Vote 2011: Scottish Labour “will keep standing up for Scottish jobs”

John Park, Labour’s campaign manager for the Scottish elections and shadow minister for the economy and skills, writes exclusively for Left Foot Forward on Labour's vision for Scotland.

John Park, Labour’s campaign manager for the Scottish elections and shadow minister for the economy and skills, writes exclusively for Left Foot Forward on Labour’s vision for Scotland; John is standing for Labour in the regional vote for Mid Scotland and Fife


The last time that Labour fought an election for the Scottish parliament, we were in government in Westminster and at Holyrood. This time around, we are in opposition in both parliaments – a first. We have learnt the lessons of our defeat in 2007. We’ve listened to people in Scotland and we have understood the frustration that people have about politicians who seem to promise everything, then let everyone down.

That’s why a key feature of our campaign is an unrelenting focus on the things that matter to ordinary Scots. Our commitments are things that will improve people’s lives and prospects every day. Together, they add up to a vision of Scotland that is modern, ambitious and makes sure that everyone gets on.

I wanted to write here to give people an idea of what we are campaigning for. If you want the full manifesto, it’s on our web page (pdf), but I want to give you an idea of our direction of travel, of what we are really about.

Take youth unemployment as an example of what drives us on. I, like many Scots, remember when the Tories left thousands of our young people on the scrapheap with no job to turn to and no way out of a life of little opportunity. So when the Tories came into government and made scrapping the future jobs fund one of their first acts, of course people in Scotland were worried. But in truth, Scotland’s problems didn’t just begin with the election of the Tories last year.

The SNP have been distracted by independence, and on their watch youth unemployment has risen by 350 per cent over two years. People struggle to comprehend the scale of that rise, but there is a real fear that we could sleepwalk into another generation of workers with low skills while many employers struggle to fill places because of skill shortages.

We now have a Tory government at Westminster which is reverting to type and an SNP government in Scotland that is too distracted using the levers of government to promote separation rather than standing up for jobs.

In the face of this, one of our most important pledges to the people of Scotland is to completely abolish youth unemployment by 2015. We’ll bring back the future jobs fund in Scotland and guarantee an apprenticeship to every qualified school-leaver who wants one. That’s a big ask, but we are committed to only pledging what we know we can deliver.

Not only will we abolish youth unemployment, but by building Scotland’s skills base and driving investment into our industries, Labour has set out plans to create 250,000 jobs in the next ten years. We’ll need to do that because the pace of economic change will only increase

We have also pledged to keep building the talents of people through our world class universities. Now, everyone knows that we can’t build a modern and successful Scotland if we put people off from going to university. It’s no surprise that Iain Gray was the first of the main party leaders to sign up to the NUS Scotland election pledges.

We have promised to reform the broken college bursary system, but will now set in place plans to reform university support too.

I know that I have concentrated here mainly on opportunities for Scotland’s young people, but I think that’s a key difference of approach between us and the SNP. Obviously, there are others like knife crime, local taxation and other important areas in our public services.

But the differences on youth unemployment are important to understand, because it’s not that the SNP are in favour of youth unemployment, or that they have plans to tackle it with which we disagree. The fundamental difference between us and the SNP is that they don’t have a plan to create jobs for young people. They don’t have a blueprint to create a modern Scotland where our young people have the opportunity to get on.

We have put a modern and dynamic set of policies to the Scottish people, we have focussed on what really matters and we will keep standing up for Scottish jobs; the voters will decide on May 5th.

