Kingdom to remain a member of the EU. 62% of Scottish voters voted to remain a member of the EU, with 38% voting to leave. Overall 52% of voters in the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, with 48% voting to remain. England and Wales voted to leave the EU.[54]

In response to the result, on 24 June 2016, the Scottish Government said officials would begin planning for a second independence referendum.[55][56] Sturgeon claimed that it was “clear that the people of Scotland see their future as part of the European Union” and that Scotland had “spoken decisively” with a “strong, unequivocal” vote to remain in the European Union.[57] Sturgeon said it is “democratically unacceptable” that Scotland could be taken out of the EU “against its will.”[58]

On 24 June, during a press conference, Sturgeon said she would communicate to all EU member states that Scotland had voted to stay in the EU.[59] An emergency Scottish cabinet meeting on 25 June agreed that the Scottish Government would seek to enter negotiations with the EU and its member states, to explore options to protect Scotland’s place in the EU.”[60][61] Sturgeon later said that while she believed in Scottish independence, her starting point in these discussions was to protect Scotland’s relationship with the EU.[62]

European politician, Manfred Weber, the leader of the European People’s Party Group and a key ally of Angela Merkel, said Scotland would be welcome to remain a member of the EU.[63] The leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group, Guy Verhofstadt, also indicated that he is supportive of Scotland remaining an EU member.[64][65] Gunther Krichbaum, head of the German Committee for EU Affairs, a senior lawmaker and close ally of Angela Merkel has similarly made supportive comments about Scotland becoming a member state of the EU.[66]

She was planning to meet with EU leaders in Brussels to discuss Scotland remaining in the UK. However, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, said that such discussions would be “not appropriate” considering the “situation in the UK”.[67]

Nonetheless, she was able to arrange for a meeting on 29 June in Brussels with European Parliament President Martin Shulz and others.[68] Afterwards, Sturgeon said the reception had been “sympathetic” but she conceded that she did not underestimate the challenges. In fact, on the same day, France and Spain objected to negotiations with Scotland, .[69]

Future referendum on independence

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces on 24 June 2016 that a second Scottish independence referendum is “highly likely”

During a press conference at Bute House following the result of the 2016 British European Union membership referendum, Sturgeon stated on 24 June, that the “Scottish government would begin preparing legislation to enable another independence vote,”[70] and later confirmed that the Scottish government has formally agreed to draft legislation to allow a second independence referendum to take place.[71]

As the constitution is a ‘reserved’ matter under the Scotland Act 1998, for a future referendum on Scottish independence to be binding under UK law, it would need to receive the consent of the British Parliament to take place.[72] It has been suggested, however, that the Scottish Parliament could approve a “consultative referendum” on the subject of independence, which would enable the referendum taking place without the approval of the British Parliament. Like the EU referendum, the referendum would not be legally binding under UK law in this case.[73][74]

Scottish Secretary David Mundell stated, on 26 June 2016, that “if the people of Scotland ultimately determine that they want to have another [independence] referendum there will be one”, implying that the British Government wouldn’t prevent another independence referendum.[75]

On 28 June 2016 Sturgeon made it clear that her motion to begin discussions with the EU (for Scotland to remain in theEuropean Union) did not constitute a proposal for a second referendum on independence. “I am emphatically not asking parliament to endorse that step today. A vote on this motion is not a vote for a referendum on independence.”[76] However, her statements indicated that she had parliamentary authority to explore “options” for keeping Scotland in the EU, “including independence”.[77]

Political views

Sturgeon has campaigned for Scottish independence and against replacing the Trident nuclear weapons system.[78] She has been a critic of austerity, saying that the UK government’s “austerity economics” is “morally unjustifiable and economically unsustainable”.[79]

Sturgeon is noted for campaigning for women’s rights and gender equality, and is a self-described feminist; she has argued that Scotland’s feminist moment isn’t simply symbolic, but “sends a powerful signal about equality.”[80] She has hailed Scottish feminist economist Ailsa McKay as one of her inspirations.[81]

Awards and acknowledgements

Sturgeon won the Scottish Politician of the Year Award in 2008, 2012 and 2014. In 2004, 2008 and 2011 she also won theDonald Dewar Debater of the Year Award at the same event, which is organized by The Herald newspaper.

In February 2013, BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour assessed Sturgeon as being the 20th most powerful woman in the United Kingdom.[82] She rose to be listed as the most powerful and influential in July 2015.[83]

Personal life

Sturgeon lives in Glasgow with her husband, Peter Murrell, who is the current chief executive of the SNP. The couple have been in a relationship since 2003. They announced their engagement on 29 January 2010 and were married on 16 July 2010 at Òran Mór in Glasgow. Her mother Joan is the SNP Provost of North Ayrshire council, where she has been councillor for the Irvine East ward since 2007.

Sturgeon is a fan of the Danish political drama Borgen, which she has described as “a drama but with an authentic twist. As a politician I can relate to it.”[84] In February 2013 she interviewed Sidse Babett Knudsen, the actress who played fictional prime minister Birgitte Nyborg in the series for STV’s Scotland Tonight when the second series finale was screened at theEdinburgh Filmhouse to promote its DVD release.[84][85]

Sturgeon is a fan of Scottish League One football club Ayr United F.C.[86]

Scottish National Party

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Scottish National Party

  • Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba
  • Scots Naitional Pairtie
Leader Nicola Sturgeon
Depute leader Stewart Hosie
House of Commons Group Leader Angus Robertson
Founded 1934
Merger of
Headquarters Gordon Lamb House
3 Jackson’s Entry
Edinburgh
EH8 8PJ
Student wing Federation of Student Nationalists
Youth wing Young Scots for Independence
Membership  (2016) Increase 117,600
Ideology Scottish nationalism[1][2]
Civic nationalism[3][4]
Regionalism[5]
Social democracy[6][7]
Pro-Europeanism[8]
Political position Centre-left[9][10][11][12]
European affiliation European Free Alliance
European Parliament group Greens/EFA
Colours      Yellow
House of Commons(Scottish seats)
54 / 59

European Parliament (Scottish seats)
2 / 6

Scottish Parliament
63 / 129

Local government in Scotland[13]
405 / 1,223

Website
www.snp.org

The Scottish National Party (SNP; Scottish Gaelic: Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba, Scots: Scots Naitional Pairtie) is a Scottish nationalist[14][15] and social-democratic[16][17][18] political party in Scotland. The SNP supports and campaigns for Scottish independence.[5][19] It is the third-largest political party by membership in the United Kingdom, as well as by overall representation in the House of Commons, behind the Labour Party and the Conservative Party, and is the largest party in Scotland, where it dominates both the Scottish Parliament and the country’s parliamentary delegation to the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Its leader, Nicola Sturgeon, is the current First Minister of Scotland.

Founded in 1934 with the merger of the National Party of Scotland and theScottish Party, the party has had continuous parliamentary representationsince Winnie Ewing won the 1967 Hamilton by-election.[20] With the advent of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, the SNP became the second largest party, serving two terms as the opposition. The SNP came to power in the 2007 Scottish general election, forming a minority government, before going on to win the 2011 election, after which it formed Scotland’s first majority government.[21]

As of June 2016, the SNP is the largest political party in Scotland in terms of membership with over 117,000 members,[22] around 2% of the Scottish population. Currently the party has 63 MSPs,[23] 54 MPs and approximately 400 local councillors.[24] The SNP also currently has 2 MEPs in the European Parliament, who sit in The Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA) group. The SNP is a member of the European Free Alliance (EFA).

History[edit]

The SNP was formed in 1934 through the merger of the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party, with Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham as its first president. Professor Douglas Young, who was the leader of the Scottish National Party from 1942 to 1945 campaigned for the Scottish people to refuse conscription and his activities were popularly vilified as undermining the British war effort against the Axis powers. Young was imprisoned for refusing to be conscripted.

The SNP first won a parliamentary seat at the Motherwell by-election in 1945, but Robert McIntyre MP lost the seat at thegeneral election three months later. They next won a seat in 1967, when Winnie Ewing was the surprise winner of a by-election in the previously safe Labour seat of Hamilton. This brought the SNP to national prominence, leading to the establishment of the Kilbrandon Commission.

The SNP hit a high point in the October 1974 general election, polling almost a third of all votes in Scotland and returning 11 MPs to Westminster. This success was not surpassed until the 2015 general election. However, the party experienced a large drop in its support at the 1979 General election, followed by a further drop at the 1983 election.

In the 2007 Scottish Parliamentary general election the SNP emerged as the largest party with 47 seats, narrowly ousting the Scottish Labour Party with 46 seats and Alex Salmond became Scottish First Minister. The Scottish Green Partysupported Salmond’s election as First Minister, and his subsequent appointments of ministers, in return for early tabling of the climate change bill and the SNP nominating a Green MSP to chair a parliamentary committee.[25]

In May 2011, the SNP won an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament with 69 seats. Overall majorities are unusual in theAdditional Member system that is used for elections to the Scottish Parliament,[26]

Based on their 2011 majority, the SNP government held a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014. The “No” vote prevailed in a close-fought campaign, prompting the resignation of First Minister Alex Salmond. Forty-five percent of Scottish voters cast their ballots for independence, with the “Yes” side receiving less support than late polling predicted.[27]

The SNP rebounded from the loss in the independence referendum at the UK general election in May 2015, led by Salmond’s successor as first minister, Nicola Sturgeon. The party went from holding six seats in the House of Commons to 56, mostly at the expense of the Labour Party. All but three of the fifty nine constituencies in the country elected an SNP candidate. BBC News described the historic result as a “Scots landslide”.[28]

Constitution and structure[edit]

The primary level of organisation in the SNP are the local Branches. All of the Branches within each Scottish Parliament constituency form a Constituency Association, which coordinates the work of the Branches within the constituency, coordinates the activities of the party in the constituency, and acts as a point of liaison between an MSP or MP and the party. Constituency Associations are composed of delegates from all of the Branches within the constituency.

The annual National Conference is the supreme governing body of the SNP, and is responsible for determining party policy and electing the National Executive Committee. The National Conference is composed of:

The National Council serves as the SNP’s governing body between National Conferences, and its decisions are binding, unless rescinded or modified by the National Conference. There are also regular meetings of the National Assembly, which provides a forum for detailed discussion of party policy by party members.

