A few days off in the glorious sunshine of the West Highlands and it’s back to the final preparations for our contribution to the UK general election campaign.
A general election in Scotland is different to the rest of the UK. Most of our members are employed in services that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament and therefore the UK debate sometimes appears irrelevant. However, the UK government does control the total amount of public spending, an issue that is of vital interest to our members.
There are three elements to UNISON’s election campaign activity.
Public Works: A range of media adverts will appear promoting the role of public services during the campaign. There will be a Public Works insert in our members magazine that includes Q&As to the main political parties on relevant issues for UNISON members in Scotland. Members and branches are encouraged to raise these issues with candidates. Members will also be contacted encouraging them to vote.
Anti-BNP: Whilst the racist BNP vote in Scotland is low, it has been growing and they plan to stand candidates in a number of Scottish seats. We will work with our members to explain how the fascists seek to exploit the recession with their message of hate. Public campaigning effort will be undertaken mostly through our partners Hope Not Hate Scotland and Unite Against Fascism.
Labour Link: Our affiliated fund again works primarily with members to explain our take on the Scottish Labour message in this campaign using a variety of media. There are also 9 UNISON members standing as Labour candidates. Their constituencies and others that have candidates supportive of UNISON’s positions will receive support.
Still a lot to do but like millions of others I am drawn to the leader’s debate on TV. Just try and remember that domestic issues largely mean English issues in tonight’s debate.