is an alternative. UNISON
Strategy Conference A better way for public services
Glasgow, Saturday 4 Sep
Dave Prentis addresses the conference
We've got the argument. We've got the alternatives.
We've got the vision - get out and organise for it
There is an alternative to savage cuts
in public services is the message today from a strategy
meeting of unions and community groups hosted by UNISON
The 270 delegates united behind a call from
Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, to build "Our vision
of a good society. A society based on fairness, solidarity,
and democracy. A society in which public services are there
to enable everyone to participate.
"This vision, and these values, have always
been fundamental to our ethos as a union. Because it's what
our members try to turn into reality every day when they
go to work.
"So let's not be fooled by the scaremongering
about the debt", said Dave. "And let's not fall for the
lie that that this society can't afford decent public services.
The money is there in our economy, if we want to raise it
and put it to good use. But this government doesn't want
you to realise that.
"Not because half of the cabinet are millionaires
who don't want to pay their share…although half of the cabinet
are millionaires who don't want to pay their share.
"It's because of an ideology. An ideology
that hates public services. An ideology that loves privatisation.
An ideology that sees public service employment - millions
of people caring and helping and educating - not as an achievement
to be celebrated - but as a problem to be tackled."
Underlining the point, the STUC's Stephen
Boyd exploded the myths about the crisis, blow by blow.
The STUC's new 'There is a Better Way' campaign (http://www.thereisabetterway.org)
is a crucial resource for showing not only that the cuts
are ideologically rather than financial driven - but also
how they will hinder a recovery and possibly throw us into
a further recession.
But this meeting was not just a talking shop.
It was there as the first step in a series of events as
participants moved into workshops to develop practical plans
to campaign forward.
Nobody underestimated the task. As Dave Prentis
told UNISON's National Conference in June, "the next four
years will test us all. Test our resolve. Test our nerve.
But we will pass the test. The world has changed - new worries,
new fears. And our members look to us to lead. This is no
time to hang our heads. It is time to stand tall."
He returned to that theme in Glasgow "We've
got the argument. We've got the alternatives. We've got
the vision. What we need to do is get out there and organise