The party has an active youth wing, the Young Scots for Independence, as well as a student wing, the Federation of Student Nationalists. There is also an SNP Trade Union Group. There is an independently-owned monthly newspaper, The Scots Independent, which is highly supportive of the party.

The SNP’s leadership is vested in its National Executive Committee (NEC), which is made up of the party’s elected office bearers and six elected members (voted for at conference). The SNP parliamentarians (Scottish, Westminster and European) and councillors have representation on the NEC, as do the Trade Union Group, the youth wing and the student wing.

National Office Bearers[edit]

Membership[edit]

Since 18 September 2014 (the day of the Scottish independence referendum) party membership has more than quadrupled (from 25,642), surpassing the Liberal Democrats to become the third largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of membership.[29] As of March 2015, the Party had well exceeded the 100,000 membership mark.[30]

According to accounts filed with the Electoral Commission for the year ending 2012, the party had a total income of £2,300,459 and a total expenditure of about £2,656,059.[31]

European affiliation[edit]

The SNP retains close links with Plaid Cymru, its counterpart in Wales. MPs from both parties co-operate closely with each other and work as a single parliamentary group within the House of Commons. The SNP and Plaid Cymru were involved in joint campaigning during the 2005 General Election campaign. Both the SNP and Plaid Cymru, along with Mebyon Kernowfrom Cornwall, are members of the European Free Alliance (EFA), a European political party comprising regionalist political parties. The EFA co-operates with the larger European Green Party to form The Greens–European Free Alliance(Greens/EFA) group in the European Parliament.

Prior to its affiliation with The Greens–European Free Alliance, the SNP had previously been allied with the European Progressive Democrats (1979–1984), Rainbow Group (1989–1994) and European Radical Alliance (1994–1999).

Party ideology[edit]

Historical ideology[edit]

The SNP’s policy base is mostly in the mainstream European social democratic tradition. Among its policies are commitments to same-sex marriage, reducing the voting age to 16, unilateral nuclear disarmament,progressive personal taxation, the eradication of poverty, the building of affordable social housing, government subsidised higher education, opposition to the building of new nuclear power plants, investment in renewable energy, the abolition of Air Passenger Duty, and a pay increase for nurses.[32][33]

The Scottish National Party did not have a clear ideological position until the 1970s, when it sought to explicitly present itself as a social democratic party in terms of party policy and publicity.[34][35] During the period from its foundation until the 1960s, the SNP was essentially a moderate centrist party.[34] Debate within the party focused more on the SNP being distinct as an all-Scotland national movement, with it being neither of the left or the right, but constituting a new politics that sought to put Scotland first.[35][36]

The SNP was formed through the merger of the centre-left National Party of Scotland (NPS) and the centre-right Scottish Party.[35] The SNP’s founders were united over self-determination in principle, though not its exact nature, or the best strategic means to achieve self-government. From the mid-1940s onwards, SNP policy was radical and redistributionist in relation to land and in favour of ‘the diffusion of economic power’, including the decentralisation of industries such as coal to include the involvement of local authorities and regional planning bodies to control industrial structure and development.[34]Party policies supported the economic and social policy status quo of the post-war welfare state.[34][37]

By the 1960s, the SNP was starting to become defined ideologically, with a social democratic tradition emerging as the party grew in urban, industrial Scotland, and its membership experienced an influx of social democrats from the Labour Party, the trade unions and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.[38][39] The emergence of Billy Wolfe as a leading figure in the SNP also contributed to this movement to the left. By this period, the Labour Party were also the dominant party in Scotland, in terms of electoral support and representation. Targeting Labour through emphasising left-of-centre policies and values was therefore electorally logical for the SNP, as well as tying in with the ideological preferences of many new party members.[39] In 1961 the SNP conference expressed the party’s opposition to the siting of theUS Polaris submarine base at the Holy Loch. This policy was followed in 1963 by a motion opposed to nuclear weapons: a policy that has remained in place ever since.[40] The 1964 policy document, SNP & You, contained a clear centre-left policy platform, including commitments to full employment, government intervention in fuel, power and transport, a state bank to guide economic development, encouragement of cooperatives and credit unions, extensive building of council houses by central and local government, pensions adjusted to cost of living, a minimum wage and an improved national health service.[34]

The ’60s also saw the beginnings of the SNP’s efforts to establish an industrial organisation and mobilise amongst trade unionists in Scotland, with the establishment of the SNP Trade Union Group, and identifying the SNP with industrial campaigns, such as the Upper-Clyde Shipbuilders Work-in and the attempt of the workers at the Scottish Daily Express to run as a cooperative.[34] For the party manifestos for the two 1974 general elections, the SNP finally self-identified as a social democratic party, and proposed a range of social democratic policies.[41][42] There was also an unsuccessful proposal at the 1975 party conference to rename the party as the Scottish National Party (Social Democrats).[43]

There were further ideological and internal struggles after 1979 with the 79 Group attempting to move the SNP further to the left, away from being what could be described a “social-democratic” party, to an expressly “socialist” party. Members of the 79 Group – including future party leader and First Minister Alex Salmond – were expelled from the party. This produced a response in the shape of the Campaign for Nationalism in Scotland from those who wanted the SNP to remain a “broad church”, apart from arguments of left vs. right. The 1980s saw the SNP further define itself as a party of the political left, such as campaigning against the poll tax.[34]

Ideological tensions inside the SNP are further complicated by arguments between the so-called SNP gradualists and SNP fundamentalists. In essence, gradualists seek to advance Scotland to independence through further devolution, in a “step-by-step” strategy. They tend to be in the moderate left grouping, though much of the 79 Group was gradualist in approach. However, this 79 Group gradualism was as much a reaction against the fundamentalists of the day, many of whom believed the SNP should not take a clear left or right position.[34]

Current ideology[edit]

In its economic and welfare state policies, the party has in recent years adopted a markedly feminist profile, influenced by thinkers such as Ailsa McKay.[44] The SNP is against the renewal of Trident and wants to continue providing free university education in Scotland.[45]

The SNP is also a Pro-European party, in which it would like to see an independent Scotland as a member of the European Union.[46]

Leadership[edit]

Leaders of the Scottish National Party[edit]

Nicola Sturgeon, Leader of the Scottish National Party

Depute Leaders of the Scottish National Party[edit]

Presidents of the Scottish National Party[edit]

National Secretaries of the Scottish National Party[edit]

Leaders of the parliamentary party, Scottish Parliament[edit]

Leaders of the parliamentary party, House of Commons[edit]

Ministers and spokespeople[edit]

Scottish Parliament[edit]

See also: Government of the 4th Scottish Parliament, Scottish Government, Members of the 4th Scottish Parliament
Portfolio SNP Spokesperson
Leader of the Scottish National Party
First Minister of Scotland
Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland
Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP
Deputy First Minister of Scotland
Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy
John Swinney MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Angela Constance MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Keith Brown MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport Shona Robison MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna Cunningham MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights Alex Neil MSP
Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism Fergus Ewing MSP
Minister for Parliamentary Business Joe Fitzpatrick MSP
Minister for Transport and Islands Derek Mackay MSP
Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment Annabelle Ewing MSP
Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell MSP
Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages Dr Alasdair Allan MSP
Minister for Public Health Maureen Watt MSP
Minister for Sport and Health Improvement Jamie Hepburn MSP
Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment Marco Biagi MSP
Minister for Housing and Welfare Margaret Burgess MSP
Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs Paul Wheelhouse MSP
Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Dr Aileen McLeod MSP
Minister for Europe and International Development Humza Yousaf MSP

United Kingdom Parliament[edit]

Portfolio SNP Spokesperson
SNP Group Leader in the House of Commons
Constitution
Rt Hon Angus Robertson MP
Depute Leader of the Scottish National Party
Deputy Group Leader
Economy
Stewart Hosie MP
Group Secretary
Social Justice and Welfare
Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP
Justice and Home Affairs Joanna Cherry QC MP
International Affairs and Europe Rt Hon Alex Salmond MP
Defence Brendan O’Hara MP
Trade and Investment
Deputy Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh OBE MP
Fair Work and Employment Neil Gray MP
Transport Drew Hendry MP
Environment and Rural Affairs Calum Kerr MP
Energy and Climate Change Callum McCaig MP
Public Services and Education Carol Monaghan MP
Business, Innovation and Skills Hannah Bardell MP
Health Dr Philippa Whitford MP
Member of the Group Executive
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
Pete Wishart MP
Chief Whip Michael Weir MP
Scottish Parliament/Scottish Government Liaison Deidre Brock MP

European Parliament[edit]

Portfolio SNP Spokesperson
President of the Scottish National Party
Fisheries; Regional Development
Ian Hudghton MEP
Agriculture and Rural Development Alyn Smith MEP

Elected representatives (current)[edit]

Members of the Scottish Parliament[edit]

Members of Parliament[edit]

Members of the European Parliament[edit]

Councillors[edit]

The SNP had 425 councillors in Local Government elected from the Scottish local elections, 2012.

Electoral performance[edit]

Scottish Parliament Elections[edit]

Year[47] Share of votes Seats won Position Outcome Additional Information
1999 28.7%
35 / 129

(including 7 First Past the Post seats)

2nd Opposition First election to the re-constituted Scottish Parliament. Became the official opposition to the coalition of Labour and Liberal Democrats.
2003 23.8%
27 / 129

(including 9 First Past the Post seats)

2nd Opposition
2007 32.9%
47 / 129

(including 21 First Past the Post seats)

1st Minority Government Largest party in the Scottish Parliament; formed the Scottish Government.
2011 45.4%
69 / 129

(including 53 First Past the Post seats)

1st Majority Government Formed the first majority Scottish Government.
2016 46.5%
63 / 129

(including 59 First Past the Post seats)

1st Minority Government

District Council Elections[edit]

Year[48] Share of votes Seats won
1974 12.4%
62 / 1,158

1977 24.2%
170 / 1,158

1980 15.5%
54 / 1,158

1984 11.7%
59 / 1,158

1988 21.3%
113 / 1,158

1992 24.3%
150 / 1,158

Regional Council Elections[edit]

Year[48] Share of votes Seats won
1974 12.6%
18 / 524

1978 20.9%
18 / 524

1982 13.4%
23 / 524

1986 18.2%
36 / 524

1990 21.8%
42 / 524

1994 26.8%
73 / 453

Local Council Elections[edit]

Year[48] Share of votes Seats won Additional Information
1995 26.1%
181 / 1,222

1999 28.9%
201 / 1,222

2003 24.1%
171 / 1,222

2007 29.7% (first preference)
363 / 1,222

Largest party in local government (first ever Scottish local elections to be held under theSingle Transferable Vote).
2012 32.33% (first preference)
425 / 1,223

Largest party in local government; received largest number of first preference votes.

