Johann Lamont MSP

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Johann Lamont

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  • Member for: Glasgow Pollok
  • Region: Glasgow
  • Party: Scottish Labour

Johann is a member of the following Committees:

Johann is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Johann Lamont

Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
1. Johann Lamont (Glasgow Pollok) (Lab)

I hope that you will be as kind to me, Presiding Officer.

To ask the First Minister what engagements he has planned for the rest of the day. (S4F-02316)



Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Johann Lamont

I agree whole-heartedly with what the First Minister has said. We have lost a true friend of Scotland and a man who was able to capture in such wonderful terms the politics of our country. Indeed, his humanity was known to us all.

Is it true that Abellio, which has won the right to run Scotland’s railways, was more expensive for Scotland’s taxpayers than other bidders were, as has been reported in the press? If so, how much more is the deal costing the people of Scotland?



Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Johann Lamont

That was a yard-long answer, but it did not answer the question that I asked the First Minister, which was: is the deal costing the people of Scotland more? We got a lot of words, but we did not get an answer.

We know that “price is extremely important” and that

“We live in extremely straitened times in terms of the public finances and it’s our responsibility to make sure we get value for money”.

Those are not my words but those of Keith Brown, the Minister for Transport and Veterans, speaking on 20 March 2012. He does not seem to have applied the same rules.

The Government says that the deal will involve new rolling stock, but, other than the new trains already promised for the Glasgow to Edinburgh route, when Abellio talks about new trains, does it really mean new rolling stock, or does it mean refurbished trains, some of which may be decades old?



Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Johann Lamont

Maybe the First Minister can get back to me later on the question that I asked him.

The Government had it in its own hands to make sure that every worker benefiting from a public sector procurement offer would receive the living wage—if it had only had the courage of its convictions. Instead, we have had cheap words but not action.

The First Minister may not be aware that this great company that we are being told about came 18th out of 18 in a survey by Which? in which concerns were expressed about cleanliness and value for money.

Mick Whelan, the general secretary of the train drivers union ASLEF, said of the deal:

“It’s a particularly perverse decision by the SNP government in Scotland, which was arguing for independence, and is getting many more devolved powers”—

Members: When?



Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Johann Lamont

I am quoting Mick Whelan, the general secretary of the train drivers union ASLEF, who said that it was a

“particularly perverse decision ... to embrace privatisation and all that means rather than wait a few months, take a fresh look at the opportunities for rail services in Scotland, and then, instead of acting in such a precipitate fashion, make a considered decision next year.”

Will the First Minister tell me which part of that statement is wrong?



Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Johann Lamont

I saw what the First Minister did there. That was really funny.

On the matter of asking for those powers, the First Minister should reflect on the fact that, although he made six key demands of the Scotland Bill as the UK Government went through the Calman process, not one of those demands was about the railways, so he should not pretend that that was something that he was concerned about.

The First Minister’s answer seems to be simply that there is nothing that he can do. As power seeps from him, the First Minister wants more powers but still spends his life telling us what he cannot do.

Why could the First Minister not wait for a few months and look at how we, with his successor, could improve Scotland’s railways? Why choose a deal that is more expensive for Scotland? Why settle for decades-old trains? Was the general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, Mick Cash, not right when he said:

“All you’re seeing in private ownership is that money’s being sucked out of the industry and given to the private sector shareholders, or in this case is going to go to subsidise the Dutch railways”?

Why is the First Minister spending his last days in office selling out Scotland, rather than standing up for Scotland?



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Johann Lamont (Glasgow Pollok) (Lab)

I hope that we can have a productive debate. The previous debate became very aggressive and unpleasant. We need to find a way of moving on to ensure that we see this as a creative and open place. The intention of the motion is to allow us to start exploring the possibilities and the options that this Parliament might progress over the next two years.

We know that we made history in Scotland on 18 September. We made a significant decision and, for the first time, it was a democratic decision of the people of Scotland that we should stay strong in the United Kingdom. We ought to resist the temptation to rewrite history. Instead, we should grasp the opportunity together to shape the future—a future of a strong Scottish Parliament inside the United Kingdom, responding to the priorities of people from across the country.

I know that we all remember the referendum debate in different ways, with different emphases and priorities. On one side, people looked at the issue of powers and at how to make the Parliament work effectively inside the United Kingdom, looking at what powers are consistent with the pooling and sharing of resources across the United Kingdom—the very heart of the argument for the United Kingdom. On the other side, there was discussion and debate about how we create a fairer and more equal Scotland, in which the national health service and childcare featured strongly as key areas that are precious and significant to people. People on both sides of the debate were wrestling with ensuring how to make progress on those issues—we know that they are significant for people far beyond this chamber.

It is important that we accept the result. We should not attempt to rewrite what that result meant. We should resist the temptation to suggest that the people who argued for yes were somehow robbed by the result, that people were duped or tricked or that we presume that people voted no not because they actively wanted to stay in the United Kingdom but because they were somehow fooled. It serves no one in Scotland well to encourage that idea.

We should not seek to redefine the vow that was made by the parties arguing to stay in the United Kingdom or try to misrepresent what it was talking about. I contend that it is not acceptable to identify powers that were not named in the vow of commitment—as the First Minister has done—in order to establish a sense of bad faith. That is simply not acceptable.



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Johann Lamont

First, clearly he did not support independence and secondly, he believed in a strong Scotland inside the United Kingdom, sustaining the pooling and sharing of resources across the United Kingdom.

I was surprised that the two amendments to my motion were simply about powers, rather than being seen as an opportunity to talk about the other side of the agenda that I have identified. I understand that some people were committed to a yes vote with all their hearts and I say to them that there is a corrosiveness and cynicism in establishing a sense of bad faith in the mind of the public. All those new people who have come into politics deserve to hear better than that one whole side of the argument was entirely motivated by bad faith.



