Apr 172011

After last weeks self-indulgent Nat-bashing Tory scaremongering post, the Scotland on Sunday published a poll putting the SNP a few points ahead on both the constituency and regional votes and a likely SNP-Tory deal on the basis that people “voted for Alex Salmond for First Minister” (they won’t have, unless they’re MSPs). Jeff can hardly contain his glee over at Better Nation and Kenny Farquharson makes the point that the SNP are doing the “hopey changey thing” quite well.

Labours stubborn negativity about Thatcherite bogeyman doesn’t seem to be working, and is a bloody hard sell. It’s also not necessary. The Labour manifesto has plenty of positive things we should be out talking about. Things like:

  • Scottish Living Wage
  • Apprenticeships and work placements to fight youth unempoyment
  • Leaving Scottish Enterpise the hell alone and letting it get on with its job
  • Serious investment in the infrastructure necessary to support microgeneration of renewables and in charging points for electric vehicles which would help address one of the biggest contributors to CO2 emissions.
  • Co-ops, community enterprises and similar non-traditional business models could be a genuinely transformational change in the way we do business, how people relate to their work and how we manage and utilise our environmental and educational resources.
  • Speaking of which, we’re going to look at public ownership for Scotrail when it comes up for renewal. Without crippling Treasury “private sector” bonus multipliers that should be a non-brainer ranationalisation. Imagine that, a Labour government nationalising the railways.
  • Big focus on early years support for children which has been shown to be incredibly affective at improving outcomes for children from the less well off and on literacy, science, technology, engineering and maths. Precisely the sort of skills Scotland needs in the future so we can take advantage of the future.
  • The National Care Service is a distinctively Labour solution which, if we do it, could help deliver a properly integrated, holistic, patient centered health system. That would be good for the patients, good for their families, good their staff and probably a lot cheaper in the medium term too. There’s similarly good stuff on Mental and Public Health.
  • Equalty’s another strong area, we’ll look at genuine equality for same-sex marriage and on clearing people who were prosecuted for consensual sex under now-scrapped homophobic laws.

There’s some not-so-great things in the manifesto too (I’m.. unconvinced.. about the council tax freeze and minimum sentencing for carrying a knife) and our alcohol and drug policy remains somewhat unenlightened – we should be supporting minimum pricing and treating drug use primarily as a health problem, not a criminal one. But that’s the nature of political parties, there’s a certain amount of rubbing along that’s required. A certain amount of rubbing along is also required between parties. The SNP aren’t evil crypto-Tories (though they are quite likely to end up in power with them if they win) , the Greens are surprisingly clear headed on things like the Land Value Tax which I’d hope we’d adopt in coalition with them and the Scottish Lib Dem rump is unlikely to be irredeemable. The Tories are wrong headed on many things, but have at least grasped the idea of consensual politics pretty well.

So, there’s a positive case to be made for voting Labour. I think we have a qualitatively better set of ideas and policies than the opposition as a whole and I want to see Labour win, and win on our many merits. We can and should be energising our voters and getting them out to vote Labour because they want a Labour government.

 Posted by at 15:44

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