Motions for ALBA Spring Conference 2023
GENERAL ELECTION STRATEGY FOR WESTMINSTER 2024 (Internal)
Proposer: Morgwn C Davies; Seconder: Lorraine Glass | Submitted by East Lothian LACU
Whilst the events of the last few weeks have proved the old cliché that “a week is a long time in politics” it also suggests that it is reasonable to delay a decision about ALBA’s election strategy for the Westminster General Election, due in 2024. However, the advantages of deciding our strategy now would allow us to target any constituency we plan to fight or, if we decide, as some hope we do, to stand candidates in all constituencies, to start identifying candidates and to look at fund raising. Adopting a campaign strategy now will help determine what campaigning activities a LACU might plan for the next 12 to 15 months.
Conference calls on the National Executive to determine within the next three months our election strategy for the next Westminster General Election. The final decision shall be made shortly after discussion with the wider party, through an online National Assembly or a meeting of National Council or National Conference.
AN INDEPENDENCE CONVENTION
Proposer: National Executive Committee Seconded by: Brian Topping, Charlie Abel, Hector MacLeod, Carole Inglis, Geoff Bush and David Henry
Conference recognises, with regret, that:
a) The campaign for independence has not been advanced since 2014
b) Much of the Scottish Government’s ground work for independence is yet to be completed
c) There is no urgency for independence coming from the SNP/Green coalition.
Conference reaffirms ALBA’s commitment to;
i) Independence as an immediate priority for Scotland
ii) Continue our policy work in preparing for an Independent Scotland
iii) Proclaim Scotland’s sovereign Claim of Right to determine our own future as agreed at ALBA’s Annual Conference 2022 and encapsulated in ALBA’s Scotland (Self-Determination) Bill.
Conference therefore calls for;
1. The immediate establishment of a new Independence Convention
2. The Independence Convention to create the blueprint for, and devise the route to, an independent Scotland. ALBA to be willing to co-operate with other independence parties to stand for election as Scotland United on a joint mandate to initiate independence negotiations. Accordingly the ALBA Party will move to support the set up of a new Independence Convention with immediate effect, bringing together key representatives from political, civic and independence groupings to establish the way forward in regaining independence for Scotland.
Proposer -Charlie Abel. Seconded by - Gavin Bain (Aberdeen LACU)
Description. - Beauly – Blackhillock – New Deer – Peterhead 400kV Project - Scrap Transmission charges in Scotland.
Conference notes with concern:
A. Despite generating several times our needs in electricity, Energy is unaffordable for more and more Scots & Business
B. Energy is being taken from Scotland and cabled down south.
C. Scottish energy producers pay more in transmission charges.
Conference recognises Alba’s commitment to:
i) Establish a Scottish Public Energy Company
ii) Bring cheaper energy to the Scottish people, many living in fuel poverty.
iii) Act on the cost of living.
Conference, we recognise the proposed "Beauly – Blackhillock – New Deer – Peterhead 400kV Project" will -
Take power from large-scale onshore and offshore renewable generation connecting on the west – from the Western Isles and from connections north of Beauly, overhead cabled – to the east at via Blackhillock, New Deer and to Peterhead, harnessing more power on the journey south, cabled undersea to Humber in England—removing electricity resources, from Scotland & our North Sea, delivering it to Humber to supply the 'areas of demand' in England. This is transmission south, not a distribution network for Scotland.
In 2021 for a Scottish energy company connecting to the grid, it costs £7.36 per megawatt-hour (MWh) in the north of Scotland and £4.70 per MWh in the south of Scotland transmission area.
The same action in England and Wales costs £0.49, and in southern England generators are actually paid to connect to the grid.
Scots are told because they live far away from the main grid infrastructure, they have to pay higher electricity charges yet that same electricity generated in Scotland, is cabled down south and sold back to us at a premium, at artificially inflated prices tied to the international cost of electricity generated from gas, which is not the case in renewable Scotland. Scots have been investing in green energy for decades through higher energy prices yet getting no benefit.
The resources, and the land and sea they travel along belong to us, the Scottish people, who should be the first to benefit from them.
Scotland should take control of all its energy resources.
Energy should be cheap or ideally free in Scotland, and we should use these infrastructures set up to steal from us to our advantage and sell other countries our excess energy and provide cheap/free electricity for every home and business in Scotland. We can make our power pay the people. This policy would switch on a powerful economy for a new Scotland.
