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Nick Tarlton, Glasgow North, Scottish Socialist Party   

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what do you think is the most important issue in this election?

The widening gap between rich and poor under New Labour

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

I was selected by local branches. From a personal viewpoint I relish the opportunity to raise the issues that affect working class people and challenge Ann McKechin the local Labour MP over her support for the war in Iraq.

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

Glasgow North is a new constituency made up mainly of parts of the old Kelvin and Maryhill constituencies where we got two of our best results in the 2003 Scottish election, Westminster elections are more difficult terrain for us but I hope to come 3rd or 4th.

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

We want use this election to popularise the campaigns we are involved in and convince people of the urgent necessity of a socialist transformation of society. We hope that working class people will be inspired by our vision of an independent socialist Scotland and a socialist world and get involved in the struggle to make it a reality.

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

New Labour's use of fear as a justification for creeping totalitarianism, whether they are exploiting fear of 'Terror' to justify ID cards and detention without trial or scapegoating working class young people to justify ASBOs and dispersal orders.


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?

Sadly oppressed people sometimes have to take up arms to fight for their rights or their lives, having said this I hate violence and sincerely hope I am never in such a situation. Everybody knows Blair's wars have been fought in the interests of rich Western nations and big business, a system which puts profit before people's lives needs replaced.

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

More or less everything, immediately I'd like to see the re-nationalisation of rail and the major utilities and an end to privatisation by the back door such as introducing competition into postal services and PFI/PPP. Ultimately I'd like to see al of our resources and infrastructure controlled democratically by the working class.

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 is portrayed as a cheap option, however if a fraction of the resources which the government put into the development of nuclear power in the last century were put into wind and wave technology now then we could provide for our energy needs with very little environmental impact.

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?

Immediately, the closing of all detention centres such Scotland's shame at Dungavel and an end to deportations. I'd like to see a system where people fleeing persecution or who simply want to live here are welcomed with open arms and given all the support they need. Asylum is one issue where the SSP has had a real effect and as a result the debate on this issue in Scotland is undoubtedly to the left of that in England.

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

The issue of New Labour's assault on pensions, particularly the plan to increase the retiral age from 60 to 65 in the public sector. The SSP supports lowering the retiral age to 55 for all workers with the option to stay in work if people so wish.




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