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30 Responses to “Vote 2011: Scottish Labour “will keep standing up for Scottish jobs””

  1. Duncan Hothersall

    RT @leftfootfwd: Vote 2011: Scottish Labour “will keep standing up for Scottish jobs”: http://bit.ly/fqgUbt writes @John_Park

  2. britney smith

    Vote 2011: Scottish Labour “will keep standing up for Scottish jobs” http://bit.ly/hNyXqM

  3. Denise Hannie

    Vote 2011: Scottish Labour “will keep standing up for Scottish jobs” http://bit.ly/hNyXqM

  4. Gwen Dreams

    Vote 2011: Scottish Labour “will keep standing up for Scottish jobs” http://bit.ly/hNyXqM

  5. Hans Andrews

    Vote 2011: Scottish Labour “will keep standing up for Scottish jobs” http://bit.ly/hNyXqM

  6. Knut Cayce

    RT @leftfootfwd: Vote 2011: Scottish Labour “will keep standing up for Scottish jobs”: http://bit.ly/fqgUbt writes @John_Park

  7. JobsDirectUSA

    Vote 2011: Scottish Labour “will keep standing up for Scottish jobs” http://bit.ly/h43fnK http://bit.ly/a56q5r

  8. JobsDirectBlog.com

    Vote 2011: Scottish Labour “will keep standing up for Scottish jobs” http://bit.ly/h43fnK http://bit.ly/a56q5r

  9. Scottish election: Cameron speaks up for Scots Tories – BBC News | DavnecNews

    […] leader David Cameron: I can work with Alex Salmond's SNPScottish Daily RecordLeft Foot Forward -The Guardian -The Press Associationall 521 news […]

  10. Rev. S. Campbell

    If some readers are pressed for time, I can relay everything contained in the feature above in a much more concise manner:

    “It wisnae us! A big boy did it an’ ran away!”

    The Scottish Government has, of course, very little control over employment. So what Mr Park really means is that youth employment rocketed under a Labour government at Westminster, which also introduced student tuition fees. Labour’s crocodile tears over the young are too little, too late.

    In 13 years in UK government and 8 years in control at Holyrood, Labour did NOTHING to guard against the catastrophes that have befallen the economy. They encouraged casino banking (blinded by the tax revenue that they managed to squeeze out of the wily bankers when their accountants were finished hiding it), and utterly failed to restore any kind of manufacturing base that would have ridden the tsunami which crashed down on the “financial services” industry.

    They did NOTHING for construction, building just SIX new council houses in four years at Holyrood, a figure the SNP administration has bettered by a mindboggling margin of over 20,000%.

    In 13 years at Westminster and 8 in Scotland they did NOTHING to restore union rights which might have helped protect the public sector against the coalition’s cuts. They were far more concerned with wasting BILLIONS of pounds of taxpayers’ money on the abandoned ID card scheme, and locking up innocent people for months on end without trial or even accusation.

    And now they’re going to fight to save us from the ConDem coalition? What a joke. The time we needed saving from the Tories was last May, when the nationalists and other small parties offered a rainbow coalition that would have kept the Tories out, with a thin but workable majority. It would have been difficult, but at the very LEAST worth a try.

    Instead, Labour RAN AWAY like the useless cowards they are, scared of the hard work and much preferring the cushy life of opposition, where all you have to do is sit on the sidelines and carp at the other mob for £66,000 a year (plus expenses). The names of those Scottish Labour MPs who stood up during the short-lived negotiations with the Lib Dems and effectively scuppered them by vowing that they would never support such a deal – John Reid, Douglas Alexander, Brian Donohoe and many more – were noted at the time, and will not be forgotten.

    Were it not so sick, it would be hilarious to watch them now blithely promising to do in opposition all the things they failed so miserably to do in over a decade of cross-border government. They clearly believe the people of Scotland to have very short memories indeed. I hope and pray that the current polls are correct, and that the people of Scotland will instead deliver the fair and just verdict that Labour’s gutless shower of hypocrites and incompetents, who disgrace the Labour Party’s founding fathers, deserve.

  11. Rev. S. Campbell

    And can it be that I forgot to mention PFI, the millstone that will drag our children down for decades to come? Labour built hospitals and schools so they could look good at the grand opening ceremonies, but desperately conspired to keep the financial reality off the books and secret from the electorate, because they knew the truth – that every hospital built would actually cost the taxpayer the price of SIX hospitals.

    http://www.monbiot.com/2010/11/22/the-uks-odious-debts/

    Labour mortgaged all our futures for short-term political gain, nowhere more so than in Scotland where the PFI hospital at Hairmyres will generate unimaginably obscene returns for private investors at next to no risk – hundreds of millions of pounds coming DIRECTLY out of taxpayers’ pockets.

