Friday 17 November 2006

Campaign Hits Scotland

Scotland has always been a bedrock of support for the Labour movement. That's why I'm particularly pleased to be up in Scotland as part of my national campaign to build up grassroots support for the campaign.

Yesterday I had a packed day in Edinburgh, including interviews with local radio, TV and newspapers as well as meetings with MSPs and students and a big public meeting in the evening. The enthusiasm of the evening meeting was contageous - and I was particularly impressed by the number of young people turning up. There were a couple of great speeches made by members of School Students Against The War which demonstrates that young people are once again becoming politically inspired.

At the meeting, we discussed putting together a campaign strategy for the New Year - including lobbying MPs and building support for getting on the nomination paper. As people said at the meeting, unless Scottish MPs nominate, tens of thousands of Labour party members and trade unionists will be deprived of a vote. We also discussed the issues that are particularly hitting Scotland at the moment - not least the new wave of PFI of PFI and privatisations in the health service and beyond, as well as public sector pay freezes.

Today I've got meetings in Glasgow, including a seminar on the Trade Union Freedom Bill with Scottish trade unionists, a meeting with students at Strathclyde University, and a public meeting at 7.30pm at the Scottish TUC.

I return to London on the Saturday for both the Campaign for State Education conference and the Stop The War People's Assembly.

What has struck me as the running theme of all of the meetings that I've been doing is that people are demanding a say over the future, the right to a choice on the ballot paper, and - most importantly of all - a radical break with New Labour. The enthusiasm for change continues to build.

I hope to be meeting a lot more of you in the months to come.