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It mostly covers my work as UNISON Scotland's Head of Policy and Public Affairs although views are my own. For full coverage of UNISON Scotland's policy and campaigns please visit our web site. You can also follow me on Twitter. I hope you find this blog interesting and I would welcome your comments.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Scottish Labour Conference 2

Day 2 in Oban and with the ongoing weather I discover why the label on my suit says 'dry clean only'!

The morning session featured the debate on UNISON's contemporary motion on public services and the CSR. It sets out an alternative economic strategy and puts Scottish Labour firmly on the side of the vast majority of Scots who oppose the Con-Dems ideological attack on public service provision.

The debate on reserved issues included a strong speech from our young member's delegate, Keiron Green. He outlined the impact on his school and the wider community in Moray of the planned air base closures. This was followed by the debate on Education with Pat Rowland highlighting the importance of nursery education. More action and less glossy documents was her message to the Scottish Government.

The afternoon session started with Iain Gray's speech. This was full of substance with the theme being that in tough times you have to make hard choices, but those choices will be driven by Scottish Labour values. Iain is often characterised as the grey man. Nothing of that today. It was a thoughtful speech with several important announcements, light on spin, strong on values and he showed that he can be passionate about what matters.

The day ended with the health debate kicked off by UNISON's Katrina Murray. There were good local examples of health and social care challenges from UNISON delegates including Morag Houston, Matt McLaughlin and Alan Cowan. The proposed National Care Service deserves serious consideration at a time when social care procurement is driving a race to the bottom in standards through privatisation. It was good to hear Iain Gray and Jackie Baillie both acknowledge this in their speeches.

There was a good buzz around the fringe. We had a lively discussion at our joint lunchtime event with APSE on how councils should respond to the financial situation. In the evening delegates were very positive about conference. At the trade union reception both Iain Gray and Ann McKechin's contributions showed a good grasp of the issues of concern to workers. Our Workplace Agenda features strongly in the policy programme agreed at conference this weekend.

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