Thursday 18 April 2013

Unions can drive the debate on A Just Scotland

#stuc13 “We have an opportunity to influence and drive the debate on Scotland’s future in a way that can engage our members and the wider population”, UNISON Scotland’s Hazel Marshall told the STUC today. The full text of her speech is below.

"And Congress given the way our politicians seem to prefer insult to argument - I’m not sure that anyone other than us is capable of making this debate seem relevant to ordinary people.

And frankly congress – the way to do that isn’t to line up behind YES Scotland OR it’s Better Together mirror image.

It’s to continue the process outlined in the Composite, to analyse and to challenge both campaigns.
To ask questions and demand answers of all the political parties.

We need to move the referendum debate on from talk about what COULD happen because anything could happen.

We need to make parties and campaigns tell us what they intend to do. Congress we need to make sure that the debate on the fate of the nation is a debate on the state of the nation

A debate where the value – or otherwise - of constitutional change, or no change is whether it will drive the SOCIAL change that we need    

We are very well placed to do that – political parties in Scotland, put together only have around fifty thousand members. (And they seem to spend most of their time shouting at each other)

Collectively the unions in Scotland have more than 600 Thousand members! So what does that mean?

Well I would suggest that it would be a foolish politician or campaign that chooses to ignore us.

Which incidentally is what the Better Together campaign have done – At least we’ve had a response to the Just Scotland report from the YES campaign.

Even though it raises more questions than it provided answers for - it is a response

That’s more than the ‘Better Together’ campaign has managed so far.

But Congress can we expect either of these campaigns to develop a vision for a Scotland’s future?

At the launch of YES Scotland there was a video message of support from Jim McColl - one of Scotland’s wealthiest men.

I say Scotland’s wealthiest men - but he is so patriotic and cares so much about Scotland he lives in Tax exile in Monaco.

And Better Together have Ian Taylor - a man in the oil business whose interests are, I’ll say ‘wide ranging’ he’s got a sharp team of lawyers so I won’t be saying anything else.

Are these people interested in a Just Scotland? A Fairer Scotland? A more equal Scotland?
I don’t think they are - but I know that we are.

Over the next 17 months we must continue to shape the debate and insist on coherent, focused answers that will allow voters a genuine choice.

If we want to see real change in the politics of this country then we as a collective representing 600 thousand voting members have the power to influence that change.

Please Support the Composite"

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