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/concern-at-huge-profit-for-firms-behind-pfi-projects-1.879536

    And let’s not forget almost a billion pounds wasted by Labour in Edinburgh alone, firstly on insisting (for political reasons) on a new Parliament building which ran £400m over budget, and then on forcing through the £550m trams project, which nobody wanted but was a handy spoiling tactic to prevent the SNP spending the money on dualling the A9, which would have saved dozens of lives a year, been of huge benefit to the tourist economy and massively popular with everyone who used the road, the country’s main north-south trunk route.

    Why can it be that great socialist union stalwarts like the late Jimmy Reid and the very-much-still-with-us Tommy Brennan (formerly of the iconic Ravenscraig steelworks, symbol of Thatcher’s destruction of Scottish industry) have abandoned Labour and now support the SNP? It’s because Labour have betrayed all the values of the left, and now sit (according to the independent politicalcompass.org) far to the right of centre. Of the four main parties contesting the Holyrood election, only the SNP are to be found anywhere on the left.

    http://www.politicalcompass.org/ukparties2010

    In Scotland, Labour often level the smear “Tartan Tories” at the SNP. But the truth is that only one of the major Scottish parties has policies which deliver a positive net match with those of the Conservatives, and it’s not the Nationalists:

    http://wosblog.podgamer.com/2011/04/18/who-are-the-tartan-tories/

    If we include the Greens, Scotland has two-and-a-half parties of the left, and Labour is none of them. John Park is lying to this site’s readers every bit as much as Labour’s finance and justice spokesman have been embarrassingly caught out lying over the cost of knife crime (citing totally made-up figures of £3bn and £500m which they later admitted to having simply read in a newspaper, when independent monitoring group Straight Statistics calculated the figures – using real, named, official sources – at somewhere closer to £5m.)

    If you want the working classes protected as best as is possible from the ConDem cuts, voting for Labour is like cattle voting for the building of a new abattoir. The last time the Tories were in power at Westminster Scotland returned over 50 Labour MPs, and look what a magnificent job they did of protecting the country from Thatcher’s axe.

    If Mr Park has any guts, perhaps he will answer the one question that no Scottish Labour apparatchik has ever been able to in the decade I’ve been asking it:

    Would you rather Scotland be governed from Westminster by the votes of English Tories, or by whichever party was elected by the voters of an *independent* Scotland?

  12. Ed Jacobs

    RT @leftfootfwd: Vote 2011: Scottish Labour “will keep standing up for Scottish jobs” http://bit.ly/dSMNMY

  13. John Ruddy

    If PFI is so bad, why is the SCottish Futures Trust now telling Angus Council that its new High School in Brechin is to be built using a form of PFI, and not the capital grant that was originally proposed?

  14. Rev. S. Campbell

    Given your previous track record of supporting claims with sources and evidence, I’m going to have to wait for you to supply some background on that before commenting. In the meantime, do I take it that you’re happy with the tens of billions of pounds that PFI projects will suck out of the public purse to line the pockets of private companies for the next 20 years?

  15. Anon E Mouse

    Rev.S.Campbell – Thank you.

    I am not alone…

  16. John Ruddy

    http://www.angus.gov.uk/ccmeetings/reports-committee2011/Education/50.pdf

    A report to Angus Council education committee, referring to an email from the SFT, detailing a change in the funding method. Basically a NPD body will be set up in which the private sector has a majority stake which will build operate and maintain the school. The private sector funded part will be able to raise private capital, and re-charge the education authority for it (a unitary charge – just like PPP) after covering its costs and providing it with a profit (the private sector, not the NPD body).

    In short its a change at the last minute to something which is very similar and probably just as expensive to PPP.

    As it happens, I’m not happy about PPP/PFI, in all sorts of ways. But it was a way of getting things done. Without it, we wouldnt have had the schools, hospitals and roads that it has provided. And strangely enough, of the schools which the SNP government claims to have built, 7 of them in Angus are PPP schools authorised by the previous administration!

