General Election 2010: Leslie, 99, proves you're never too old to take part

SCOTLAND'S oldest political activist has been out on the streets, delivering leaflets to help Robin Harper's bid to become Scotland's first Green MP.

Leslie Spoor, who will be 100 in October, has been campaigning for radical causes since the 1930s.

He was involved in the Battle of Cable Street in 1936, when communities in London's East End united to take violent action against Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists.

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He was a member of the Labour Party for many years and was a close friend of the late Foreign Secretary and Livingston MP Robin Cook.

In 1978, already three years into his retirement, he was the principal founder of the Scottish Green Party, then known as the Scottish Ecology Party. He also organised the party's first general election campaign in Scotland in 1979.

More than 30 years later, Mr Spoor still maintains a keen interest in politics and current affairs and is lending a helping hand with Mr Harper's campaign in the Edinburgh East constituency. He said: "In a long and active life I have seen political fashions come and go, and when you have such a wide perspective, you realise that what matters is long-term vision.

"I am backing the Greens because they alone have a sense of urgency about the future of the planet. I am backing Robin's campaign in Edinburgh East because he is a refreshing change from the faceless and subservient MPs who fill so many of the Westminster benches."

Mr Spoor, who lives with his wife Pat in Corstorphine, was a history teacher at Musselburgh Grammar School and also lectured for the Open University.

Mr Harper, 69, who became the Greens' first parliamentarian in the UK when he was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999, welcomed Mr Spoor's support and said he took encouragement from his long career of political activism.

Mr Harper said: "The challenge of being Scotland's first Green MP was one I could not resist, and Leslie's long and distinguished career is proof that there is lots of time for a new chapter to be opening."

• Website ScotlandVotes will run a live chatroom on tonight's final TV leaders' debate to provide a platform for discussion of the exchanges from a Scottish perspective.

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People can log in on from 8:15pm and view the debate live on BBC 1 from 8:30pm.


SIR Malcolm Rifkind today branded the Liberal Democrats too left wing to be part of a coalition government.

The former Edinburgh Pentlands Tory MP said he thought coalition was "almost impossible" and predicted a hung parliament would mean a minority Conservative or Labour administra- tion.

Sir Malcolm, who is due to address a rally in Edinburgh tonight, said the leaders' TV debates had brought more excitement to the campaign and could mean a bigger turnout, but talking of the Lib Dems he said: "For the last 100 years no-one has wanted to vote for them.

"They are virtually calling for unilateral disarmament, they want an amnesty for illegal immigrants and they want high personal taxes.

"If people want that they should vote for them, but they should not think of them as being some sort of middle of the road party."