UK General Elections[edit]

Year[48] Share of votes Seats won Additional Information
1935 1.1%
0 / 71

1945 1.2%
0 / 71

1950 0.4%
0 / 71

1951 0.3%
0 / 71

1955 0.5%
0 / 71

1959 0.5%
0 / 71

1964 2.4%
0 / 71

1966 5.0%
0 / 71

1970 11.4%
1 / 71

1974 (Feb) 21.9%
7 / 71

1974 (Oct) 30.4%
11 / 71

High-water mark, until 2015. Increased presence contributed to Labour holding a devolution referendum in 1979.
1979 17.3%
2 / 71

Poor performance compared to the two 1974 elections caused internal ructions during the 1980s.
1983 11.7%
2 / 72

1987 14.0%
3 / 72

1992 21.5%
3 / 72

1997 22.1%
6 / 72

2001 20.1%
5 / 72

2005 17.7%
6 / 59

2010 19.9%
6 / 59

2015 50.0%
56 / 59

Overall high-water mark and the first time the SNP gained an absolute majority of seats in Scotland.

European Parliament Elections[edit]

Year[48] Share of votes Seats won Additional Information
1979 19.4%
1 / 8

1984 17.8%
1 / 8

1989 25.6%
1 / 8

1994 32.6%
2 / 8

1999 27.2%
2 / 8

2004 19.7%
2 / 7

2009 29.1%
2 / 6

The first European Parliament elections in which the SNP won the most votes within Scotland.[49]
2014 29.0%
2 / 6

SNP won the most votes within Scotland.

See also

Socialist Equality Party (UK)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Socialist Equality Party
Founded 1986, as Workers Revolutionary Party (Internationalist))
Split from Workers Revolutionary Party
Youth wing International Youth and Students for Social Equality (Britain)
Ideology
International affiliation International Committee of the Fourth International
Website
http://www.socialequality.org.uk

The Socialist Equality Party is a Trotskyist group in Britain. It is one of several Socialist Equality Parties affiliated with the International Committee of the Fourth International. The ICFI publishes daily news articles, perspectives and commentaries on the World Socialist Web Site.

History[edit]

The party’s origins lie in the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) until the majority of that party split from the ICFI in 1986. A group in the WRP supported the ICFI and left the WRP. Initially known as the Workers Revolutionary Party (Internationalist), they soon became the International Communist Party, based in Sheffield. They stood in several elections before renaming themselves in 1996, in line with other sections of the international organisation.[1][2]

Programme[edit]

The party’s manifesto claims the necessity for the development of a new and genuinely socialist movement against aConservative Party government which functions as the political tool of the super-rich. It calls for the unity of workers throughout Britain with their brothers and sisters internationally in opposition to the eruption of US aggression, which, with the Tory’s support, threatens to spread the illegal wars against Iraq and Afghanistan into Syria and possibly Iran.

The manifesto states: “The fight against war is bound up with the struggle to put an end to the capitalist profit system by reorganizing economic life to meet the social interests of the vast majority of the world’s population rather than the selfish interests of a parasitic elite.” (See SEP election manifesto)

Recent Interventions[edit]

The SEP held a public meeting in Sheffield on 23 February 2011 to address the attempts to extradite Julian Assange. Robert Stevens spoke in defence of Assange, characterising the legal proceedings as “a manhunt”.[3]

NHS Fightback was launched on 21 January 2013.[4]

The SEP held a series of meetings in October 2013 to oppose imperialist intervention in Syria and raise the danger of world war.[5]

Elections[edit]

The SEP ran candidates in the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections and the 2007 Welsh Assembly elections, but failed to gain any seats. The party ran a candidate, Chris Talbot, in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election who received 84 votes.[6] Two candidates stood in the 2010 general election, David O’Sullivan in Oxford East, who received 116 votes,[7] and Robert Skelton in Manchester Central, who received 54 votes.[8]

The SEP stood alongside the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit in Germany in the 2014 election for the European Parliament. In Britain, the SEP stood in the North West constituency.[9]

It urged a ‘no’ vote in the Scottish independence referendum, 2014.[10]

The SEP stood two candidates in the 2015 general election.[11]

Communist Labour Party (Scotland)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Scottish Communist Party)
See Communist party (disambiguation) for other similarly named groups.
Communist Labour Party
Chairman Jack Leckie
National Secretary John Maclean
Treasurer Alec Geddes
Founded 1920
Dissolved 1921
Succeeded by Communist Party of Great Britain
Ideology Communism
Political position Far-left

The Communist Labour Party was a small Communist Party in Scotland. It was formed in September 1920 by the Scottish Workers’ Committee and the Scottish section of the Communist Party (British Section of the Third International) (CP(BSTI)), some members of the Socialist Labour Party (SLP) and various local communist groups. In the same month, the Communist Party of South Wales and the West of England was founded, with a very similar programme.

Under the influence of John Maclean MA, the group was provisionally named the Scottish Communist Party. However, its founding conference, which Maclean did not attend, renamed it the Communist Labour Party. It also decided that it should remain a provisional body with the aim of joining theCommunist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), a position championed by Willie Gallacher. His positions defeated, Maclean left the group and instead joined the SLP. The Communist Labour Party then joined the CPGB, along with the remainder of the CP(BSTI) in January 1921.

Christian Party (UK)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Scottish Christian Party)
Christian Party
Leader Jeff Green
Founded 2005
Ideology Christian right,
Euroscepticism,
Social conservatism
Political position Right-Wing
National affiliation Alliance for Democracy
European affiliation None
International affiliation None
European Parliament group None
Colours Violet
Website
http://www.ukchristianparty.org/

The Christian Party, which includes the Scottish Christian Party[1] and theWelsh Christian Party,[2] is a minor political party in Great Britain. Members of the Christian Peoples Alliance split off in 2004 under George Hargreaves to found the Christian Party, which compared to the CPA has more of a Christian right perspective.[citation needed] Its leader is now Jeff Green.

History

The party originated as Operation Christian Vote, founded by George Hargreaves, a Pentecostal minister and former songwriter, in May 2004. It was based in Stornoway, Scotland.[3] It contested the 2004 European Elections in the Scotland constituency,[4] gaining 1.8% of the popular vote.

Hargreaves was a candidate for Operation Christian Vote in the Birmingham Hodge Hill by-election in 2004 where he received 90 votes, last place in a field of seven candidates, and lost his deposit. In the 2005 general election, Hargreaves stood in Na h-Eileanan an Iar, where he was placed fourth, ahead of the Conservatives, and retained his deposit with 1,048 votes or 7.6%.

The party was involved in protests, such as at Glasgow.[5]

The party became known as the Christian Party.

Registration as a party[edit]

The party was registered by the Electoral Commission on 29 April 2004, with the name ‘Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship!”‘.[2] It has registered nine party descriptions, and two translations, to be used on ballot papers, namely:

  • Christian Party
  • Christian Party (Scotland)
  • Scottish Christian Party
  • Scottish Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”
  • The Christian Party
  • The Scottish Christian Party
  • Welsh Christian Party
  • Welsh Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”
  • Plaid Gristionogol Cymru
  • Plaid Gristionogol Cymru “Datgan Arglwyddiaeth Crist”

In June 2012, legal action was taken against the Christian Party treasurer by the Electoral Commission for £2,750 for failure to supply accounts for two years as well as for failure to pay previous fines.[6] The party de-registered the following month. Hargreaves was given a further 6 months to supply accounts, but failed to do so and was consequently fined a further £3,000 on top of a previous fine of £1,125 for failing to meet the deadline for provision of accounts.[7]

As a result, the party was de-registered in July 2012 and after the regulatory 6 months had elapsed, re-registered under a new party RPP under the leadership of Jeff Green. Sue Green is the party treasurer and Dr Donald Boyd is the nominating officer and leader of the Scottish Christian Party. The leader of the Welsh Christian Party and overall leader is Green.

Elections[edit]

The Rev Hargreaves (2nd from left in candidates line-up) and other candidates who contested theGlasgow Baillieston constituency in the Scottish Parliament election, 2007.

Candidates from the party stood in the Sedgefield and Ealing Southallby-elections in 2007. The party received 26,575 votes (0.7%) in the2007 Scottish Parliament election and 8,693 votes (0.9%) in the 2007 Welsh Assembly Election; it did not come close to winning any seats.

Hargreaves stood for the party at the Haltemprice and Howden by-election, 2008, and received 76 votes or 0.3% of the total votes cast.

The party competed in the 2009 European elections. Its campaign was mainly focussed in London. The British Humanist Association had put up advertisements on London buses saying “there’s probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life“. The party then produced similar adverts saying “there definitely is a God, so join the Christian Party and enjoy your life.”[8] The advert received over 1,000 complaints. On election day, the party retained one deposit in the London regionthrough gaining 51,336 votes (2.9%).

In the 2010 United Kingdom general election, the party stood 71 candidates, gaining 18,623 votes.[9]

The newly re-registered Christian Party contested the Eastleigh by-election in February 2013 with its candidate Kevin Milburn, a retired former prison officer and health care worker who stood against same-sex marriage.[10] He received 163 votes (0.4%).

The Christian Party fielded nine candidates in the 2015 general election who between them polled 3,205 votes.[11] Only John Cormack in Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles) saved his deposit with 6.6%; the other eight each received less than 1% of the votes cast.

