Video: Colin and Chris talk community empowerment and rural priorities

In our latest campaign video, Stirling constituency Holyrood candidate Chris Kane and Forth & Endrick council candidate Colin O’Brien get together for a conversation about their commitment to community empowerment and their thoughts on issues relevant to rural Stirlingshire, including the need for investment in roads and affordable housing to refresh village life.

Chris Kane shares family story that demonstrates why we need a strong Labour movement

Stirling Constituency MSP Candidate Chris Kane has shared a story from his family history that demonstrates exactly why we need a strong Labour movement in society.  In a campaign video filmed near his home, Chris said,

‘In 1914, my great grandfather William was at the coalface of the Millhall Pit.  A large boulder fell from the roof, crushing him.  He was taken to the hospital but he died a week later.  He left behind a wife and five children, the oldest of whom was my grandfather.  He had to leave school aged 12 to get a job to support his family.  Everything that troubles me about that story has been addressed by the Labour movement, from the NHS and the welfare state, to the workplace injuries act and many, many other improvements that mean today when you walk into your work, you don’t have to face the fear you may not walk out again.’

‘The Labour movement has always addressed the challenges we face with the tools available to us at the time we are called to act.  As we emerge from this pandemic, we need a National Recovery Plan and only Labour has the track record of delivering on the scale we need. When I walk into parliament, I’ll get to work addressing today’s challenges, not reworking the tired old divisive arguments that have defined our politics for far too long’

You can watch the video below:

 

Labour’s National Recovery Plan:

Jobs Recovery – guaranteeing a job for every young Scot by investing in a National Training Fund and a Business Restart Fund.

NHS Recovery – funding our NHS to get cancer treatment back on track, improve mental health, and give carers the pay they deserve.

Education Recovery – developing a catch-up plan which invests in schools, and ensures IT support in every Primary and Secondary.

Climate Recovery – investing in green jobs and seizing Scotland’s hosting of COP26 to champion an ambitious Climate justice plan.

Community Recovery – create a community recovery fund to invest in local areas, and make our communities safer and stronger.

Former Provost Colin O’Brien to contest West Stirlingshire by-election

Scottish Labour members in Forth and Endrick have selected former Provost Colin O’Brien to contest the ward by-election on 6th May.  Colin was formerly a Stirling Councillor from 1999-2012 in Forth & Endrick and Provost from 2003-2007.

Colin has lived in Drymen for 36 years and has always played an active role in his local community and across the wider district.  He is a former Depute Convener of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park; former Vice Chair of Mugdock Country Park; former Chairman of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum; and former board member of Rural Stirling Housing Association.  Colin is a retired High School Headteacher and continues to serve on Stirling Council’s ‘Children and Young People’ Committee, where he is the Church of Scotland representative.   This year Colin retired from his role as one of the Queen’s Deputy Lord Lieutenants for Stirlingshire.

Colin says,

“I regret the circumstances which have caused this by-election.   Despite political differences, Graham Lambie and I worked harmoniously over a number of years.   Now in these uncertain times our community must choose a new elected representative.  I am glad to be able to offer my experience and knowledge to fight again for our important local issues, like increased rural roads spend; imaginative improvements to public transport; a modest supply of affordable homes; another look at the brown bin charge; more support for communities and green issues.  I believe the outcome of this election is wide open and in the end it is the voters who will decide the result.”

Stirling Constituency Labour Chair Mike Robbins says,

‘We’re absolutely delighted that Colin has decided to once again step up to ensure that Forth and Endrick will have a local champion on Stirling Council amplifying the voice for the unique challenges and opportunities across the ward.  Colin is the real deal for Forth and Endrick;  he has an immense track record of success no candidate can come close to matching and he brings a breadth of knowledge on everything from rural housing to education and much more in-between.’

Voters go to the polls in the by-election, and also the Scottish Parliamentary elections, on Thursday 6th May.  Scottish Labour’s candidate in the Holyrood election is Stirling Councillor Chris Kane.

