Campaigning with Jayne Baxter | 2019 EU Elections

Scottish MEP Candidate Jayne Baxter joined us out in Portobello for a sunny afternoon of campaigning in the run-up to the EU parliamentary elections on May 23rd.

I asked Jayne what she would say to voters on the fence about how to vote in this election, and she said it’s important to bring a Labour voice to Brussels whether it be for the next five months or the next five years.

Labour values mean standing up for workers’ rights and against austerity, whatever the outcome of Brexit - which is more than you can say about one-policy-parties that have a stance on Europe and little else.

Edinburgh's Schools: For the Few, Not the Many

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The Scottish School League Tables are out - and Edinburgh’s state schools are falling behind the rest of Scotland, with only 33 per cent of Edinburgh pupils attaining five or more awards at SCQF level six, the current equivalent to a Higher.

As a city with 1 in 4 pupils in private school, the recent scandal where Derek MacKay, the Finance Minister for Scotland, provided advice to private schools on how to get around the business rates after the subsidies and charitable tax relief end is particularly biting. Pupils in Edinburgh’s state schools are being let down while private schools, home of the privileged, are encouraged to avoid paying their due.

As I said on this topic at Scottish Labour Party Conference, providing subsidies and tax relief for private schools in this climate is morally repugnant. The only thing that will tackle the fundamental inequality in our society is an education system that works for the many, not the few. In the meantime, it's the students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds who suffer

Scottish Labour Conference 2019

I was pleased to attend Scottish Labour Conference in Dundee again this year as Edinburgh Eastern Labour Party’s youth delegate. At this time of political instability and constant struggle over in Westminster, it was invigorating to hear Jeremy Corbyn’s speech and his clear plan for the future of the UK. Tory austerity has continued to harm people across the whole of our society: children arrive at school hungry, workers face poverty wages and insecure work, and cuts to our public services affect the most vulnerable. Conservatives try to distract the public from these issues by going on about Brexit, Brexit, Brexit. Labour, under Corbyn, wants to face these issues head-on, transforming our society, whilst also offering a credible alternative to the mess Theresa May has made of the Europe question.

I addressed conference on a subject close to my own heart by joining in the debate on education. The motion I discussed in the debate condemned state subsidies and tax relief for private schools. I approached the subject matter from the perspective of higher education: according to the latest Scottish Funding Council Report on Widening Access, the SNP are failing to reach their targets when it comes to increasing the number of students from the most deprived backgrounds in Scotland entering universities. These targets will not be met without robust investment to improve the state secondary and further education provisions that helps students reach their educational goals. Providing subsidies and tax relief for private schools instead is, I argued, morally repugnant. The only thing that will tackle the fundamental inequality in our society is an education system that works for the many, not the few.

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The full Edinburgh Eastern Delegates’ Report is available here.