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I am a Councillor on Sheffield City Council for Arbourthorne ward in Sheffield and a Labour Party activist.

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For latest news, remember to look at my Blog

Video: “I won’t give you the gift of hating you”

Much has been written about the attacks in Paris and the aftermath. I found this video is particularly powerful:

(c) BBC

Labour’s Changing Membership – and why it matters

Below is an article I have written for the Fabian Society – please let me know your thoughts: 

The increase in Labour’s membership is profound. Reports suggest an additional 170,000 members have joined, including the 60,000 since Jeremy Corbyn became Leader of the Opposition. These numbers are unprecedented and should be a cause for deep celebration. But who are the people who’ve joined us, and what might they mean for the make-up of our membership?

Most coverage of our expanding size before Corbyn’s election focused on potential “entryists” or mischievous Tories, but now we must reflect on the significant change taking place in terms of the party’s composition.

Previous Fabian articles have touched on the split between the “old core” (white, working class, stable communities) and “new core” (egalitarian, university-educated, public sector workers and BAME communities) of the Labour Party. Is the same now happening with Party membership?

Talking to colleagues across the country, it certainly appears that the Party across England is becoming more like the Party in London. The vast majority of new members come from the middle classes, the public sector and BAME communities, all sharing a distinctly cosmopolitan outlook. This makes perfect sense, of course – polling suggests these groups are least likely to be concerned about immigration and most concerned by cuts to the public sector. So they’re much more likely to be attracted to Jeremy Corbyn’s clear policy approach in these areas.

As a result, the membership of wards in middle class areas is growing much faster than wards in working class areas. Membership is also growing fastest in London and slowest in the North East.

All new members are welcome, but we need to recognise that the revival in membership is not happening equally across the country, or even equally within constituencies or communities. As a result, the overall character of Labour Party membership is shifting.

This shift in the composition poses a number of challenges for Labour, not least how the party can develop a coherent vision that appeals to both sections of its membership. Before it can unite its “new core” and “old core” voters, Labour needs to unite its “new core” and “old core” membership.

The Labour Party’s structures and meeting culture remain broadly unchanged from thirty years ago. They take place within a strange environment, using abbreviations and language almost never used outside of the reified confines of these particular meetings. It is not surprising that Labour’s unique bureaucracy and language is off-putting to the Party’s more traditional members.

Members also tend, understandably, to select candidates who share their views and values. We have a problem, then: if Labour’s membership is becoming greater in number, but less diverse in its outlook and composition, how does the Party train and select candidates who represent other perspectives that are more closely allied with its traditional voters? Put bluntly, Labour could struggle to select more working class members when working class members make up a smaller and smaller proportion of our membership.

Similarly, Stella Creasy has set out the risk of Labour becoming “the public sector party”. If Labour’s new members are overwhelmingly drawn from the public sector and its associated professions, how do we reassure voters that Labour understands the private sector and is sympathetic towards it?

This should be of serious concern to the party, particularly in the wake of the Tories’ recent positioning – ludicrous as it is – of themselves as the “workers’ party”. The Tax Credits debacle has blunted that attack, but we must assume that the Tories will return to this theme and continue to push a message that has the potential to split Labour further from its traditional support. 

The unprecedented increase in the number of Party members is extremely welcome and provides Labour with scale, skills and opportunities it has not had in living memory. But the Party must also ensure its membership reflects our country and our communities in all ways, especially among those who would benefit most from a Labour government. To build the broad, united movement we all want, Jeremy Corbyn must first address this particular challenge of Labour’s unprecedented, but also unequal, revival.

Jack Scott is a Sheffield City Councillor, and a former PPC.  He tweets at  @Jack_Scott.  

The original article is here

Speech to Full Council: “Sheffield for Europe – Europe for Sheffield”

On Wednesday, I spoke at the Full Council meeting of Sheffield City Council on the importance of the EU to both Sheffield and Britain.  Below are my remarks – I’m grateful for your thoughts.


When the EU was founded, men and women who had been trying to kill each other just 10 years earlier shook hands and promised there would never again be another European Great war. They kept that promise and from the ashes of war, they built a peace and a solidarity that still binds our continent together today.

Now, the prospect of European countries going to war with each other has diminished and we face another set of challenges: The threat of climate change. global criminal networks, trafficking and people smuggling, mass movement of refugees, tax havens and controlling global finance.

