UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.
Tuesday, 5 May 2015
Top pledgers were the Greens (14), next came Labour (11) and surprisingly in third place was the SNP with only 9 of its 22 responders agreeing to sign up to oppose all austerity cuts while the others issued a statement which included “We believe we can manage the deficit down, but without destroying the social fabric that holds us together.”
Phil McGarry, Chair of the People’s Assembly Scotland, said: “With austerity right at the front of so many parties’ election campaign, we are surprised more candidates didn’t take the chance to publicly confirm their opposition to austerity. Given the public campaigning, we are even more surprised at how few SNP candidates were willing to actually pledge to oppose all austerity.”
Six TUSC candidates signed, along with one each for the Communist Party of Britain, The Liberal Democrats, and Class War. Colin Fox signed on behalf of the SSP. The only Conservative who responded asked what austerity was and didn’t sign.
Phil added: “It is heartening to see that a good number of candidates across the parties (apart from the Tories) have been prepared to stand up and say they will fight the austerity that has created so much poverty and inequality.”
“However it also shows that there is a long way to go before politicians’ actions match their words. Sadly, all of the mainstream parties in Scotland – including the SNP – appear to have accepted ‘austerity-lite’ with the Tories intent on even more austerity”, he added.
“No matter what the election outcome, campaigns like the People’s Assembly, trade unions and community organisations will still have to push politicians to address the real issues facing people on the ground.
“The irony is that the austerity that cuts jobs, cuts the money available in local communities and cuts the tax that is available, leads to a vicious circle of even more austerity. Apart from the human cost with food banks being the only growing industry, local economies are being pushed further into stagnation. We will continue to campaign against a system that punishes the poor and lines the pockets of the rich”, added Phil McGarry.
62 candidates out of the 220 candidates contacted by the People’s Assembly Scotland responded and of those 44 signed up to the 38 Degrees Petition https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/an-end-to-austerity