Policies[edit]

The party’s mission statement is, “Christians working together to bring Christian concern, goodwill and action into the community, education, business and politics.”[12]

The party’s website includes a statement of its policies[13] which include the following:

Banking[14]

  • Promote personal and corporate financial responsibility
  • Promote government creation of money to be managed by the Bank of England to avoid national indebtedness to commercial banks

Law and order’ manifesto[15]

  • Change the role of the Social Services to support parental authority
  • Make contraception for minors illegal without parental approval
  • Re-instate in loco parentis as a fundamental principle of school teaching

Health[16]

  • Make private health insurance a visa requirement for migrants
  • Oblige private medical insurers to inform the Home Office when a private medical insurance policy linked to a visa is allowed to lapse or expires
  • Review and reduce Health and Safety legislation

Social security[17]

  • Reform the benefit system to remove the risk associated with leaving the welfare system and entering work. This would be accomplished by suspending benefit claims for a period of 9 months rather than closing them when an unemployed person gains employment. Within the 9-month period an unemployed person will be able to audit three jobs before their claim is liable to closure.

Immigration[18]

  • Negotiated agreement with the European Union to apply the immigration points system to migrants from the European Union, or in the event of non-agreement the declaration of a unilateral change in immigration policy
  • Make private health insurance a visa requirement for immigrants
  • Initiate a “No (private sector) Home – No Visa” policy

Environment[19]

  • Challenge the increasing levels of consumption
  • Have Sunday restored as a day of rest
  • Seek a new global financial system which supports sustainable use of resources

Government and democracy[20]

  • Support significant cuts in the public sector workforce in order to reduce the size of government and the size of the government spending
  • Support a major re-employment and training programme to make it easier for public sector workers to transfer to the private sector
  • Call for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty within the first year of the new Parliament

Respect for the human person’ manifesto[21]

  • Oppose abortion
  • Opposing the legal recognition of same-sex marriage
  • Support funding for hospices which provide terminal or palliative care for adults, children and infants

Defence[22]

  • Maintain a well resourced military with a nuclear deterrent
  • Support the doctrine of a ‘just war’, but not military adventurism
  • Withdraw British troops from Afghanistan

In 2007 George Hargreaves campaigned to replace the Flag of Wales with the Flag of Saint David, claiming that the red dragon on the Welsh flag was “nothing less than the sign of Satan”.[23]

See also

National Front (UK)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
National Front
Leader Kevin Bryan[1]
Deputy Leader David MacDonald
Founded 1967; 49 years ago
Headquarters Kingston upon Hull[1]
Ideology Ultranationalism
White supremacy
British fascism[2][3]
Neo-fascism[4]
Neo-Nazism
Political position Far-right
European affiliation None
International affiliation None
European Parliament group No MEPs
Colours                Red, white,blue
House of Commons
0 / 650

House of Lords
0 / 781

European Parliament
0 / 73

Local government
0 / 21,871

Website
www.britishnationalfront.net

The National Front (NF) is a British far-right political party for whites only,[5]opposed to non-white immigration, and committed to a programme of repatriation. While denying accusations of fascism, it has cultivated links withneo-Nazi cells at home and abroad, and the British police and prison services forbid their employees to be members of the party.[6]

The NF was founded in 1967. By 1976, it had up to 14,000 paying members, and won nearly 20% of that year’s local election votes in Leicester. In the 1979 general election, the NF fielded 303 candidates, polling 191,719 votes. In 2010, it put up 17 candidates for the general election and 18 candidates for the local elections, but none were elected.

The party has never won a seat in Parliament, and its few council seats have only been obtained through defection and appointment.

Policies[edit]

The National Front has been described as fascist[3][7][8] and neo-fascist[4] in its policies. In his book, The New Fascists, Wilkinson, comparing the NF to the Italian Social Movement (MSI), comments on its neo-fascist nature and neo-Nazi ideals:

“The only other case among the western democracies of a neo-fascist movement making some progress towards creating an effective mass party with at least a chance of winning some leverage, is the National Front (NF) in Britain. It is interesting that the NF, like the MSI, has tried to develop a ‘two-track’ strategy. On the one hand it follows an opportunistic policy of attempting to present itself as a respectable political party appealing by argument and peaceful persuasion for the support of the British electorate. On the other, its leadership is deeply imbued with Nazi ideas, and though they try to play down their past affiliations with more blatantly Nazi movements, such as Colin Jordan’s National Socialist Movement, they covertly maintain intimate connections with small neo-Nazi cells in Britain and abroad, because all their beliefs and motives make this not only tactically expedient but effective.”[4]

The party also stands for “white family values”, including the white supremacist slogan (known as the Fourteen Words), which stipulates, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”[5]

Immigration[edit]

The cornerstone of the National Front’s manifesto since 1974 has been the compulsory repatriation of all non-white immigrants:

“The National Front advocates a total ban on any further non-White immigration into Britain, and the launching of a phased plan of repatriation for all coloured immigrants.”[9]

In the past, the National Front did not oppose white immigration into Britain.[10] John Tyndall, a former leader of the party spoke positively of white immigrants from Poland, Hungary and the Baltic states, regarding them as being racially similar and sharing the “same basic culture” as the British and were thus easily able to assimilate “within a generation or two”.[11]Ted Budden, a former organiser for the party in the 1980s proclaimed that white immigrants such as Poles in Britain would not be repatriated, adding: “Ah, it’s the Poles who are the most forthright in the fight against coloured immigrants everywhere”.[10] The National Front’s manifesto has also called for white emigrants to the Commonwealth countries to return to Britain, claiming: “These immigrants should be given completely free entry into Britain and full rights of British citizenship”.[12] The National Front in its political manifestos published in 1997 and 2001 reiterated its pledge to repatriate “all coloured immigrants and their offspring”. The party’s policy as of 2012 on immigration remains unchanged in regards to its compulsory repatriation policy for non-whites:

“The National Front would halt all non-white immigration into Britain and introduce a policy of phased and humane repatriation.”[13]

The party, however, now opposes further white immigration into Britain, excluding some cases:

“In regards to white immigration, this would only be allowed where there are particular reasons such as the possession of particular skills or in the case of political refugees.”[13]

Unlike non-white immigrants, the National Front has no policy to repatriate white immigrants already settled in Britain. While supporting withdrawal from the European Union, the National Front wants to create greater cultural links between Europe, what it calls the “White nations”. The party claims to stand for “white family values” and the “Fourteen Words“, a white nationalist slogan that states: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” The party works in open cooperation with the white supremacist and neo-Nazi website Stormfront.[14][15]

In recent years the party has been in conflict with the British National Party over such issues as the BNP’s attempts to present a more moderate image, such as shifting its policy from compulsory to voluntary repatriation and opening its membership to non-whites. The NF’s former national chairman, Tom Holmes, condemned the BNP as no longer being awhite nationalist party for having an Asian, Sikh columnist in its party newspaper.[16]

Environment[edit]

According to its 2010 general election manifesto, the National Front’s policy on environmental issues includes enacting legislation to protect and expand existing green areas, particularly in urban areas. It also calls for a higher investment in the UK’s rail network and want stricter controls on pesticides.[17]

Crime[edit]

The party supports the use of capital punishment for crimes which they regard as “extreme violence” such as aggravated rape, murder and terrorism.[18]

Sex[edit]

The party believes that the current age of consent at 16 in Britain is too young and would raise it to 18. They would also make sure that any child under the age of 16 could not legally give consent (as opposed to 13 in Britain today), and want this put in place throughout the United Kingdom.[19] The party has also supported the reintroduction of Section 28, and supports the recriminalisation of homosexuality.[20]

Abortion[edit]

The party adopts a strongly anti-abortion stance, describing abortion as a “crime against humanity” and would repeal the1967 Abortion Act.[21]

Democracy[edit]

Its constitution expresses the fact that it is led by a National Directorate rather than a chairman, and that the National Front is a party of democracy and freedom of speech. Section 2 says: “The National Front consists of a confederation of branches co-ordinated by a National Directorate. Additionally a Central Tribunal appointed by the National Directorate is responsible for acting as a final court of appeal in internal disciplinary matters and for acting as a disciplinary tribunal for cases brought directly against individual party members by the National Directorate.”[22] It claims that its skinhead image is a thing of the past, that the party is critical of the historical accuracy of the Holocaust, and is inclined towards historical revisionism, but claims that it has no official view about it and defends the right of free speech for any historian of the subject.[23]

History[edit]

Late 1960s: formation[edit]

A move towards unity on the far right had been growing during the 1960s as groups worked more closely together. Impetus was provided by the 1966 general election when a moderate Conservative Party was defeated and A. K. Chesterton, a cousin of the novelist G. K. Chesterton and leader of the League of Empire Loyalists (LEL), argued that a patriotic and racialist right wing party would have won the election.[24] Acting on a suggestion by John Tyndall, Chesterton opened talks with the 1960s incarnation of the British National Party (who had already been discussing a possible deal with the newNational Democratic Party) and agreed a merger with them, with the BNP’s Philip Maxwell addressing the LEL conference in October 1966.[25] A portion of the Racial Preservation Society led by Robin Beauclair also agreed to participate (although the remainder threw in their lot with the NDP, its house political party under David Brown) and so the NF was founded on 7 February 1967.[26]

Its purpose was to oppose immigration and multiculturalist policies in Britain, and multinational agreements such as the United Nations or the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as replacements for negotiated bilateral agreements between nations. The new group placed a ban on neo-Nazi groups being allowed to join the party, but members of John Tyndall’sneo-fascist Greater Britain Movement were allowed to join on an individual basis.[27]

Early 1970s: growth[edit]

The National Front grew during the 1970s and had between 16,000 and 20,000 members by 1974, and 50 local branches.[28] Its electoral base largely consisted of blue-collar workers and the self-employed who resented immigrant competition in the labour market and for scarce housing. Some recruits came from the Monday Club within the Conservative Party that had been founded in reaction to Harold Macmillan‘s “Wind of Change” speech. The NF fought on a platform of opposition to communism and liberalism, support for Ulster loyalism, opposition to the European Economic Community, and the compulsory repatriation of new Commonwealth immigrants who had entered Britain under the British Nationality Act, 1948.[29][30] In May 1973, in a by-election in West Bromwich West, the National Front candidate, the party’s National Activities Organizer, Martin Webster, polled 4,789 votes (16.2%), a result which shook the political and media Establishment.

