Wednesday, 13 February 2019

A People's Vote, Scotland and Brexit



The old guard in the SNP launched a brazen attack on Nicola Sturgeon the other day as a 'senior party source' announced to The Herald newspaper that support for a People's Vote on Brexit is dead in the water.

Now I'm not very keen on 'anonymous sources' who speak from the shadows instead of identifying themselves, standing up publicly and saying what they have to say.

The same tactic was used during Glasgow's historic strike for equal pay back in October 2018, regular readers will recall.  

In any event, after the mess that's followed the great EU referendum in 2016 I'm more in favour of a second or 'affirmative' vote than ever - because you would need to be mad to trust politicians to deliver on the promises they make during a referendum campaign.

So it makes perfect sense to me that a vote to do something in principle should be followed by a second or affirmative vote to allow the electorate to pass their judgment on the 'Deal' the politicians have negotiated.

Because if you give politicians to manipulate things for their own ends or their party's ends, they will do so - and if you ask me, that's exactly what we're seeing now when it comes to  both Theresa May's and Jeremy Corbyn's approach to Brexit.

I would also say the 'backstop' of a second or affirmative vote would make people more likely to support a second referendum on Scottish independence.      

  

https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17425175.brexit-senior-snp-source-says-peoples-vote-is-dead/


Brexit: Senior SNP source says People's Vote is 'dead'

By Michael Settle - The Herald

The People’s Vote campaign, championed by Nicola Sturgeon, is “dead," a senior SNP source has suggested.

Last autumn, the First Minister announced her party was swinging behind the campaign for a second referendum as the best means of securing Scotland's and the UK’s continued membership of the EU; the SNP’s primary goal in the Brexit process.


But one MP made clear it was a misguided policy; last month a cross-party group of MPs who were on the point of tabling an amendment calling for a People’s Vote pulled their amendment because of the lack of support from Jeremy Corbyn.

“It’s dead and everyone knows it. Many people in the party are taking this view now,” declared the senior source.


READ MORE: Philip Hammond - Brexit uncertainty has hit UK growth

Last year, some in the party expressed reservations about a second EU poll because of the implications this could have for any future referendum on Scottish independence; that is, it would be argued that a confirmative vote would be needed in the event of a Yes vote in favour of Scotland breaking away from the UK.

The MP expressed astonishment at the party leadership’s change of heart when Ms Sturgeon appeared on television to confirm it back in October.

The senior source suggested that for the number of people who were backing Scottish independence because of Brexit, there was an equal number who were opposing it because of Brexit.

But a parliamentary colleague denied that the campaign for a second EU poll was now a lost cause. “I genuinely don’t believe it is dead,” he declared. “It needs another boost. We are in dead[parliamentary] time at the moment as Theresa May runs down the clock.”

The MP added: “The campaign is still there. We need to know how things will pan out and a People’s Vote is one way out. The important thing is to keep us in the EU.”


READ MORE: David Watt - 'If the boss of Jaguar Land Rover says job losses are likely, then believe him, not a spokesperson for the European Research Group'

Ian Blackford, the party leader at Westminster, when asked if the People’s Vote was now not going to happen, replied: “I would have to concede at the moment, there isn’t sufficient momentum for that to take place. The blame for that has to lie at the door of Jeremy Corbyn refusing to join that campaign. If he got on board, we would have that sense of momentum and we could win the case for a People’s Vote and a number of Conservatives would join us in that cause as well.”

But asked if he too conceded that the campaign for a second EU vote was now dead, the Highland MP replied: “No…We need a sense of momentum and we can only have that sense of momentum if Labour decide to join the rest of us in arguing for it.”


READ MORE: Scots airports fear 10% drop in flights over no-deal Brexit

Over the weekend, Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, made clear that his party would back a People’s Vote if Theresa May failed to get a cross-party Brexit deal.

His intervention came just days after Mr Corbyn appeared to kill off the prospect of a second EU poll in his letter to the Prime Minister over a soft Brexit deal.

But Mr Watson made clear that if she did not agree to such a course and, instead, chose “to go with the hard right people who want to crash out, then we’ve still got the People’s Vote option”.



