Monday, 23 March 2015

Labour's vision for North Ayrshire

I’ll start with a shocking confession: I actually like Katy Clark (Labour MP for North Ayrshire & Arran).

I think she has done a good job as a constituency MP, and I agree with her on most issues...except her belief that Scotland should remain within the British Union, even if that means we have Tory Governments imposed on us after we have democratically rejected them at the ballot box.

I’ve already made clear that I will be voting SNP on May 7th: the only way for Scotland’s voice to be heard at Westminster, and for us to exert any influence at a UK level, is if we send as many SNP MPs as possible to the House of Commons.  Of course, it would be better if we just re-established Scotland as a normal independent nation, but until then we need a very large group of SNP MPs in London.

So, having stated that I like Katy Clark as an individual, I have to say the letter I got from her today is appalling.  It certainly does her no favours in her campaign to be re-elected in North Ayrshire & Arran.

Firstly, the letter in Katy Clark’s name says, “In towns across North Ayrshire and Arran we are suffering from decades of closures and deindustrialisation made worse by the Tory Government’s cuts.”

I wouldn’t argue with that assertion, but for the majority of the past two decades (13 years) we had Labour Governments, and Katy’s current British Labour Party is committed to continuing with Tory cuts.

In the North Ayrshire Labour letter, Katy Clark is then quoted saying, “I am determined to create a more radical and ambitious Labour Party”.

So, before anything can be done for Scotland or the people in North Ayrshire and Arran, Katy will first have to completely change the London-controlled British Labour Party.  Don’t hold your breath.

The letter continues, “By voting for me in May, you’ll be voting for a principled candidate who is committed to:

. An end to austerity and welfare cuts that damage the fabric of our society.
. Railways back under public ownership and buses under public accountability.
. Higher wages and better working conditions with stronger trade union rights.”

Actually, those statements are what Katy Clark would like to see; they bear no resemblance to Labour Party policy.

The British Labour Party has made clear that, if it formed the next UK government, it would stick to Tory austerity measures, including slashing a further £12bn from the ‘welfare’ budget.

The British Labour Party has no plans to take railways back into public ownership or to re-regulate bus services.

The British Labour Party’s commitment on raising wages is to see the Minimum Wage rise to £8.00 by the end of the next parliamentary term.  The Minimum Wage will rise to £6.70 in October of this year and the next parliamentary term ends in 2020.  That means the British Labour Party plans to achieve higher wages through increasing the rate of the Minimum Wage by 26-pence a year.

As for “better working conditions and stronger trade union rights”, Labour was in power from 1997 until 2010 and did absolutely nothing to amend (never mind abolish) Thatcher’s anti-trade union laws, the most draconian in Western Europe.

Is this really Labour’s best shot at persuading us to vote for them in North Ayrshire & Arran?

The Labour campaign leaflet currently dropping through letter boxes across the local constituency actually confirms that the best thing we can do on May 7th at the UK Election is vote SNP.

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