It must be time for #TwilightTalks!
Indeed, it was. Yesterday evening, EVOC welcomed the Edinburgh Labour group – in the form of Forth Councillor Cammy Day and Craigentinny/Duddingston Councillor Ewan Aitken – for a wide-ranging and stimulating discussion about the Third Sector’s aspirations and Edinburgh Labour’s ambitions for the Council Elections 2012.
The Edinburgh Labour group had just that morning launched its own Manifesto for the Council Elections – providing an ideal opportunity for the group to explore linkages and synergies between the Edinburgh Labour Manifesto and the Third Sector Manifesto published last Autumn.
Welcoming the guests EVOC Board Member David Griffiths emphasised the Third Sector’s keenness to engage in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council.
In their opening remarks both Labour Councillors restated their commitment to the Edinburgh Compact Partnership. Cllr Ewan Aitken returned through the evening to the core theme of ‘building relationships,’ praising the Third Sector for being ‘great at relationships.’ A City, he reminded us, is built upon relationships. Not shying away from recognising that the Council had to take its share of the responsibility, Cllr Aitken told the group that the Council must rebuild Trust with the Third Sector and with communities. Refreshing candour from a retiring (not shy) Councillor.
Tale of Two Manifestos
Responding to the challenges posed within the Third Sector Manifesto, the two Councillors made the following points.
1) Be Bold. Provide leadership.
Leader of the Edinburgh Labour group Cllr Andrew Burns promises to bring the values of public service and co-operation to his leadership of the city. Labour also promises to ‘enhance leadership in schools.’
2) Put addressing inequalities front and centre of all your policies and strategies.
Perhaps the element of their manifesto which has gathered the most interest has been Labour’s commitment to institute a Living Wage for all Council employees and all those from whom it purchases services. The party also promises to cap the ‘lowest-to-highest paid’ ratio at 1:12 – an ambitious aspiration.
3) Be true to the spirit and reality of Co-Production
The Edinburgh Labour manifesto doesn’t use the language of Co-Production, but the core theme of the party’s hopes for the City of Edinburgh Council is to build ‘a Co-operative Council’ founded on trusting and honest relationships.
4) Consider the limits of Competitive Tendering
As part of the Co-operative Council theme, the Labour group promises NOT to privatise services or sell them off to the highest bidder. A Labour administration would ‘tip the balance’ against unfair competition from ‘big outsiders,’ to support local businesses.
As before, issues and questions from the floor covered a range of themes. A lively discussion was held. And we look forward to next Tuesday’s event when the Third Sector meets the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. Do join us – either at EVOC or online via this blog or on Twitter using the hashtag #TwilightTalks.
Hosted by EVOC on behalf of Edinburgh’s Third Sector Interface, this series of Twilight Talks take place from 5.30 – 7.00pm on successive Tuesdays as below.
Tuesday 20 March – Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Tuesday 27 March – Scottish Liberal Democrats
Tuesday 03 April – Scottish National Party
Read more about this programme of events: https://www.evoc.org.uk/blog-archive/embrace-the-change/ and view the agenda and details: https://www.evoc.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/media/2012/02/Twilight_Talks_on_a_Tuesday2.pdf
And if you’re into Twitter, please use the hashtag #TwilightTalks