The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary tomorrow (Saturday 23rd October) will commit the STUC to an ongoing mobilisation against Coalition austerity measures and call on Scottish Liberal Democrats to stand up and be counted.
Grahame Smith will say:
“We launched this campaign to dispel the myth that there is no economic alternative to these cuts.
“There is an alternative. Get people back to work; get the economy growing again; and the public finances will largely take care of themselves.
“We also launched this campaign to expose the lie that it is those with the broadest shoulders that will bear the brunt of the cuts.
“As I watched the chancellor deliver his speech I don’t know what made me most angry, the policies he announced or the way the tory and liberal back benches cheered as they slashed £20 billion pounds from the welfare budget and not only offered no hope to those millions already unemployed but condemned another million workers to the dole queue, 100,000 here in Scotland. What they have done is an act of inexcusable callousness.
“And they might not want to be reminded of the spectre of Margaret Thatcher – but unemployment is never, ever, a price worth paying.”
“For many years the STUC has worked closely with the Liberal Democrats. In days gone by they would have been marching with us against cuts like these. I have a great deal of respect for Tavish Scott; Charlie Kennedy; Ming Campbell, David Steele and Jim Wallace. And I used to think that Vince Cable knew what he was talking about.
“I know that many Lib Dems don’t approve of their Government’s policies -– but it is time for you to stand up and be counted.
“Nick Clegg is upset that people think he is a Tory. Well Nick – if you talk like a Tory and act like a Tory you must be a Tory.
“I say to the Liberal Democrats – you have not only ripped up your manifesto you have ripped up your credibility. If you want to restore it – stop cowering behind the Tories and stand up and fight these cuts.
“This is the biggest challenge we have faced in twenty five years. We cannot expect to succeed just because of the clarity of our vision or the force of our arguments. We need to act and we need to organise – in our workplaces and communities.
“If you are not in a union - join. If you are in a union recruit a new member. If you’re not already doing it, get your union branch to organise and campaign with community organizations. If you are from a community organisation seek out your local union branches. Lobby your local council when it sets its budget to make sure that its priorities are our priorities - jobs, services, fair taxation and a living wage.
“And I want to say this to our friends in local government. I know that many of you don’t want to make cuts. I know that many of you believe in the public sector and in public service. But if you are not to be seen as coalition collaborators you need to stand with us, like local government leaders did in the 80’s and 90’s, and argue the case against the cuts.
“We need to build from today. Be there when we lobby the Scottish parliament when it sets its budget to ensure that its priorities are our priorities - jobs, services, fair taxation and a living wage.
“Organize now to be in London for the TUC demonstration on 26 March. I want to see a huge convoy of buses and trains go from Scotland to take our demands to the heart of Westminster.
“And in the run up to the Scottish elections next may, join us in targeting the constituencies of those candidates who support the policies of the UK government either actively or by their silence.”
For further information contact Dave Moxham 0141 337 8100