Stirling Labour select local councillor Chris Kane to contest the 2021 Scottish Parliament Election in Stirling

Scottish Labour’s candidate in the 2021 Scottish Parliament Election in Stirling is Chris Kane.  Chris (44) is a ‘Son of the Rock’, having been born in Stirling where is still lives with his wife and two children.

Chris is well known within the constituency where he was a former Stirling Observer columnist and Central FM Breakfast show presenter.  Since 2017, he has been the Scottish Labour Councillor in the Stirling East Ward.

Chris’ route into politics was a community one – he was a community councillor before setting up a Community Development Trust to deliver assets within Braehead and Broomridge, including the hugely successful ‘Braehead Community Garden’.

Chris says,

I was born and raised in the constituency and this is where I’ve chosen to raise my family.   I’m working hard to build stronger communities, tackle inequality and reduce poverty and I’m looking forward to engaging with voters across Stirling between now and the Scottish Parliament election in May.’ 

 ‘As a councillor, I am fed up with the SNP Government running roughshod over our local communities and ripping the heart out of Local Government funding and I want to go to Holyrood to say enough is enough.  I want to do all I can to strengthen and empower Stirling’s many diverse communities and if elected I’ll be a strong local voice at Holyrood and a true champion for everyone across the constituency.  If you want to tackle inequality, reduce poverty and empower local communities, let’s do it together and it starts with a vote for Chris Kane and Scottish Labour in May.’ 

Stirling Constituency Labour Party Chair Mike Robbins says,

Chris has been active in Stirling’s politics for many years, securing resources for his local community as far back as 2013 and, since 2017 as an elected member of Stirling Council, he has protected services we all depend upon.

During this pandemic Chris has continued to work for the benefit of all his constituents. Because of his demonstrated ability, our local party unanimously chose him as our candidate in the May election. I firmly believe the electors of Stirling can put their faith in Chris to deliver on their behalf and together with our entire membership, I look forward to campaigning alongside him to secure a Labour victory in May.’

Suspension of the “Stirling 13”

Stirling Labour strongly condemns the actions of the University of Stirling recently in suspending 13 students for protesting in support of industrial action being carried out by the University and College Union (UCU). We are stunned by the strength of their over-reaction to events that are similar in nature to events on University Campuses throughout Scotland and the UK.

The “Stirling 13” have been suspended for eight weeks each, including several Labour members. This suspension puts at risk their academic studies as they are not allowed to submit coursework during this period, in some cases risking their degrees. They are barred from Campus in addition. While we welcome the latest news that affected students living in University accommodation are not now to be evicted from their living space, we are disappointed that this was even a possibility in the first place. We now urge the University management to reconsider the remainder of these excessive sanctions.

We see this as a huge over-reaction by University management in the face of a peaceful student protest, in which by all accounts, no damage was done. Nor does it does sit well with the traditional reputation of Scottish Universities as centres of free speech and peaceful protest. It is especially disappointing in light of close links between our party and the University, with many Alumni contributing significantly to local and national political life; including Lord McConnell, Mike Connerty, Richard Leonard MSP, Cllr Danny Gibson, and Provost Christine Simpson to name a few.

If Stirling University wishes to salvage its reputation on this, it should start by reconsidering these decisions.

Mark Eyre
Secretary

Labour Living Wage boost for Council Workers

Stirling’s Labour Councillors have ensured that the council’s lowest paid workers will receive a little bit extra in their Christmas pay packet thanks to a motion from Bannockburn Councillor Margaret Brisley.

In November, the Living Wage Foundation proposed that the National Living Wage should rise from £9 to £9.30 from 1stApril 2020.  Cllr Brisley proposed that the lowest hourly rate payable at the council should rise from £9.07 per hour to £9.37 per hour, but that it should be backdated to 16thNovember so that employees will see the difference in their Christmas paycheck.

