ABOUT 400 people attended a rally in Glasgow yesterday to launch a political party of the left.

The Scottish Socialist Alliance aims to unite socialists under a common banner.

The plan is to put up candidates in the first election to a Scottish parliament elected by proportional representation.

Mr Ron Brown, the former Labour MP for Leith, said the Labour Party had been taken over by Tony Blair.

``The Labour Party has been hijacked by middle-class values. The middle class in the Labour Party are concerned about their careers, their ministerial jobs.

``Labour is the Tory party with a different suit, but they didn't get that from the Co-op, they bought it from the capitalist system.''

Mr Bill Bonnar, one of the leaders of the Communist Party in Scotland, said: ``This is a historic conference. In years to come when people look back to this time they will say it was a remarkable event in Scottish political history.''

Mr Allan Green, convener of the Scottish Socialist steering committee, said that Labour was increasingly being seen as the establishment in Scotland.

``We genuinely want to unite as many socialists as we can under this one banner. Labour is not the answer to the Tories and we do need a new socialist answer.''

Mr Tommy Sheridan, a Scottish Militant Labour Glasgow councillor, said the meeting had attracted communists, his own party members, Socialist Workers, indepen- dent communists, and people who belonged to no political party.