Q & A with Kezia Dugdale MSP
Coming up right here at 4.30pm today (Wednesday 19th Nov):
a LIVE question and answer session with Kezia Dugdale MSP!
Still time to submit your questions – use the comment box below (we’ll store the question not publish it as a comment), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet us at @LabourHame with hashtag #LHaskKezia.
Live Q & A with Kezia coming up in about fifteen minutes!
Hello everyone, and welcome to our third live question and answer session in which we’ll be posing the questions you’ve submitted.
Today we’re joined by deputy leadership candidate Kezia Dugdale MSP.
Hello everyone – it’s great to be here. Thanks to the LabourHame team for the opportunity.
Our first question is from Allana:
What would be your priorities if you were elected deputy leader?
My number one priority and no doubt the number one priority of most members is to get David Cameron out of number 10 and get a Labour Government in its place. One committed to delivering for the many and not the few. >
I think we’ve got a strong platform of policies that are clearly demonstrate not only how we’d create wealth, but we’d redistribute that wealth from the richest to the poorest. That’s 50p tax rate, bankers bonus tax and a mansion tax – all policies the SNP can’t tell us whether they support or not.
Thanks! That leads neatly on to a question from Kayleigh:
Do you think we can keep all our seats in the General Election?
Thanks Kayleigh, this seems to be the question on everyone’s minds at the moment! Can’t imagine why… >
I think we can absolutely hold our seats and make gains in key areas. I know from campaigning across the country we have hard working MPs and candidates who are taking our strong policy message to the doorsteps week in week out. >
But we’ve got to stop fighting ourselves and get fighting fit. The next 6 months will be tough. But we’ve got the right message, the right people and the energy and enthusiasm to win people’s hearts and minds to our cause. Let’s do it!
Great stuff. A different topic now from Chas:
Do you support the transfer of powers from an increasingly centralised Scottish Parliament to the 32 Local Authorities and if so which powers?
Yes and I’ve got a track record in making the case for devolving more power to Councils. >
I argued in Labour’s Devolution Commission for the devolution of Skills Development Scotland, alongside the work programme. I think that Councils could do tremendous things around youth employment, skills and employability if they had more control at a local level. >
Imagine if a local council could use it’s economic development powers, alongside it’s youth employment work, it’s links with colleges, business and education to make sure that the opportunities for young people coming out of our institutions matched the skills needs of the economy. >
And most importantly, provided a safety net for when things go wrong, or simply when life just happens. That’s what Falkirk Council try to do at the moment, they track all young people up to the age of 24. If people lose jobs, or drop out of college, someone is there to get them back on track. We could do so much more like this across the country.
(Hey this is harder than the PLP hustings in London last night!)
We like to keep you on your toes!
On the topic of local government, Meredith sent in this, a question echoed by others:
In so many of our communities it’s the councillors who are the backbone of the party. What would you do to support councillors in their work?
Thanks Meredith. I’ve actually published a 5 point plan for Councillors that’s based on the 5 Rs! Recognition, Reward, Resource, Relationship and Representation. Let me go through them super fast.
Recognition – Our Councillors are not even referenced on our party website! That’s outrageous, I’d fix it straight away. >
Reward – So much good work happens around the country that needs to be highlighted far better than we do just now. We should reward Best Practice and share it.
Resource – ALC money that Scottish councillors pay, should stay in Scotland. Simples. >
Relationship – We’ve got work far harder at sharing knowledge, forward planning, strategy, budget details etc with each other. >
Representation – There should be local government representation in all our decision making.
Lots to get our teeth into there! Thanks.
Nairn wrote in with an observation, and a question, which again touches on something others also asked:
I think encouraging young people into the Labour Party is vital for its future. As Deputy Leader how would you go about this?
We must make winning a record number of councillors in 2017 a priority!
The way to do it is through issue based campaigning. I saw that in practice whilst starting and developing Debtbusters. >
That campaign which took on Payday lenders street by street, changed the law and helped promote the alternative to high cost lending brought people in to the party. it turned members into activists and activists in to community leaders. >
Our party was built by community organisers. People who believed that a collective calling for change was a powerful antidote to the establishment. I believe it still is that – and it’s time to rekindle that fire.