So, we recommend that we develop a beneficial energy strategy that:
a. Ends unfair transmission charges that discourage our renewable energy generators to invest and grow.
b. Ensures that the people of Scotland benefit from our own natural bounty through lower cost energy.
c. Obtains a fair return for the export of Scottish resources
Proposer: James Duncan Seconded by: Iain Cameron
That the Highlands and Islands cover a huge area and there are a lot of single-track roads throughout the Highlands. The condition of these roads is very poor. The North Coast 500 is particularly significant as it carries a large volume of tourist traffic, which is vital to the economy of the area. Much of the North Coast 500 is single-track and as the tourists enjoy the beautiful scenery there are serious problems caused with the disruption to local people going about their daily business. There should be a capital road improvement programme established to upgrade all important single-track roads to double width.
The trunk roads in the Highlands are also in much need of upgrading. The dualling of the A9 and the A96 is long overdue plus the A9 dualling should continue north of Inverness/Tore Roundabout.. The A82 Inverness-Fort William-Glasgow road is another vital link sorely in need of upgrading.
That the trunk roads in the Highlands are vital routes for trade, commerce and tourism. The A9, A96 and A82 are the main arteries that are used by the large trucks carrying goods into the Highlands.There are also a lot of lorries carrying timber and oversize loads being transported to the wind farms on the roads in the north . These slow-moving trucks can lead to held-up motorists becoming frustrated and attempting dangerous overtaking manoeuvres, which can result in serious accidents.
Conference Calls on:
The Scottish Government to implement a Highlands and Islands Road Infrastructure Plan so that the single-track roads and main trunk roads throughout the Highlands and Islands be brought up to a twenty-first century standard in order to bring a safer and speedier travel experience to all who use these roads.
The Transport Working Group to formulate a Highlands and Islands road improvement plan.
Proposer: Christina Hendry Seconded by: Denise Sommerville
Scotland’s Students have been adversely effected by the Cost of Living Crisis and have been excluded from most of the support available. As highlighted by Christina Hendry in an article earlier this week, the payments students received as part of their student loans and the income bands that determine how much students receive have remained stagnant over the last few years. This has a detrimental impact on students being able to provide for themselves which in turn has a knock on effect on their performance at University. Currently, no party is being the champions of Scotland’s students and that needs to change. Adequate support needs to be put into place to assist the next generation of Nurses, Doctors and Teachers get a receive a good education.
Conference recognises/notes with concern/regret/acknowledges/:
A. Acknowledges that the recent Scottish Govt. budget has done little to support Scotland’s students.
B. Notes with concern that student loan payments have remained stagnant for too long which has had a detrimental impact on the mental health of Scotland’s students.
C. Recognises that the income bands that determine the amount of money a student receives are no longer fit for purpose.
Conference reaffirms/notes/recognises/supports/believes Alba’s commitment to:
i) Reaffirms our commitment to Scotland’s young people.
ii) Recognises the immense value that Scotland’s students bring to Scotland.
Conference calls for/urges/demands:
1. Demands that the Scottish Govt. implement a review into the income bands that determine how much support individual students receive
2. Urges the Scottish Govt to use the taxation powers they have available to provide a fair deal for Scotland’s students.
Proposer: Jimmy Duncan Seconded by: ALBA HIGHLAND LACU
That the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, while beautiful, is remote with villages and smaller settlements scattered throughout and covering a vast area equal to the landmass of Belgium. There are vast areas where there is no signal for mobile phones; an essential service in the twenty-first century. Without this vital connectivity, businesses are less competitive, road safety alerts are compromised, and increasingly there is detrimental effect to the education of our children and students.
Many transactions now require a verification code, sent to a mobile phone, where a household may have little or no signal. Where excluded communities are permitted use of existing local emergency masts, connectivity will become inclusive. This would enable broad accessibility for residents and business, quicker relay of emergency situations, and better use of technology for educational purposes.
That this lack of digital and mobile connectivity must not be tolerated in the twenty-first century. It has to be addressed by providing wider mast access, building additional masts and increasing connectivity via satellite to improve the experience and safety of those who live, work and travel within the Highlands and Islands. Furthermore, it would enhance the experience of visitors and commuters, help children learn and enable students to continue their studies, in these remote and beautiful areas of Scotland.
Conference calls on
The Scottish Government to commit to a connectivity action plan that outlines their plans to improve connectivity for our remote communities so Scots living in these areas can be brought into the 21st century.