National Front march in Yorkshire, 1970s.

A common sight in England in the 1970s, the NF was well known for its street demonstrations, particularly in London, where it often faced anti-fascist protestors from opposing left-wing groups, including the International Marxist Group and the International Socialists (later the Socialist Workers Party). Opponents of the National Front claimed it to be a neo-fascist organisation, and its activities were opposed byanti-racist activists such as those connected with Searchlight magazine. The NF was led at first by Chesterton, who left under a cloud after half of the directorate (led by the NF’s major financer, Gordon Marshall) moved a vote of no confidence in him. He was replaced in 1970 by the party’s office manager John O’Brien, a former Conservative and supporter of Enoch Powell. O’Brien, however, left when he realised the NF’s leadership functions were being systematically taken over by the former Greater Britain Movement members, in order to ensure the party was really being run by John Tyndall and his deputy Martin Webster.[31] O’Brien and the NF’s treasurer Clare McDonald led a small group of supporters into John Davis’ National Independence Party, and the leadership of the National Front passed to Tyndall and Webster.

Mid 1970s: height of party and success[edit]

Between 1973 and 1976 the National Front performed better in local elections, as well as in several parliamentary by-elections, than in general elections. No parliamentary candidates ever won a seat, but the party saved its deposit on one occasion.[32][33]

The NF sought to expand its influence into the ‘white dominions’ of the Commonwealth.[34] In 1977, overseas organisations were set up in New Zealand (the New Zealand National Front), South Africa (the South African National Front[35]) and in Australia (the National Front Australia ).

A Canadian organisation was also set up (National Front of Canada) but it failed to take off.[36]

Already by 1974, the ITV documentary This Week exposed the neo-Nazi pasts (and continued links with Nazis from other countries) of Tyndall and Webster. This resulted in a stormy annual conference two weeks later, where Tyndall was booed with chants of “Nazi! Nazi!” when he tried to make his speech. This led to the leadership being passed to the populist John Kingsley Read. A stand-off between Read and his supporters (such as Roy Painter and Denis Pirie) and Tyndall and Webster followed, leading to a temporary stand-still in NF growth. Before long Read and his supporters seceded and Tyndall returned as leader. Read formed the short-lived National Party, which won two council seats in Blackburn in 1976.[37]

A National Front march through central London on 15 June 1974 led to a 21-year-old man, Kevin Gately, being killed and dozens more people (including 39 police officers) being injured, in clashes between the party’s supporters and members of ‘anti-fascist’ organisations.[38]

The National Front was also opposed to British membership of the European Economic Community, which began on 1 January 1973. On 25 March 1975, some 400 NF supporters demonstrated across London in protest against EEC membership, mostly in the Islington area of the capital.[39]

During 1976 the movement’s fortunes improved, and the NF had up to 14,000 paid members.[28] A campaign was launched in support of Robert Relf, who had been jailed for refusing to remove a sign from outside his home declaring that it was for sale only to English buyers. In the May local election the NF’s best result was in Leicester, where 48 candidates won 14,566 votes, nearly 20% of the total vote.[40] By June, the party’s growth rate was its highest ever. In the May 1977 Greater London Council election, 119,060 votes were cast in favour of the NF and the Liberals were beaten in 33 out of 92 constituencies.[41]

A police ban on an NF march through Hyde in October 1977 was defied by Martin Webster, who separately marched alone carrying a Union Jack and a sign reading “Defend British Free Speech from Red Terrorism”, surrounded by an estimated 2,500 police and onlookers. He was allowed to march, as ‘one man’ did not constitute a breaking of the ban. The tactic attracted media publicity for the Front.[42]

Late 1970s: riots, in-fighting and decline[edit]

If anything epitomised the NF under Tyndall and Webster it was the events of August 1977, when a large NF march went through the largely non-white area of Lewisham in South East London under an inflammatory slogan claiming that 85% of muggers were black whilst 85% of their victims were white.[43] As the NF was then contesting the Birmingham Ladywood by-election, such a large march elsewhere was construed by some as an attempt to provoke trouble. 270 policemen were injured (56 hospitalised) and over 200 marchers were injured (78 hospitalised), while an attempt was made by rioters to destroy the local police station.[44] At this march, riot shields were used for the first time in the UK outside Northern Ireland. The event is often referred to by ‘anti-fascists’ as the Battle of Lewisham. In fact, many of those who took part in the riot that day were not members of any ‘anti-fascist’ or ‘anti-racist’ group, but local youths (both black and white).[45]

At the same time, Margaret Thatcher as opposition leader was moving the Tory party back to the right and away from the moderate Heathite stance which had caused some Conservatives to join the NF. Many ex-Tories returned to the fold from the NF or its myriad splinter groups, in particular after her “swamping” remarks on the ITV documentary series World In Action on 30 January 1978:

“… we do not talk about it [immigration] perhaps as much as we should. In my view, that is one thing that is driving some people to the National Front. They do not agree with the objectives of the National Front, but they say that at least they are talking about some of the problems…. If we do not want people to go to extremes… we must show that we are prepared to deal with it. We are a British nation with British characteristics.”[46]

Also, Tyndall insisted on using party funds to nominate extra candidates so that the NF would be standing in 303 seats to give the impression of growing strength. However, it brought the party to the verge of bankruptcy when all of the deposits were lost. Most candidates were candidates in name only, and did no electioneering.[citation needed]

National Front deputy leader Martin Webster claimed two decades later that the activities of the Anti-Nazi League played a key part in the NF’s collapse at the end of the 1970s. The NF stood its largest number of parliamentary candidates at the1979 general election only a few months later, and met with far less opposition than in previous elections.[citation needed]

Most damning of all, a full set of minutes of National Front Directorate meetings from late 1979 to the 1986 “Third Way” versus “Flag Group” split, deposited by former NF leader Patrick Harrington in the library of the University of Southampton, revealed that during the party’s post-1979 wilderness years it was in the habit of “tipping off the reds” in the hope of giving its activities greater credibility with the public, through being attended by hordes of angry protestors. This was later confirmed by the MI5 mole Andy Carmichael, who was West Midlands Regional Organiser for the NF during the 1990s.[47]

Tyndall’s leadership was challenged by Andrew Fountaine after the 1979 debacle. Although Tyndall saw off the challenge, Fountaine and his followers split from the party to form the NF Constitutional Movement. The influential Leicester branch of the NF also split around this time, leading to the formation of the short lived British Democratic Party. In the face of these splits, the party’s Directorate voted to oust Tyndall as Chairman after he had demanded even more powers. He was replaced by Andrew Brons: but the ‘power behind the throne’ was Martin Webster who, somewhat surprisingly, had supported his old ally’s deposition. After failing to win title to the National Front name in the courts, Tyndall formed theBritish National Party.

1980s: two National Fronts[edit]

The party rapidly declined during the 1980s, although it retained some support in the West Midlands and in parts of London (usually centred around Terry Blackham).[48]

The party effectively split into two halves during the 1980s, after it had expelled Martin Webster. On one side were thePolitical Soldier ideas of young radicals such as Nick Griffin, Patrick Harrington, Phil Andrews and Derek Holland, who were known as the Official National Front. They had little interest in contesting elections, preferring a ‘revolutionary’ strategy.[49]

The opposition NF Flag Group contained the traditionalists such as Andrew Brons, Ian Anderson, Martin Wingfield, Tina Wingfield, Joe Pearce (initially associated with the Political Soldiers’ faction) and Steve Brady, who ran candidates under the NF banner in the 1987 general election. The Flag Group did some ideological work of its own, and the ideas of social creditand distributism were popular, but the chief preoccupation was still race relations.[50] Some hoped that having two parties within one might help to save the NF from oblivion after 1979. The phrase “Let a thousand initiatives bloom” was coined (meaning that internal diversity should be tolerated) in the hope of re-capturing support, but clashes occurred nevertheless. In the 1989 Vauxhall by-election, Harrington stood as the Official National Front candidate against Ted Budden for the Flag NF, both sides cat-calling at one another during the declaration of the result[citation needed]. By 1990, the Political Soldiers had fallen out with one another, splintering into Griffin’s International Third Position (ITP) and Harrington’s Third Way, leaving the Flag Group under Anderson and Wingfield to continue alone. Griffin’s pamphlet “Attempted Murder”[51] gives a very colourful – if biased and somewhat bitter – overview of this period of the NF’s history.

Around this time, the ‘official’ NF lost much of its traditional English support as a result of its support for black radicals such as Louis Farrakhan.[52] The former supporters either moved to the British National Party (BNP), the rapidly declining British Movement, or to the White Noise umbrella group Blood and Honour. Griffin and Holland tried to enlist the financial aid of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, but the idea was rejected once the Libyans found out about the NF’s reputation as fascist (a quarter of Libya’s adult male population was killed by Benito Mussolini‘s troops during World War II).[53] However, the NF received 5,000 copies of Gaddafi’s Green Book, which influenced Andrews to leave the NF to form the Isleworth Community Group, the first of several grass roots groups in English local elections, whereby nominally independent candidates stood under a collective flag of convenience to appear more attractive to voters.[54][55]

An estimate of membership of the National Front in 1989 put adherents of the Flag Group at about 3,000 and of the ‘Political Soldier’ faction at about 600, with a number in between embracing Griffin’s Third Position ideas.[49] Griffin’s own estimate, as stated in a TV documentary first broadcast in 1999, was that in 1990 his International Third Position had fifty to sixty supporters, while Harrington’s Third Way had about a dozen.

1990s and beyond[edit]

In the 1990s, the NF declined as the BNP began to grow. As a result of this, Ian Anderson decided to change the party name and in 1995 re-launched it as the National Democrats. The move proved unpopular. Over half of the members continued with the NF under the reluctant leadership of previous deputy leader John McAuley. He later passed the job on toTom Holmes. The National Democrats continued to publish the old NF newspaper, The Flag, for a while. The NF launched a new paper, The Flame, which is still published irregularly.