Glasgow, Strikes and Anonymous Sources (07/11/18)



I never did hear back from the Council leader's press spokesperson, Gerry Braiden, regarding the 'anonymous source' who was let loose to attack the Home Care workforce ahead of Glasgow's historic Equal Pay strike on 23 and 24 October 2018.

So I can only assume I was correct and that this coward had to be someone from either the chief executive's of the council leader's office.

 

Glasgow - Strike News and Anonymous Sources (22/10/18)


I contacted the Council Leader's press spokesperson (Gerry Braiden) over the vile 'anonymous source' story which appeared in the Evening Times the other day.

Before joining Susan Aitken's office Gerry was a well-known journalist at The Herald and he's written lots of stories about Glasgow City Council in the past.

So I'll be interested to hear what Gerry has to say because there's no doubt in my mind that this 'anonymous source' has to come from either the Chief Executive's office or the Council Leader's office.

Either way, Glasgow's Home Care workforce is due an apology if you ask me.

   

Glasgow - Strike News and Anonymous Sources (21/10/18)


An 'anonymous source' inside Glasgow City Council is trying to undermine next week's strike by arguing that the unions have not agreed to help with 'life and limb' cover while industrial action is underway.

Well here's a notice (below) from the Unison Glasgow City branch which completely contradicts that claim and in the Evening Times the GMB organiser Hazel Nolan states:

“We have agreed to everything the council asked for. The council has misjudged the strength of feeling among the women. Every union member has the right to strike and there are enough non union staff to provide cover. Many of them will also have equal pay claims.


“We have offered to meet to avert the strike every day this week.” 

If you ask me, the Council should be ashamed of itself for using such despicable, underhand tactics and I have to say it's incredible that the Council is speaking through 'anonymous sources' instead of sitting down and talking with the unions directly.

Just who are these 'anonymous sources' - let's bring them out into the open so that they an be held accountable for what they do and say.

     

Glasgow - Strike News (18/10/10)



Here's an email from the Unison Glasgow City Branch explaining 'life and limb' cover arrangements for Home Care clients during next week's strike on 23rd and 24th October.  

To UNISON members,

Home Care Life and Limb Cover - Strike Days

As you are aware UNISON and the GMB have agreed that a home care staffing resource can be deployed on the two strike days to provide essential life and limb cover. We have agreed that 300 workers, 10% of the total home care workforce, can be deployed to provide support to the most vulnerable service users. Last week the Council’s Chief Social Work Officer agreed that workers not in either trade union would be approached to provide this staffing.

This strike is for UNISON and GMB members, and both trade unions ask that our members do not discourage non-union members from volunteering to be part of the 300 staffing resource. This will allow UNISON and GMB members to strike in the knowledge that life and limb cover is in place.


Brian Smith
Branch Secretary


     

Life and limb cover for home care withdrawn during equal pay strike

By Stewart Paterson @PatersonHT - Evening Times
Senior man sitting on the wheelchair alone; Shutterstock ID 1012812838.

OLDER people who need the most intensive home care support are being told there will be no cover during the equal pay strike next week.

Thousands of Unison and GMB staff will strike on Tuesday and Wednesday affecting home care services and schools.

The council previously told the most vulnerable clients they would have a reduced service on the strike days but are now informing them there will be no service at all.

The council said that unions have failed to deliver enough staff to provide ‘life and limb” cover despite indicating they would.

It is understood the council asked for 360 staff to cover those most in need and the unions offered 300.

However, on Friday the council said they only had 91 staff willing to work and that included non- union staff who would be working anyway.

As a result they have withdrawn all services and warned people they will need to make their own care arrangements on those days.

It means people left with no help to wash or dress and no -one to help feed those who need help.

It is feared it could leave some people needing hospitalised should they fall and even put others lives at risk.

Chief Executive Annemarie O’Donnell said when the strike was announced that it would present a risk to life.

The Cordia alarm system is expected to be almost non-existent on the strike days with managers attempting to cover shifts.

It means that while some alarm calls mey be answered there will be no staff to respond and visit the person at home and calls to the ambulance service will be the likely alternative.

Previously union leaders said they expected the council to request life and limb cover and they would then respond.