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Johann Lamont

Certainly, the work that we did on the devolution commission meant that, for more than two years, we were engaged with civic Scotland, the trade unions and the business community. All the proposals have been out there and people have been thinking about this over a long period. Of course we want people to be engaged, but equally we have a timetable that Patrick Harvie would reasonably expect us to deliver.

I understand the dilemma of some people in the Scottish National Party. By having to accept the democratic decision they have then to give meaning to that decision. It means that the focus must be on making devolution work in itself. The reality is that if people are not willing to let go of their constitutional project, the Parliament will be seen as a stepping stone, with the decision of the people to stay in the United Kingdom becoming a bridge to the position that the people soundly rejected. We need to move beyond that. We need to look at how we make this place work, rather than constantly talking about further powers.

I have been very clear: there will be more powers for the Parliament. The vow is something that I keep seriously in mind. It is, of course, consistent with our being part of the United Kingdom. However, my other argument, which we will not finish discussing today but which I hope that members will treat with respect, is that we must pursue the agenda of a fairer, more equal Scotland. Ever since the result of the referendum, I have said that where we can work together we will do so. We will work on securing powers, but we also need to work on the other side of the agenda.

Our commitment is to work with the Scottish Government and the Parliament where we can and to open up our thinking on actions and priorities to the people throughout Scotland who have become energised. I make that commitment, and I hope that other members can do so, too. The challenge for the Opposition is not to oppose for opposition’s sake; the challenge for the Scottish Government is not to focus simply on what might be, if we had more powers, and instead to focus on what it can do now.

Scotland has been on pause for the past two years, and it cannot be acceptable that we have to wait even longer for agreement on more powers. We understand that, pre-referendum, to make their case people had to say that only with independence could we make a difference. However, in the challenge of a post-referendum Scotland, “only with independence” is not good enough. We need to hear more about what can be done. We need to hear more about the art of the possible, right now.

In the next period, we need to refocus on a politics that has driven change throughout generations: a politics of justice—social, economic, environmental and educational—a politics of fairness and equality of access and opportunity, and a politics of integrity, whereby we seek to be open and honest in debates, respecting one another where we agree and where we disagree.

I regret that, in the amendments, the response to the challenges that we face seems to be to cling desperately to the language of the referendum battle, with a focus on the constitution rather than on the changes that we can make right now. Our motion was deliberately written in a wide enough way to offer an opportunity for us to come together and find common cause.

In the time that I have left, I will focus on two issues in that regard. First, the extent to which people care about the national health service and are concerned about any suggestion that it might be privatised was clear throughout the referendum period. We know that people want the NHS to work in their interests. We also know that there are huge challenges. It is not good enough to create the impression that everything in the NHS is fine and we do not need a review or any coming together to challenge that view.

We have said that we should come together, get rid of the party politics—the politicking and the dividing lines—and show that we are willing to listen to patients, staff in NHS organisations and people throughout the country, who are desperate for us to wrestle with the big problems in the service and find solutions. I hope that the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing will respond to our offer to work co-operatively.

Secondly, childcare was a feature of the referendum debate. All members know that there are things that need to be done to support people in that regard. It cannot be good enough that people spend as much on childcare as they spend on their mortgages or that they have to consider whether they can afford to work, especially when we understand the economic importance of good childcare, as well as its social and educational importance.

Our suggestion is that we take a simple step, right now, by offering a childcare place to mums who are going to college. We can do that together, right now. We can continue together on a longer journey as we seek to cap the cost of childcare for families, using our abilities in the Parliament and beyond to make a difference.

In both areas, we can rise to the challenge. I hope that other members will think so, too. The reality is that, over the past two years, we have spent time, money, energy and effort on settling the decision on the constitution. We will put further energy into ensuring that we craft powers that make this place even stronger, but my plea is that in the next two years we spend as much time, money and energy on making visible progress on equality and working together on the big issues that were evident across the country during the debate.



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Johann Lamont

Let us let go of our own political projects, so that we can have real debate where we differ and real creativity where we instinctively agree. Let us resist the counsel of despair that means that this place will simply be about rerunning a debate that was decided on 18 September. Let us have optimism and, over the next period, harness the energy that we saw in the referendum debate, to deliver equality and real progress for people throughout the country.

I move,

That the Parliament recognises that the settled will of the people of Scotland is to make devolution work with a strengthened Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom following the referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future on 18 September 2014, and acknowledges that people on both sides voted for change and that it is now incumbent on this parliament to work together to deliver a fairer, more equal Scotland.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

 
YesDefeated

 
NoDefeated

 
YesCarried

S4M-11304.3 Michael Russell: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to mo
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Not VotedCarried

S4M-11304 Liz Smith: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament believes
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Not VotedCarried

S4M-11123 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
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NoCarried

S4M-11114.2 Kenny MacAskill: Policing—As an amendment to motion S4M-11114 in the name of Graeme Pear
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NoCarried

S4M-11114 Graeme Pearson: Policing—That the Parliament acknowledges that policing in Scotland contin
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NoCarried

S4M-11116.1.1 Patrick Harvie: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to amendment S4M-11116.1 in the name
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NoCarried

S4M-11116.1 Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-11116 in the name of Jo
>> Show more
NoCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Johann Lamont
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11116: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10843.1: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10353: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09293: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08707.3: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 06/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08407.1: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08347: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08348: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07721.1: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/09/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-04778.4: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/11/2012 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Johann Lamont
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4F-02316: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02303: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 29/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02288: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 22/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02266: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02249: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02232: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02209: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02188: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02165: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02144: Johann Lamont, Glasgow Pollok, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/06/2014 Show Full Question >>

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