Sarah Boyack MSP
Dear Scottish Co-operative Council and members
I am standing in the election to become the new Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, to take us forward through the outcome of the Smith Commission process then through the 2015 and 2016 elections to become Scotland’s First Minister.
You will have already heard a number of the arguments I have put forward in the media. As a Co-op Party member over many years with a strong commitment to our values, I particularly wanted to ask you to consider giving me your supporting nomination for the leadership.
I have long been clear that co-operative models have made and will continue to make a significant difference to peoples’ lives and to the direction of our economy. This is the case in all sectors from energy, finance, health, childcare to agriculture and food.
Much concern has been expressed about payday loan companies. While there are now more restrictions on lending arrangements, I am keen to continue to promote credit unions as a safe and fair alternative, as member of Edinburgh’s Capital Credit Union.
I am also determined that more energy generation should be in the hands of communities. A range of co-operative models are an essential part of taking this forward, for both rural an urban communities. I have been working with Edinburgh City Council on these issues for several years. The opportunities for communities to work together to develop their own renewable energy combined with energy efficiency are very suited to co-operative models. This is on a range of scales, both rural and urban, bringing the chance for our movement make a significant contribution to the need for warm homes and to tackling fuel poverty at a strategic level.
As Scottish Labour’s present Local Government Spokesperson, I am already promoting Co-operative Councils. I’ve made sure the issue is kept on our agenda through conference fringe meetings and articles about the potential for cooperative models for local councils. I support the further development of the Co-operative Councils Innovation Network to enable mutual support and the sharing of good practice.
Understanding between rural and urban communities is important for our future. Food growing co-operative and community ventures are as valuable as enabling access to fresh produce at affordable prices. These bring many health and enjoyment benefits to those I want to support.
Public transport is a continuing challenge in Scotland. “The Peoples’ Railway” proposals are innovative and I am keen to support this model in bringing together communities, employees and passengers, giving all a say in how the railway is run. It is disappointing that the Scottish Government did not act to delay the decision on the new rail franchise, so a UK based not-for-profit bid could be considered. I support the opportunity to devolve some rail powers. This has, of course, been put forward to the Smith Commission by Scottish Labour and legislation could then be introduced to enable preparation for the next franchise in a decade’s time.
The opportunity to support Community Rail Partnerships is also becoming a reality in Scotland. Co-operative models for community transport groups are also important, enabling a compliment to statutory services, especially in remote rural areas.
Few know the extent of agricultural co-operatives from machinery rings to the pig and diary sectors. The agricultural and marine sectors are well supported by the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society and I will be keen to work with them and facilitate further development of vertically integrated supply chain models such as Scottish Shellfish.
In many other countries, as you know, co-operative models make up a larger part of the economy, involving far more people in decision making and contributing to the economy and society in an inclusive way. I am very keen to work with you and all relevant organisations, large and small, to ensure that we build on what already exists and ensure that our models make an more significant, robust and sustainable contribution here in Scotland in the future.
I ask you to consider my candidacy for the Leadership of Scottish Labour and look forward to continuing to work with you all.
Yours in co-operation
Sarah Boyack MSP
Katy Clark MP
I am standing to be Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party to help our party deliver the social and political change that people are demanding, and that Scotland needs.
Scottish Labour is at a cross-roads – we have the opportunity to respond to the clear demand for change from the Scottish people, to be a radical alternative to the SNP, to be a party embedded in the powerful Scottish Labour movement traditions of solidarity, social justice. The cooperative movement has a clear and important role to play in creating the change and the ideas for a new vision for Scotland’s future.
As a longstanding Coop party member running for Deputy Leader, I would play my part in helping the cooperative movement develop the policies that can make that a reality, and to build on the cooperative values and ways of working that we need to bring to businesses, schools and in running our communities.
I support cooperative initiatives and have been involved in lobbying for legislative change for credit unions that would enable cooperatives to play a greater role.
I have recently been involved in efforts to persuade the Scottish Government to delay the tendering of the Scotrail franchise and for further franchising powers to be devolved so that not for profit companies are able to run rail services in Scotland.
