Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Gray Challenged On Policy Platform As Experts Write Them Off

The SNP is offering ideas for Scotland’s future, despite the impending spending cuts coming from London as Labour’s policy cupboard looks increasingly bare.

Despite having key opportunities to promote Labour policies in the last two weeks Labour’s leader has put forward no new ideas and the party’s two policies on banning Buckfast and tackling knives have been written off by experts and professionals.

With less than a week to Labour’s party conference and a new leader for Scottish Labour SNP MSP Angela Constance said:

“The new Labour leader will be disappointed with what they find in Scotland.

“The SNP in Government and as a party is continuing to move the country forward with ideas that will harness our renewable and natural resources for the public’s benefit. We are taking an open approach to the coming public spending cuts and we are hearing the views of people across the country. In contrast Labour are still cut off from the public debate.

“Labour had the whole summer to develop ideas for Scotland, yet in the last two weeks the only policies to have come forward from Labour’s leadership - ideas on knives and alcohol - have been strongly criticised by the experts and the health and justice professionals who would have to deliver them, while their failure to accept responsibility for the coming cuts has left Iain Gray open to ridicule.

“Labour’s policy cupboard is broken and bare. There was no alternative programme for government, no plan for dealing with public spending cuts – two thirds of which were put in place by Labour, and there is no vision of a future for Scotland.

"In contrast the SNP is prioritising our economy against the face of the UK’s worst recession since the 1930s, investing in apprentices, backing our businesses with the small business bonus, has built over 250 schools, cleaned up hospitals, helped families with the council tax freeze and passed the world’s leading climate change legislation.

“There seems to be nothing but negativity around Labour who even now are set to vote against essential plans to improve our public health by tackling the problems of alcohol consumption. That may be good enough for opposition but in an election year it is time Labour offered something more.

“The SNP will continue to put forward positive ideas for Scotland and for dealing with the cuts coming from London. As Labour heads to its conference next week and a new leader looks down from London onto Scottish Labour it is clear Iain Gray is rapidly running out of time to offer anything for Scotland.”

Examples of how Labour's policies have crumbled under pressure in the past two weeks:

a. The Scottish Sun - 16th September 2010

Labour booze price plan misses the pint

"Labour's big idea to tackle Scotland's booze culture lay in tatters last night after the expert who drew it up admitted there was no evidence it would work.”


b. The Herald - 16th September 2010

"Chief Superintendent Bob Hamilton, of Strathclyde Police, told MSPs yesterday that people who drink the high-caffeine tonic wine would just switch to something else...

"...He did not know if a ban would result in a “significant increase or decrease in violent crime”.

" ... “We don’t attend many violent disturbances outside coffee shops,” he added. “It’s the alcohol consumption, whatever brand of make, that gives us the greatest concern.”

"Dr Alasdair Forsyth, of the Centre for the Study of Violence at Glasgow Caledonian University, said ... that were was no research to suggest that mixing caffeine and alcohol was related to making people more aggressive or less aggressive.

"He said a Buckfast ban, as proposed by Labour, would not stop consumption of similar products because “if you got rid of pre-mixed alcohol caffeine products people can mix their own or bars can mix it for you”. ... "


c. Press & Journal, 11th September 2010

“Study raises knife sentence fear

“Research casts doubts on plan for automatic custodial punishments

"New research has cast doubts on Labour’s claim that jail sentences should be mandatory for anyone caught carrying a knife."


d. Herald, 11th September 2010

“Doubts cast on knife amnesties and get-tough campaigns…

"Knife amnesties have a “limited impact”, according to the new study of Scotland’s youth street gangs...

"The academics said gang members simply switched weapons when there was a crackdown on blades, and that they were not put off by tactics such as stop-and-search...

"Other officers, including Strathclyde’s Chief Constable Steve House, have openly questioned some get-tough policies from Holyrood’s Labour opposition, including mandatory sentences for knife-carriers."

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