No country on earth – no matter how great – can tackle these issues by itself. Every one of these challenges requires more coordination between countries, more collaboration, more sharing of information and a more international approach. That is what the European Union provides.

Across our country, we can see the impact the EU has had – creating millions of jobs, opening trade and investment, bringing people together and broadening horizons.

Within Sheffield, our landscape is defined by the investment the EU has secured. Just imagine Sheffield without the EU:

  • No Peace Gardens,
  • No Train Station,
  • No Advanced Manufacturing Park,
  • No new bus lanes,
  • No new play equipment, No new woodlands and so on and so on.
  • And now the Fox Valley Retail Development in Stocksbridge, the Grey to Green scheme and the Castle Market project have all secured EU funding and would not have happened without it.

The upcoming referendum is one of the defining political issues of our generation. Those of us who will lead the campaign for Britain to remain a member of the EU have a big job to do in busting media myths and UKIP scaremongering.

This must be a positive campaign. We don’t want Britain to be a small-minded, small-hearted and small-time country.

Britain can only play its rightful role in the world through Europe and with out European partners. We can all be proud to be a Sheffielder, proud to be British and proud to be European.

I’d like to conclude by saying that no government is perfect. The EU isn’t perfect either. But for all its faults, it is the most peaceful, most prosperous and most successful democratic Union in the history of the world.

And I am confident that when the time comes, the people of Sheffield will choose prosperity over poverty, choose partnership over division and choose hope over fear by voting strongly to remain a member of the EU.


Interview with BBC Radio Sheffield on Jeremy Corbyn’s conference speech

Yesterday I was interviewed by Toby X Foster on BBC Radio Sheffield about Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to the Labour Party conference.
You can listen again below.


Emissions Scandal

Last year I gave evidence to Parliament on the issue of air quality, where we covered the methods car manufacturers use to mask poor air emissions.

This is a truly global scandal. I believe literally millions of customers across continents have been ripped off – I would go as far as to call it the “PPI sandal” of the car industry.

You can see my evidence to the House of Commons committee below – I start at 15:09 – just after Boris Johnson!

Click Here to see the evidence.

The full report is here – which talks at length about the need for a proper testing regime, agreed international standards and the need for real world testing, not just lab trials.

Sheffield’s Response to the Refugee Crisis


A number of constituents – with the full range of views – have contacted me in recent weeks concerning the refugee crisis in Syria and the Council’s response, so I thought I would post the text below.

I appreciate that the position below won’t please everyone and I understand there are different perspectives. But having worked with refugees over a number of years and spoken recently to people who have experienced persecution and abuse and made their way here, I couldn’t support a position that didn’t reflect our common and shared humanity.
Councillor Jack Scott and Councillor Mike Drabble at a meeting in Arbourthorne, saying "Refugees Welcome"

Councillor Jack Scott and Councillor Mike Drabble at a meeting in Arbourthorne, saying “Refugees Welcome”

As the UK’s first City of Sanctuary, we will play our part in the resettlement of Syrian refugees as part of the UK’s response to the refugee crisis.

The British government determines how many refugees are allowed into the country and has committed to take 20,000 people over five years from refugee camps in countries bordering Syria.

In Sheffield we have a strong tradition of helping those fleeing persecution. We were the first authority to take part in the Government’s Gateway Protection Programme and have done so for the last 11 years. We already have a funded agreement to resettle 130 refugees from other countries this year (2015/16).

The current situation is a great concern to us. So we have made an immediate offer to Government to resettle ten to fifteen families from Syria as soon as possible, and are open to further talks with them about playing our part in the future national resettlement programme. This is in addition to our current Gateway agreement.

We have offered to take this number initially as we know we can successfully resettle fifty people immediately. We will continue to play our part in resettlement as part of the national programme after this first phase.

The support provided to people will be directly funded by Central Government. This is essential because we know, through our experiences over the last decade, that we need the resources in place to support people. Support includes housing support, English language teaching, and support in finding work.

We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of Sheffield people wanting to help. We are working with other organisations and local charities to pull together information on how people can volunteer and donate to support people fleeing Syria.

In the meantime people who want to make a donation to help support refugees can do this online through the Refugee Council at www.refugeecouncil.org.uk

I hope this is a useful update. If you require more information, please contact me.
Yvette Cooper’s speech on this issue is also well worth reading.


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