Cllr Brisley’s also committed the council to bringing forward plans in the New Year that could see the council increase its minimum rate of pay to £10 per hour from 1stApril.  Cllr Brisley’s motion called for a proposal to be part of the council budget process to introduce a ‘pay supplement’ to be offered to employees to ensure the lowest wage offered to employees was the equivalent of £10 per hour until the Living Wage Foundation recommends a rate equal to or above £10 per hour and such a rate is adopted by Stirling Council.  

This takes Stirling Council a big step closer to fulfilling a Stirling Labour manifesto commitment ahead of the 2017 Stirling Council election to introduce a £10 Living Wage.  

Cllr Brisley says,

“It was a Labour led Administration that ensured Stirling Council became a Living Wage accredited employer in 2015 and it is the Labour Group on Stirling Council that is leading the way again with another pay rise for our lowest paid workers that is above the Living Wage Foundation recommendation.   The Labour Group are determined to get this pay award over the £10 an hour line, but it is tough trying to overcome Tory austerity and SNP Government cuts to council budgets.  My motion to council today ensures we have a real shot at delivering £10 an hour in April. It would be a done deal if Labour are elected at the General Election and I hope people vote Labour to ensure a government that will deliver real change for the many, not the few.”

Every year the Living Wage Foundation sets an hourly rate for accredited employers to pay and gives them six months to make the change. Under the previous Labour-led Administration, Stirling Council became a Living Wage Accredited Employer in 2015.  Every year since Labour Councillors have voted for the change and for it to be applied almost immediately, ensuring those who need it most get a little extra at Christmas.  

Beware Tory campaign deceit

A statement from CLP Chairperson Mike Robbins:

This week, Tory Brexit cheerleader for Stirling, Stephen Kerr, published a leaflet in ‘Labour red’ colours with headlines and messages that appear to be trying to fool Stirling’s Labour supporters into backing him. 

From Boris Johnson misleading the Queen, to Jacob Rees Mogg’s recent comments about Grenfell, we see Tories treat people with contempt so often that it has begun to seem normal. 

‘The only way to stop Boris Johnson is to vote Labour’

The only way to stop Boris Johnston and five more years of a toxic Tory Government is to vote Labour on 12thDecember.  Nicola Sturgeon has said she won’t work with Labour, so every vote for the SNP in Stirling puts Boris Johnson one step closer to Downing Street. 

The man on the leaflet is Alistair Weir.  Volunteers of all parties who pour their heart and soul into campaigning will recognise the hurt and betrayal felt by Labour activists in Stirling when he publically pledged support for the Tories while in a leadership role within the local Labour party during the 2017 General Election.    

‘After two years and two endorsements, we can safely say Alistair Weir is a Tory’

Everybody is entitled to a change of heart, but sadly Mr Weir didn’t have the decency to resign first and so was expelled.  After two years and two endorsements, we can safely say Alistair Weir is a Tory. 

Rather than setting a standard for others to follow, Stirling Tories are now setting the bar as low as they think they can get away with.  It is not acceptable for entitled Tories to try and cajole, trick or scare people into voting for them.   The local SNP are equally bad; this week their candidate pulled a similar leaflet stunt to try and trick Green party supporters.  

‘If you want real change for ordinary people, then vote Labour on 12th December’

Stirling deserves better.  Labour are offering the most radical and ambitious manifesto in generations. We are offering policies that work for the many, not the few.  If you want real change for ordinary people, then vote Labour on 12thDecember. 

Mike Robbins – CLP Chair

Scottish Labour select student Mary Kate Ross to contest Stirling at the General Election on 12th December

Scottish Labour’s candidate in the 2019 General Election is Mary Kate Ross.  Mary Kate is a nineteen year old History and Politics student studying at the University of Stirling and if elected will be the youngest MP in the country.

Motherwell born Mary comes from a strong line of Labour activists, including her father, a former North Lanarkshire Labour councillor.  At university Mary is the Vice-Chair of the Labour students’ society and the Chair of the Stirling University Tenants Housing Association.

