Ken Macintosh MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
5. Ken Macintosh (Eastwood) (Lab)

To ask the First Minister what steps the Scottish Government has taken to reassure the Jewish community following recent terrorist attacks and the reported rise in anti-Semitism. (S4F-02534)



Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Ken Macintosh

I thank the First Minister for her comments and for the commitment that she is showing on behalf of the Scottish Government. Does she agree that our reaction should be one not of alarmism but of reassurance?

I would like to suggest one way of signalling the solidarity with the Jewish community that we wish to show. The First Minister issued a very welcome statement condemning the horrific attack on the kosher supermarket in Paris, just as she did condemning the Charlie Hebdo massacre. However, unlike the statement condemning the Charlie Hebdo attack, which has been put on the Scottish Government’s website, her statement to the Jewish community has not yet been put on the website. It is quite important that, as well as offering reassurance directly to the Jewish community, there is a public display of that message. I ask the First Minister to think on those comments.



Meeting of the Parliament 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
3. Ken Macintosh (Eastwood) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government what assurance it can provide that Clyde and Hebridean ferry services will not be privatised. (S4O-03913)



Meeting of the Parliament 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Ken Macintosh

I thank the minister for his answer, although I am not sure whether islanders and others who rely on the ferry services will be entirely reassured. Is he aware of the anxiety that the services might be sold off to a company such as Serco, just as the Government sold off the overnight sleeper service to London? Will he assure islanders that services will at least be retained as one bundle and will not be sold off individually so that private companies can select the most profitable elements?



Meeting of the Parliament 20 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Ken Macintosh (Eastwood) (Lab)

I welcome the minister’s comments. Does the minister have any views on the need to tackle, as well as pay at the bottom, excess pay at the top?



Meeting of the Parliament 20 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Ken Macintosh (Eastwood) (Lab)

I congratulate the cabinet secretary on introducing today’s motion on tackling inequalities, and particularly on her timing. Many of us will have heard this week’s news from Oxfam that the richest 1 per cent of the world’s population is on the brink of owning more wealth than the rest of us put together. One per cent of the population own half of all global wealth—that is obscene; that is immoral. What is worse is that that is damaging to our economy, to our society and to the values that should bind us together.

What I find particularly worrying is not just the levels of extreme inequality, but the fact that the problem is getting worse and the inequality gap is continuing to widen. As most families have struggled through the past half dozen years of recession, frozen wages and rising prices, the number of billionaires has doubled. That is positively dangerous—it is so unfair that it is difficult to imagine that it will not breed resentment. In terms of our responsibilities and record as members of the Scottish Parliament, it is a poor reflection on our political structures, our public policies and our democratic accountability that we have allowed such inequality to develop.

The good news is that there are strong signs that the world has woken up to inequality. I know that many members in the chamber, for example, have quoted from the seminal book “The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone”. Oxfam is just one of the many organisations that are leading the way in challenging that threat to our way of life with its even it up campaign. In turn, it quotes supporters as diverse as Pope Francis and the International Monetary Fund.

The Scottish Government has woken up, too. I am pleased that it lodged the motion, but I am also slightly anxious. I am worried that the cabinet secretary believes that such a complex problem can simply be blamed on the UK Government and that everything that we do in Scotland is beneficial. I share her belief that Tory austerity and welfare reform policies are making matters worse, not better, but we—by which I mean all of us in the Scottish Parliament—must accept responsibility for the decisions that we take, too.

The educational attainment gap is widening, but responsibility for our schools, colleges and universities has been entirely devolved to the Scottish Parliament for the past 16 years. Progress on narrowing health inequalities has stagnated—in some cases, the situation is getting worse—but health has been entirely devolved to the Scottish Parliament for the past 16 years.



Meeting of the Parliament 20 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Ken Macintosh

The member makes a good point about the impact of socioeconomic backgrounds, to which I will come. However, the logic of his argument is a logic of despair. He suggests that we cannot tackle health inequalities using health policies, and I simply do not agree with that. I simply do not agree that we make no difference through the educational and health policies that we decide in the Scottish Parliament.

Mark McDonald rose—



Meeting of the Parliament 20 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Ken Macintosh

I will give way in a minute.

The Scottish Government has received Labour support and will continue to have our support in pursuing policies that are fair, but Scottish National Party ministers too often confuse the pursuit of equity with the goal of tackling inequality. Free university tuition is just one example in that context. Scottish Labour supports that policy because it is equitable, but unless it is accompanied by action to widen access to Scots from all backgrounds, it will do little to reduce inequality. Unfortunately, the SNP’s record on widening access is worse than that of the Tory Government in England, despite its horrendous fees.



Meeting of the Parliament 20 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Ken Macintosh

In a minute.

In fact, the evidence clearly reveals that Scots from less well-off backgrounds are more likely to go to college than university. Therefore, we are not only not opening the door to higher education; ministers in Edinburgh have actually slammed the door shut to further education for more than 140,000 Scots.

We all know that education, skills and training provide among the best routes out of poverty and among the best ways to tackle social mobility and overcome inequality, but if a person in Scotland has to be middle class to access higher education in the first place, we are not reducing inequality; we are actually preserving it.



Meeting of the Parliament 20 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Ken Macintosh

Again, I do not doubt the cabinet secretary’s good intentions or her desire to tackle the area, but the worrying fact is that the most vulnerable people in our society were among the biggest victims of the Scottish Government’s decision making. Those with supported places at college or university suffered the biggest cuts when the education reforms went through in the past few years. Unfortunately, that is a sad reflection—

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12120.1 Jenny Marra: 2020 Vision, the Strategic Forward Direction of the NHS—As an amendment to
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Not VotedDefeated

S4M-12101 John Swinney: Budget (Scotland) (No.4) Bill—That the Parliament agrees to the general prin
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AbstainCarried

S4M-12095.4 Ken Macintosh: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
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YesDefeated

S4M-12095.2 Alex Johnstone: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
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NoDefeated

S4M-12095.1 Willie Rennie: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
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NoDefeated

S4M-12095 Alex Neil: Tackling Inequalities—That the Parliament agrees that a strong, sustainable eco
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YesCarried

Selection of John Pentland MSP for appointment to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.
Not VotedCarried

S4M-12060.2 Hugh Henry: Commending the People who Keep Scotland Safe in Emergencies—As an amendment
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YesDefeated

S4M-12045.3 Shona Robison: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-12045 in the name of Rich
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NoCarried

S4M-12045.2 Jackson Carlaw: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-12045 in the name of Ric
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NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Ken Macintosh
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12095.4: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11340: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 29/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11310: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11273: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 22/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10819: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10766: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10023: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09878: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 30/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09633: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08406: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 25/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Ken Macintosh
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4F-02534: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03913: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23889: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 07/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23890: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 07/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23406: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23407: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23382: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 21/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23190: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23186: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23093: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Question >>