SLYS welcomes the publication of the Labour Party’s general election manifesto and the launch of the Scottish manifesto which shows how the radical platform being put forward for government could transform our lives.
The choice on election day could not be starker. We could end up with a Tory government committed to slashing and burning the vestiges of civilisation and decency that we have left, and a future of every more ‘flexible’ labour, insecure employment and reliance on a rigged private rented market. An emboldened May would even whittle away at what passes for democracy through voter ID laws of the sort which have infamously been used to suppress turnout in the US.
Alternatively, we can elect a Labour government committed to meaningful changes that will leave us with a more democratic economy and society. Labour have pledged to legislate for workers’ rights, scrapping the (anti) Trade Union bill and Thatcher era restrictions on our ability to organise at work, to build half a million homes and to take rail, electricity and post back into public ownership. In the case of rail and electricity we won’t be returning to old style centralised bureaucracies but to devolved bodies controlled at regional and national levels in Scotland and Wales. Symbolising the choice in front of us, Fred “the shred” Goodwin has been called to court as a witness in a case stemming from the implosion of the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2008 on election day, June 8th.
This election offers us a rare opportunity to put not Goodwin, but the unfair and unequal society and economy that the financial elite have built, on trial.
Labour is proposing to establish a National Investment Bank that will have the capacity to loan up to £250 billion to businesses supporting the creation of jobs and economic activity so much of the UK, especially former industrial areas, are desperately crying out for. This will include supporting research and manufacturing in the innovative sectors,such as renewable energy, that as a society we desperately need to commit to if we are going to survive the 21st century, but which the spivs and speculators ignore in favour of short-term profits. A Scottish Investment Bank will have facility to lend £20 billion, an amount which could develop our economy away from its choking dependency on low productivity, low wage employment.
Along with Scottish Labour’s existing pledge to take a public stake in the North Sea this will allow for a socially just transition from fossil fuels to green energy. The choice before us on 8th June is clear.
Only under a Labour government will we tackle the injustices of the present and plan for the major economic shifts we face in the future.