Welcome to Scrutiny – a place for debate and discussion on politics today.

Successful Jimmy Reid Foundation fringe meeting at 2017 STUC

Uncategorized Apr 24, 2017 Add a comment

A successful and productive exchange of views was held today at a 30-strong Jimmy Reid Foundation lunchtime fringe meeting at the STUC congress in Aviemore. Chaired by PCS national officer, Lynn Henderson, we heard Professor Mike Danson from Heriot Watt university give an overview of the Foundation report on the case against the renewal of Trident followed by a response from Richard Hardy, Prospect union Scottish regional secretary and John McInally, PCS National vice-president. The one overwhelmingly supported outcome was that, under the auspices of the STUC, the various defence unions should meet to i) establish what they have in common and ii) how to progress the establishment of a credible diversification strategy (including a well resourced diversification agency). Many thanks to the GMB, Prospect, UCU and PCS unions for providing the resourcing to stage the fringe meeting and those delegates at the STUC for attending.

PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka, to give 2017 Jimmy Reid annual lecture

Uncategorized Apr 11, 2017 Add a comment

The Jimmy Reid Foundation is delighted to announce that Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, has agreed to deliver the 2017 annual Jimmy Reid lecture on Thursday 5 October 2017. He will speak on the issue of the defence of public services in an era of austerity and neo-liberalism.

More details on venue and timings will follow in due course.

Jimmy Reid Foundation agrees new work programme

Uncategorized Apr 11, 2017 Add a comment

Following the last meeting of the project board of the Jimmy Reid Foundation (on 6 April), we have agreed a new set of research and policy papers to be commissioned and published over the remainder of the year and into early 2018. These are on the environment, developing aspects of public service reform (like citizen participation), the regulation of employment relations, workers’ rights, and the ramifications of the automation of work.

If you’d like to support the work of these projects by making a financial donation (however small) to the Foundation, please go to http://reidfoundation.org/sustaining/

We’d be very grateful of any financial support you can give us.


Sunday Herald coverage of new Jimmy Reid Foundation paper on Scotland’s fiscal future

Uncategorized Apr 09, 2017 Add a comment

The Sunday Herald has today (9 April 2017) given major coverage to the Jimmy Reid Foundation paper from Jim Cuthbert on the fiscal constraints any new and future Scottish government will face. The coverage can be accessed at http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15213140.Pro_independence_economist_issues___39_danger__39__warning_over_new_powers/

The paper the coverage is about can be accessed at http://reidfoundation.org/2017/04/comments-on-the-scottish-budget-scrutiny-consultation-by-dr-jim-cuthbert/


Jimmy Reid Foundation facebook

Uncategorized Apr 06, 2017 Add a comment

The Jimmy Reid Foundation is now using the https://www.facebook.com/TheReidFoundation/ account and is posting regularly on Foundation matters (announcements, new papers etc) as well as on issues close to the heart of Jimmy Reid (eg on issues of work, employment, unions, social justice etc). Please follow the Foundation on facebook!

Jimmy Reid Foundation twitter

Uncategorized Apr 06, 2017 Add a comment

The Jimmy Reid Foundation is now using the https://twitter.com/ReidFoundation twitter account and is tweeting regularly on Foundation matters (announcements, new papers etc) as well as on issues close to the heart of Jimmy Reid (eg on issues of work, employment, unions, social justice etc). Please follow the Foundation on Twitter!

Support International Women’s Day, All Year, Every Year!

Scottish Policy Mar 08, 2017 Add a comment

The Jimmy Reid Foundation is pleased to mark International Women’s Day on the 8th March each and every year.

We are particularly please that our vice-convener, Lynn Henderson, has put forward a concrete proposal – called ‘Step aside, brother’- to increase the representation of women at the most senior lay levels within the union movement – see her most recent article on this in Scottish Left Review by clicking here.


Brexit: rights, risks and responsibilities

UK Policy Feb 27, 2017 Add a comment

The Jimmy Reid Foundation (JRF) has no view or policy on Brexit, settled or otherwise, because we do not take such positions. We are able, however, to form views and analysis on the particular ramifications of the type of likely Brexit with regard to Human Rights which include workers’ rights.   In this meeting, Brexit: rights, risks and responsibilities: What’s at stake for human rights in Scotland? organised in conjunction with the Scottish Human Rights Commission, we sought to share information and give supporters the opportunity to speak out and speak up about their concerns over Brexit, the process and the impact in Scotland.  JRF received 118 registrations although only 42 people attended on the night.  

