Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Scottish Labour must show it is offering hope for the future – Richard Leonard

The party’s leader spoke of the need for ‘genuine far-reaching change’ in Scotland ahead of its conference in Dundee.

New Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard wants to show voters the party is again “offering hope for the future”.

Mr Leonard, a left-wing MSP who took over the leadership of the party in November, said that was his “overriding objective” for the Scottish Labour conference this weekend.

Both Jeremy Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell are due to address the party faithful at the event in Dundee, with Mr Leonard also making a keynote speech.

Ahead of the event, Mr Leonard stressed the need for “genuine far-reaching change” in Scotland to address the root causes of problems such as poverty and inequality.

Writing for the new Red Robin website, he said: “This is my first conference as leader. My overriding objective is for this conference to demonstrate to the people of Scotland that we are a party offering hope for the future and that once again the Scottish Labour Party is the vehicle for the realisation of that hope.

“Because it is not enough to call for the amelioration of deepening poverty and widening inequality: we must also win power to transform the system that creates it in the first place. ”

Mr Leonard described Scotland as being a “class-based society in which the unequal distribution of wealth remains not just unaltered but largely unchallenged”.

To tackle this, he argued, “requires a politics which understands the pressing need for genuine, far-reaching change”.

Mr Leonard said: “It is not simply that the present social and economic programme of this Scottish Government is too limited and insufficiently bold, though it is. It is also that even on its own limited terms it has run out of steam.”

He continued: “This year’s conference will dedicate time to discussing some of the issues that were priorities from my leadership campaign last year.

“For example, the debate on public ownership underlines that the Scottish Labour Party does not limit itself to change within the existing framework of the Scottish economy.

“We want to push for more radical and transformative change to rebalance the economy so that it works in the interests of the many, not the few.”


From Belfast Telegraph