Glasgow leader Gordon Matheson has become the first Scottish council leader to sign Unite the Union’s Local Government Pledge.
The trade union movement is an integral part of the Labour family. It always has been and always will be. Our efforts to make Scotland the most equal country in the world will only be successful if we work in partnership with organised labour.
That is why I was delighted to earlier today become the first Scottish council leader to sign Unite the Union’s “Local Government Pledge.” Once again, Glasgow is leading the way.
Glasgow’s City Council was the first public body in Scotland to introduce the Living Wage. We continue to actively promote it. We insist that any employer who wants to benefit from the wage-subsidy we pay as part of the Glasgow Guarantee must sign up to the Glasgow Living Wage.
David Gow thinks Labour has an opportunity to seize the high ground and drive real improvements in educational attainment in Scotland.
Scottish Labour’s new leadership team, headed by Jim Murphy, has made education a key battleground for the 2015 general election and for Holyrood in 2016; and rightly so.
Getting education policy right and ending what Alex Massie has memorably called “educational apartheid” is critical to making the Scottish economy more competitive and, above all, overcoming glaring inequality.
Seven years of Scottish government under the SNP have not made an iota of difference to shocking inequalities in educational attainment grounded in socio-economic poverty. Here is an area where Labour can seize the high ground, set the agenda and offer effective solutions. Education used to be the pride of the nation; it’s now, too often, a disgrace.
Barry Black is the Scottish Labour candidate in West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine in 2015. He has written an open letter to the sitting Lib Dem MP, challenging him to vote for the immediate abolition of the Bedroom Tax today.
Over the past few weeks Scottish Labour supporters in West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine, including elected councillors, have received two letters from Sir Robert Smith – the sitting Lib Dem MP. The letters have pleaded with Labour folk to vote tactically for him to avoid ‘the more extreme Tory policies’.
I find this beyond parody as his voting record this parliament shows the opposite – he voted for the bedroom tax, for a rise in VAT and against a bankers bonus tax.
He also mentions that ‘more and more’ Labour voters are telling him they will vote Liberal to keep the Tories out. Now, while it’s a cliché to mention what we hear on the doorsteps in debate, were it 2005 or 2010 I would have agreed with Sir Robert that this would have been the case. This time around people feel betrayed and angry that their vote to keep the Tories out has in fact let Tory polices in. Labour supporters in West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine will vote Labour in 2015.
The new Scottish Shadow Cabinet and shadow ministerial team has been announced. Nobody is staying in the same job they had under the previous leadership – this is a root and branch rebuilding of the Scottish front bench.
Both of Jim Murphy’s competitors for the leadership have been given prominent roles, an indication that the new leadership is reaching out and unifying the party after what was, in fairness, a pretty collegiate leadership election, but one which certainly highlighted differences.
A promotion for Jenny Marra to Health demonstrates a commitment to new faces and new ideas, while the Education job for Iain Gray shows continuity and strength.
The full shadow cabinet is as follows:
Leader: Jim Murphy
Deputy Leader: Kezia Dugdale
Finance, Constitution & Economy: Jackie Baillie
Infrastructure, Investment and Cities: Mary Fee
Fair Work, Skills and Training: Neil Findlay
Education & Lifelong Learning: Iain Gray
Health, Wellbeing and Sport: Jenny Marra
Social Justice, Communities & Pensioners’ rights: Ken Mackintosh
Justice: Hugh Henry
Rural Affairs, Food & Environment: Sarah Boyack
Culture, Europe & External Affairs: Claire Baker
Parliamentary Business Manager: James Kelly
Also attending cabinet:
Chief Whip: Neil Bibby
Enterprise: Graeme Pearson
Gordon Matheson is proud that Glasgow Labour has protected the Affordable Warmth Dividend and is still delivering on fair pay and affordable housing in the face of huge cuts to the city’s budget.
This winter, Glasgow Labour will continue to put our values into action and protect thousands of elderly Glaswegians with the £100 Affordable Warmth Dividend.
When the temperature drops, it is the elderly who are most at risk. Even in relatively mild winters, there is an estimated 8,000 extra deaths for every one degree drop in average temperature.
That is why in 2011, when the Tory government decided to snatch £100 from the annual Winter Fuel Allowance payment, we stepped up and ensured that no elderly Glaswegian had to make the impossible choice between eating a proper meal and heating their home.
In his first major speech since being elected leader, Jim Murphy will today declare Scottish Labour to be “a party that represents Scotland first.”
Jim Murphy is expected to say:
“Once Labour’s challenge was that too many people felt they could not be Labour and make an aspirational choice.
“Today Scottish Labour’s challenge is that some people feel they can’t be Labour and make a patriotic choice.
“The change we need goes deeper than the leadership style of a new team. If this is to be a genuinely fresh start for our party we need to make more fundamental change.