“We could do with a Scottish Syriza,” says ex SSP MSP Carolyn Leckie


Leckie argues that the SNP need a “credible and serious” challenge from the left

CAROLYN Leckie has made the case for a Scottish Syriza – Greece’s victorious left-wing party – arguing that Scotland needs a “credible and serious left opposition”.

Leckie, a former SSP MSP and Women for Independence co-founder, wrote in a column for The National newspaper that Syriza, the radical left party that won the recent elections in Greece, had “much in common” with the independence movement in Scotland, providing hope for a nation “infused with Syriza like optimism and courage”.

Leckie said that while the SNP “is one of the more progressive governing parties in Europe right now,” Scotland “could do with a Scottish Syriza, standing unflinchingly on the side of the poorest and most marginalised, while working constructively with the SNP to deliver independence.”

Leckie added that while the Greens and the SSP had seen “healthy increases” in membership, “neither have the capacity, on their own, to emulate Syriza”.

Leckie said that the Scottish left could take heart from the fact that Syriza were a marginal force in Greek politics only a decade ago.

“Just over 10 years ago, the Greek left was a rag-taggle bunch of tiny, sectarian groups that hated each other,” Leckie wrote. “Now Syriza has grown and forged itself by looking outwards to the mass of ordinary workers and farmers.”

“In Scotland, again, we need something bigger, broader and stronger – a new movement that can position itself to become the main opposition force in a future independent Scotland.”

Tens of thousands of supporters came out on to the streets of Madrid on Saturday to support Podemos, the Spanish equivalent of Syriza, and to “celebrate” Syriza’s breakthrough victory.

Both parties are taking votes from the traditional parties of the centre-left in Greece and Spain, and Leckie believes a new left force in Scotland could “step into Labour’s shoes”.

Leckie cited the work of the Scottish Left Project to build a movement towards a new left outfit in Scotland, and believes any new project must “embrace a diverse range of views, including feminism and environmentalism”.

“If something can be built that embeds gender equality; has a zero-tolerance approach to sexism and misogyny, and preserves the autonomy and self-organisation of women, I would be interested.

“I’m pretty sure there are thousands more like me, who are not hostile to the SNP, SSP or the Greens, but want something different,” Leckie added.

A Scottish Left Project spokesperson welcomed Leckie’s comments, telling CommonSpace: “Syriza provide a beacon of hope that another Europe is possible, and now it’s up to the left in Scotland to rise to that challenge.”

The Scottish Left Project is organising a series of events in Glasgow and Edinburgh this week titled ‘Europe is changing: from the streets to the parliament’. The events will hear from eye witness delegates who travelled to Athens to meet Syriza activists and support their election campaign.

“These events are going to work out what the lessons are from Syriza’s success in Scotland, and plan how we can provide international solidarity to an anti-austerity government in Greece which is under fire from the elite of the European Union that want to undermine Greek democracy,” the spokesperson added.