INDEPENDENCE campaigners have received another boost as a Unison trade union branch sided “positively with the Yes side”.

Nation-wide branch Skills Development Scotland held a Yes/No debate at their AGM last Tuesday night.

Richard Leonard, GMB’s political officer represented United for Labour, and went head-to-head with Richie Venton of Trade Unionists for Independence.

Yes emerged the popular choice of the night.

Skills Development Scotland branch secretary, Derek Cheyne, said: “It was a really good debate – I think a lot of people really engaged and we had a great turn out as well.

“I’ve got to say, I think that most of the questions from the floor were very pro-yes. We’ve not canvassed on whether our members are yes or no, but I got the feeling tonight Yes was dominant.

“I hope it has energised our members, that they become more involved whether it’s yes or no – that’s entirely up to them, because my union has taken a more neutral stance.”

He added: “But as I said – tonight seemed to be quite positively on the Yes side.”

Richie Venton said: “It was an excellent debate – there were some forceful arguments, but very respectful.

“For me, probably the most significant factor is that trade unionists spelt out that the struggle for Yes is driving towards the conclusion that we need radical change in society.

“And that will build the basis for a future shaping of Scotland in an entirely different direction – to favour the working class.”

Richard Leonard refused to be interviewed.


Jo Bloggs
2014-03-14 17:18

So much for ‘very respectful’. “Richard Leonard refused to be interviewed.” Why? That’s not very respectful. It seems respect only works one way.
2014-03-15 00:28

“Richard Leonard refused to be interviewed”

Was he a bit sore maybe? At least he did turn up. The whole labour machine seems to be in the process of catastrophic failure. I’m laughing hard. ;}
2014-03-15 12:19

Richard Leonard , I believe was Labour MP’s Donohoe’s parter at the Irvine debate.
Donohoe refused to let the debate be filmed… seems to be a pattern here…… “don’t let the public see what a fool you are”.
Dundonian West
2014-03-15 12:32

Here’s the link to Labour’s Brian Donohoe MP and Tommy Sheridan’s comments following Labour’s refusal of debate filming:…/

2014-03-15 18:37

I was present at this debate. The crux of what Richard Leonard was saying is that as capital is concentrated in the City of London, it could only be effectively challenged on a British level. As this has been the case since the start of the British Empire, then presumably the Irish, Indians and other colonised peoples were wrong to break from the imperialist yoke. In his peculiar brand of ’empire socialism’ Leonard is at one with his fellow United with Labour colleague Gordon Brown, who argued for “British jobs for British workers”. It is no wonder that my SDS colleagues were unimpressed with his arguments for opting for worse than the status quo.

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