Sunday, 23 March 2014

THIS IS WHAT A LABOUR AGENDA SHOULD BE ABOUT, Ms LAMONT.

Today Allan Grogan addressed the Law Society's fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference in Perth.

According to James the esteemed Mrs Curran has never met Mr Grogan, despite her being a member of  Labour for 38 years... and despite him being leader of a sizeable faction of Labour members, opposing their party on Scotland, and her being the shadow Scottish spokesman.

I hope she managed to find time in her busy diary to go along today a listen to him. In cases she didn't make that time, I'll include his speech here, so that she can catch up with it in her leisure time.

I’d like to thank the chair and the Law Society for inviting me here. It is a great honour to speak with you all here today, particularly on such an important issue.

Labour for Independence consists of members, voters, supporters, former voters who felt the party left them not the other way around. Trade unionists, ex councillors, former Lord Provosts and the former chair of Scottish Labour. We believe in the ideals and principles of the Labour Party. But we also believe that independence is the best way forward for the people of this nation.

Scotland is at a crossroads, but it is not one between unionism and nationalism, rather the kind of society we live in today and the kind of society we can have. It is a choice between the status quo and real change for the better.

What is the status quo we live in today? Scotland, in this United Kingdom according to the Scottish Outlook Campaign, is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. We are part of the 3rd most unequal society in the Western World. Life expectancy in some parts of this affluent nation is lower that the Gaza Strip. Most shockingly of all 1 in 4 Scottish children are living in poverty. 1 is too many, but 25% is an absolute disgrace. All of this is happening in a country that is the 14th richest in the world per capita.
These are not just some statistics read out in this hall, this is the reality of the society we live in today. Look about you; it’s happening to friends, family neighbours. Parents are going hungry to put food on the table for their kids, pensioners have to choose to heat their house or cook a meal.

But fear not friends, throughout the deprivation, the poverty and abject squalor we still have enough to pay for bankers bonuses, MP wage increases and find £100 billion to renew an outdated nuclear programme which has no place in a civilised modern society.

We are not better together, we can do better and we must do better. We need to create a society which will look after all of its citizens not just those who can afford to have their say.
 
Now there will be many here today who will argue that child poverty in Liverpool is just as important as it is in Scotland, and I agree with you. But this is the crux of the argument. This, rather than labelling everyone who votes yes a nationalist is the debate we should be having within the party.

Let me begin by asking the question to all those waiting for the British road to socialism. How close are we to achieving this? I have campaigned for a better society within the UK and there are many here today who have spent a lot longer doing so than I, and yet we seem to be further and further away from making this a reality.

Independence can lead to not only a more prosperous, more equal Scotland. It also increases the opportunities for our brothers and sisters in Northern England and other areas within the UK. Independence can lead to a more federalised Rest of UK. Giving these areas more say and more control in how to make their communities better. If nothing else we can lead by example proving to them that it is possible to be an economically vibrant, socially just, fair and equal society. One which Hardie and Maxton would be proud to call home.

How do we achieve this society within the UK? Are we to pin all of our hopes on a Labour victory in 2015? Even if we are successful, what kind of Labour government will we have? A Labour Government in which Ministers like Chris Bryant blame unemployment on immigrants working in Tescos? A Defence Secretary who has pledged the commitment to maintaining our nuclear deterrent. Most worryingly of all we will have a Labour Chancellor committed to the Tories austerity programme. A programme in which only 10p in every pound of cuts has been endured so far.

Because the reality is that in order to be elected, Westminster Labour are chasing the tail of the Tories who are chasing the tail of UKIP further and further right in a never ending spiral towards darkness. Shackled to Westminster the Scottish Labour Party is going along for the ride.

When did we begin to consider Scotland a something for nothing society, misquoted or not? When did means testing become Labour policy? For each according to ability to each according to their need, a cradle to grave universal system that lies in the very fabric of our party. For the first time in our history we are on the wrong side of this. This can change with independence.

Churchill once said “Some men change their party for the sake of their principles; others change their principles for the sake of their party.” Here today in this hall we can say that the members of the Scottish Labour Party need do neither. By voting yes in September we can remove the need to change our beliefs to win votes in the Home Counties. We can return to being the party of the people of Scotland that protects the rights of the workers, stands up for families and individuals who need a helping hand, which protects our unions, our poor, sick and elderly. That’s the party I grew up believing in and we can be that party again.

