After the Independent/Green group debate on the legacy of Margaret Thatcher, Jean called for a more equal society that values quality of life:
“I’m pleased that MSPs approached the debate as it was intended; not for personal attacks on Margaret Thatcher but an as an opportunity to critique and to think beyond the ideology of Thatcherism. For me, it was an opportunity to consider how to reverse the terrible inequality Thatcherism wrought.
“Under Thatcherite governments of both Westminster parties, the UK has become the fourth most unequal country in the developed world. Politics has become fixated on international corporate profit above all else, when really all most of us want is a society that provides a safe, happy environment for ourselves, our children and our neighbours.
“The debate raised the importance of goals other than crude GDP. As Scotland looks to create a new vision of society in a post-Thatcherite and possibly post-UK age, we should consider tools like Oxfam’s Humankind Index, which encourage us to pursue real progress in areas like health, education and family life.”
EHRC Coalition Cuts
That the Parliament acknowledges what it considers to be the vital role that is played by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in providing guidance to the public in promoting and enforcing equality legislation; expresses its deep concern over the reported 62% reduction in EHRC’s budget by 2015 and how this could impact on EHRC’s operations in Scotland; believes that the proposals will cause the closure of the EHRC’s Edinburgh office, resulting in a loss of half of its workforce in Scotland; notes that the UK Government plans to close EHRC’s direct expert helpline and replace it with a referral-only service, with no presence in Scotland or Wales; considers that, the decimation of the EHRC’s budget and the concurrent impact on its ability to provide an effective service, runs contrary to the Equality Act 2006; condemns what it understands is the UK Government’s decision to continue with these regressive reforms, despite it consultation showing that people were against this by a margin of 15:1, and considers that this is a typical example of what it sees as the fiscal vandalism of the UK Government and how it is harming Scotland and society’s most vulnerable and marginalised groups.