ONE of Scotland's most prominent socialists has claimed that the rise of the far-left in Greece will spark a revival in his own party's fortunes in 2016.

Colin Fox, spokesman for the Scottish Socialist Party, returned to Scotland yesterday after travelling to Athens to witness the historic victory for the anti-austerity Syriza party.

The former MSP for the Lothians said that he had been inspired by the experience after he was invited to Greece by representatives for Syriza, and predicted the rise of a pan-European socialist movement.

"It was fantastic, for anyone interested in politics it was the only place to be in the world," said Mr Fox, who left celebrations in the centre of Athens in the early hours of yesterday morning to fly home.

"You realise that people are on their knees there. There was a real air of economic and social depression. People are at the end of their tethers and have tried everything else. But on the night it was a remarkable atmosphere, a mental party into the wee small hours. I told them it's what it would have been like here if we'd won the referendum."

The SSP returned six MSPs at the 2003 Holyrood elections, but were wiped out in 2007 following a series of high-profile scandals involving former figurehead and ex-convenor Tommy Sheridan. Its share of the vote fell further in 2011.

While Mr Fox acknowledged that conditions in Scotland are not as severe as Greece, he believes the Syriza victory could be the springboard for returning to Holyrood next year.

"There's austerity in Scotland too," he said. "Not to the same extent, but still bad. Syriza is a coalition of different forces on the left, talking about improving the minimum wage and standing up to bosses and austerity. There is the potential for their ideas to be as popular here.

"We want to develop links with Socialist parties across Europe - Syriza invited me there because they see a similar model to build upon. I'm not suggesting we will get to their level, but the fact is we need to get MSPs back in the parliament. This has galvanised us to do that."