Thursday, April 12, 2012

The political manifesto does matter

I've got a lengthy piece over on the main Edinburgh Labour site today, outlining my old-fashioned view that the political manifesto matters.

You can read the article here - and for more specific policy content, then please do have a look though our main manifesto document here ...

... and/or quickly scan the last few months of news entries on the Edinburgh Labour site, where many of our Spokespersons have expanded on our core pledges, a summary of which I'll re-produce below:

Labour's 'Co-operative Council'

A big idea for difficult times. It’s more than simply listening. It’s joining forces with the people who use what the Council provides – the local park or home care for disabled people – to do things better and make the money go further. Sharing real decisions with the people who know best in Scotland’s first ‘co-operative council’.

For children and their education that means
• we'll work to set up a city-wide ‘childcare co-op’ to provide affordable child care for working parents in all communities, starting where the need is greatest
• and we will give Parent Councils the right to share in city-wide decision-making on schools by nominating a member of the Council’s Education Committee.

For transport in our City that means
• we will set up a city-wide Transport Forum of experts and citizens to think through our modern transport needs
• but meanwhile, we’ll pay proper attention to the everyday things – bringing roads and pavements to a good standard especially in busy areas and controlling the work standards of the utilities who dig up our roads

For health and social care of our elderly and vulnerable that means
• we’ll bring the Council, care staff and the users together into cooperatives to decide on and provide the means to make life better for both the care users and the care providers
• and, of course, we’ll never seek to privatise or sell off these services to the lowest bidder.

For jobs in Edinburgh’s economy that means
• we’ll work with local firms to encourage them to offer real apprenticeships to young people
• and we will strive to support local business by tipping the balance against unfair competition from big outsiders.

For people in need of a home of their own that means
• we’ll set up a city task force to find fair ways to bring empty homes into use and to build useful developments on derelict land
• and we’ll press the Scottish Government to release money for Edinburgh to build new high-quality and affordable homes for rent and work with land owners to free up the urgently needed land.

And for our environment that means
• we’ll protect our green spaces from development, establish more when the right opportunities arise and place decisions about their care into the hands of local people
• and because, through co-operation, residents could save energy and up to 20% of their bills, we’ll consult all our tenants about ‘bulk buying’ gas and electricity for their homes through an energy co-op.

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