Tag Archives: East Kilbride

Say No to the SNP Named Person scheme

The SNP Named Person scheme will take effect on Scottish families from this August. This deeply sinister, mandatory scheme has been brought in under the guise of “child protection”.

School children will be encouraged to imagine Scotland as a garden, with each child as a special plant growing within it. All the adults in a child’s life, including their parents are to be “gardeners”, while the state-appointed Named Person will fulfil the role of “Head Gardener”.

The “Head Gardener” will be the most important person in a child’s life. The child’s parents will have no right to any information shared between the “Head Gardener” and their child. The SNP government is currently gathering “survey” information about children and their parents in selected primary schools. Unfortunately, this is only the thin end of the wedge, as today’s voluntary anonymous “survey” will soon be tomorrow’s compulsory fact file.

The state has no business interfering with family life to this degree, not even under the emotive pretext of child protection. To make every child a ward of the state is tantamount to operating a spy ring. This practice was last seen in Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia. The SNP Named Person scheme amounts to gross state interference in family life. Its purpose seems to be to mould the hearts and minds of children into the image of the state. All freedom-loving citizens have a duty to oppose this heinous totalitarian legislation.

Why are parents not taking to the streets over this issue? Perhaps because most parents do not know about this policy and if they do, they are genuinely terrified of complaining or refusing to cooperate. Many parents fear dissent will heighten the risk of having their names blacklisted, or their child being flagged up a on a social work register.

We all have a duty to protect the rights of parents. So grandparents, aunts, uncles, family and friends, who do not have young children, should help to stand up for parents who cannot act, for fear of being victimised.

The SNP are taking the people of Scotland to a very dark place.

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Back To The Future – Winning Policies For The 2015 General Election

Back To The Future – Winning Policies For The 2015 General Election

Britain and the Labour Party are fast approaching a crossroads not encountered since the late 1970’s.

When you talk about changing the lives and future prospects of the British people, you simply can’t go about it in a quiet fashion, you’re going to stand on a few toes.

Whatever Happened To Equality?

Traditionally the Labour Party was the party of equality. There was no room for discrimination within the Labour Party. However, over recent years the Labour Party has perhaps become too beholden to “positive discrimination”. Take a recent candidate selection at my local East Kilbride Labour Party, due to party rules there had to be a male and a female candidate, is this really fair? Would it not be better to have two female or male candidates, if they were the best? Why have one of each when one of them could be a total washout! To keep a capable person out of a job just because of their gender is discrimination and there’s nothing “positive” about it.

The Labour Party should again strive to be the party of equality and where un equality exists we should tackle the cause and not the symptoms. To gerrymander result’s with “positive discrimination” may be part of the present, but it has no place in the future. People respected the Labour Party, when it stood for Equality.

Furthermore, there seems to be an unhealthy interest in some quarters of society (particularly within our own ranks) with regards to peoples gender, race, sexuality and religion. Moreover, this predominant school of thought, which is rarely challenged, is intent on categorising, separating and pigeon holing people into ever increasing diverging groups.

Is it not a simple undeniable fact that we are all different? No two of us are exactly the same? Is it not better to stick together, find what we have in common and celebrate this? We all feel happy, we all feel sad and we all bleed red. This in turn leads us to education, sadly an even bigger hot bed of not so positive discrimination.

Education

The Labour Party currently supports the establishment of increasing numbers of “faith” schools, based on the many different religions currently practised in the UK. Having been to schools in both the west coast of Scotland and different parts of England, it has always struck me as strange that in Glasgow, children who were all “Christians” and lived in the same neighbourhood attended different schools.

In effect, faith schools are a system of educational apartheid. The Labour Party should encourage all people regardless of gender, race, religion and disability to attend the same local schools, in order to put the heart, soul and unity back into our communities.

Education, is another traditional pillar of the Labour Party. Education and Equality have always sat well together. Sadly we have really let this one slip.

Here is a story, a true story that tells you how much education means to ordinary people and by ordinary people I mean people like us, the vast majority of people in this country, the 90% of the electorate that don’t send their kids to private schools.

In my home town of East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, the Labour led council decided to rebuild the entire stock of schools, spending hundreds of millions of pounds in the process.

