Author Archives: chrismceleny

Labour lie to the lowest paid

Ed Milliband is currently trying to entice the lowest paid in society to vote Labour in 2015. No doubt he will have realised that in Scotland many Labour voters rejected Labours coalition with the Tories for a no vote in Labour strong holds across Scotland.

To this end Labour are now promising the lowest paid workers ( well if you’re over 21 that is) a minimum wage of £8 per hour by 2020.

However don’t be fooled into this policy without looking at the numbers.

The living wage is something that as a society we should all be striving to promote every employer paying. It’s currently set at £7.65 an hour – £1.15 greater than the minimum wage. So just what would it look like in 2020? During the last year it increased by 2.5%. This of course in times of continued austerity promoted by Labour and the Tories at Westminster. However if it continued to rise at this pessimistic figure in 2020 the living wage would be £8.87. A more optimistic rise of an average of 3.25% would have the living wage at £9.27.

The minimum wage of course if rising at the same rate as the living wage would be between £7.54-£8.

So a potential minimum wage of £8 anyway but a living wage £1.27 higher at £9.27. That means the living wage and the minimum wage will be even further apart than they are today.

Therefore when Labour offer you £8 an hour in 2020 they’re actually offering you nothing. A minimum wage would potentially be that anyway but what they are advocating is the gap getting wider for the poorest in society as they become even further detached from those getting paid the living wage….which should be the minimum wage anyway!

The only way to close the gap and prove that there is a better way in Scotland is by giving the Scottish parliament the powers it needs to set these key fiscal policies.

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Post Referendum statement

Day 1 – We Keep Believing

Statement Regarding the outcome of the independence referendum.

We’ve had a few days now for the result to sink in. Firstly thank you to each and everyone of you who played your part in the greatest grass roots campaign our nation has ever known. The eyes of the world were upon Scotland and we did not disappoint. Some people have said that we’ve found a new type of politics – a people politics. I’ve always believed politics was about people but what this campaign has done is allowed ordinary people to find politics again.

The world moves on at an unbelievable pace, the social media revolution has allowed us to contact people that we could’ve never possibly engaged with before. Facebook, twitter etc played their part in creating the independence generation. If you are reading this you are the independence generation, you are the future and you are part of the beginning of an unstoppable movement.

Many of you have contacted me since Friday morning to tell me how hurt you are at the result asking for advice. The truth is I’m just a normal person like you that hurt no more than you and played a part no greater than yours.

In Inverclyde there were just 86 votes between both sides on a turnout that was spectacular for Inverclyde. In other words 49.9% of us voted yes. We can be proud of that.

We were up against the entire machine of the UK goverment and we sent a shockwave all the way to number 10 Downing Street.

But where do we go now? When I woke up on Thursday morning I believed that voting Yes was best for Inverclyde, best for my family, best for my community and best for Scotland. It was the best way to create a fairer country. It was the only way to ensure the people that care most about Scotland make the decisions about Scotland. It truly would’ve put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands. Just because this time the country voted no and weren’t ready for independence, doesn’t mean I don’t believe that is what is still best for our country.

I believed it on Thursday morning and I believe it now. Principals are not for compromising. Unless of course you are part of the Scottish Labour Party, who sold their principles to jump into bed with the Tories. Is it any wonder then that Labour heartlands such as Glasgow, Port Glasgow and Greenock voted Yes?

President Kennedy once famously said ” ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country “. The sentiment expressed here will be the legacy of our referendum. An engagement we’ve never had before of a group determined to make Scotland better.

The very next day after the referendum the no campaign imploded. Bribes of new powers suddenly became unstuck, yesterday Labour warn at their UK conference of a crisis of NHS privatisation. The sad truth is what we warned all along is being proved to be true:

They made you promises to get your vote. They lied to you. They stole your vote.

In Inverclyde I think people will struggle to trust Labour ever again. Even now Labour are considering a coalition with the Tories in Inverclyde to cling on to power.

WE CAN CARRY ON

We have been made promises, we must hold those in office to account. In May 2015 there will be a UK election. We must send a message to London that Scotland believes in itself. Almost half the country believes we should be independent, perhaps even more than half since the result was announced.

The only way we can keep our dream alive is to have yet another political earthquake and send as many SNP MPs to Westminster to fight Scotland’s cause. The SNP has become the party of change in Scotland. We are the party of progress and the only party capable of ousting Labour and the Tories in Scotland.

Scotland can and will be an independent country one day, we must stay united in our cause and we must keep believing.

YES I still believe,
I’m voting SNP in 2015.