There is a saying within Labour for Independence. Vote yes in 2014 vote Labour in 2016. We can have Labour Party in the Scottish Government that rebuilds social housing, removes privatisation of energy, railways and Royal Mail. A party which removes the anti trade union laws imposed by Westminster. That uses our finite resources to rebuild our industries and creates renewable energy.

In 1997 we began this journey by voting yes to devolution, let’s complete the job. A real Scottish Labour Party, a Parliament decided by the people, representing all the people, a society which reflects the needs, wants and aspirations of the people of Scotland, these are all within our grasp. The choice is in your hands, continue the journey by voting yes, or be faced with the never ending roadblock of voting no.

I’m voting yes for change, yes for the ideals set out by our party’s founders so many years ago.

Yes for a better Scotland.


Thank you.

15 comments:

  1. Tris

    The wrong person currently leads labour north branch. Even I could support that labour vision.

    Bruce

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a difference.

    First we had s***e for brains spouting her 100% hatred of the S.N.P. and nothing else. Now we have an excellent speech from Allan Grogan. The phrase chalk and cheese springs to mind here Tris.

    I am not a Labour voter, I never have, but I can see how having Allan as the leader of a proper Labour party in Scotland will appeal to a lot of former Labour voters as well as those who have never voted Labour before.

    The one concern I have for Labour in an independent Scotland is that Allan Grogan steps down as leader of Labour for independence and does not take up the role everyone wishes he would take up and that is leader of Labour in an independent Scotland.

    As things stand at the moment Allan appears to be able to hold a debate with someone, or make a speech, without pulling the debate/speech down into the depths of the gutter unlike certain other irresponsible individuals who really should know better!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm probably a natural Labour voter. Not a wild left winger who believes the state should interfere in everything, and certainly not a supporter of the kind of Labour that feathered its own nest in places like Glasgow and Dundee...

      But a decent left of centre party would be tempting.

      I don;t know what Allan's intentions would be but he can't be the only person in Scotland with leadership potential that wished that Labour would just go back to being Labour, and leave buying southern English votes to the Tories.

      Delete
  3. That, in a nutshell is why I'm labourforindy.

    I dislike the SNP, I'm not a nationalist, but that doesn't mean I can't find a socialist alternative narrative for YES.

    Dennis Canavan, Jimmy Reid, Keir Hardie - they all believe(d) in home rule, as the only meaningful chance of change.

    I'd rather stick to their fine example - Lamont simply doesn't compare to such great socialist figures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Truth is that if you are a socialist you have to be for independence, Dean.

      The UK is basically a right wing country dependent on the corrupt wealth of London. It's not going to change. It's a downward path.

      Delete
  4. "Indeed, more generally the poll confirms the degree to which Labour support is potentially the weak link in the unionist camp; once the Don’t Knows are excluded no less than 34% of those who backed Labour in 2011 say they will vote Yes." -John Curtice, analysing yet another poll showing massive improvements for YES on all relevant indicators

    http://blog.whatscotlandthinks.org/2014/03/march-icm-poll-uncovers-worrying-underlying-trends-for-no/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for that link.

      I notice too that the currency stance of the Uk government has been roundly rubbished as the lead article in the Sunday Herals.

      In short what we are saying is that the only reason Osborne is against Scotland using the pound is malice and hatred.

      Good way to govern the greatest union in the history of the universe.

      Delete
  5. I think the real SLAB are LFI, who's core prinicples haven't changed unlike Curran and Lamont, LFI have gained respect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, exactly. Allan has always said that.

      Delete
  6. to Alex salmond and the snp

    From hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee.
    ~ Herman Melville

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Niko. That sums up the attitude of dear old Jolo and her merry band of hate merchants who prefer David Cameron....

      Sad really that they can't see past Alex Salmond... or maybe it's really just the seat in the House of Lords and the title.

      We could let the silly woman call herself Lady Lamont of Milliband if it means that much to her.

      Delete
  7. That is a potential leader with a vision for Scotland not the the red Tories we have at the moment.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Replies
    1. That's absolutely hilarious.

      Even of the people of Scotland were minded to vote for Labour, Miliband couldn't possibly allow her to be the first minister.

      First ministers can't hide in bunkers all week. They have to meety people, take hard decisions. They have to know what is going on, understand financial reports, read vast amounts of stuff and be ready for questions from constituents, journalists and MSPs alike.

      She could n't be trusted to do any of that. She'd have to be removed, although god knows who they would put in her place.

      Jackie... Kazia... Iain "Don't sleep in the subway"?

      Anyone?

      Niko?

      The cat?

      Delete