Even during the worst economic crisis in living memory the council carried on with this investment. Today, East Kilbride’s and South Lanarkshire’s schools are second to none in the entire UK. So what does this tell us about ordinary people?

Throughout this period, I can honestly not recall any opposition to the principle of building these new state of the art schools. The people of East Kilbride and South Lanarkshire were delighted that their children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces were getting the best start in life and were happy to pay for this education through their traditional payment method of choice, taxation.

We, the ordinary 90% of the population pay for our education through taxation, the privileged 10% pay for their education through fees, both methods are deeply ingrained into the psyche of each group.

What (we) the ordinary 90% of the voting population really do not understand, is why does it now cost additional direct payments for our children to attend further education? Why, when our children’s formative education is paid for through taxation from nursery to high school, do they then meet a “financial barrier“, when they have already overcome the “academic barrier” to earn their place in higher education?

Surely today as in the past, the vast majority of people would be willing to pay for all education through taxation, in the same way as we currently pay for the National Health Service? After all, would you not rather have a clever doctor, one that was educated through a fair and equal education system, or perhaps you would rather have a doctor of lesser ability but of wealthy parents?

I believe, that this unhappy and uncalled for state of affairs has emerged over the years because the members of the House Of Commons, Conservative, Labour and everything in between have increasingly become populated by the wealthy and the privileged, those who have always paid fees for their private school education and see it as perfectly normal. Indeed, they see it as a logical progression to now pay fees for all university and further education. Perhaps if you commissioned a study, you would find that 90% of current MP’S have been to, or send their children to private schools. Nevertheless, what’s normal for them isn’t normal for us, the 90% of ordinary British voters.

For the record, I’m not having a pop at anyone because of their background rich or poor. The relevant point is that in a representative democracy, the representatives (MP’S) should by and large mirror the lives of the people that they purport to represent.

How can it possibly be right that as a society we will pay an 18 year old unemployment benefit for doing nothing, but will give little or no support to an 18 year old wanting to continue their studies?

If the Labour Party were to bring back properly funded further education with maintenance grants and no course fees, it would not only be the popular thing to do, it would be the right thing to do. We, the ordinary 90% of people would be much happier to know that if one of our own had ability, they would not be held back by lack of finance. Britain can not afford to overlook it’s finest talent, after all it’s not where your from in life it’s where your going and the Labour Party should always stand for equality of opportunity.

Housing

Without exception, in almost every town and city in the UK there is a chronic lack of both affordable private and social housing. However, this apparent problem can be turned into a golden opportunity for the Labour Party at the next general election.

Long before the start of the financial crisis of 2007 the availability of affordable housing 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 new estates of social housing and fill them 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.

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 the Labour Party. 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.

Full Employment

In a decent society, everyone should have the opportunity to contribute to and be rewarded by that society. This should be achieved by the full and active employment of the entire working population. This is not only a social good it’s an economic necessity, as over the longer term you cannot have a welfare state and high levels of unemployment, it is simply economically unviable.

With this in mind, we have to tackle the long term structural unemployment that has been present in many areas of the UK since the early 1980’s. It’s an unacceptable and tragic waste of human talent to pay people to do nothing, demeaning both the unemployed individual and the society itself, not to mention the massive waste of economic resources. No less an evil is the practice of under employment, with insecure terms, low wages and minimal benefits. These are two sides of the of the same story, a tale of woe that has sadly become a fact of life in today’s Britain, as we teeter towards a new Dickensian age.

Even during the boom when the last Labour government were in power the situation did not improve. As a society we were happier to bring in immigrants to fill jobs, than tackle long term structural unemployment, this is the situation that still remains today, with the free movement of labour across the European Union. Here is a simple fact, we will never achieve our goal of full employment as long as we have mass immigration from poorer European countries.

What advantage is there to the ordinary people within our society or Europe to allow this mass free movement of labour between competing nation states. We cannot confuse this with planned immigration, however, the European Union’s “free movement of labour” is more of a free for all, where the main winners are businesses and the biggest losers are lower skilled workers. After all, the teacher, social worker or civil servant has less to fear from this type of immigration than the warehouse operative, shop assistant or care home worker.

