Tuesday, January 29, 2013

REAL LABOUR POLICIES FROM ALLAN GROGAN

There was a debate tonight at Dundee University, at which Allan Grogan made a speech. I guess many people who would have liked to have gone were unable to do so. Here is Allan's speech for the event. 


Tonight I’d like to talk about the impact that the Labour party, and more specifically its supporters can and will have in the independence referendum. I’d also like to talk about the reasons why independence is so important for the future of Scotland and for the Labour party. 

Firstly I’d like to briefly explain a little about Labour for Independence and how we came about. As a student at this university, I attended many debates prior to the 2007 Scottish elections. One of these was on the independence movement. I asked the Labour party delegate about supporting Labour and Independence and was fobbed off with the line, 

‘If you want independence vote SNP.’ 

Now I can understand his logic behind this, of course in order to have the referendum we did need an SNP government. But this was the standard Labour line whenever I asked the question to the higher ups in the party. 

I began Labour for Independence to see if I was alone in my thinking, to see if there were other Labour voters who felt we would be better as an independent nation. Well as we have seen with our continual and growing support that there are many more of us who feel this way within the party. 

As our group evolved and the more I spoke with former voters, we came to realise that Labour, in particular the Scottish Labour party no longer reflected real Labour party ideals, nor the needs and ambitions of most people in Scotland. 

Now from a political point of view this is understandable, It is unfortunate for us, that we are such smart voters. In Scotland the SNP hold the majority partly due to the dissatisfaction of Scottish Labour. But in General Elections, Scots will vote for Labour in a straight choice between them and the Tories. So It’s hardly a surprise when the Westminster Labour party see Scottish votes as safe ones and introduce policies that appeal to needed voters, mainly Middle England and London. 

But for a Scottish Labour party to peddle these policies out, flying against the traditions and fibres of the Labour party in Scotland is a disgusting act of political careerism. And for the Leader of the Scottish Labour party to come out and say we have a ‘something for nothing society’ was desecrating the memory of Keir Hardie. 


So it is clear to us, that the only way for our party to return to our founding principles, to return to being the party of the people of Scotland, is to be removed from the shackles of Westminster which can only happen in an independent Scotland.

To return to the Labour party we believe in we must have Scottish independence, and to have a strong, successful, socially just Scotland we must have a real Scottish Labour party at the heart of it. 

Labour for Independence will play an important role in this referendum, we show that this is not a nationalist issue. The decision on independence shouldn't be about whether you liked Braveheart or not, it should be deciding what kind of society you want to be. 

So let’s look at the Scotland we live in today. 

-Run by Westminster we have a society in which the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.


- We have CEO’s of banks which destroyed our economy taking bonuses of millions of pounds while allowing small business’s to collapse and family homes are foreclosed. 


- We have a government in London, handing out an allowance for us to spend while taking far more from our resources and trade.


- We have a Tory party in power which won one seat in our country. 1.7% of Scotland’s MP’s running our affairs in which 9% of the politicians represent Scotland. 


- We have a Westminster Parliament slashing financial help to those who need the most help, while the Scottish MP’s voted unanimously against it. (Editor's note: Labour and the SNP voted against it. The Liberals and the Tory voted for it).

 
- We have a Parliament which while cutting benefits to the country’s poorest called for a 32% pay rise. Apparently £65,000 isn't enough to survive. 
So much so that Tory MP Andrew Bigden said 

“ I know MPs who will say in private that every year they are getting poorer.”

“A man or a woman who’s very capable, doing very well in their profession, whatever that may be, with a family, are they going to be willing to take that pay cut, look their children in the eye when it’s Christmas say you can’t have what you normally have because Mummy or Daddy wants to be an MP.”



We’ve all heard of wife swap but maybe Mr Bigden should go on Benefit swap and see how it is for mums and dads on benefits or minimum wage to tell their kids that they won’t have anything this Christmas. 

Most importantly, this is a society that is the 4th most unequal in the world. A society 1 in 5 Scottish children are living in poverty. Parents are going without meals to make sure their kids are fed okay, pensioners are having to decide between heating the house and eating dinner. 