A council source said: “The unions have completely lost control of the situation. They’ve won – they won ten months ago but they’re now locked into a hugely dangerous strike that they now just can’t stop.

“We’ve agreed everything they are asking for, but they can’t call off the strike – or even deliver the life and limb cover they promised.”

One of the unions however, said there are enough non union members who could cover on strike days.

Hazel Nolan GMB Scotland Organiser said: “We have agreed to everything he council asked for. The council has misjudged the strength of feeling among the women. Every union member has the right to strike and there are enough non union staff to provide cover. many of them will also have equal pay claims.

“We have offered to met to avert the strike every day this week.”

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “We believed we had an agreement on providing life and limb cover for our most vulnerable citizens – indeed, the unions told the public that cover would be in place.

“It won’t. There has been absolutely no meaningful effort from the unions to work with us and their membership to ensure that life and limb cover will be in place.

“As a result, we are writing urgently to many of the most vulnerable people in the city to tell them that we now have no way to provide them care they desperately need during the strike.

“Rather than the reduced service we expected to be able to deliver with support from the trade unions; for many more people, there will now be no service at all. We are deeply concerned about the impact, but we have absolutely no alternative.”


Family of Glasgow pensioner fears as care services withdrawn during strike


By Evening Times Online

Glasgow City Council has sent letters to those affected.

The family of a vulnerable 90-year-old woman fears lives will be put at risk due to care services being withdrawn during a planned strike.
Glasgow City Council has sent letters to those affected informing them their care will be withdrawn for two days next week as around 8,000 workers walk out in an equal pay row.

The letter states: "The strike action is definitely taking place and unfortunately we have been unable to secure sufficient homecare staff to provide the cover we expected to."

It asks recipients to make alternative arrangements with family, carers or friends if possible, apologises for the disruption and warns there will be no response to calls or emails regarding homecare arrangements during the strike on Tuesday and Wednesday.


Read more: Life and limb cover for home care withdrawn during equal pay strike

The family of one woman who received the letter said they fear lives will be put at risk as people may not be able to access medication.

Amy Coid, 90, is recently out of hospital and normally receives four care visits a day as she is blind in one eye and suffers from slight confusion, so is given meals and help to dress and get to bed.

She is not allowed to deal with her own medication which is kept in her house in a padlocked box to which only her carers have the combination.

Her family is now trying to get the code for this so they can give her the 14 tablets a day she needs but are worried for others who will be left without care.

A relative said: "It looks like lives of many old people will be put at risk as they will not receive their medication.

"We are fortunate and will be able to make two 30 mile round trips each day to give her meds in morning and night.

"But how will confused elderly people with no relatives, neighbours or friends cope? Some will be on meds without which they might become seriously ill or worse.

Read more: Life and limb cover for home care withdrawn during equal pay strike

"Some might not even understand the letter or not be able to do anything about it."

He added: "I wonder how many lives may be at risk as a result and the council seems to be washing their hands of the potential deadly consequences for these vulnerable people who live alone."

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said the way the union leaders had approached the strike was "hugely disappointing".

He said: "We believed we had an agreement on providing life and limb cover for our most vulnerable citizens - indeed, the unions told the public that cover would be in place. It won't.

"There has been absolutely no meaningful effort from the unions to work with us and their membership to ensure that life and limb cover will be in place.

"As a result, we are writing urgently to many of the most vulnerable people in the city to tell them that we now have no way to provide them care they desperately need during the strike.

"Rather than the reduced service we expected to be able to deliver with support from the trade unions, for many more people, there will now be no service at all. We are deeply concerned about the impact but we have absolutely no alternative."

Around 6,000 people have homecare services affected.

The unions have agreed to all council requests to support the life and limb plan, the GMB union said, adding the offer from union members to work through the strike to support vulnerable homecare users still stands.

Read more: Life and limb cover for home care withdrawn during equal pay strike

Rhea Wolfson, GMB Scotland organiser, said its members would never do anything to cause harm to homecare clients.

"Glasgow City Council management is in meltdown," she said.

"It has misrepresented the offer our members have made to keep services running for our most vulnerable clients."

She added: "The council's officers have been incapable of putting in place the most basic cover despite having three weeks to prepare and the offers we have made every single day to resolve the dispute."