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Jack Ferguson, SSP candidate for North East Fife constituency.

What do you think is the most important issue of this election?

All the main parties, Labour, Tories, Lib Dems and Scottish National Party are offering the same pro-capitalist visions, only with differences of nuance and emphasis. They all support free trade, the continuation of the occupation of Iraq (whether by the Coalition, or under an internationalised fig leaf) and the big business agenda. Therefore I think the most important issue is whether we really have a democracy, whether there is any alternative vision on offer. Do we accept lesser evilism, or do we want an alternative voice that argues for the redistribution of wealth and an end to war.

why did you make the decision to stand in this constituency and for this party (as an independent)?

I have been a member of the Scottish Socialist Party since I was 16, I joined because it was the only party that shared my vision of an independent Scotland that sought to eradicate capitalism and build a fairer, more democratic socialist society. I want to represent that vision as part of the election campaign, and allow voters a vision of a radically different society to vote for. I think I am probably the youngest candidate standing in Scotland, and for me it is very important that young people are involved in politics so that our voices are heard and we are not merely used as scapegoats and ignored.

what kind of vote are you expecting on May 5th?

I don't expect to come close to winning this seat under the corrupt first past the post electoral system, but I would be delighted if we can increase our excellent support of 4.9% that we gained locally at the last Scottish Parliamentary elections.

aside from the vote what are you hoping to get out of this campaign?

I think the primary purpose of the campaign must be to spread the ideas of socialism, and try and open voter's minds to the possibility of a different society. The SSP is standing in this election to help build a movement for socialism, and convince the people of Scotland that that is the way forward. If we can inform people and persuade them to join us in this struggle, then I will have achieved my aim.

in your view what is the greatest threat to our civil liberties at the moment?

The greatest threat to our civil liberties is the pervasive culture of fear created by government and perpetuated by the media. A vast inflation of the danger from terrorism has allowed the British (and others as well, notbly the USA) governments an excuse to impose the most draconian restrictions of our rights. The culture of fear creates dependency on the authorities, and allows them to exploit the climate for their own ends.

Blair has taken us to war three times since coming to power (not including the occasional ad hoc bombing raid) in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Can war ever be justified?

Although there are examples of justified wars from history, it is extremely rare that it can be considered legitimate. The vast majority of the world's wars were begun to promote the plunder of other countries, and bolster the domestic position, both political and financial, of those in power. This applies to all the unjust wars begun by Blair, which is why the SSP has consistently opposed all three.

There is very little left to privatise in this country, if you had your way what would be brought into public hands?

I think it is of urgent importance that the energy industry is returned to public hands so that we can begin a coherent plan for how we can cope with the severe decline of fossil fuels and the global catastrophe of climate change. I would like to see a dramatic expansion of the public sector to allow key services to be run democratically by the workers and users. Key among these has to be the railways, which have become a dangerous joke as a result of privatisation. The SSP and our affiliated trade union the RMT are fighting for rail re-nationalisation.

Some environmental campaigners have started talking about nuclear power as a way to bring down CO2 emissions - what do you think of this?

Nuclear power can be no solution to our energy problems. It is a dangerous and expensive way of producing energy, when the resources poured into it would be better spent enforcing energy efficiency. We will have to urgently look at energy alternatives, such as renewables and clean burn coal technology, but the radioactive legacy that nuclear power leaves for millenia to come makes it a wholly unacceptable solution.

Asylum and immigration will be central issues in this election. What action on this issue would you like to see the next government push through?

Obviously I want to see the government immediately end the inhumane incaceration of asylum seekers in appaling conditions at detention centres such as Dungavel. However, its necessary for us to recognise that Scotland has an aging and dying population, and we desperately need immigration of young workers to help keep the nation alive. Immigration helps our economy and enlivens our culture, so I want to see SCotland become a welcoming home for all those fleeing poverty and persecution from across the world.

What question do you wish was on this list but doesn't appear?

What action will you be taking to oppose the rich man's club of the G8 meeting in Perthshire to carve up the world this summer?




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