At the STUC Congress in Ayr this week. Bit of a trek from the town centre to the Ayr Racecourse, but a very attractive conference venue. Sunny weather helps!
The morning session on the Better Way campaign was an excellent innovation. Good use of film clips to illustrate the campaign activity undertaken by the STUC and affiliates. But the important contributions came from some 30 community organisations who came along to support the campaign and explain how the cuts are impacting on a wide range of service users. This shows that the alternative to the Con-Dem coalition cuts is building support.
Scottish Labour Leader Iain Gray addressed conference in the afternoon. He focused on workplace issues and jobs. He confirmed Scottish Labour's manifesto commitments on issues like workplace violence and workplace health. He also promised meaningful engagement with the trade unions over economic policy with a new consultative structure on this and in local government. But his real message was on jobs and in particular youth unemployment. Big commitments, but it is clearly an issue he cares deeply about. Anyone who lived through the Thatcher years should share this vision.
Good debate on the economy with a focus on the fair taxation elements of the Better Way campaign. HMRC workers highlighting the £130 billion of avoided tax. This alone would wipe out the deficit.