Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Congress 2014: Mary Senior, UCU on A Just Scotland

On the last afternoon of STUC Congress 2014, Mary Senior, UCU delivered the following speech moving support for Composite motion C on A Just Scotland:

Congress, in Inverness two years ago we decided that the debate over Scotland’s constitutional future was just too important to be left to the politicians alone.
STUC Congress was determined that the voice of working people would be heard and that the programmes of the Yes and No campaigns would be tested against the proud and unwavering values of our movement. With the future of our country at stake we were simply not prepared to settle for debate containing little more than political fluff, sound bites and half-truths.
Congress, I think I can state with some confidence that the STUC’s A Just Scotland campaign has achieved these aims. It is true that much of the public debate remains mired in assertion and incivility - with personal abuse continuing to be a very unwelcome feature particularly on social media - but the campaigns and political parties have had to respond to the analysis and difficult questions set out in the two A Just Scotland reports.

Following publication of the interim report there was a discernible shift in the terrain on which the referendum battle was being fought. The ground shifted to competing visions of social justice. This will be the legacy of A Just Scotland. 
Working people are now better informed on the issues that at the core of the debate. Politicians and the campaigns are now more aware of the questions working people want answered.  
Not every question set out in the second A Just Scotland report has been satisfactorily answered - the contributions of both Alex Salmond and Johann Lamont at the Congress both testify to this fact - but the STUC will continue to press the campaigns over the coming months to make sure our members are as informed as they can be when they step into the ballot box on September 18th 
Whatever the outcome in September the STUC will as ever vigorously defend the interests of working people in Scotland: whether it be making sure that workers’ rights are at the forefront of the political agenda in an independent Scotland or fighting for enhanced devolution which is sufficiently strong to deliver on social justice in the face of Tory austerity at Westminster.
For working people know that constitutional change cannot in and of itself deliver a better, more socially just Scotland. The same elites and vested interests that have Osborne’s back on austerity will remain as active and well-funded in whatever constitutional scenario Scotland finds itself in. Scotland’s trade unions will continue to be the progressive force which counteracts and overcomes these forces of privilege and self-interest. 
The STUC will remain at the forefront of the constitutional debate and A Just Scotland initiative will continue to inform and challenge in advance of the referendum. A Just Scotland will not be won or lost on 18 September. The trade union movement knows that whatever the decision the fight for social justice, good jobs and public services will go on. The STUC, with the support of this Congress, will be ready to meet the challenge.















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