Mary says,

“I was fourteen when the SNP tried to rip apart the United Kingdom and sixteen when the Tories tried to rip us out of Europe.  I didn’t have a voice or a vote on the two biggest issues that will affect my future and that simply isn’t acceptable.  Since I was seven years old, the SNP have been in charge of Education in Scotland and by every measure they are failing my generation.  On climate change, my generation has had to resort to taking days off school to make our voices heard.  Enough is enough.   The youth of Scotland will no longer be silenced by entitled Tories and blinkered nationalists.  If elected to be Stirling’s MP, I will stand up for all of Stirling’s communities and I will ensure that everybody, regardless of their age, has a bright and fair future.’

On the attraction of standing as a candidate in Stirling, Mary Kate says,

“Stirling is now my home and I want to represent Stirling as your MP in Westminster.  I moved to Stirling two years ago because I was attracted to the city, the university and the possibilities of a fantastic life here at the heart of Scotland.  I cannot think of anything better than committing my career to ensuring Stirling has another strong and vibrant Labour champion, as it did for so long under Anne McGuire.   I live in the city and I am a keen champion of tenants’ rights because I believe everybody, no matter their age or circumstances, deserves a warm, secure home.   This election is about the future I will fight to ensure everybody has a good job paying a fair wage and a safe place to come home to at night.”   

Stirling Constituency Labour Party Chair Mike Robbins says,

“Stirling has been a university town for fifty years and I’m delighted that we’ve found Stirling’s next MP from its leafy campus.  Our local party was impressed by Mary-Kate’s passion for the town and clarity of thought on the issues that affect everybody, but in particular youth issues.  Contrast that with Stephen Kerr who has done nothing but inflict Brexit misery on Stirling and an SNP MEP candidate who thinks of Stirling as a back-up plan for when his European gravy train comes off the tracks. Stirling has a clear choice between continued constitutional chaos or a bright future under Labour.  Every vote for Mary Kate Ross is a vote for a brighter, fairer future.”

You can keep up with Mary’s campaign on social media via www.facebook.com/stirlinglabour, or on twitter @labourstirling.  You can contact the campaign to tell Mary about the issues that are important to you by emailing mkrforstirlinglabour@gmail.com

Stirling Labour comment on the EU crisis

‘Stirling Labour strongly condemns the reckless, anti-democratic actions of Tory Prime Minister Boris Johnson in suspending Parliament for a crucial five-week period in the run up to Brexit Day.  It is now clear that he intends to take Britain out of the EU without a deal, and is happy to risk democracy in the process.  He is turning Britain into both a tin-pot dictatorship, and the laughing stock of the Western world.’

‘It is outrageous for Stirling Tory MP Stephen Kerr to cynically talk about the prorogation of Parliament as if it’s a normal event.  It hasn’t been normal since the days of King Charles I, which led to a Civil War.  How on earth can Kerr even try to pretend that shutting down Parliament in the middle of the biggest crisis since World War two is okay? Even some Tory MP’s, including the Speaker of the House of Commons, have referred to Johnson’s action as “a constitutional outrage”. Kerr’s party are threatening the future of the UK, democracy, and our economy by doing this.’

We call on Kerr to reconsider his decision to sit on the fence while populist dictatorial decisions are taken by his Government, and to condemn the actions of Johnson.  Kerr should also stop pretending there is any chance of a decent deal being negotiated with the EU as a result of his Government’s increasingly Trump-like behaviour.

‘This contrasts with Labour’s attempts to unite the country, and broker a deal to ensure that we avoid the effects of a No Deal Brexit, as well as giving the Country an opportunity to think again now that we understand the full implications of our crisis situation.’

‘Democracy is like the Amazon rainforest – it can only be torched once, and it’s gone.  On behalf of the Many, we will do everything we can to ensure these tactics don’t work, and that both Stephen Kerr, and his appalling Government are held to account.’

