Category Archives: Andy MacMillan

London Calling

Before we kick off, let’s get one thing clear.

You might be a big fan of Tony Benn. You may well be a big fan of Tony Blair. You could even be a big fan of Tony Bennett or Tony Blackburn for all that I care. Whether you’re left, right or centre, it doesn’t matter a jot; all that really matters is that we’re all Labour through and through.

Furthermore, let’s get something else absolutely crystal clear: there are no more loyal Labour Party supporters anywhere than Scottish Labour Party supporters. Over the past few years we have kept going through thin and thinner. Yes, we are down, but we’re certainly not out.

The past is in the past and the future is yet to come. Today in Scotland we’re running a poor third to the SNP and the Tories. We have lost the confidence of the people. But the future the SNP offer to the people of Scotland is a bleak and depressing one, built on grievance, bitterness, division, small minded nationalism, constantly playing the victim, glass always half empty and wallowing self pity. And the SNP want to be friends and partners with every nation, everyone and anyone will do, just as long as it’s not our nearest neighbours.

Scotland is travelling down a very dark road. The SNP’s republicanism and the Tories brand of unionism have the potential to become a deeply entrenched and insoluble toxic position. It is a fertile breeding ground for hatred, ignorance and sectarianism.

If the SNP were to succeed in their quest to destroy the Scottish Labour Party, Scotland would be trapped in a deeply damaging political stalemate with no alternative route of exit. The SNP’s weasel words of friendship and partnership towards the Scottish Labour Party should be resisted and dismissed at every turn.

However, if we unite together as Labour, work hard and offer a positive vision for the future of Scotland, I have no doubt that we will win again.

The SNP have built a wall between Scottish Labour and the people of Scotland. It’s a wall built with no foundations and made out of shoddy lies and deceptions. Nevertheless, we cannot afford to wait for the wall to fall down, or allow the SNP the slightest opportunity to shore it up. Together, we will demolish the nationalists’ wall, brick by rotten brick. Together, we will fight to take our country back, door by door and street by street.

“I am proud – immensely proud – to have fought to keep the UK together in 2014. I was proud because it was a Labour argument I was making. The UK provides the redistribution of wealth that defines our entire Labour movement, and it provides the protection for public finance in Scotland that comes from being part of something larger. Something good. Something worth fighting for.”

Kezia Dugdale is absolutely correct with this statement. Our party’s goal of redistributing wealth throughout the United Kingdom is the one policy that really sets us apart from the SNP and the Tories. The SNP are unable to redistribute wealth throughout the UK. They are only interested in independence. The Tories are unwilling to redistribute wealth throughout the UK. They want to keep the wealth amongst their rich friends. Only the Labour Party is willing and able to redistribute wealth amongst all UK citizens.

However, there are people in the UK Labour Party that have a very different agenda from Kezia Dugdale. The Labour Party leadership in London is convinced that a general election will be called sooner rather than later, and they’re very concerned about the “Scottish problem”. They believe that, at best, Scottish Labour will win no more than a few seats at the next general election, and they are seeking a quick fix.

A number of close associates of the UK Labour leadership have publicly supported a “progressive alliance” with the SNP at the next general election:

  • Diane Abbott – Labour Shadow Home Secretary
  • Dave Anderson – Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
  • Clive Lewis – Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Business
  • Len McCluskey – General Secretary of Unite the Union

Whatever your political leanings, be they left right or centre, it is imperative that everyone involved in the Scottish Labour Party fully backs and supports the new Act of Union.

When it is endorsed by our party conference next February, Scottish Labour will then have every right to expect unconditional support, commitment and backing from the UK Labour Party for this new Act of Union. This will then become the undisputed policy position from which we fight the next general election.

The only realistic avenue left for the SNP to gain independence was by the deployment of a Trojan horse through the Labour Party. If the Scottish Labour Party backs the new Act of Union policy to the hilt, then the UK Labour Party will surely be obliged to follow suit.

“Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer, we’ll keep the red flag flying here.”

We are Scottish Labour. Unity is strength. There will be no sweetheart deals with the SNP.

East Kilbride – New Town – New Future – Andy MacMillan – Labour Party

East Kilbride
New Town – New Future 

Written By : Andy MacMillan – East Kilbride Labour Party – 12th September 2013

Housing

East Kilbride is no exception to almost every other town and city in the UK as there is a chronic lack of affordable and social housing. However, this apparent problem can be turned into a golden opportunity .
Long before the financial crisis of 2007 the availability of affordable housing has been has been an ongoing problem. This is due to several factors;

(1)    The large scale sale of council housing from 1980’s onwards.

(2)    The relative recent historical increase in the cost of private housing in relation to income

(3)    The growth of the private rented sector.

