Red Fox speaks to socialists

Issue 

BY GRAHAM MATTHEWS

MELBOURNE — "It's this period that gives me the greatest satisfaction", Socialist member of the scottish parliament (MSP) Colin Fox told the Socialist Alliance Victorian conference, titled Resisting the Empire, on November 15. "Not being an MSP: that's the smallest part of it. It's that we have united 95% of the left in Scotland. This is the best thing that I have participated in."

Fox began his whirlwind tour of Australia and New Zealand by addressing the 120 people at the conference at Victorian Trades Hall. Fox is also speaking in Hobart on November 17, Brisbane on November 18, Canberra on November 19 and Sydney on November 20. For details, see the activist calendar on page 23.

Fox explained that 130,000 people voted for the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) at the May 1 Scottish elections. This support for socialist candidates had not been seen "since 1931, when the Independent Labour Party sent 10 members of parliament to Westminster. But now is not 1931, and the SSP is not the Independent Labour Party."

Only half of the Scottish electorate voted for the Scottish parliament, and only 17% of those for the British Labour Party.

Fox described the SSP as a "combat party", and argued that the SSP contested elections as a means to an end, not an end in itself. "When you find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, then you'll probably find the parliamentary road to socialism", he quipped. "We're [in election and parliament] to put forward the socialist program we've supported since the [Scottish Socialist] Alliance."

He described the SSP program as both anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist.

Fox insisted that British PM Tony Blair, "will be remembered as one of the great liars of history like Richard Nixon." The pro-corporate politics of the British Labour government has reduced the top marginal rate of tax in Britain from 83% under Thatcher, to only 50% under Blair.

Fox was somewhat disparaging of the situation of the Socialist Alliance in England and Wales. "I've not mentioned the English SA", he explained. "Quite frankly it depresses me. It's the same thing as 20 years ago — not working together."

Fox concluded by warning the conference that the scene from the Monty Python movie The Life of Brian depicting leftists squabbling over arcane policy was "not just the past. It's how much of the working class still recognise the left." Fox said he would gladly give-up the six MSPs that the party had won for a party of 10,000, rather than the 3000 members the SSP currently has.

[A fuller report of the Socialist Alliance conference will appear in the next issue of Green Left Weekly.]

From Green Left Weekly, November 19, 2003.
Visit the