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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.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Scottish Conservative manifesto

Today we had the launch of the Scottish Conservative manifesto. Not a good start from the Tories with candidates dropping out at a rate of knots and a UK Tory government sending Scotland back to the dark days of Thatcher.

The manifesto doesn't exactly inspire confidence. We are told this is the realistic manifesto, we are not deficit deniers. Yet the manifesto proudly triumphs four years of a Council Tax freeze, that increases the financial burden on councils and new tax cuts, for business of course. A strange way to cut the deficit. We are told the deficit was caused by the failure of Labour's regulation. Yet the Tories constantly called for less regulation and they do so again in this manifesto!

And no Annabel, you haven't put 1000 extra police officers on the beat. They are sitting behind desks doing the jobs of sacked civilian staff.

Then we are offered the privatisation of Scottish Water. Sorry, we are not fooled by the old 'public interest company' trick. A move that will hand over Scotland's greatest asset to overseas water multinationals at a fraction of its real value. Then the water charge payer picks up the tab through increased water charges.

More PFI to build infrastructure. Haven't we paid enough billions more than required without going back to that failed Tory policy. There is no such thing as a free lunch, unless of course you are a big business lobbyist. The 'right to bid' for public services is offered for the voluntary sector. But the business lobby knows full well that if public services are put out for competition, they are allowed in to bid under EU procurement rules. So again the voluntary sector is being used as cover for the wholesale privatisation of Scotland's public services, including the NHS and Schools.

For what is left of our public services after wholesale privatisation we have a hotch potch of proposals. Community justice is to be moved to the prison service, apparently to aid rehabilitation but without any explanation of how this would improve matters. Oh, and we will be able to elect our local sheriff. Let's just become the 51st state of the USA and be done with it!

Over 100,000 social houses have been lost in Scotland due to the 'right to buy'. So the Tory solution to the housing crisis - of course, let's reintroduce the 'right to buy'. That will be a real incentive for councils and housing associations to build more houses for the 200,000 Scots on waiting lists!

Tucked away near the end is a proposal to reduce meat inspection. Just what we need, a nice bit of Salmonella. What was that about failed regulation?

Sadly this manifesto is what you would expect. The failed polices of the 1980's revisited on Scotland - albeit dressed up in language that fools no one.

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