Revitalise Scottish Labour’s ever popular Scottish Labour Party fringe meeting will be held on Saturday 20 April 2013 at the Palace Hotel, Inverness starting at 12:30pm.
This year we are joining together with our comrades at the Red Paper Collective to discuss a socialist approach to constitutional change.
Chair: Pauline Bryan
Speakers: Neil Findlay MSP and Dave Watson
Sponsored by UNISON Labour Link Scotland
A somewhat shorter March SEC meeting as the Labour councillor conference was on at the STUC in the afternoon.
Johann’s report led on the leaked John Swinney memo on post independence finance. They say one thing in public and another in private. Angry that SNP given up governing Scotland with an almost total focus on the referendum. Seven civil servants now working on defence, which of course is reserved. She also covered the implications of the Bedroom Tax for communities across Scotland. The Raasay decision was a good example of how SNP ministers are not keeping their eye on the ball, blaming officials but voting against an inquiry.
Anas Sarwar also covered the Bedroom Tax in his Westminster report. Of the 100 worst hit constituencies only two have Tory MPs. He also covered the forthcoming Budget and Vince Cable’s comments on capital spending to boost the economy. He was also concerned that we get the language and the policy right on immigration.
Jim McCabe picked up a different point on Universal Credit with the impact direct payment was likely to have on rent arrears. This has subsequently been proved correct in pilot areas. In his inimitable style he was less than impressed by the CoSLA conference. Too top down and not enough time to question speakers.
In the ensuing discussion there was a constructive debate about the tactics the Party should adopt against the Bedroom Tax when it is implemented. Procurement was also covered with calls to address blacklisting, tax dodging and the Living Wage at Holyrood and Westminster. The devastating news of job losses in what remains of the coal industry was covered together with support for the campaign for justice for mine workers.
On organisation issues a timetable for Scottish Parliament selections was agreed. SEC members will be kept busy with candidate panels over the coming months. It was agreed that candidates only needed to attend one candidate course as some were attending several with essentially the same programme.
The short list for EU selections was agreed and there was considerable satisfaction over recent council by-election victories. Overall the Labour vote was increasing at the expense of the SNP.
The procedural guidelines for selections had not been finalised and there is a dispute over if these should go to conference. Many thought this had been resolved at the last meeting that they would. There was also another go at at resolving the rule over gender balance in the socialist societies section. This seems as intractable as ever.
The new General Secretary starts on 4 April and congratulations to Joe Fagan and Emma Meechan who came top of the ballot for the Young Member section on the SEC.
Next stop annual conference!