On an issue which affects young people, and others, Karin asks:
What is your opinion on student fees?
I’ve been reviewing our party’s policy on this for some time now and i spoke about it at a recent Trade Union Conference of EIS, UCU and Unison Higher Education workers. It was covered in THES here http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/scottish-labour-hints-at-no-fees-policy/2016293.article
I want Higher Education to remain free in this country – but there’s nothing fair or socially just to say “The rocks will melt with the sun” and ignore our country’s shocking record on widening access, drop out rates and student support. >
So let’s keep tuition fees free – but lets go beyond the SNP and address why we have the worst record on access, bursaries for the poorest students and drop out rates with real action. >
There are 3500 fewer Scottish students in our Higher Education institution now than there were when Labour was in office. Alex Salmond should be appalled to stand by the stane.
(And that’s before we get to the 140,000 fewer college students because of SNP cuts!)
Shocking stats, too often overlooked.
A blunt one just in from Peter:
In Glasgow, Labour has transformed social rented housing and ensured every secondary pupil has a new school. This came on top of Labour increasing NHS spending and introducing the National Minimum Wage.
But in the referendum, the people rejected us. How will you get them to vote for us again if our record is not valued?
We’ve got to stop telling people how bad life is in Scotland and start telling them how much better it could be with a Labour Government.
I think folk left us because we lost that sense of hope. There was a hope in a Yes vote, false hope, but people wanted to vote for something… >
So take an issue like Jobs. The jobs of the future will come from Science Technology Engineering and Maths. They are expensive to teach in our schools and colleges and the SNP have a dismal record in this area.
We should highlight that record, but tell it as part of a story about the amazing opportunities that come with these jobs if we can break down the barriers to them together. >
I met an amazing woman in London last night at a reception for the University of Edinburgh. She’s the head of science and engineering for the whole university.
She’s the type of person we should have at the forefront of public life in Scotland talking about careers in these industries and smashing the barriers that hold too many kids back from thinking about these options.
You can read about her here: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/nov/03/lesley-yellowlees-solar-energy-research
Thanks very much, lots to read there! I know time is tight but I hope we can squeeze in a couple more questions…
What are your thoughts on the party in Scotland becoming completely autonomous from the party down South?
(Is that a polite way of telling me to write less?!)
Not at all! 😉
We are one party. One movement. The thing is that we are the architects of devolution. It’s our people who developed devolution and sought the people’s support for it. But we never applied devolution to our own party structures. >
That’s a long winded way of saying, i don’t support full autonomy or independence if you want to calll it that. But i do support more decision making here in Scotland. So yes to hiring all staff. Yes to the leader being the leader of the whole Scottish Labour Party. But we have to keep that principle of pooling and sharing resource that won us the election. And actually it’s what our movement is about. Clubbing together, working as a team and delivering for people.
Our final question is from Donald. He asks:
What kind of campaigns would you like to see our party focus on to see us gain back the trust of the public?
I’ve spent the morning in Walthamstow seeing our fantastic MP Stella Creasy. She’s running a campaign their with her local community called HomeSweetHome which is all about empowering them to take action against rogue landlords and dodgy estate agents. >
When I look around Edinburgh and all the blocks of tenements and flats, I often think about what the Labour party has to offer the people inside. I think there’s a whole agenda around the renting sector that we could do so much more on. >
We did some fantastic work on this in the Scottish Parliament during the last Housing Bill. But we’re not going to win the next election in the SCottish Parliament building. We have to be out in communities, making a difference day by day. If we can deliver change from opposition we can than ask people to trust us with government.
I did that on debt and I’m doing that on childcare. I’m utterly convinced that’s the way forward.
Thanks Kezia, and thanks for a great Q and A session! Really appreciate you taking the time.
All the best for the rest of the campaign!
* WAVES!!! *
Thank you x
This session will now be archived here. We look forward to posing your questions to the remaining candidates soon.
Thanks for joining us today.