Independence is our best chance to change this, to shape our nation making it fairer, more equal. Giving our children the chance of a better future. 

So what kind of Society do we want to have? Following a yes vote the Scottish government has promised that all parties will play a role in the negotiations for an independent Scotland. 

Because of this it is important for all parties to set out their vision of an independent Scotland. In light of the refusal from Labour HQ to do this. Labour for Independence will set out what we believe are real Labour policies.

One of the biggest changes we promise to make is that we will never object to proposals based on our core principles for the sake of political gain. As we have seen so many times these past few years. 

The first policy that we have already announced is something I care about very passionately. We, like 80% of the Scottish people, support a complete removal of all nuclear weapons from our land. We believe that a nuclear arsenal on our doorstep is both dangerous and unwarranted in this nation. We hope that we will lead the way forward as an example to all nations to remove such weaponry.

Now, I have a little confession to make, and I’d like to get it off my chest. In the Scottish Labour leadership elections I voted for Johann Lamont. There was no great merit in any of the candidates, but the one reason I voted for her was her opposition to Trident. Well all I can say to her is I hope that seat at the shadow cabinet meeting was worth it. The fact she went against her own beliefs, the safety and financial security of the Scottish people for a hoist up the greasy pole of the Labour party tells you everything you need to know about her. 

LFI will adhere to the founding principles of the Labour party of fairness, equality and justice. We will also strive to keep in place some of our greatest creations in the NHS and the Welfare State. We will seek ways to improve, but we will never remove our belief in free education and healthcare for all at the point of service. 


An abolition of a minimum wage and in its place a LIVING wage. One which reflects real living costs and prices. A living wage will protect the most vulnerable, removing most from the poverty line and costing the country less in Tax Credits, and other forms of income support.

We support a simplified version of the Welfare system. With real incentives to work. This system should be fair and support those who can and do work. The welfare system must again return to the basis of its creation to support the needy and most vulnerable. That is why we support the removal of means testing on disability allowances.

We are also open to the possibilities of nationalisation or re-nationalisation of energy, transport and care work. We are not a political group which promotes nationalisation for the sake of it. However in tough economic times we believe companies which are making a profit in these areas are doing our nation a disservice. The profit from these industries would and should be returned to the Scottish people as lower prices or placed into the country’s finances. 

These are the visions of a socially just Independent Scotland and they are the visions of a real Scottish Labour Party. 

Labour for Independence, Yes Scotland and all pro-independence movements will work hard to promote a positive message for independence. We know which society we want for our future. We believe in Scotland, we don’t think were too wee, too daft, too stupid to run our own affairs. 

The vote on the referendum next year will be the most important of our lives. While the Tory back benchers claim their EU referendum will be the first time in 40 years for our voices to be heard. Our referendum will be the first time in 300 that our voices will be heard. 

Scotland is probably the most frustrating place in the world. We have so much to offer, so much to be proud of, so much still left to achieve. If we can only just believe in ourselves. 

I believe the people of Scotland will make the right choice, the choice of hope, the choice of change. The choice of a better nation.

I urge you all to think differently, Think Labour for Independence, Think Yes!

(The emphases in bold are mine - Tris)-

23 comments:

  1. "There was no great merit in any of the candidates", dear me, he's taking no prisoners, is he?

    Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth from NuLabour and the expensive erminites. No gongs for him from a future(?) Labour government.

    His vision of Scottish Labour will strike a chord with many in Scotland including the many comrades who still think that Labour is the people's party. I'm sure Niko, in his heart of hearts, also shares the LFI plans and aspirations.

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  2. Tris

    While I welcome Allans contribution and have since he started Labour for Independece there is a part of me that feels this battle within Labour will not be won within the movement. Allans message within the rank and file will be very difficult to get out to those members. New Labour in many ways is a well oiled machine. A bigger statement for myself would be they try to grab power within the Labour Scottish Branch or with high profile former members like Brian Cox and Ricky Ross they form a new Labour Party for Scotland, in fact they could probably call it that.