There has been a re-positioning of the NF’s policy on marches and demonstrations since the expulsion from the party in 2007 of Terry Blackham, the former National Activities Organiser. These have been reduced in favour of electoral campaigning. In January 2010, Tom Holmes resigned the leadership and handed over to Ian Edward.[56]

In February 2010, when the BNP had to change its constitution to allow non-whites into the party because of a High Courtdecision, the NF claimed to have received over 1,000 membership enquiries from BNP members and said that local BNP branches in Yorkshire and north Lincolnshire had discussed switching over to them.[57] Prominent BNP dissidents Chris Jackson and Michael Easter joined the NF in the latter half of 2009[citation needed] while, more recently,[when?] the veteran nationalists Richard Edmonds and Tess Culnane have both rejoined the party.

On 14 September 2010, the NF publicity officer, Tom Linden, shared a debate with the Social Democratic and Labour PartyMLA, John Dallat, on BBC Radio Foyle about the support the NF had in Coleraine. This gave the NF a chance to air its views, which resulted in the NF Coleraine organiser, Mark Brown, thanking Dallat for helping the NF double its support in Coleraine through enquiries and membership.[58]

The National Front is now led by Kevin Bryan of Bacup, Lancashire. His position as leader was registered with the Electoral Commission in March 2015.[59]

In November 2015, the party’s official website announced that Bryan had relinquished the leadership following a “shocking car crash”. It was announced that Dave MacDonald had taken over as national chairman, with Adam Lloyd taking over as deputy.[60]

Electoral performance[edit]

Summary of general election performance[edit]

Year Number of Candidates Total votes Average voters per candidate Percentage of vote Saved deposits Change (percentage points) Number of MPs
1970 10 11,449 1,145 0.04 0 N/A 0
Feb 1974 54 76,865 1,423 0.2 0 +0.16 0
Oct 1974 90 113,843 1,265 0.4 0 +0.2 0
1979 303 191,719 633 0.6 0 +0.2 0
1983 60 27,065 451 0.1 0 −0.5 0
1987 1 286 286 0.0 0 −0.1 0
1992 14 4,816 344 0.1 0 +0.1 0
1997 6 2,716 452 0.0 0 −0.1 0
2001 5 2,484 497 0.0 0 0.0 0
2005 13 8,029 617 0.0 0 0.0 0
2010 17 10,784 634 0.0 0 0.0 0
2015 7 1,114 159 0.0 0 0.0 0

EU parliament elections[edit]

Year Candidates MEPs Percentage vote Total votes Change Average vote
1989 1 0 0.0 1,471 N/A 1471
1994 5 0 0.1 12,469 +0.1 2494

Local elections (1967–2012)[edit]

The National Front has contested local elections since the late 1960s, but only did particularly well in them from 1973, polling as high as 15%.[61] It never won a seat, however.[62] In the 1976 local elections the NF notably polled 27.5% of the vote in Sandwell, West Midlands, as well as over 10,000 votes in some councils.[63][64] The May 1976 local election results were the most impressive for the National Front, with the jewel in the crown being Leicester, where 48 candidates won 14,566 votes, nearly 20% of the total. However, after 1977 the NF vote-share ceased growing and by 1979 had begun to decline.[65]

During the 1980s and early 1990s the National Front only fielded a handful of candidates in local elections, but it has increased this to 35 for the 2012 local elections.[41]

An article printed in The Independent on 23 April 2012 reported that the National Front intended to field 35 candidates in local elections – the highest number for 30 years – aiming to revive the 1970s ‘glory days’.[66] Among the NF candidates for the 2012 local elections was Derek Beackon in Thurrock with Mick Griffin of Tilbury Essex receiving the party’s best result.[67]

Councillors[edit]

The National Front has never won a contested council seat in any election. However, in October 1969, two Conservative councillors, Athlene O’ Connell and Peter Mitchell, defected to the National Front on Wandsworth London BoroughCouncil,[68] but they left only two months later, rejoining the Conservative Party. On 3 May 2007, a National Front candidate Simon Deacon was elected unopposed to Markyate Parish council, near St Albans (there were ten vacancies but only nine candidates). However, Deacon soon defected to the British National Party, after becoming disillusioned with the direction of the NF.[69]

In March 2010, the NF gained its first ever councillor in Rotherham by defection: John Gamble, who was originally in the BNP and then the England First Party (EFP).[70] However, not long afterwards he was expelled. Later the same year, a parish councillor from Harrogate, Sam Clayton, defected from the BNP to the NF.[71] However, on 29 November 2010, it was revealed that Clayton had resigned as parish councillor for Bilton in Ainsty with Bickerton ward.[72] As of mid-2011 the National Front had one parish councillor, who represented Langley Hill Ward on Langley Parish Council.[73] However, in September 2011 it lost its councillor after the party failed to complete the necessary paper work.[74]

Mayoral[edit]

In 2012, the National Front put forward Peter Tierney, a former BNP organiser, as a candidate to be the first elected mayor of Liverpool.[75] Tierney came last out of twelve candidates with 556 votes (0.57%).

London Assembly[edit]

In the 2008 London Assembly election held on 1 May, the National Front stood five candidates, saving two deposits – Paul Winnett polled 11,288 votes (5.56% of those cast) in the Bexley and Bromley constituency. In the Greenwich and Lewishamconstituency, Tess Culnane polled 8,509 votes (5.79% of those cast) coming ahead of the UK Independence Party.

In the 2012 London Assembly election held on 3 May, the National Front stood three candidates in two of the same constituencies in which it stood before – Greenwich and Lewisham and Ealing and Hillingdon – and Havering and Redbridge. The National Front lost all deposits and received large drops in the votes. At the same time, the National Front stood on the London list in which it came twelfth out of thirteen parties with 8,006 votes (0.4%).

General elections (1970–2010)[edit]

The National Front has contested general elections since 1970. The NF’s most significant success in a parliamentary by-election was in the 1973 West Bromwich by-election: the NF candidate finished third with 16%, and saved his deposit for the only time in NF by-election history. This result was largely due to the candidate Martin Webster‘s own adopted ‘chummy’ persona for the campaign as “Big Mart”.

In the 1979 general election the National Front fielded a record 303 candidates, polling 191,719 votes but saving no deposits. This plunged the party into financial difficulties. This is considered to be a major factor in the decline of the NF.[by whom?] The National Front fielded 60 candidates in the 1983 general election and received 27,065 votes. It saved no deposits, the average vote being less than 1% in each contested constituency. In 1987, the NF was split and only stood one candidate, in Bristol East, polling 286 votes (0.6%).

Since 1992, the National Front has never fielded more than nineteen candidates in a British general election (as few as five in 2001). None has saved their deposit, with their average percentage share of the vote being around 1%. However, inRochdale during the 2010 general election, the NF candidate, Chris Jackson, polled 4.9% (2,236 votes), coming within a whisker of saving his deposit.[76]

Scottish Parliament[edit]

The National Front stood for the first time ever in the Scottish Parliament general election, 2011, fielding six candidates – one for the North East region and five for the constituencies.[77] It gained 1,515 votes (0.08%) for the constituencies nationwide and 640 votes (0.2%) for the North East region. It failed to win any seats or save any deposits.

List of chairmen[edit]

National Front, 1967—1986[edit]

Leader From Until Notes
A. K. Chesterton 1967 1970 Founding member.
John O’Brien 1970 1972 Left to join the National Independence Party.
John Tyndall 1972 1974 Forced out of leadership by populists.
John Kingsley Read 1974 1976 Left to found National Party, after poor election results.
John Tyndall 1976 1980 Left to found New National Front, which became the BNP.
Andrew Brons 1980 1984 Stepped down, remained in party.
Martin Wingfield 1984 1986 Purged by radical Political Soldier faction.

Official National Front, 1986—1990[edit]

Leader From Until Notes
Derek Holland, Nick Griffin andPatrick Harrington 1986 1989 Holland and Griffin left to found the International Third Position.
Patrick Harrington 1989 1990 Political Soldier faction ends, Harrington foundsThird Way.

Flag National Front, 1986—1995[edit]

Leader From Until Notes
Martin Wingfield 1986 1989 Previous chairman of National Front before schism.
Ian Anderson 1989 1995 Changed name to National Democrats, others disagreed.

National Front, 1995—present[edit]

Leader From Until Notes
John McAuley 1995 1998 Somewhat reluctant leader, passed chairmanship on.
Tom Holmes 1998 2009 Resigned the leadership of party.
Ian Edward Costard 2009 2013 Resigned as chairman over policy, later entered into a conflict with Bryan/MacDonald majority faction.
Kevin Bryan 2013 2015 Previously deputy chairman, stood down as leader in November 2015 following serious car accident.
David MacDonald 2015 Present

See also

Scottish Socialist Party

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Scottish Socialist Party
Pàrtaidh Sòisealach na h-Alba
Scots Socialist Pairtie
Chairperson Natalie Reid and Calum Martin[1]
Secretary Bill Bonnar[1]
Spokesperson Colin Fox and Katie Bonnar[1]
Workplace organiser Richie Venton[1]
Founded 1998
Headquarters Suite 370
93 Hope Street
Glasgow
G2 6LD
Newspaper Scottish Socialist Voice
Youth wing Young Scottish Socialists
Membership  (2014) Increase 3,500 [2]
Ideology Democratic socialism
Anti-capitalism[3]
Scottish independence[3]
Scottish republicanism[4]
Political position Left-wing[5]
Colours           Red and Yellow
Local government in Scotland[6]

1 / 1,222

Website
www.scottishsocialistparty.org

The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP; Scottish Gaelic: Pàrtaidh Sòisealach na h-Alba; Scots: Scots Socialist Pairtie) is a left-wing political party campaigning for the establishment of an independent, socialist Scotland. It operates through a local branch structure and publishes Scotland’s longest-running socialist newspaper, the Scottish Socialist Voice. At the height of its electoral success, the party had six Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and two councillors. Since 2007 it has had one councilor but no MSPs.

The party, founded in 1998, has more than 30 branches[7] campaigning for Scottish independence, against cuts to public services and welfare, and for democratic public ownership of the economy. The SSP was one of three parties in Yes Scotland,[8] the official cross-party campaign for Scottish independence in the 2014 referendum, with national co-spokesperson Colin Fox sitting on its Advisory Board.

