UNISON has always given its members the choice of opting in to its affiliated political fund, that gives them a say in the democratic processes of the Labour Party, or of opting into the General Political Fund, independent of any political party. For those members that choose to opt into the affiliated political fund the following will be of interest. Branch Labour Link Officer, Francesca Brennan gives her thoughts in what will become a regular article.
“Last year, the members of the Inverclyde Labour Party put their trust in me by picking me to be their candidate at the next Scottish Parliament election in 2021. So it’ll be my name, Francesca Brennan, on the ballot paper when people vote for their next MSP.
Up until recently, I had been looking ahead like most people, planning how I would combine my political commitments with work and family life. I’m sure all of you readers were looking forward to something in the not too distant future: a holiday; a night out; a catch up with friends.
But now we are all living under the shadow of the Corona Virus and our lives have completely changed as we come together in an effort for survival. This is an incredibly difficult time for our country and, importantly, our area. Inverclyde is bearing a particularly heavy burden and every death in our towns is a tragic loss for the family and friends of victims. Whatever you think about how the virus has been handled by the government, the crisis with care homes and the problems with PPE, we will all need to find our way to recovery in time. That is small comfort, however, to those in our community bearing the brunt of the pandemic right now.
During this time, things have changed significantly with my political party. We have new leaders, at UK level and also here in Scotland. Jackie Baillie MSP is our new Scottish Deputy Leader and she will be working with existing Scottish leader Richard Leonard. Jackie has been a good friend and supporter of our Inverclyde Labour Party, speaking out on behalf of our local hospital and services. Jackie is a true professional and her strong presence is always welcome here when we currently do not have a constituency MSP fighting for investment in our area.
Our new Labour Party Leader, Keir Starmer, and the Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner, were Unison favourites and rightly so. Angela is a former care worker and Unison rep and really ‘gets’ the public sector. With Keir Starmer, we have already seen him taking the Tories to task at Westminster calmly and effectively, forcing a U-turn from Boris Johnson on the Immigrant Health Surcharge. I’m really excited about Keir’s and Angela’s potential to bring voters back to Labour.
We know that the leadership of the Labour Party is not at the forefront of our minds just now, when we all have such big concerns in our working and private lives. But it’s worth noting that, where Labour sees mistakes or things not happening as quickly as they should, there is a new leadership team ready to challenge governments and call them out here in Scotland and the rest of UK.”
Any members who would like to find out more about the Unison Labour Link please contact Francesca at the Branch Office on 01475 715900. She is also on Facebook and Twitter, search @FrancescaLabour.