The meeting was designed to share information on rights, on strategy, on action and on specific issues arising from Brexit including workers rights, equality, the environment and if rights could be better protected through a ‘Scottish Bill of Rights’.  The meeting heard a series of interesting presentations:

  1. Mapping the work of the First Minister’s Standing Council on Europe, reporting on the three meetings held so far on human rights and the STUC’s ambitions for saving as well as extending workers rights;
  2. Making clear that enforceable economic and social rights are primarily sourced via the EU and the quite separate Council of Europe Treaty ‘The European Convention on Human Rights’ gives everyone equal rights including the right to protest, the right to form an opinion and the right to join a trade union;
  3. Defining the limits of EU law in the UK eg it cannot set a minimum wage, and the scope of EU law eg it adopts a broad definition of health and safety which includes the Working Time Directive;
  4. Informing us of the likely impact on the environment by withdrawing from the EU framework;
  5. Arguing that Brexit creates uncertainly and could become a distraction so our focus must be directed at what we do have control over and currently, there are a number of opportunities to extend workers rights in Scotland such as the development of a ‘Business and Human Rights National Action Plan for Scotland’.
  6. Civil society in Scotland has been working collaboratively with similar organisations across Europe to achieve reform in the way the EU operates so that it serves the people better, and it has no intention of withdrawing solidarity from a movement that still needs to thrive if it is to achieve social justice for all.

We are grateful to Muriel Robison for producing  a briefing ‘Brexit and Equality Law’ for  delegates which is a revamp of her SULNE paper (see below for more info) and arranged around the theme of rights, risks and responsibilities. Equality and Brexit

Tobias Lock also shared a paper which he co-wrote ‘Brexit and the British Bill of Rights’ which is available at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers2.cfm?abstract_id=2913566

The discussion and feedback from the audience at the Q & A, achieved a degree of consensus: that human rights need to mean something for people in everyday places with examples of how they routinely sort real problems.  Otherwise human rights will remain unvalued and their weakening via Brexit may be tolerated apart from in expert circles.  The claims that people don’t like listening to experts was tackled with may people saying that those who talk up human rights speak from a theoretical rather than from practical experience and that is what causes the problem.  Explaining by example, detailing the actual benefits will result in broad and genuine support for human rights.

Further Resources

The right to form an opinion by receiving and imparting information is listed in the European Convention on Human Rights – Article 10.  In order to help you form opinions on the impact of Brexit on workers human rights, here are some useful resources:


Bottom-up based democracy is the way forward for public services reform

Scottish Policy, Scrutiny Jan 20, 2017 Add a comment

Bottom-up based democracy is the way forward for public services reform says new Jimmy Reid Foundation paper by Dave Watson of UNISON Scotland

In the run up to the local authority elections in May 2017, the Jimmy Reid Foundation launches a major new policy paper on public service reform in Scotland by Dave Watson of UNISON Scotland.

The extensive and wide-ranging paper examines the case for public services, the challenges they currently face, and new approaches to public service reform. The paper is to be launched at a special seminar on Friday 20 January 2017 at the University of Edinburgh’s Academy of Government.

As an expert advisor to the 2011 Christie Commission on local government (‘The Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services in Scotland’) and an acknowledged expert on public services, Watson argues that financial and political pressures on Scotland’s public services have driven an agenda of piecemeal public service reform.

As an alternative, Watson lays out the case for the delivery of integrated public services built around recognisable communities, whose primary focus is to challenge the underlying inequalities that blight our Scottish society and waste public resources, generation after generation. He argues services should be delivered at the lowest practical level, allowing staff and citizens to design services in a way that best meets the needs of their communities.

Commenting on his proposals, Dave Watson said:

‘The role of central government should be to set the strategic direction based on outcomes – rather than trying to direct services from Edinburgh via detailed prescriptions. The longer governments are in office, the more they believe they can direct services from the centre. But with the small size of Scotland, this cannot be a justification for duplication and difference for the sake of it. That is why public service frameworks are required so that local services can focus on what matters to achieve positive outcomes without trying to ‘reinvent the wheel’. This means breaking out of the sterile ‘centralism versus localism’ debate that we have all long engaged in. It means taking a different approach in order to offers a co-operative, more equal society in Scotland, rather than one left to the vagaries of the market. What this means is building public services from the bottom up based on the principle of subsidiarity, with integration, democracy and transparency at the core of delivery’.

The paper is available here Public Service Reform by DaveWatson

‘Quick Note’ on Workplace Relations Published

UK Policy Aug 22, 2016 Add a comment

Workplace relations – a new agenda for progressive change?

by Gregor Gall, professor of industrial relations, University of Bradford

We are in the midst of unprecedented political turmoil. Fortunately, this has allowed the bringing forward onto the mainstream political agenda of proposals concerning ideas for workers’ rights in the workplace that have long been marginalised and ridiculed.

Amongst these are proposals for worker directors, sectoral collective bargaining and extended union recognition. They have come from Theresa May, Owen Smith and Jeremy Corbyn. This ‘Quick Note’ examines the main proposals that have emerged over the summer on these areas. Using historical experience, it concludes that considerable fleshing out of the proposals is needed in order to avoid any potential pitfalls.  The Quicknote is available here  Workplace relations