In 2015, the SSP affiliated to RISE – Scotland’s Left Alliance, an electoral alliance for the 2016 elections.

Democratic structures[edit]

At present, the Scottish Socialist Party is a members-led organisation with no formal leadership. The party has two national co-spokespersons, Colin Fox and Katie Bonnar, who are elected by party members at the annual national conference, which also determines party policy. The day-to-day business of the party is handled by a small Executive Committee, which is also elected by the membership. The primary decision-making bodies are the:

  • National Conference, convening yearly
  • National Council, convening four times a year
  • Executive Committee, convening regularly

History[edit]

Formation and initial electoral success[edit]

The Scottish Socialist Party emerged from the Scottish Socialist Alliance (SSA), a broad-based group of left-wing organisations in Scotland. The decision was taken to transform the SSA into a party to contest the first elections to the new Scottish Parliament, where the SSP polled well and saw Tommy Sheridan, then convenor of the party, elected in Glasgow. The period following that election saw sustained growth for the SSP, where it doubled in size in twelve months, and theRMT trade union affiliated to the party. In 2003, the SSP was buoyed by the election of five additional MSPs across Scotland.

The party changed the character of Scottish politics by winning widespread electoral support and demonstrating how socialist ideas could be popularly presented. One of the first bills the SSP put forward in Holyrood was the Abolition of Poindings and Warrant Sales Act 2001, a popular action which successfully transformed debt recovery systems in Scotland. The party also presented bills to replace the council tax with an income-based alternative,[10] for the abolition of prescription charges,[11] and the introduction of free school meals.[12]

On 11 November 2004, Sheridan resigned as convener of the party, citing personal reasons. He was replaced by Colin Fox, a Lothians MSP, in the 2005 leadership election. Following Sheridan’s resignation, the News of the World revealed that he had an extramarital affair and visited a swingers’ club in Manchester.[13] Sheridan denied the stories and launched legal action against the newspaper. During the high-profile media circus, the SSP was thrown into turmoil as Sheridan publicly branded those who refused to support him as “scabs”.[14][15] Leading SSP figures, including the party leader, refused to lie for Sheridan in court.[16] Sheridan won the initial legal action but eventually went to jail for perjury in 2010,[17] which the party said discredited him and vindicated their position.[18]

Ex-MSP Rosie Kane later said of the ordeal: “Sheridan vilified the women in the party who refused to bow to him. Our lives have been devastated by his actions.”[19]

Electoral performance after 2007[edit]

Neither the SSP or Sheridan’s breakaway party won seats in the 2007 elections to the Scottish Parliament.[20] The SSP did experience a recovery in by-elections from 2008–09, increasing its vote compared to the 2007 national result. The party contested the 2009 European elections around the slogan of “Make Greed History”, campaigning for a Europe-wide tax on millionaires,[21] and also achieved a higher vote share than in the Scottish Parliament election.

The party ran ten candidates in the 2010 general election, and said the blame for the eventual Conservative victory lay “with New Labour and the failure of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown these last 13 years, who have quite frankly exploited working people, with the poorest and most vulnerable being hit hardest”.[22] Fox said his party’s manifesto would tackle the “worst economic crisis in 80 years” without punishing ordinary people.[23]

The SSP launched its manifesto for the 2011 Scottish Parliament election with promises to oppose cuts and tax the rich.[24]The party contested all eight Scottish Parliament regions with gender-balanced lists of candidates.

2014 Scottish independence referendum[edit]

The Case for an Independent Socialist Scotland.jpg

Following the 2011 elections to the Scottish Parliament and the resulting SNP majority, the Scottish Government announced its intent to hold an independence referendum in 2014. In May 2012, a cross-party organisation called Yes Scotlandwas established to campaign for a Yes vote. The SSP’s national co-spokesperson, Colin Fox, was invited to sit on its Advisory Board, reflecting the party’s crucial support for independence over the past fifteen years. This was done at the insistence of Yes Scotland’s non-partisan chief executive, Blair Jenkins, in the face of SNP opposition.[25] During the referendum campaign, the party continued to campaign on other issues including the bedroom tax, fuel poverty, equal marriage,[26] and the latest Israel-Gaza conflict.[27][28]

On 11 September 2013, the SSP launched a pamphlet called The Case for an Independent Socialist Scotland,[29] the publication of which was welcomed by MSPs.[30] It has become the party’s fastest-selling pamphlet ever. In June 2014, the party published another pamphlet outlining its case for “a modern democratic republic”.[31] In response to the publication of Scotland’s Future, the party issued a statement which said the Scottish Government’s document had set out a vision that represents “significant advance for the people of Scotland”, but reaffirmed the SSP’s commitment to socialism.[32]

As part of the party’s campaign for independence, it held dozens of public meetings across Scotland with a range of speakers.[33] The party’s final meeting, scheduled to take place in Drumchapel Community Centre, was cancelled after unionist protests. In the aftermath, Richie Venton said: “Those demonstrating may have learned that their support for a Westminster regime was impoverishing themselves and their communities. But what they should know is we shall continue to fight against austerity and the tyranny of the Tories over communities like Drumchapel, Govan, Easterhouse and indeed, Scotland.”[34]

In an interview with the Sunday Herald in late August 2014, Colin Fox said: “The SSP has brought a proletarian sense to Yes Scotland and reminded people the decisive issue is whether people think they’re going to be better off. It’s not the currency, it’s not the EU, it’s not those highfalutin’ chattering class issues.” He said that the party brought “a sense of the schemes, the workplaces, the unions” to the campaign.[25]

The SSP after the referendum[edit]

Richie Venton (right) with the SSP in Glasgow, 18 October 2014

After the announcement of the referendum result, the SSP was among political parties that reported significant increases in the size of their membership.[35][36]Prominent new members included Labour for Independence founder Allan Grogan.[37] The Scottish section of Socialist Appeal left Labour to join the SSP.[38][39][40]

When the make-up of the Smith Commission was announced, Colin Fox protested the decision to “uniquely exclude” the SSP from proceedings. He wrote to the Smith Commission: “The argument some use to justify our exclusion on the grounds that we currently have no ‘parliamentary representation’ fails to appreciate that the referendum was not a parliamentary process but an unprecedented public debate that resulted in an extraordinary level of engagement from all sections of society. To exclude the SSP is to exclude an important constituency of opinion in Scottish society.”[41]

The SSP did, however, make a written submission to the Commission which called for wide-ranging fiscal autonomy, with all tax revenues raised in Scotland to be spent by the Scottish Parliament.[42]

The SSP’s annual conference in 2013 was reportedly the party’s biggest conference in several years.[43][44] It was the first SSP conference to be streamed live over the Internet.[45] At the conference, members called for the abolition of theOffensive Behaviour Act, for fracking to be banned, a lowering of the pension age to 55, scrapping TTIP,[46] and to support an electoral alliance of pro-independence candidates for the next UK general election in Scotland, which failed to emerge. The SSP started the process of mounting an SSP challenge in that election in November, while remaining “open to discussions” on a formal alliance[47] until giving up in December.[48]

2015 UK general election[edit]

The SSP stood four candidates in the 2015 election:

The party launched its manifesto in Edinburgh on 15 April 2015 with pledges to introduce a £10 minimum wage, ban zero hour contracts, nationalise the energy industry – including oil and gas fields – and end austerity.[49] Ken Ferguson, editor of the Scottish Socialist Voice, said it “would be better for the SNP to win seats than Labour, but the SNP is not a party that is going to provide socialist answers” and the SSP is standing “as a principled socialist party, for public ownership, against austerity and our key election demand – the £10 minimum wage, not to be introduced in two years, or five years, but now”.[7]

The SSP’s candidates pledged that, if elected, they would accept no more than the average worker’s wage in their constituency for their salary. They were not elected.[50]

2016 Holyrood election[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Scottish Parliament election, 2016.

At the party’s annual conference in Edinburgh in May 2015, the SSP voted “to begin negotiations with other socialists about presenting an electoral alliance for 2016”.[51] The party also announced a series of pickets and demos to take place across Scotland to coincide with the State Opening of Parliament, challenging the Conservatives’ mandate to govern.[52] By August, the party announced it would field candidates as part of the new electoral alliance, RISE – Scotland’s Left Alliance.

SSP spokesman Colin Fox, speaking at a RISE conference in December, said: “RISE can emulate the SSP and secure seats at Holyrood in May if the political tide turns in our favour – and it might.”[53] He secured the support of former SNP depute leader Jim Sillars, who told The National: “If Colin Fox is on the list for Rise, I will be voting and supporting Colin Fox on the list system.”[54]

RISE failed to win any seats in the Scottish Parliament. The SSP’s subsequent annual conference in June 2016 passed a motion which “recommends the SSP re-evaluates our relationship with RISE to find a sustainable role for left unity going forward”,[55] while asserting that the party’s priority over the coming year “must be to grow the influence and authority of the SSP itself”.[56]

The conference also elected a new executive committee, with Sandra Webster standing down as joint national spokesperson and being replaced by Katie Bonnar, a teacher from Glasgow.[57]

Policies[edit]

Scottish independence[edit]

Fly poster for the Scottish Socialist Party

The SSP strongly supports Scottish independence. It co-ordinated the rally for independence at Calton Hill in October 2004 and wrote the Declaration of Calton Hill, which sets out a vision of an inclusive and outward-looking republic. The party has argued the case for a Scottish socialist republic without a monarchy or nuclear weapons, with a greatly reduced level of military spending and a relationship with the European Union that safeguards Scotland’s independence.[58] Its support for a republic[59] and an independent currency[60] is at odds with the SNP’s opinion that the Union of the Crowns and use of the pound sterling should continue. SSP member and former Labour MP and MSP John McAllion has said socialists “cannot be fellow travellers on [the SNP’s] road to independence”.[61]

The national self-determination sought by the SSP is driven by internationalist rather than nationalist concerns. It seeks to build an inclusive country which is run by and for the benefit of all who live in Scotland. As such, it supports the rights of asylum seekers to settle there, without fear of detention or deportation; opposes the expansion of the UK state, for example through ID cards; and seeks the abolition of the monarchy. Through prioritising independence as a key component in its political philosophy, it stands in the tradition of John Maclean, who set up theScottish Workers Republican Party in the early part of the 20th century, combining socialist economics with a goal of Scottish independence.