It’s clear we we to look again at how we encourage the creation of cooperatives – whether that is legislation that enables more cooperative businesses to be set up, or whether that is securing the long term survival of community assets through local cooperative ownership. We need to be far more imaginative in how we look at incorporating cooperative values into what we call for across the whole labour movement – for example the cooperative school which has been established in Ayreshire is an innovative example of what can be done.
Yours in cooperation
Kezia Dugdale MSP
I am standing to be deputy leader of Scottish Labour and writing formally to ask for the Scottish Co-op Party’s nomination.
As a proud Labour and Co-operative MSP I would be honoured if you would support me.
I thought long and hard before deciding to stand, and did so because I want to be a part of a Labour team that is ready to win again.
But first, I believe the party needs to work hard to regain trust and support; listen and be receptive to the people of Scotland; and demonstrate a better way of doing politics.
A new inclusive leadership team is vital to that, and should make sure every voice is heard. Labour’s strength comes from being a movement, not a party – and that means making use of all its talent and knowledge.
As the only Co-operative sponsored candidate standing for either position, I feel a special responsibility towards our shared values.
Why I am standing
I’m working hard today for tomorrow’s Scotland – a country free from poverty and injustice, with better opportunities for everyone. That means quality jobs and better wages, decent chances at school, more college places, affordable childcare and good housing.
These goals should be Labour’s crusade, and the focus of its leaders. But to do any of it, Scottish Labour must be fit for purpose and be a party that solves problems together.
We won’t win by defining ourselves against the SNP or the Tories, but by embracing policies that empower people to improve their lives.
I want to build support for mutual solutions like West Whitlawburn Housing Co-operative in Cambuslang, where people work together to transform communities, and housing problems are considered alongside the need for credit unions, fair energy, and community broadband.
And I want to reform Co-operative Development Scotland by restoring its original mission; speed up planning applications for groups that demonstrate support for community ownership; and broaden the Cashback for Communities scheme so that community sports clubs don’t have to struggle when they don’t qualify for lottery funding.
What I stand for
I joined Labour as a 23-year old welfare advisor, helping people in crisis with money, housing rights and rent arrears. I thrived on working to support people in dire need, but it was easy to see that however many people we could help, the system needed to change.
From that time I became active in my local party, never missing a campaign meeting or ducking a leaflet round. And now from opposition in the Scottish Parliament, I’ve campaigned on problems faced by people I represent, and proudly championed the co-operative solutions that I believe can make the difference.
My Debtbusters campaign to take loansharks off the streets and promote credit unions was planned and run with true co-operative values. It empowered people to run their own local campaigns, determine their priorities, and deliver results suited to their local circumstances. From getting credit union adverts on council bills in Edinburgh and payday lender adverts off of council computers in Dundee, to more credit union accounts in Glasgow schools – it worked.
And I’ve led the union-backed Every Step campaign for affordable childcare. Labour should ensure that parents never have to choose between work and raising their families, and cooperatives should be a part of that solution.
I want Labour to find its enthusiasm for campaigning again, and excite people with our ideas and energy. This has been my purpose as an MSP, and I hope I can count on your support to do so as deputy leader.
Neil Findlay MSP
My vision for the future of Scotland is a Scotland based on timeless Labour values of community, solidarity, fairness and justice. Those are the values that delivered Labour to power in the past and can return Labour to power in the future.
I left school at 16 and started my working life as a YTS trainee. For the next 10 years I worked as a Bricklayer before becoming a teacher– I saw first-hand the power of education – pulling people out of poverty. A Labour principle of the past – a goal once again under my leadership.
It is shameful that families in our country cannot afford to feed their children or heat their homes and have to rely on foodbanks.
As leader of Scottish Labour I will oversee a national strategy to end poverty in Scotland.
Central to that strategy will be a promise to end youth unemployment – no young person should be left behind – training, skills and new jobs.
When people are in work they have to have a sense of security and feel valued.
The most equal societies are the most successful societies so it will be my aim to end exploitation and insecurity in the workplace replacing the national minimum wage with a living wage.
One the greatest scandals of our time – social care. 500,000 bed days lost to the NHS because people are stuck in hospital and can’t get home because our social care system doesn’t work for them.
