Scottish Labour Conference Round Up - Friday
A quick round-up of the first day of Scottish Labour Conference 2018 - and a look ahead.
Attendance this year is high, at points overwhelming the prepared seating, peaking with a rousing keynote speech delivered by Jeremy Corbyn. This covered issues ranging from Dundee’s anti-fascist history, Scottish Labour’s recent revival, Brexit, and Britain’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. The Labour leader was at pains to emphasise the point that Labour no longer regards itself as a purely oppositional party, but one which has planned and prepared for government, keenly anticipating the fall of the minority Tory government. Debates focused on child poverty, mental health, wealth inequality, and public services.
Scottish Young Labour Chair Liam Gleeson spoke about the vital role that young members play in the party. After the damage that the independence referendum did to Scottish Labour’s popularity amongst young people, he argued the surge of support amongst young people for Jeremy Corbyn’s brand of politics is especially key to Scottish Labour’s revival.
Equally well attended was the GMB Fringe on Equal Pay for women, highlighting a campaign that the Trade Union has been running recently on the chronic issue of underpayment for women workers in various Scottish local authorities going back decades.
With sources putting the final settlement figure upwards of £500 million, Equal Pay has been a weak spot for Scottish Labour for years, and one which Richard Leonard promised to address at the Scottish Labour Women’s Conference last month.
Tomorrow brings a series of debates around education and housing in the morning session, followed by public ownership and taxation in the afternoon. Richard Leonard’s first keynote speech as party leader to Scottish Labour conference will take place at 14:00.