HIGHLY PROTECTED MARINE AREAS
Proposer: National Executive Committee Seconded by: Dave Thomson & Hector MacLeod
This Conference believes that the Scottish Government’s current proposals for Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMA) are poorly researched, unsoundly based and risk the livelihood of thousands of families in fragile coastal communities.
condemns the Scottish Government for promoting a policy based on an overriding 10 percent exclusion target contained in a shabby political deal between the SNP and the Green Party.
the withdrawal of the current proposals to be replaced by a proper consideration of the overall impact on our inshore and offshore waters of economic activity and demands an apology from the First Minister of this further example of the SNP Government turning its back on the interests of Scotland’s vital rural communities.
TRIAL BY JURY
Proposer: Eva Comrie Seconded by: Kenny MacAskill MP
WHETHER TRIAL BY JURY REMAINS SUITABLE FOR THE PROSECUTION OF SERIOUS SEXUAL OFFENCES
Conference recognises that the conduct of investigations and trials relating to rape and other sexual offences is a cause for concern in Scotland in 2023.
Conference values the use of citizens to assess credibility and reliability of evidence, actions and thoughts of witnesses and of accused persons.
Conference reaffirms Alba’s commitment to the retention of trial by jury for the prosecution of serious sexual offences including rape and attempted rape.
Conference calls upon the Scottish Government to pause steps towards removing jury trial where there are accusations of serious sexual offences, to explain what “an acceptable rate of convictions” is and to provide examples of which criminal justice system they consider might have achieved such a rate.
CRISIS IN MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
Proposer: Allan Petrie Seconded by: Lita Hallyburton
Conference notes with concern increasing pressure on mental health staff resulting in part from growing demand for their services and from staff shortages.
ALBA calls upon the Scottish Government to commission an action Group comprising, mental health professionals, 3rd sector mental health support groups and service users, to work collaboratively with mental health practitioners to identify problems within the sector and empower them to prioritise solutions to improve, streamline and restore confidence within the service.
Given recognition that early intervention limits adverse impact later in life, this merits additional funding and Conference calls for this to assist the third sector including therapeutic services as alternative or complementary therapy.
RECOGNISING THE GÀIDHEALTACHD REGIONS IN SCOTLAND
Proposer: William MacRobbie Seconded by: Lisa Corse
The Gaelic language and Gaelic speaking communities continue to be at high risk of serious decline.
In the 1981 census, 80% of people in the islands reported an ability to speak Gaelic compared to 52% in the 2011 census.
A decline of 9,660 Gaelic speakers, most notably, with younger people in particular no longer speaking the language.
CONFERENCE RECOGNISES THAT
Gaelic has been used in Scotland for more than 1,500 years.
Scotland as a country has a unique opportunity where Gaelic language and culture can be strengthened and preserved.
While its use has declined, Gaelic is a vital part of Scotland's cultural identity, especially for people in the Highlands and Islands.
Conference recognises that positive work has, and continues, to be done by the Scottish Government and Bòrd na Gàidhlig as the principal public body in Scotland since being established under the Gaelic Language act 2005.
Many years have been dedicated to preserve and protect our Gaelic language and culture, however, it is starkly clear from the 2011 census figures that much more must be done.
CONFERENCE THEREFORE RESOLVES THAT
Extra funding be found for the Gaelic development fund to correct the 30% real-term cuts to its budget over the last few years.
The core Gaelic-speaking areas where Gaelic speakers constitute a majority or substantial minority of the population be recognised as Gàidhealtachd regions by the Scottish Government, not as a symbolic statement, but using The Republic of Ireland’s Gaeltacht Act 2012 as a model for the required institutional and policy framework.
Recognition also be granted to Gaelic Language Networks in urban areas outwith the Gàidhealtachd, where there is a considerable existing density of Gaelic organisations, community groups, events, and Gaelic-medium education provision, and realistic potential for further consolidation. The Alba Party lead the way and launch a Gaelic Speakers For Alba group, where members will promote the Gaelic Language and develop up to date policies for the party.
CANCEL CULTURE A THREAT TO DEMOCRACY
Proposer: Christina Hendry Seconded by: Scott Fallon
Over the last few years there has been a consistent push to stop debate and silencing people through shaming, accusations and misinformation. This is a real threat to democracy. We will never win our independence by telling people what to think – we need to ally fears, engage in constructive discussions and by mindful that not everyone feels the same way about the topics we do.
Conference recognises that:
A. Social Media is used as a ‘weapon’ to close debate and demonise people
B. people can come to real physical harm as a result of Social Media threats and targeting
C. debate is necessary and absolutely essential if a fair and just society is to exist
Conference reaffirms Alba’s commitment to…
i) equality for all
ii) healthy and respectful debate
iii) listening to all sides
1. all parties to encourage open and respectful dialogue
2. individuals to be more tolerant of others viewpionts
3. members to lead by example