List wars. The SNP has a new challenge on the left from RISE.

Iain Macwhirter

The emergence of a new party of the radical left in Scotland, Rise (Respect, Independence, Socialism, Environmentalism), launched this weekend, has aroused much derision and allusions to Monty Python’s People’s Front of Judea sketch. “How long before Rise sinks?” Ho, ho.

But it’s surely a tribute to Holyrood’s proportional electoral system that new political formations like this are entering the field. Unlike at Westminster, small parties have a realistic prospect of actually winning seats.

As recently as 2003, the far left Scottish Socialist Party had no fewer than six MSPs sitting in the Scottish Parliament and the Green Party had seven.

It didn’t turn out too well. The SSP lost all of their seats after the party dissolved into acrimonious internal division over the libel action against the News of the World in 2006 taken by then-leader Tommy Sheridan.

Nor did the Greens manage to capitalise on their early success…

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