We could of course build a new estate of social housing and fill it with tenants who have little or no work and this would still be a social good, far better than the insecure tenancy or the slum landlord. Nevertheless, it is my profound belief that we have the opportunity to do so much better.
When we build our new social housing estate we should look back to the proud history of this town and ask ourselves why did people come to and settle in East Kilbride? Why were they proud to call East Kilbride there home and happy to raise their families here?
The availability of excellent housing and employment were a major attraction as was the environment of the town, it’s educational , medical and social facilities were also crucial factors.

The New Social Housing Deal

Peoples expectations of housing have risen in the past 30 years, not so much in the facilities on offer, but in the desire to own a property, unfortunately the barriers to this for many people are at present onerous and include;

(1)    A banking industry unwilling to lend to house buyers (for a variety of well documented reasons including insufficient savings, low wages, insecure / self employment).

(2)    The end of the right to buy scheme in some parts of the UK. Indeed, where the scheme is still operational the remaining housing stock in some areas is so undesirable that no one wants to purchase it.

These problems should be viewed as an opportunity for a visionary town such as East Kilbride. We must offer our people a new deal and a brighter future and this is how we are going to do it.

With our new deal, new social housing tenants will be offered shared cooperative ownership terms in the property, in short, every tenant that is in employment and pays rent will have a rent credit  put aside in a fund that they will receive when they vacate the property, this is an incentive to both work and pay rent. The new deal will provide a calculated lump sum when the tenant vacates the property, this sum could be used, if so wished, to put a deposit down on a private property.
This is in the belief that many people do have higher aspirations than in the past and that we should help to fulfil these aspirations, other than leaving people with no option than the long term rental of private or social housing . Other benefits of the new deal are that the housing stock would remain in public ownership, providing more tenancies, with a higher turnover in tenants as longer term tenants will have a far better opportunity to move on.
So at the very least we will build houses and offer people the opportunity to live in high quality social housing with a secure tenancy. However, with shared cooperative ownership we create a whole new dimension, that will help to deliver the aspirations of many people in a fair and socially democratic modern society.

Employment

East Kilbride like almost every town or city in the UK urgently needs to attract new employers. This is of course easier said than done, especially in a town like ours where the main mechanism for inward investment; the Development Corporation has been disbanded for over a decade.
Although inward investment is not easy I really do believe it is possible. We have a lot going for us and if we prepare the right incentives and have a coherent plan there is no good reason why East Kilbride will not flourish again.
I believe that the East Kilbride of the future should be a hub of high end mechanical engineering manufacture. We currently have 3 large sites that would suit this purpose.

(1)    Langland’s – This is the site Rolls Royce were planning to move to. However, at the advent of the world financial crisis of 2007 they took cold feet and delayed their plans indefinitely.  Somewhat understandably in 2012 Rolls Royce announced that they were shutting their decrepit Nerston site in 2015. However, the decision to move their entire workforce 16 miles to Inchinin makes no sense at all.
Every effort should be made to entice Rolls Royce back to the negotiating table and locate to the Langland’s site, their business is growing and I’m sure that today in 2013, with the right deal on the table they would jump at the chance of re-locating to Langland’s.

(2)     Nerston is a massive site and I think it would be an excellent  choice as a hub of component manufacturing for the vehicle and aerospace industries.
      The UK Engineering industry is beginning to boom and I believe that more and more components currently being manufactured overseas are in the future going to made in the UK.
      In the lead up to the vote on Scottish independence we will have the opportunity to put the squeeze on the UK government to put business our way, let’s press them to give us some real concrete evidence as to why “we are all better together” we should be prepared to take advantage of being under the media spotlight, to demonstrate our ability, ambition and determination to succeed.
While other towns and cities are fretting about their high streets, trams, tourism and rubbish collections we should  take the lead, be the first knocking at the door and get ourselves a big chunk of the great UK manufacturing revival.

(3)    As  Nerston populates with component manufactures we will be in a strong position to market the former Motorola Kelvin site, with the intention of soon landing another major manufacturing company, or a tier one supplier.
 

Why Will These Companies Locate To East Kilbride?

Housing

We will be able to provide key employees with both new deal social housing and relatively cheap private housing

Education

We have spent hundreds of millions of pounds rebuilding our entire stock of schools and offer an educational environment that is second to none in the entire UK. Throughout the financial crises we continued to invest in our schools, this is how much we believe in the future of East Kilbride.
Glasgow has some of the best Engineering Universities and Colleges anywhere. East Kilbride is home to the National Engineering Laboratories.

Health

East Kilbride boasts a new state of the art hospital, excellent medical and dental facilities, first class national health treatment is always available.

Transport
East Kilbride has direct motorway and rail links and is close to Glasgow International, Glasgow Prestwick and Edinburgh International Airports.