  17. gt-cri

    A report to Angus Council education committee, referring to an email from the SFT, detailing a change in the funding method. Basically a NPD body will be set up in which the private sector has a majority stake which will build operate and maintain the school. The private sector funded part will be able to raise private capital, and re-charge the education authority for it (a unitary charge – just like PPP) after covering its costs and providing it with a profit (the private sector, not the NPD body).

    In short its a change at the last minute to something which is very similar and probably just as expensive to PPP.

    Where in the report you linked to do you see the above? It makes no mention of “in which the private sector has a majority stake which will build operate and maintain the school.”

    It does however, contain “SG will provide 100% revenue support for the element of the Unitary Charge arising from the private financing costs (i.e. interest and fees) up to the equivalent of the already agreed capital allocation; and

    as with the existing capital offer, SG will not pay for land acquisition, life cycle maintenance, hard FM or insurance costs.”

    Very different from what you say.

    Again, Labour spins, twists and distorts in order to confuse and obfuscate the electorate. It worked for the last 70-80 years but I’m afraid the electorate is not as ignorant as you would wish them to be and has seen what Labour has done to “protect” Scotland. Protect their own position more like.

    Unfortunately, the likes of you and your candidate for the constituency concerned are more than typical of the type seeking office for their own ends and not through concern for the constituents.

    Give it up & start seeing Scotland for what it can aspire to be, not for what you can get out of it!

  18. M Name

    ‘Scottish’ Labour on the NHS – privatise (Stracathro) and make profit for big business pals (PFI – £50million/year in Scotland and rising)

    ‘Scottish’ Labour and expenses – Devine and Joyce for starters. Some interesting claims too from McAveety, Park and Baker. And then there is ‘Labour Party Properties’.

    ‘Scottish’ Labour and knife crime – lock ’em up. Oh wait a minute, they haven’t worked out how much it will cost for prisons. And they can’t work out what ‘mandatory’ means. And check the Straight Statistics expose above.

    That’s just for starters.

    Credible? Trustworthy? Left wing?!

  19. Lord Snooty

    7@John Ruddy

    Yes we would had not all our Scottish oil revenues been pored into vanity projects south of the border. (Millenium Dome, Olympics,etc0, the pornographic losses in the defence procurement budget ,including but not limited to the obscene expenditure on nuclear attack submarines and aircraft carriers plus of course the blood losses in Tony Blair just and religiously true Iraq war.

    Pissed into the Thames.

    You lot are dead meat and I rejoice.

  20. cynicalHighlander

    ‘Together, they add up to a vision of Scotland that is modern, ambitious and makes sure that everyone gets on.’

    Your party has been saying that for decades so no change there.

    ‘The SNP have been distracted by independence, and on their watch youth unemployment has risen by 350 per cent over two years.’

    Under the last Labour gov and previous ones youth unemployment has been rising only you hid it under false training schemes and stuffing then into colleges under false pretences. Links to the last 4 year numbers would be appreciated.

    ‘In the face of this, one of our most important pledges to the people of Scotland is to completely abolish youth unemployment by 2015.’

    That is impossible unless you are going to split them into two groups one to dig the holes and the others to fill them in oops forget this is the Scottish branch of the Labour party must be creditable. Pull the other one.

  21. DougtheDug

    Labour haven’t learnt any lessons from their defeat in 2007 and you’re still fighting a war against Thatcher and hoping that a knee-jerk anti-Tory vote in Scotland is going to get you into power again. And that’s the reason the polls are looking so poor for Labour. The key feature of your campaign so far has been to concentrate on, “Sending a message to the Tories in Westminster”, in the hope that no-one is going to notice the SNP.

