Q & A with Jim Murphy MP
Coming up right here at 4.30pm today (Monday 17th Nov):
a LIVE question and answer session with Jim Murphy MP!
Still time to submit your questions – use the comment box below (we’ll store the question not publish it as a comment), email email@example.com, or tweet us at @LabourHame with hashtag #LHaskJim.
Okay, we have plenty of interesting questions for Jim now. Thanks everyone for your contributions. See you here at 4.30!
Ten minutes to go!
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Hello everyone and welcome to our first live leadership Q and A, and we’re delighted to welcome Jim Murphy MP who will be answering the questions you have submitted.
Hello. Looking forward to answering your questions. Jim.
First question is from Allana:
What would be your priorities if you were elected leader?
Thanks for the question Allana.
I have set out three priorities if elected. First, I want to unite Scotland around a vision of more powers for Scotland.
Second, I want to increase prosperity. We need to generate the wealth so that we can then spend it making our public services better.
And third, I want to reduce poverty, including for those in work. It’s a scandal that some working families in Scotland need to rely on food banks and payday lenders to make ends meet. That just isn’t right.
Thanks for that!
Next up is Gabriel, who asks:
Do you think we can win in 2015 and 2016?
Thanks, Gabriel. Good question.
Absolutely. I wouldn’t be standing for leader if I didn’t think we could win the UK election in 2015, Scottish election 2016 and the council elections in 2017.
This isn’t some kamikaze mission on my part. We need to have confidence in our Scottish Labour case, and campaign with energy and passion.
Couldn’t resist this one, from Jonathan:
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
That’s a tricky one, Jonathan.
Sorry about that… A more serious one from Ian, who echoes several similar concerns:
A lot has been made about who makes the decisions in the Scottish Labour Party. Who would be responsible for hiring and firing if you are elected?
In the referendum it was definitely the egg, or more than one.
I have been very clear on this. If I am elected leader then decisions about policy and the running of the Scottish Labour Party will be taken in Scotland, nowhere else. Last week I wrote to Iain McNicol, the UK Party General Secretary, to inform him that, for example, the levy paid by Scottish Labour councillors will stay in Scotland, not go to the UK Party.
Here’s a link to a bit more detail about how I would reform the Scottish Labour Party – http://jimmurphy.scot/decisions-about-scottish-labour-will-be-made-in-scotland-nowhere-else-murphy/
Thanks Jim. Here’s a rather specific question from Steve:
Hi Jim, I’m a grassroots member and I would like to get more involved in developing policy and campaigning and researching. Whenever I try to do this i find selection difficult because trade union block voting prevents me from taking part.
For example in establishing the recent Policy Forum it appeared that all the different unions had per-determined whom would be on each committee and had an air of being a stitch up. There are hundreds of people like me whom are specialists in their respective fields whom can help research and bring forward ideas and challenge the status quo.
My question therefore is: this resource is un-tapped by Scottish Labour at the moment. What would you do to encourage more grassroots members to get involved with the party, and how would you look to utilise a resource like this?
Thanks for your question and your interest in making the Scottish Labour Party stronger.
Trade unions will always be important to policy formulation. I was at the Women’s Conference and Students Conference at the weekend. The activists there were full of energy and ideas. We need to get much better at involving those with a policy specialism in the party.
Thanks Jim. We’ve had some very thoughtful questions submitted. Thanks to everyone, even if we aren’t able to use them all.
This next is from Richard. He asks:
Two of the main challenges facing Scottish Labour are to win back former voters who went for the SNP in 2011, and to win back Labour voters who voted Yes in the referendum. Whilst I believe you have numerous qualities that would make you an effective leader, my concern is that perhaps you polarise the electorate too much to win these people back. How would you address this issue?
We need to make it clear to these two groups of voters what Scottish Labour stands for. If I am elected leader I don’t care if you are left or right wing; Old Labour or New Labour; if you voted Yes or No. I want to bring together both the party and the country.
We’re *cracking* through now. We’ll have these questions *beaten* in no time…
Do you support the transfer of powers from an increasingly centralised Scottish Parliament to the 32 Local Authorities and if so which powers?
The way we do that is by listening to the voters, something we weren’t good enough at after the elections in 2007 and 2011. We need to listen and engage, rather than just shouting about the SNP.
Thanks for your question. There’s a nice and short answer to this one. It’s a very big yes.
I want the work programme to be devolved to local authorities, so that local solutions can be found to get people back into work.
Alan asks, perhaps more politely than some, a question a few different folk have raised:
You voted for the war in Iraq. Many Scots disagreed with it. Isn’t that a big problem for the future?
Thanks for the question, Alan.
Voting for military action is rightly the most difficult decision any Member of Parliament ever has to take. It’s clear that if we had known then what we know now about the situation then the Iraq war wouldn’t have happened. On top of which there was a total failure of post-war planning in providing aid and stability, as well as preventing the sectarian fall out.
Thanks for that honest answer Jim.
I know time is tight, so our final question comes from “Baggy Stu”:
How would you use the powers of the Scottish Government to increase prosperity?
Thanks “Baggy Stu”.
We need to focus on how we generate the wealth that we can then spend on our public services. That means growing our economy, supporting small businesses and making Scotland an attractive place to invest.
We also need to get better at using the tools available to our local authorities, such as tax relief for firms paying the Living Wage.
Apologies to Karin, Jeffrey, Les, Meredith, Stephen and everyone else who submitted questions we didn’t have time for today.
Huge thanks to you, Jim, for taking the time to answer our questions. Thank you very much!
Thanks very much. I enjoyed it!
This session will now be archived here. We look forward to posing your questions to the other candidates soon.
Thanks for joining us today.