It would have been easy to baulk at the strange choice of slogan for this years SNP Conference. The word ‘PROGRESS’ emblazoned on every possible screen in the SECC may have given some people horrible flashbacks of New Labour, but the there was plenty to look forward to from the SNP Conference.
The 3 day event started well with a motion passing from the party’s youth wing to increase the minimum age of military recruitment from 16 to 18. This should go a long way to preventing military recruitment in schools a policy we have long campaigned on.
Over the course of the week there was motions and announcements ranging from increased financial help for those wishing to retrain as teachers, free sanitary products to be made available in places of education to feasibility studies being made into a Land Value Tax and a commitment to end the Public Sector pay cap.
One of the biggest announcements was made by Scotlands First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, in the closing speech she announced plans to create a publicly owned not for profit energy company in the lifetime of this parliament.
We fully support all of the above motions and welcome the competition between the SNP and Corbyn’s Labour party in the battle to move further to the left. We believe this can only benefit the majority of people in Scotland who are facing ever increasing hardships, however the public spats about who is has made the least cuts does nobody any favours. Austerity will only be defeated not by fighting each other but a direct combined assault on a crumbling Tory leadership.
There are of course things we do not agree with and statements we would not have made ourselves, we feel it is disingenuous to parrot the figures championed by the Conservatives around low unemployment. Today’s low unemployment is fueled by increasingly precarious employment and bogus self employment industries, our economy can never be sustainable whilst thousands of young workers rely on these as a primary source of income.
Traditional economists are still scratching their heads as to why wages have not risen in the face such low numbers of unemployment, the answer for us is clear to see. In a world with little job security and atomised workplaces fueled by privatisation, workers are prevented and bullied out of achieving increased terms and conditions.
Our workplaces and economies must radically change if we are to create a society where our communities can truly flourish. Independence therefore is still the key to achieving a better Scotland. We must continue to fight for independence on the same ideas and grassroots level as we did pre 2014. The vision for a better Scotland was most tangible when the power lay with the people, the local yes groups and neighbourhood campaigns.
In the fight for a better future, our struggle must be rooted in issues and campaigns that can begin to transform our society into that vision we all shared for an Independent Scotland.