    The Scottish Parliament doesn’t have any of the levers of power to control the economy and you’re quite right about the fact that Scotland’s problems didn’t just begin with the election of the Tories last year. It’s Labour who were in power all through the noughties when the housing bubble grew and in 2008 when the banks crashed. The SNP haven’t been distracted at all and have pushed through budgets which have managed to ameliorate the cuts coming from Westminster despite the pig-headed opposition of Labour. The Labour mantra in Scotland is, “Better Tory than independent”, and Labour is fighting this Scottish election to keep David Cameron as PM of Scotland, cuts and all. What are Labour going to do to in order to, “stand up”, for jobs? The Scottish block grant is set by the English spend on public services and as Cameron and his wingman Clegg cut that to the bone as they revert to type then the Scottish grant gets slashed in the same way. The only choice a Scottish Parliament will get is how to apply the cuts in Scotland. At least the SNP offer a route out from the instinctive Tory slash and burn government in Westminster.

    I can’t actually find a pledge to completely abolish youth unemployment by 2015 in your manifesto. Are you sure you read it right? However there are two especially hilariously bits in your manifesto.

    The first is when Iain Gray says, “I make no apologies for the scale of my ambition for Scotland. It is the job of leaders to look to the horizon.”. As we all know Iain Gray’s ambition is to be a local government leader in the Scottish regional parliament living off a block grant from the Tories and his horizon stops at Westminster. Contrast that with Alex Salmond’s vision of an independent, wealthy, confident Scotland with its own place in Europe, its own genuine parliament and a seat at the UN.

    The second is when Iain Gray signs himself off as, “Scottish Labour Leader”. Since there is no Scottish Labour Party registered with the Electoral Commission and since the Scottish Region of the Labour party doesn’t have a leader as such and since Iain Gray’s election was to the post of group leader of the Labour MSP’s in the Scottish Parliament he’s either got delusions of grandeur or he’s lying.

  22. Mark MacLachlan

    RT @leftfootfwd: Vote 2011: Scottish Labour “will keep standing up for Scottish jobs” http://bit.ly/dSMNMY The Rev Campbell batters Labour

  23. norrie mcdonald

    RT @MarkEMacLachlan: RT @leftfootfwd: Vote 2011: Scottish Labour “will keep standing up for Scottish jobs” http://bit.ly/dSMNMY The Rev …

  24. norrie mcdonald

    This reply by Rev Campell to Labour John Park is absolutely brilliant.Sums up Labour http://bit.ly/ewOfus @MarkEMacLachlan #bothvotessnp

  25. David Wilson

    RT @NorrieMacD: This reply by Rev Campell to Labour John Park is absolutely brilliant.Sums up Labour http://bit.ly/ewOfus @MarkEMacLachl …

  26. WhyWhyWhy

    Oh it’s John Ruddy, SLAB’s main apologist on the old tinternet at the moment.

    How many sites do you spin on now?

    How much does knife crime cost again?

    Kerrs leaflets say 3 Billion.

    Baker says 500 million.

    The group who looked at the problem says knife crime counts for between 3 & 6% of the 500 million.

    Baker says it must be true the 500 million figure was printed in a paper.

    Kerr now claims the 3 billion was a misprint.

    More SLAB lies and spin I say.

    Keep spinning Mr Ruddy.

  27. george anderson

    Labour record

    I still don’t understand how Gordon Brown managed to sell off all our gold reserves in batches when the price was at it’s lowest?

    Do not forget PFI, the millstone that will drag our children down for decades to come? Labour built hospitals and schools so they could look good at the grand opening ceremonies, but desperately conspired to keep the financial reality off the books and the secret from the electorate, because they knew the truth – that every hospital built would actually cost the taxpayer the price of SIX hospitals.

  28. John Ruddy

    @13
    Have a go at me – at least I use my real name. I’m not afraid of people knowing what I stand up for.

    Funny how there hasnt been an explanation of why the Scottish Futures Trust is now recommending PPP to fund these new Schools. If they had said that at the beginning, we might have had a few built by now.

    As for being a Scottish Labour “apologist”, I am the first to criticise when mistakes are made. Perhaps the cybernats are just narked that they arnt getting their own way on forums and newspaper comment pages any more?

    Are they so scared of proper, adult debate that they have to resort to petty name calling, hiding being the anonymity of the keyboard?

  29. John Ruddy

    @8
    Perhaps you would care to explain to the good people how this is different, given I’ve seen the email from SFT, and you havnt.

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