People subjected to 15 minute care visits from carers who want to care but can’t do their job because of the way that contracts are determined – this is about the well-being of our elderly people not about the profit margins of the company shareholders.
The greatest social achievement of the 20th, was the Labour Party’s creation of the NHS. Today, that cherished institution is under attack like never before GP’s closing their doors to ne patients, A&E departments bursting at the seams, staff shortages up. The solution being offered is the increased and use of the private sector up. There will be no privatisation of Scotland’s NHS under my leadership
I will bring forward a whole scale review of the NHS in Scotland to ensure it is fit to meet the demands of the 21st century.
We have a growing housing crisis here in Scotland.
Poor housing impacts on health, educational attainment, and access to employment. Over 150,000 people are on Social Housing waiting lists today – more than the entire population of the city of Dundee.
As leader of Labour in Scotland I will commit to a national house building programme that will deliver 50,000 new homes for rent over the term of that Labour government.
Not only will this provide much needed homes but additionally create skilled jobs, training and put demand into local economies.
On the question of further powers for the Scottish parliament. Labour delivered the Scottish parliament.
We initiated the powers that will come from the Scotland act and we support further devolution now. I fully support that process
But unlike the nationalists I have never confused constitutional change with social change.
It’s not devolving more powers that makes a difference its having the political will to use them that matters.
Under my leadership Labour will use the new powers that come to change Scotland.
The party that challenges poverty, homelessness and inequality.
The party that works for an economy that works for all the people.
Where all the people are able to work.
Jim Murphy MP
LEADING LABOUR CHANGING SCOTLAND
Scottish Labour needs to win again. And then change Scotland to be a fairer more radical nation. I’m standing in this election to be the leader of a winning Party and successful country.
I think Labour has been too cautious. That has to change.
I got involved in politics because of my life experiences. I grew up in a poor but proud family in a Glasgow housing scheme. We shared two bedrooms with four generations of my family – my brother, my parents, my grandmother and great grandmother. I was lucky and got the chance to get a job, to go to university, to represent the people in East Renfrewshire in Parliament.
In the last few months I have travelled to every part of our country. Standing on street corners, on high streets and in village halls. People are crying out for change. If we can get Labour winning again, we can be that change. Better education for working class kids. A rebuilding of our once-great Further Education. More homes. More power for our councils to get people into work.
In Scotland we have the powers – and we’re getting more. What we need is the purpose. We have seen how powerful the Scottish Government can be as a driving force for a single minded agenda under the SNP. It’s just that they used that power for one thing only. The drive for independence.
Just imagine if we took all that energy, and all those powers and harnessed them to the one thing Scotland needs above all else. Building a society where what you achieve isn’t determined by the family you are born into.
I want to get Labour winning again so we can use the power of the Scottish Government for good. We can ensure a fair playing field so that co-operators and the third sector gets a chance of bidding for government contracts and we can make sure that companies winning Scottish Government contracts pay their staff the Living Wage.
I’m committed to more power for the Scottish people, greater prosperity for our nation and less poverty in our communities. With the debate about the constitution, that has dominated Scottish politics for decades, coming to an end we have a chance to make a fresh start. Working together, as trade unionists, co-operators, working with Labour supporters and people who don’t yet support us, we can be really radical.
Politics is dominated by a continuing economic crisis and a growing crisis of trust in politics. Fortunately for Labour we have an important part of the solution already within our party and our movement – putting power directly in the hands of people themselves through the cooperative idea.
Credit unions offer the answer to indebtedness. Cooperative energy ownership can tackle the cost of living crisis. Cooperative councils can put people in charge of their public services. While other institutions in society struggle co-operators are successfully running everything from housing schemes to football clubs.
I have been proud to help deliver on cooperative values as a Labour Parliamentarian. Delivering more funding for credit unions. Working with the Co-operative Party on a Credit Union for members of the British Armed Forces. Voting for the legislation that modernised the cooperative sector. I know that the Cooperative movement can offer the energy and ideas our party so badly needs in Scotland.
I will lead Scottish Labour from Scotland, for Scotland. I will listen and work with everyone who wants to make this a fairer country, but I will never be afraid to speak my mind and to stand up for what is right for Scotland.
Contact Jim Murphy’s campaign at email@example.com