A referendum on Scottish independence was announced by the Scottish Government shortly after the Scottish National Party won an overall majority in the 2011 elections to the Scottish Parliament. The SSP campaigned for a Yes vote in that referendum, with its co-spokesperson Colin Fox sitting on the Advisory Board of Yes Scotland. In May 2013, Fox described a vote for independence as a “significant defeat for the British state and its stranglehold over our economy, society, culture and politics”, as well as an opportunity to “[repudiate] neo-liberalism, corporatism, the financialisation of our economy and existing class relations”. He added that he believed the referendum could won “by persuading our fellow Scots of independence’s transformational potential”.

European Union[edit]

National spokesman, Colin Fox arguing the position for a socialist Europe.

The Scottish Socialist Party supports Scotland’s continued membership of theEuropean Union (EU), though condemns its present structure as a “neoliberal trap”. The SSP’s 2015 manifesto reiterates the party’s commitment to “working in a pan-European socialist alliance to achieve our goal of a socialist federation of European nations”,[62] while maintaining there would be no “greater democratic and economic progress” for workers outwith the EU compared to within it.

In February 2016, the party re-affirmed its position at a National Council meeting in Dundee. It agreed to back the UK’s continued EU membership in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum and to “campaign for a socialist Europe which is democratic, pursues peace in the world rather than warmongering, welcomes refugees, and above all where the riches of the continent are shared out equally between all its 500 million citizens”.[63]

Reform of local government taxation[edit]

The Scottish Socialist Party proposes a form of local income tax to replace council tax. The council tax, which was brought in after Thatcher’s poll tax became non-viable, is based on the value of the household in which the taxpayer lives; the party argues this can lead to unfairly high taxation for tenants and pensioners.[64]

In 2004, the SSP launched its “Scrap the Council Tax” campaign, boosted by a poll suggesting 77% of people in Scotland supported the abolition of the tax.[65] A bill proposing a progressive system of taxation based on a household’s income was presented in 2005, but was defeated with 12 MSPs in favour, 94 against, and 6 abstaining.[66] Although the Scottish Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party,[10] and the Scottish Green Party supported the concept of income-based taxation, all three parties disagreed with the SSP’s specific proposals, which would have exempted anyone with an annual income of less than £10,000 and reduced liabilities for anyone with an annual income of less than £30,000,[67] while targeting revenue generation to those with household incomes in excess of £90,000.[68]

Abolition of prescription charges[edit]

In 2005, Colin Fox MSP proposed a bill to abolish NHS prescription charges.[11] The bill was voted down by Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrat MSPs.[69]

In response to the bill’s introduction and the publicity that it generated, the Scottish Executive announced a review of the impact that the charges had on the chronically sick and full-time students—just three hours prior to the bill being debated. Prescription charges were eventually abolished on 1 April 2011, through legislation put forward by the Scottish National Party. Nicola Sturgeon later wrote to Colin Fox to acknowledge the SSP’s contribution in the campaign for abolishing prescription charges.[70]

Free school meals[edit]

Frances Curran MSP led a campaign which included children’s and anti-poverty organisations for the provision of free and nutritious meals for all to tackle the problems of poor diet and rising obesity amongst children.[71] This claimed to be able to eradicate the stigma associated with the current means-tested system and also ensure that meals provided in school conformed to minimal nutritional standards.

A bill to this effect was proposed in parliament in 2002, but was defeated. However, a subsequent Scottish Executive consultation found that 96% of respondents were in favour of free school meals. A redrafted bill was launched in October 2006 and was resubmitted to the parliament, but it was announced in November 2006 that this bill would not be taken in that session of parliament due to time pressures. Frances Curran had pledged that the SSP would resubmit its bill early in the next session of parliament and announced a text service for supporters to text Jack McConnell to demonstrate their support for the free school meals bill.[72] However, the SSP’s exit from parliament at the 2007 election prevented this.

Under pressure from the SSP and the wider campaign,[citation needed] the Scottish National Party introduced free school meals as a pilot scheme for a small number of primary school pupils in selected local authorities and have announced that there will be free school meals for Primary 1-3 children from 2010, however they have not backed the wholesale change that the SSP proposed.

Public transport[edit]

The SSP has proposed free public transport within Scotland, which they claim will reduce carbon emissions, cut road deaths, reduce air pollution and boost the incomes of workers reliant on public transport.[73][74] The capital costs involved in the project would, they say, be raised by reducing planned roadbuilding programmes,[75][76] and ring-fencing all money raised by government and local authorities from parking meters and car parks.

Such a scheme in Hasselt, Belgium, revived by the provision of free public transport, and was a key plank of the Greater London Council‘s policy platform in the early 1980s.[clarification needed] Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, introduced free public transport for residents in April 2013[77] to considerable economic benefit,[78] adding more precedent for the SSP’s policy of free public transport.

The SSP also aim to establish a Scottish National Bus Corporation, which would be publicly owned and democratically run by regional boards. Privately run bus corporations would also be re-regulated. On the expiration of the First ScotRailfranchise in November 2014, the SSP called for it to be transferred to a publicly owned and democratically managed Scottish National Rail Corporation.[79]

Reform of drug laws[edit]

The SSP has proposed the legalisation of cannabis and the licensing of premises to sell cannabis as a means of breaking the link between soft drugs and potentially lethal drugs such as heroin.[80] It has also proposed the provision of syntheticheroin on NHS Scotland under medical supervision in order to undermine the black market for drugs and combat the social and health problems caused by illegal drug use in working class communities, as well as calling for the expansion of residential rehabilitation and detoxification facilities for addicts seeking treatment.[81]

Campaigns[edit]

£10 Now campaign[edit]

The SSP is currently involved in a campaign to raise the national minimum wage to £10 an hour.[82][83] The party has, since its foundation, called for the minimum wage to be set at two-thirds of the male median salary.[84]

Palestine solidarity campaign[edit]

The SSP, affiliated to the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, is a strong proponent of an independent Palestine. Cllr Jim Bollan successfully moved a BDS motion on West Dunbartonshire Council in 2009.[85] Bollan has described BDS as “an ethical issue for local councils”.[86]

In July 2014, the party published a statement condemning the recent escalation of violence in Palestine as “Israeli aggression against the people of Gaza”. The statement called for international pressure to end Israel’s attacks and backed “peace forces in Israel who are dismayed and sickened by the actions of their government”. The party also declared its continuing support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for justice and statehood.[87]

Anti-war campaigns[edit]

The SSP campaigned against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was one of the founding members of the Scottish Coalition for Justice not War[88] in September 2001. The February 2003 march against the war in Iraq in Glasgow was largely organised by SSP members.[citation needed]

It worked closely with Military Families Against the War, particularly in the Justice 4 Gordon Gentle campaign, standing down in the 2005 general election for Rose Gentle in the East Kilbride constituency.[89] In 2009, the grandmother of Dundee soldier Kevin Elliot, who died in Afghanistan, joined the party because of its firm anti-war stance.[90] The party has also campaigned against rendition flights, including introducing a debate in the Scottish Parliament over the issue,[91] and against the lack of response from the UK government in Israel’s war on Lebanon.

It has supported non-violent direct action as a tactic to oppose the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Scotland and strongly opposes the replacement of Trident. It has participated in the blockades at Faslane nuclear base since its inception and a number of SSP members have been fined and/or jailed after blockading the naval base at the annual Big Blockade.[92] In 2005, Rosie Kane locked herself on to a 25 foot Trident replica outside the Scottish Parliament, only releasing herself after the replica was dismantled fourteen hours later. Later that year she was fined £150 for her actions and in October 2006, she was jailed for 14 days after refusing to pay the fine. In January 2007, three SSP MSPs were arrested,[93] later released without charge, while in June 2007, five members of the SSP’s youth wing were also arrested[94]and held overnight, after blockading the base as part of the Faslane365 campaign. The party supported the Scrap Trident demonstration in Glasgow in April 2013.[95]

Make capitalism history[edit]

The party was active in the protests against the G8, joining the Make Poverty History march in Edinburgh and participating in the G8 Alternatives Summit.[96]

Publications[edit]

Independence, Socialism and the SSP pamphlet cover.

Alongside the Scottish Socialist Voice, the party has published a number of pamphlets setting various policy positions in greater detail than in the party’s election manifestos. A pamphlet called The Case for an Independent Socialist Scotland, was launched on 11 September 2013[29] and was welcomed by MSPs.[30]

The party’s published pamphlets include:

In 2015, the party published Break the Chains, a book by SSP workplace organiserRichie Venton in which he argues the case for an immediate £10 an hour minimum wage, without discrimination; a national maximum wage; a shorter working week; and strategies to “unchain the unions”.

Electoral performance[edit]

Scottish Parliament[edit]

Election # of 2nd votes % of 2nd vote # of overall seats won +/- Position Outcome Notes
1999 46,635 2.0 (#7)

1 / 129

N/A 5th Opposition
2003 128,026 6.7 (#6)

6 / 129

Increase5 6th Opposition
2007 12,731 0.6 (#13)

0 / 129

Decrease6 N/A Not in Parliament
2011 8,272 0.4 (#12)

0 / 129

Steady0 N/A Not in Parliament
2016 10,911 0.5 (#9)

0 / 129

Steady0 N/A Not in Parliament Stood as RISE – Scotland’s Left Alliance

UK Parliament[edit]

Election # of candidates # of votes  % of vote Notes
2001 72 72,516 3.1 (#5)
2005 58 43,514 1.9 (#5)
2010 10 3,157 0.1 (#9)
2015 4 895 0.03 (#10) Chose to stand in small number of seats
after electoral alliance talks failed

European Parliament[edit]

Election # of votes  % of vote +/- Notes
1999 39,720 4.0 (#6) N/A
2004 61,356 5.2 (#7) Increase 1.2
2009 10,404 0.9 (#10) Decrease 4.3
2014 N/A N/A N/A Did not stand

See also