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Glasgow South: A well-trodden battleground that is Scotland in microcosm - by Niall Christie


The first in our short series of snapshots from the frontline of general election campaigning ... Democratic Left Scotland is a non-party political organisation, which does not stand in elections - but we take a great interest in the agendas and efforts of progressive people in different political parties. If you're a candidate - or if you're working on a campaign that you'd like us to feature - do get in touch. Following the competitive weeks of electioneering, we'll continue to call for proportional representation to be introduced for elections to the UK parliament - and support our members, friends and contacts as they look for commonalities and alliances across party lines so as to further progressive policies.


To an extent, I’m fortunate in Glasgow South. Both the SNP and Labour candidates here veer to the right of their party, and have both shown themselves to be hawkish characters, invested in upholding the status quo - both at home and abroad. Thus, making the case for a progressive, outward looking Scotland is made easier with no competing voice from the two frontrunners. 


But the extent to which Labour, the SNP, or any other major parties are willing to prioritise their and their parties fortunes over what is best for the country is really the biggest failure of this election so far. My constituency really is a microcosm of modern Scottish politics. 


As a Green member and a committed socialist, I’m used to being the one pulling my own party in the right direction. We saw this with the regressive Council Tax Freeze last year, when myself and other grassroots members organised opposition to the position of our party’s leadership. This came about through collaboration from across the party, working with trade unions and campaign groups - all of whom knew the disastrous effects this policy would have on working people. 


I think this willingness among ordinary Green members is a real strength of the party, and one which aligns strongly with the values of Democratic Left Scotland. But - in this election anyway - we may be unique in that approach to politics, and finding radical solutions to Scotland's problems. 


It’s increasingly clear that any sort of organised left in the Labour Party is being systematically driven out, while the SNP’s own left factions remain firmly on the party’s fringe - with just a handful of candidates across Scotland who could claim to be from a left tradition. And in Glasgow South, the pro-Iraq War candidate Gordon McKee - a special adviser to Labour’s right wing Scottish Secretary with little tie to the area, and the SNP’s own NATO fanboy Stewart McDonald battling it out in this key seat. Slim pickings for anyone hoping for a decent offering from the only two parties who have ever been elected to serve the people of Glasgow South.


A familiar story in all parts of Scotland. This is all to say, on July 4th, there’s not much of a choice left for those prioritising progressive politics in Scotland. 


But there is another choice. The narrative constantly pushed by both the media and the establishment parties on both sides of the border limits the choices of the public to a lesser of evils. We Greens believe that closing ourselves off is not good enough. 


With more than forty candidates running in almost every part of the country there is a better option for people who value and want to protect our precious ecosystem. There are candidates who want to transform, not only the way we talk about politics, but the society we live in - turning the tables to rig things in favour of the working class, for the first time in more than a generation. And there is a party who wants to unpick the structural causes of poverty and inequality, building a fairer society for both people and planet. 


Progressives of all stripes should throw their support behind the Scottish Greens this election, to ensure that we have a planet to live on, and communities thriving in Scotland and across the world. Quite frankly, you can’t afford not to.

Published 8 June 2024.

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