The purpose of Scottish Labour is deliver a fair and just Scotland
The independence referendum wasn’t just a wake-up call, rather it demonstrated that on both sides of the Yes/No divide Scots wanted significant change. Scotland is a country with a renewed sense of aspiration, and that aspiration must be met by Scottish Labour.
Our leadership elections should be seen as a fantastic opportunity to decide on the future direction of our party in Scotland. All three candidates for leader have much to offer. Both Jim and Sarah bring the skills and experience of ministerial office. Both Jim and Sarah jointly undertook the last review of Scottish Labour in 2011, which resulted in many welcome reforms. I have been much impressed with Sarah’s listening approach in her campaign. And Jim has clearly shown how to take the debate to the nationalists with his fantastic ‘100 streets in 100 days’ tour.
I believe the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary elections are going to be fought on aspirations of social justice and tackling inequality in Scotland. While the SNP have talked a lot on such matters and done very little, in truth we haven’t been bold or radical enough either. Without doubt, the leader of the Scottish Labour Party must have autonomy to do things as she or he sees fit in the best interests of Scots and Scotland.
We need to give our leader a clear mandate to be bold and transformational.
On education we need to fight for the 140,000 forgotten Scots who should have had a college place; we must use procurement law to implement a Scottish Living Wage for workers, and provide proper child care support so women can access the workplace in Scotland; on housing we must tackle the third class treatment of tenants in Scotland’s growing private rented sector; we need to redistribute wealth via devolved taxation powers, and improve council services for those most in need; we must guarantee privatisation has no place in Scotland’s NHS; and we must remove barriers to justice, and access to justice, for all Scots as a matter of fundamental principle.
For me the candidate who best demonstrates a bold vision capable of tackling social and economic inequality in Scotland is Neil Findlay MSP.
We need big policies that can deliver transformational change to meet the aspirations of all Scots. Social and economic change based upon traditional Labour principles and values. Neil has made that commitment and deserves a chance to deliver.
(c) Mike Dailly, Glasgow, 10 November 2014.