A Scottish Perspective Jan 5th – May 5th

Many issues will impact attitudes to Scottish politics in 2016: people’s daily lives and the weather amongst these. Europe and global events, the fate of local government and public services will compete with the Scottish Government elections for people’s attention.
Involvement in politics undoubtedly was at a highpoint during the referendum, ensuring that the campaigns of 2016 come close will be an important task for all. The Scottish election in May has the potential to do this. The impact and timing of Cameron’s European gamble is another matter (we will consider these on another occasion).
Democratic Left see the importance of politics both within and out with parliaments. A progressive Scottish Government bolstered by a range of progressive parliamentary voices would be the best outcome in May if coupled with strong extra-parliamentary activity. The voting system for the Scottish elections offers opportunities. There is a need to remind people that the regional lists offer a potential way round major party dominance. This is important nationally because the SNP are not without limitations and Scottish Labour is unlikely to benefit substantially from any kind of Caledonian Corbyn effect.
Voting tactically for the best placed progressive candidate on your regional list will maximise the possibility of a radical rainbow of MSPs in addition to the government. It will also minimise the chances of the Tories or the Liberals getting into parliament and undoubtedly acting as apologists for austerity.
The Greens and in some places RISE may be the best vehicles for votes but each region will have its own ‘local’ characteristics which will suggest which list to choose. The individuals who top each list are important in this regard. These women and men if elected can connect campaigns and the policy implemented at Holyrood. The election of progressive MSPs can also add to the discussion on how to win more powers for Scotland: those that put anti-poverty, peace, people and planet before profit, pollution and the abuse of others.
Discussion needs to start now about how to get the best from the election campaign as well as from the result: a result that marks a real step forward in achieving a different kind of Scotland and a different kind of world.

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