Solidarity (Scotland)

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For other uses, see Solidarity (disambiguation).
Solidarity – Scotland's Socialist Movement
Leader Joint leadership of Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne
Founded 2006
Split from Scottish Socialist Party
Headquarters Glasgow, G42 2DN
Ideology Marxism
Scottish independence
Political position Left-wing
National affiliation Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Colours Red, Green, White
Politics of Scotland
Political parties

Solidarity (full name Solidarity – Scotland's Socialist Movement) is a political party in Scotland, launched on 3 September 2006 as a breakaway from the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP).[1] It was formed by two of the Scottish Socialist Party's six MSPs, Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne, in the aftermath of Sheridan's libel action, and is backed by the Socialist Workers Party and Socialist Party Scotland (part of the Committee for a Workers' International).[2]

On 23 December 2010, Tommy Sheridan was convicted of perjury during the 2006 libel action, and sentenced to three years imprisonment on 26 January 2011. Solidarity performed poorly in the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, achieving only 2,837 votes or 0.14% of the overall regional list vote.



On its launch, the party described itself as being an open, democratic, bottom-up party as a response to the perceived lack of the same in the SSP, and because Sheridan claimed that due to the depth of division within the SSP between its leadership on the one hand and his supporters on the other, the SSP had "run out of breath".[3] The launch rally held in September 2006 in Glasgow featured several speakers and attracted around 600 people.[4]

More than 1,000 people in total attended the ten public meetings Solidarity held in Scotland, with the largest meeting, in Dundee, attracting a crowd of 250. These public meetings attracted 600 members to the new party, of which 250 attended the founding conference on Saturday 5 November 2006.[5]

At the conference there were debates on the name of the new party and its political orientation. During the conference the Socialist Workers Party argued that Solidarity had the potential to develop into a natural home for all anti-establishment protest movements (including anti-nuclear, anti-war, environmental, refugee and asylum seeker, housing, pension, anti-poverty, lesbian and gay rights campaigns as well as the growing movement against Islamophobia and reach out to minority ethnic and religious communities). The SWP whilst recognising the key role socialists could play within the new party argued that Solidarity's name should not include a reference to socialism, as this could potentially discourage people who are active in left-oriented political campaigns but who do not perceive themselves as socialists from joining. This motion was argued against by Ronnie Stevenson, Unison convenor for workers in Glasgow City Council and member of the Committee for a Workers international. After a close vote the interim title of "Solidarity - Scotland's Socialist Movement" was adopted as the name of the party. The party's draft constitution was adopted by a unanimous vote and Rosemary Byrne and Tommy Sheridan, the party's then two MSPs, were unanimously endorsed as Co-Convenors.[6][7]

In the immediate aftermath of the split, members of the SSP claimed that a transfer of funds from the account of the regional SSP to Solidarity was fraudulent.[8][9][10][11]

In Autumn 2006, the Industrial Workers of the World[12][13] alleged that Sheridan and Byrne betrayed workers by ignoring their right of consultation about the impending redundancy of parliamentary staff, and unilaterally removing funding from the collective body which employed parliamentary staff.

Electoral performance[edit]

The party registered nine combinations of "Solidarity" and "Tommy Sheridan" with the Electoral Commission,[14][15] as well as "Solidarity". Solidarity's 2007 manifesto was essentially identical to that of the Scottish Socialist Party.

In their first electoral test, the party failed to win any seats (31,000 votes; 1.5%) in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election. The party won one council seat in Glasgow in local elections, Ruth Black,[16] who subsequently defected to Labour in December 2007.[17]

The party contested the 2008 Glasgow East by-election with local activist Tricia McLeish as its candidate. However their vote share dropped from the previous year. Solidarity's candidate for the 2008 Glenrothes by-election was Louise McLeary, who came last with 87 votes, 0.2% of the vote. On 11 December 2008, Solidarity candidate Danny Masterton received 243 votes, 7.3% of the popular vote, in a by-election in the Ballochmyle ward of the East Ayrshire Council.[18] Two days earlier, the Daily Record reported that Sheridan was calling for a "truce" between left-wing parties, and for them to work towards brokering an agreement not to stand against one another.[19]

In March 2009, Solidarity joined No to EU – Yes to Democracy, a left-wing alter-globalisation coalition led by National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union leader Bob Crow, for the 2009 European Parliament elections,[20][21][22] which received 1% of the national vote. In Scotland, where Tommy Sheridan and other Solidarity candidates stood for No2EU – Yes to Democracy, the coalition received 9,693 votes (0.9%).

In advance of the 2010 General Elections, Solidarity joined the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, fielding ten candidates in Scotland for that coalition, who pooled a total of 3,530 votes. 931 of those were cast for Tommy Sheridan, who received 2.9% in the Glasgow South West constituency.In Scotland Solidarity - TUSC received 0,99% of votes.

In the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, for which no manifesto was published, the party stood in every regional list except Glasgow, which they did not contest to allow George Galloway, the Respect Party candidate, a better chance of being elected. Solidarity performed poorly with a result of only 2,837 votes, or 0.14% of the regional vote, and won no seats in the Scottish Parliament.

On 23 December 2010, Solidarity leader Tommy Sheridan was convicted of perjury following a 12-week-long court case at the High Court in Glasgow, and was sentenced to three years' imprisonment on 26 January 2011. He was released in early 2012.[23]

Solidarity contested a by-election for the Govan ward of Glasgow City Council on 10 October 2013 and obtained fewer first preference votes than the Communist Party of Britain.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "New socialist party for Sheridan", BBC News, 29 August 2006
  2. ^ "Solidarity: New socialist party launched in Scotland". The Socialist. Issue 453, 7–13 September 2006.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ "Sheridan unveils Solidarity party". 3 September 2006. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "Solidarity wins on decibel count". 4 September 2006. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Socialist Worker Online - Solidarity founding conference
  6. ^ Socialist World - Solidarity conference agrees to build a socialist party
  7. ^ Solidarity Website - Solidarity Conference Elects Co-Convenors, Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne 4 November 2006
  8. ^ "Police probe transfer of funds to Sheridan's new party". 18 September 2006. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  9. ^ The Shetland News - Shetland socialists call in cops
  10. ^ The Herald - Solidarity is cleared over funds ‘smear’
  11. ^ The Shetland News - Party fraud probe still ongoing
  12. ^ IWW website - Sheridan betrays his own workers
  13. ^ IWW Website - NUJ backs dispute with Sheridan
  14. ^ Sheridan's name is 'key to success' as Solidarity aims for six seats, The Herald, 18 January 2007
  15. ^ Electoral Commission Site
  16. ^ Solidarity Emerge as Scotland's Largest Left Party - Retrieved 26/08/07
  17. ^ Solidarity councillor defection
  18. ^ Local by-elections: Ballochmyle (East Ayrshire) 11 December 2008
  19. ^ Tommy Sheridan calls for left-wing parties to call a truce
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Tommy Sheridan vows to clear name after release from jail". 30 January 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  24. ^ "Labour victory at Glasgow council by-election". 11 October 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 

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