Make no mistake, the free movement of labour between European nations is no friend to the ordinary working person. This piece of legislation should be repealed, and the British Labour Party should take the lead on this issue and in Europe at large. We shall discuss this in detail a little later on.

I truly believe that everyone has a role to play in our society, in the post war consensus, if you had only one arm, you would be expected to do a job with that arm. Today, they would probably sit you down in some day centre and employ someone to bring you a cup of tea! If we are to build a truly decent society, everyone should be given the opportunity to contribute through employment and everyone should be expected to contribute through employment. The economic and social benefits would be enormous, with less paid out in welfare, leading to the creation of far higher tax revenues and the subsequent reduction in social deprivation.

Scottish Independence

Before we address the issue of Europe, I would like to examine some of the arguments that are relevant to the European debate that are also found in the Scottish referendum for independence from the United Kingdom.

(1) The argument for Scottish independence (aka separatism) is centred on a belief that Scotland and her people would be financially and culturally more successful outside of the United Kingdom.

(2) The argument to maintain the United Kingdom in it’s present form, is that it benefits Scotland being part of the Union. The case is also presented that Scots have much too fear, if they decide to vote for independence.

This is the present grounds for fighting the battle ahead. However, there are sections (small at present) of the Scottish Labour Party that support independence, cracks in the unity are already beginning to show and I believe if we do not change tack, in the way that we present our case, we could find ourselves splitting on this issue and it could be very damaging to the Scottish Labour Party.

I believe that the vote in the Scottish independence referendum is a vote of conscience, you either believe in independence, or you don’t.

I’m very proud to be Scottish and British. However, no one in their right mind can stand there telling me that the Union has either served the people of Scotland, or large parts of Britain well over the past 30 years! Scotland has been totally and utterly devastated, we have little or no industry, mass unemployment and appalling social problems.

You really would need some front to try to claim that everything within the Union garden is “rosy”, it’s far from it. However, what the Scottish people really want to hear from the Labour Party is that we too, are far from happy with the way things are in Scotland and the rest of the UK. However, we will fight to improve matters, we will not turn in on ourselves and we will not walk away. Nevertheless, we must recognise that the Union which has delivered in the distant past, has been failing to deliver for decades, however, we don’t want to break the Union up, we want to fix it.

The European Union

The European Union, in, out, or shake it all about? This question has been routinely buried by all political parties at election time since the mid 1970’s. No ifs, no buts‘, the British Labour Party has to address this issue square on. If we do not get a grip of this issue now, the future of Britain, Europe and the rest of the World could be very dark indeed.

There are similarities, between the SNP and UKIP. Both at first glance offer simplistic alternatives to the status quo, which at first examination look quite appealing.

UKIP are eating into the Conservative vote, The Conservative Party have tried to placate the issue, by offering an in out referendum if they are returned in the next general election. The Liberal Party are slavishly Europhile. The position of the Labour Party is therefore crucial.

The European Union at present is a disgrace and Europe’s ruling elite of the past 40 years have run a once rich successful continent into the ground. Their project has failed and now their time is up.

If the Conservatives win the next general election and are forced to hold an in out referendum, as a result of not achieving their policy concessions, what ever the result, it will be a disaster.

(1) If the electorate decide to vote to leave the European Union. Britain and Europe would be severely weakened. The European Union without Britain will be even more of a basket case. Many members would be very worried that we were no longer there. The likelihood of a major conflict in Europe, in the medium term would certainly increase.

(2) If the electorate decided to stay in the European Union. Britain could (politically) be a busted flush, the country that gambled and lost, we would lose influence and be governed by a weak divided party, that would be outcasts in an ever more failing European Union.

If the British Labour Party move boldly today, the future could be so very much better for all the people of Europe. When you hear of 40% youth unemployment in Spain, you really know there is something seriously wrong.

The European Union can plan quotas for catching fish, or how many apples should be grown. However, for some peculiar reason they are either unable or unwilling to plan or legislate for the mass movement of labour over an entire continent. If the British Labour Party fights to repeal this crazy policy and endeavours to build a Europe of the people, for the people. Then this is surely a future well worth fighting for?

Written By – Andy MacMillan – East Kilbride Labour Party – 20th October 2013

Email – andyamacmillan@gmail.com

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.