“I’m standing to leader of the Scottish Labour Party because I want to change Labour so that Labour can change Scotland.”
It’s a simple enough statement, but it’s one that is attached to policies to build 50 000 houses for social rent, create more and better jobs, provide college places for our young people and adult returners. Because of that, over 1000 people have signed up at my campaign website, not just to support, but volunteering to help.
For a campaign that was officially launched only 12 days ago and started from scratch (less than scratch if that’s possible!) only a few days before that, this is a remarkable achievement.
Mike Robb, Scottish Labour candidate in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey for the 2015 general election, poses six questions.
We can all talk about values and mission. The two places I hear that most are at business and political conferences. And mostly it is just talk.
One thing I’ve learned in business, which applies just as much in politics, is that real leadership is about being clear about what you believe in, what you want to change and what your priorities will be. You set the agenda for what you want to see happen.
I want Scottish Labour to set the agenda on six clear red issues.
Alastair Osborne points out that the SNP’s pledge not to let the Tories in crumbles under scrutiny.
The SNP would never ever put the Tories into government.
The SNP plan to take sufficient seats in the 2015 general election to hold the balance of power at Westminster and then hold Scotland hostage. But unlike most hostage takers they have released their demands in advance.
Scotland will be denied a Labour government unless Labour agrees to locate any Trident replacement outside of Scotland and down the coast a few hundred miles. The SNP would be prepared to deny Labour the majority it needs to raise the minimum wage, bring in the Living Wage, ban exploitative zero hours contracts, guarantee jobs for young people, build the social housing we need, freeze energy bills, raise the top rate of tax to 50%, tax bankers and bring in a mansion tax.
Mary Fee MSP, Shadow Housing Minister and MSP for the West of Scotland, says that justice is about a lot more than headlines and statistics, and with political will we can deliver significant change.
Throughout the race for Leader and Deputy Leader of Scottish Labour I will remain neutral; however I want to bring to attention a problem that Scottish Labour can tackle by having the political will to do so. Whilst we rightly discuss our social justice credentials and ambitions, we must also look at justice, and what we should aim to achieve within this portfolio, that rarely gets mentioned outwith the headline crime and police staffing statistics.
Reoffending is a continuing problem in Scotland. The Scottish Government estimates that the total economic and social costs of reoffending are about £3 billion a year, while £128 million is spent on services to reduce reoffending. Researchers believe that level of funding does not encourage reducing re-offending.
The next Scottish Labour Leader must address this issue if we are to truly be the party that changes lives and communities. What I want to address here are some of the links between imprisonment and re-offending and the effects these have on the offender and their family.