The STUC General Council believes that there is much at stake for Scottish workers and their families in the 2010 General Election.
In recent weeks the General Council published its Manifesto for Rebuilding Collective Prosperity including the Scottish Public Services Charter which call for a fundamental rebalancing of the economy through investing in people and services, redistributing income and ensuring that our banks and industries are accountable and properly regulated. The Manifesto also calls for major democratic reform to help rejuvenate our tarnished politics.
It is against these criteria that we encourage Scotland’s workers and their families to cast their votes and make their choice on May 6th.
For much of the past 13 years, the Labour Government delivered high employment, low inflation and interest rate stability as well as a degree of supportive employment legislation such as the national minimum wage, paid holidays, the introduction of paid paternity leave, and extensions to maternity leave and pay.
However the global collapse of the financialised economic system with its attendant economic inequality has demonstrated the extent to which governments across the world failed to understand the implications of deregulation of financial institutions and labour markets. The consequences of this have been severe and have been suffered primarily by those who had no role in causing the crisis we now face.
STUC has argued consistently that, having correctly identified the need to maintain demand in the economy to minimise the depth of the recession, the government could have been bolder in its approach both in respect of fiscal stimulus and the need for wage and tax reform. The extent to which it currently plans to address the deficit through public spending cuts requires urgent rethinking.
As with Labour, the Liberal Democrats have correctly predicted that withdrawing fiscal stimulus too early would be disastrous for the UK economy yet taken together the Liberal policies continue to fail to promote a consistent vision or a coherent economic alternative.
Similarly, the SNP has correctly opposed fiscal contraction but has tried and failed to face in two directions at once, insisting on high tax, high regulation solutions from Westminster government whilst pursuing a low tax and business centric strategy where policy is devolved.
The Tories’ plans for deficit reduction would risk a double-dip recession, cause massive destruction of public services and consign another generation to the unemployment scrap heap.
In this respect the STUC is clear that the priority must be to ensure that the Tories do not gain power either as a majority or minority government. The return of a Tory administration would spell disaster, not just for Scottish workers and their families, but for the whole of Scotland and the UK.
This has been a troubled period for democracy and the General Council encourages all of the political parties to campaign positively and engage the Scottish Electorate. STUC congratulates all of the mainstream political parties on joining us in the Scotland United Against Racism and Fascism demonstrations in Glasgow and Edinburgh and reiterates its confidence that Scotland will again reject the racist policies of the BNP.
For this and many other reasons, voter turnout on the day of the election is absolutely vital and the General Council, therefore, urges all communities in Scotland, including Scottish trade union members and their families, to make every effort to vote when polling day comes.
ENDS For further information please contact Kevin Buchanan 0141 337 8100