A relative short and sweet SEC meeting today, not just because it was my last!
Richard reported on his summer tour across Scotland and the issues raised with him. Housing was a particular concern and Pauline McNeil will be establishing a commission to look at this in detail. The absence of a coherent industrial strategy was another and he will be developing the current policy to reflect post-Brexit challenges.
He also reflected on the Scottish Government’s legislative programme. Some elements, such as mental health, Labour could support, but there were obvious gaps in areas like the Good Food Nation Bill and tackling the social care crisis. Mary Fee also reflected on these issues in her Holyrood report.
Lesley Laird focused on the Tory shambles over Brexit and Keir Starmer MP is coming to Scotland this month. She was also looking to develop Labour’s position on immigration policy in discussions with Diane Abbot.
David Ross reported on the ongoing ScotGov efforts to centralise education, the Local Governance review and challenges facing the integrated joint boards over social care. COSLA is exploring the prospects of some form of partnership agreement with ScotGov, but this would have to be based on recognition of spheres not tiers of government. Agreement had been reached with STULP on a Challenging Austerity statement and STULP had also produced a template on producing a citizens budget to support this.
The Women’s Conference will be held on 28 November and nomination forms will be going out next week.
Brian reported on the campaign packs and tabloid newsletters that were distributed during the summer. There had been a successful training programme, organised by STULP, for CLP TULO officers. Thirty members had been enrolled on the Gordon Aikman leadership programme and he circulated the revised Scottish new member’s booklet.
The Organisation Sub-Committee will look at the Scottish implications of the UK democracy review recommendations. This will be a significant piece of work with rule changes going to next year’s conference.
Almost all the Westminster target seat selections have now been completed. A paper on timetabling the remaining seats will come to the November meeting, along with proposals to begin the Scottish Parliament selections.
This will be my last report as it was my final SEC meeting due to the imminent retirement from my post at UNISON Scotland. I have been on the SEC since 2003 and I will particularly treasure the glossy version of the new Scottish Labour Party rules as well, of course, as the kind words from Richard and others. Given the behaviour in some parts of the party recently, my final advice came from Danton’s speech to the French Convention as the forces of reaction massed on the borders to crush the French Revolution.
In the ‘enemy at the gates speech’ he said; “Your discussions are shameful. I can see but the enemy. You tire me by squabbling. In place of occupying yourselves with the safety of the Republic!”