Yours for Scotland

Christopher

The Pride of Inverclyde – A message for Labour voters

About to leave the battery park. Just witnessed the largest spontaneous gathering in Inverclydes history. An estimated 2000 people gathered shining lights into the darkness. As good a metaphor as there ever will be in this referendum of ours. Ordinary people, every walk of life, tonight saw
the positive message of hope transform itself into this magnificent symbol of democracy. It reminded me of Obama’s historic election. Everyone there had an overwhelming sense of hope, a desire for change, the want of a better, fairer Scotland for all. I said to a young couple I know who were there with their boy in his buggy ” you know your standing in the making of history” the response ” we know”. The thousands that gathered tonight at Greenock feel that change is coming, Scotland is moving forward. We gathered on the banks of the Clyde, the river that the Great Jimmy Reid United the Scottish working class, the greatest trade unionist we ever knew and a strong advocate of Independence. How ironic then that Greenock once home to a proud shipbuilding workforce, has its MSP and former convener of the great yards standing on the wrong side of history.

This is a message directly to Duncan McNeil – Duncan you are standing on the wrong side of history. The people of Greenock and Inverclyde, the people you once represented are calling on you to stand beside them and build a better Scotland. It’s not too late you can still earn back their respect and stand shoulder to shoulder with the working families in Inverclyde instead of the Tories. Labour have already lost their only female councillor as she was saddened to see her party side with the Tories and the far right. Each day 100s of Labour voters are making the choice to vote yes. They are joined by People who’ve never voted, people who know this isn’t about party politics it’s about us, creating the country we want.

1 day to go. Be brave Inverclyde, let’s rid the power from the people that want to tax our bedrooms, take us to war , force us into having foodbanks and impose decisions on us that known of us want.

We can make sure that the best people make the choices about our future, the people that care most – that is the people that live and work here.

Well done tonight’s organisers you did your town proud.

I’m voting yes.

Positive message is winning

Day 98 – The positive message is winning

As we enter the last view days the positivity flowing from the yes Inverclyde shop is impossible to explain. People from across Inverclyde are coming and going everyday playing their part to create a better Scotland. On Friday night we had two women in their early 20s come in asking if we had leaflets they could give out on their Friday night. I spent that night canvassing with a couple in their 70s canvassing voters- the first time they’d ever did something like that.

Today as I popped in the shop there were pensioners sitting chatting to other pensioners that had came in telling them how a yes vote best protects their pension and can create a better life for Scotland’s future – their grandchildren.

A mother had just came in after the school run to pick up leaflets to deliver during the day.

A team of guys were out fitting PA systems to cars, some of them unemployed and working relentlessly to help build a better scotland with the job powers gained by a yes vote to create much needed jobs to Inverclyde.

I had just returned from a meeting with a representative of Clyde Blowers who had told me that 30 of the staff are back in the yard working. The rest to return by November with the possibility of the workforce getting upto 300 in the years to come. The Scottish Government and finance secretary John Swinney has been magnificent in steering the group to a position of last month where we faced our last shipyard being no more to today where we stand upon the brink of REINDUSTRIALISING Inverclyde to a level we’ve not seen in my lifetime. The news that the Scottish Government are working for Inverclyde only fired more positivity into the diverse group of volunteers as they set back off to carry out more duties.

We vote to decide to take the future of Inverclyde and Scotland into our own hands. We are part of the greatest grass roots campaign of ordinary people Scotland and most of Europe have ever known. The eyes of the world are upon us. Journalists from around the world from many similar independent countries have come to watch these last 4 days. Will Scotland vote yes to join that family of world nations.

We are building something special. Something to be proud of. 10am tomorrow. The team of volunteers meet at the Yes shop in Inverclyde. You can be part of building a fairer Scotland, just come down and help us with any task you feel comfortable doing.

Yours for Scotland

CM

Currency

Day 58 – Currency

It seems the entire arguement for a no vote has now boiled down to 2 things. 1 is currency the other is Alex Salmond.

Well firstly a yes vote is a vote to ensure the decisions that effect Scotland are made in Scotland by the people that care about Scotland the most – that is the people that live and work in Scotland. It is not a vote for Alex Salmond. However don’t get me wrong I will personally still be supporting him after a yes vote, but you don’t have to.

Secondly the no campaign are now basing their entire arguement on what currency we will have. Gone are all their other arguements. No more chat on the EU because we no we will still be in the EU. No more scaremongering on pensions as even the UK minister for pensions has rubbished these. The point Alex Salmond was trying to get over last night is the entire campaign to vote no has been about making you too scared to vote yes. We’re too wee, we’re too poor, we can’t do it etc etc etc.