    The Labour movement has died, it died a long time ago but most of it's members can't see that and Unions continue to plow money into it in the millions. While Union members can opt out most don't and how many would say that Labour represent them. Having an independent Labour Party in Scotland would be a good thing, giving union members a chance to contribute to it would be a good thing.

    Allan has taken a stand that I admire, he no doubt is a man of principle but in our communities across Scotland Labour is still a symbol that people cling to without knowing that the symbol is in fact a lie. Giving them a true Labour symbol, an honest Labour Party in Scotland is, I feel, the way ahead. This will only be achieved by breaking away from the rotten Labour Party of Lamont, Baillie etc. They are as toxic as the nuclear weapons we are forced to allow on our soil.

    Bruce

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    Replies
    1. Good post, Bruce. When I worked with Civil Service Unions at every conference repeated attempts were made to convince conference to ratify contributions to the Labour party. Up until I left they all failed.

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  3. Thanks for publishing this, it's an excellent speech. I find NuLabour repellent but the Labour of Shinwell, Maxton, Hardie and Bevan - well we need that party back again. I agree with Bruce I think a new party will be needed with new faces. Glasgow and North Lanarkshire Labour are a disgrace.

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  4. I've never been a labour voter but I can't figure out why those who have always been labour voters, wouldn't be prepared to get behind the aspirations in Alan Grogans speech above instead of the hollow platitudes and cynical dishonesty of the current Labour crowd in Scotland.

    There will be those who still hold out hope for mainstream labour, I think though, that position has already become untenable.

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  5. No John. Allan appears not to pull punches. I've said before, I think he's a brave man. It's not easy to take on Labour, or to be fair, the vested interests in any political party, and as we all know, many walk away.

    He's saying it the way it is. There was no one of any particular ability or promise in the party leadership contenders.

    It says a great deal that Allan chose Lamont because of her stance on nuclear weapons. Of all of them, I saw her as most Old Labour. Everything about her said, working wifey.

    But they feed her things to say and most recently they have obviously sent someone up from London to knock some dress sense into her, because gone are the costumes that would be suitable for a summer Sunday morning at church, and in are the sober dark colours of the smart businesswoman.

    As Allan says, I hope she feel that a seat in the Shadow Cabinet was worth selling her principles for.

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  6. Bruce. I agree with John. That was a superb post.

    I think I read somewhere that he had considered that, but had decided against it.

    I'm inclined to agree, but I don't know how you go about setting up a political party and what kind of costs are involved.

    I also don't know if he has the time to devote to that, rather than just running a protest group from within. it would be interesting to research him some more.

    Above all he needs publicity for his cause. Not everyone has internet; not everyone has Facebook.

    And I doubt the main stream are giving him any great coverage. Although D C Thomson may, given their hatred of Labour.

    It amazes me that people who used to support Labour still do. There can be virtually no policies that they espouse now that are original to them. I remember a lad I had worked with, out of work and dirt poor, met me one time when I was canvassing for the SNP: He said he was shocked at me and I should be campaigning for the workers party. "The party for people like us", he called them. Given what Labour (at that time in government in the UK) were doing, I found myself wondering if the lad had ever looked at a newspaper or switched on the tv news, and decided that, in fact, he probably hadn't. it was all from his grandparents or parents. Perhaps remembering the days when it was true.

    I know from his posts that, as John says, Niko has no time for New labour and the Blairites. But he is confirmedly against independence (which I respect) and New One-Nation Labour is the nearest thing he can find to his political views that isn't FOR independence.

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  7. Panda: Absolutely we do. Just like we need a reasonable right of centre party.

    But these parties MUST have the interests of Scottish people and Scotland at the centre of their policies. Both the Tories and the Labour Party are far too interested in where the bulk of the population lives to care much about us.

    In the case of Labour they take the Scots for granted. They will vote Labour anyway. In the case of the Tories, they know only a tiny proportion will vote for them and nothing much they do will shift that, so not worth bothering about.