Published by Mark Eyre – Secretary, Stirling Constituency Labour Party

Stirling CLP: Delivering on our Manifesto for Stirling

In 2017, Stirling Labour published a Stirling manifesto which contained a series of commitments that would be pursued by Labour Councillors if elected.     Over the last year the Labour Group of Stirling Councillors have shown what a seat around the table and a great deal of hard work can do to deliver Labour commitments that work for the many, not the few.   Here is the first of a new regular series of articles on how your Labour Councillors are delivering on promises for Stirling.

Our manifesto committed us to “ensure tenants are always put first and that landlords live up to their obligations”.

That’s why Cllr Danny Gibson has led on moves to investigate the need for a rent pressure zone in Stirling, saying “landlords who don’t want to live up to their responsibilities with repairs, or squeeze as much out of people’s pockets as they can, should take note that we’re watching them and we will ensure that tenants are treated fairly now and in the future”.

In “jobs and economy”, we promised to “lead the way by ensuring Stirling Council sets the standard we want all organisations to aspire to”.

That’s why this month your Labour Councillors have set a “gold standard” in paternity pay for council employers and adopted Unison’s “Apprenticeship Charter” to ensure our young people have key rights and their managers key responsibility in ensuring we are developing a workforce with the skills we need now and in the future.  We’ve also ensured that the Living Wage at Stirling Council is set higher than the Living Wage Foundation recommends.

We promised to “poverty proof the school day, ensuring every child has the support they need to learn.”

We have a lot still to do here, but this month Cllr Margaret Brisley ensured that nearly 1500 children will benefit from a significant rise in a key Stirling Council poverty fund.  The clothing and footwear grant will rise from £50 to £130 per child, which research suggests is the cost faced by parents ahead of a new school.

Labour Cllr Chris Kane has set up and chaired a Short Life Working Group looking at ways the council can tackle the appalling tragedy that is the Tories’ “Universal Credit”.  His report will be presented at a full meeting of Stirling Council next week, but has already delivered on a key recommendation to help tackle digital poverty with a £200,000 investment in digital support across the council’s libraries.  The Labour Group continue to ensure that the council work in partnership with organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau to help our citizens deal with universal credit, which Chris says  is “fundamentally flawed and devastating to the most vulnerable people in our communities”.

We promised to “invest in new equipment for play parks”.

Earlier on this month, the Partnership Administration announced a £250,000 boost for play parks which will see new equipment installed across 22 parks in the seven wards that make up the council area.

We said we would commit to making Stirling a dementia friendly city and district.

Again, we have much still to do, but Cllr Christine Simpson is a member of the Council’s Adult Social Care Panel, where she works to promote and further our manifesto commitments on health and social care.  Recently Christine was at Stirling’s King’s Park to hear how the public space has become “dementia friendly.”

We said we would “put pressure on the Scottish Government to overhaul the planning system to put more power in the hands of our local communities, not the hands of developers or distant government bureaucrats”

That’s why we highlighted that it took 382 days for SNP Ministers to agree with their own appeals panel NOT to allow building on Airthrey Kerse, and why we highlighted that Scottish Government Ministers have decided to make the final decision on whether to overturn Stirling Council’s decision to not build more houses on the Bannockburn Battlefield.

Your Labour Councillors will always stand up for STIRLING and its many communities.

Your Labour Councillors will never shy away from putting pressure on the SNP Government, as they demonstrated with their condemnation of the SNP spin on this year’s budget offer to Scottish Local Authorities.  They’ll also continue to put pressure on the Tory Government on issues including Universal Credit and their uncaring attitude to communities affected by RBS closures.

We’ll also call out government measures, both at Holyrood and Westminster, if they make delivering our local manifesto more difficult – as we did when the SNP Government’s published a draft transport bill that undermined our ambition to deliver a community owned public transport company.

Your Labour Councillors have a great deal of work still to do in the coming years, but we stand by our manifesto and will strive to implement as much of it as possible during the current Administration at Stirling Council.  We’ll continue to deliver regular updates on our progress on this website.

Want to join us?  Click here to join Labour and help create a world that works for the many, not the few.