The position on currency is clear. Sharing the pound is in the best interest of Scotland and it is in the best interest of the rest of the UK. Why is it in the best interest of the rest of the UK? We are a massive export market to England, not sharing a currency would cost English jobs, that is a fact. So why then would members of the no campaign tell us we can’t use the pound that has been equally ours in this supposed equal union for 300 years? One reason, to frighten you into voting no.

I have absolutely no doubt that in the event of a yes vote we will continue to use the pound. However the no campaign will continue to say we can’t share it right up until we vote yes. They will continue to say what is plan B to try reduce the credibility of an independent Scotland. Again the fact is there is a plan B, a plan C, a plan D and E. These options have been set out but the Scottish Government believes absolutely that it will share the pound.

If the no campaign want to maintain they will bully us out of using our pound though we shouldn’t fear this. There are 180 currencies in the world, if Scotland had to have its own currency it would be based on a country that is the 14th richest in the world.

We cannot be stopped using the pound even without official permission Scotland could still use it, 8 other countries currently use it without monetary union and looking at the US dollar 17 countries use it unofficially including affluent Bermuda a UK dependency!

Ask yourself this what would the value of the pound be if it lost 10% of the population of the UK and £1trillion of North Sea oil assets protecting it’s strength and security. It would be political suicide for any UK chancellor to not share our pound with us. We will use the pound if we vote yes, it will be part of the negotiating process. However if the same people who now tell us we are better together and how much we are their friends then want to bully us into not sharing the pound, we should not be afraid.

The fact is whatever Scotland’s money is, it will be Scotland’s money to spend on the priorities of the Scottish people: free nhs, free education for all and not waste billions on illegal wars and Westminster vanity projects.

Take your future into your own hands, vote yes.

Indy ref – 100 reasons – immigration

Indy ref – 100 reasons- Day 4 –

IMMIGRATION

Scotland’s differing demographic and migration needs mean that the current UK immigration system has not supported Scotland’s migration priorities. The current Westminster approach is strongly focused on reducing the overall numbers of migrants and introducing number caps for certain categories of skilled individuals.

With independence, each of these decisions would, in future, be for Scottish governments, with policy choices taken on the basis of Scotland’s needs and priorities.

For non-EU nationals, independence will enable us to develop and operate a controlled, transparent and efficient immigration system that best meets Scotland’s needs and supports our future growth. The current Scottish Government will take forward a points-based approach targeted at particular Scottish needs.

A particular issue for Scotland is the post-study work visa. There are more than 45,000 international students from every corner of the world studying in Scotland, bringing important investment, diversity and welcome expertise to Scotland. The current Scottish Government plans to reintroduce the post-study work visa.

We plan also to lower the current financial maintenance thresholds and minimum salary levels for entry to better align them with Scottish average wages and cost of living. This will open up greater opportunities for key skilled individuals from overseas who could play important roles in our society and economy, filling vital vacancies in individual businesses.

In London we have witnessed uk government funded vans with messages of immigrants go home. In Scotland we will welcome people who wish to come to our country to work and add to the fabric of our society. Only a Yes vote will see Scotland get an immigration policy fit for the challenges of 21st century Scotland.

Indy ref- 100 days – 100 words – PENSIONS

Pensions:

In the current UK system the age at which you will receive your state pension is set to rise to 67. Can you imagine having to work until you are 67 until you receive your state pension?

UK government reforms will see pension ages equalised – that is the male and female age will be the same – at 65 by December 2018. The state pension age will then increase to 66 by October 2020, and the UK government also plans a further increase to 67 between 2026 and 2028. That’s a whopping increase from 60 to 67 years of age for women of working age today!

Shockingly under successive Westminster governments life expectancy is shorter in Scotland than other parts of the UK, the Scottish Government proposes that with a Yes vote an Independent Commission would review the proposed increase to 67. The likelihood is that a lower retirement age would be retained by an independent government to reflect lower life expectancy. That possibility will be lost without a Yes vote next year.

Of course many people are asking what about my pension will I still get the same as I get now? On independence, people living in Scotland will be entitled to the Scottish State Pension based on years of national insurance credits built up in the UK. From that point onwards, entitlement built up in Scotland will accrue to the Scottish State Pension. It is estimated that the basic state pensions will be at least £118.60 in 2016/17. The Scottish Government has guaranteed that this will then be uprated each year by a “triple lock” in the years after independence.

The UK single-tier pension is estimated to be worth £158.90 by 2016/17. The Scottish Single Tier Pension will be at least £160 per week (or match the UK rate if that is higher). It will also be uprated each year by a “triple lock”.

And if you’re wondering what a triple lock is, it’s not some WWE(F) manoeuvre it means pensions will increase by the highest of either: average earnings increases, CPI or 2.5%.

I don’t want to live in a country that makes me work until I drop. Only a yes vote will see us change this.