    I wonder when the North of England is going to come to terms with the fact that THEIR Labour party has disappeared.

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  8. Pa: I don't think that Allan and Labour for Independence get that much publicity. Politically interested people like us know about them, but who else does.

    They need a lot more publicity.

    The latest opinion polls show that Labour has made very little in the way of progress against the SNP in votes. After 6 years of government.

    That bodes badly for them. By now they should have recovered a lot of ground. Still I suppose telling people that they are a pile of scroungers in the hardest economic situation most of us have ever seen wasn't the smartest move. Especially as at around the same time, the leader got a seat on the Shadow Cabinet of the UK. (Kick in the teeth for Curren!)

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  10. I have nothing but admiration for Allan. The easy thing to do would be to abandon the party and make the cause for a Yes vote from the outside. However, if he took that course hardly anyone (ourselves included) would have heard of him.

    By fighting from inside he gains a measure of publicity which otherwise would be denied him and a hell of a lot more if johan's gang decide to expel him.

    Right now he is a thorn in their side but a thorn which I'm sure has a whole lot of merde heaped on his head on a daily basis.

    More power to you Allan you have my admiration and respect.

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  11. That's a good point Boorach.

    In a way, labour left the Allan Grogans of this world. He's still in the same place, believing in the basic principles of the founders...

    It's difficult to know which would be better to do... stay and fight or go and fight.

    The most important thing is to fight. And the best thing that people like us can do, is to give the man publicity.

    Most importantly because people really do have to understand that the independence game is NOT all about the SNP. Yes, they are the biggest, but there are many other people, belonging to other parties, who want an independent Scotland.

    Greens, Socialists, and people from labour, the Liberals and even the Tories.

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  12. And it is certainly not a game Tris, it's much more important than that.

    I've carried the SNP card since the mid sixties, even when military law forbad membership of political parties, and I doubt if I've enough years left to see the next referendum.

    How wonderful if my legacy to future generations could be a free, autonomous and independent country.

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  13. No no Boorach, I didn't mean to denigrate it by calling it a 'game'... just a lapse. I was going to say 'thing' ...it sounded wrong. I should have said 'movement'.

    Sorry if you think I was slighting it :)

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  14. Yep! the Nats all praise Allan (They would)
    No doubt if they won(God forbid)
    the snp will have him stuffed and mounted
    at Alexs Winter palace for the party fathfull
    to admire.

    and that would be the amount of thanks he would get
    meanwhile the snp neo cons would take over the snp

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  15. "A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague."

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  16. So Niko, do you prefer Johann's policies to Allan's?

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  17. Are you calling Allan a traitor, Niko.

    Cause he's not really doing this by stealth, is he? He's up front, holding public meetings, putting all his info on Face Book, on TV, on the radio...

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  18. Not a problem Tris, caught me at a bad moment that's all...... apologies.

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  19. A nation can survive its fools

    Yes but we wont hold it against you a new tin of cherry blossom is waiting!

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  20. tris



    Allan is a trogan horse for snp dictat
    the nats will just use him abuse him and the throw him aside
    and give him a swift kick in passing.

    If Alexs has his way there be no Johann's policies or Allan's
    only thatcherite policies in a one party state.


    the esteemed fair minded Alan Cochrane reveals
    how a parcel of snp Rogues will crush a nation



    However, this bitter foretaste of what things might be like in a Nat-run independent Scotland is, I’m glad to say, proving to be a real eye-opener to any people still out there who believe Alex Salmond when he says that he values a free press.



    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/alancochrane/9830570/Nats-ferocious-attacks-on-press-show-their-desperation.html


    as they say
    the friend of my enemy is my enemy

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  21. The more Allan is heard in Labour's heartlands will/is resonating with those who had given up Labour and politics in general. It is good to have his speech published on a well known blog such as this one.

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  22. Niko linking to Alan Cochrane and referring to Neo-cons. I've heard everything now. The irony of that twit referring to ferocious attacks is quite incredible except, it seems, to Niko.

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