This morning Scottish Labour Leader Kez Dugdale set out a clear and progressive vision for the future shape of the United Kingdom rejecting the mantra of Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Tories that nothing needs to change, whilst also rejecting the obsession of Nicola Sturgeon that nationalism and independence overarches all other concerns for Scotland moving forward.
In rejecting both the Tory status quo and the SNP obsession for independence Kez presents a vision for change that will equip Scotland and the rest of the UK to face up to the big challenges facing all of us. We need answers and alternatives to failed austerity, we must make tackling the unacceptable levels of poverty and inequality in our country and across the UK a priority, and we must rebuild our faltering economy by bringing about investment in research and development, in jobs and growth and in the greatest asset our country, its people.
As we face up to the outcome of the referendum on Europe and we find the best possible pathway for exiting our membership of the European Union we must put in place a new constitutional settlement that recognises the different dynamics of our nations and regions whilst harnessing the very real and clear benefits of remaining a United Kingdom. Whilst we must achieve the best access we can to the European single market, this cannot be at the expense of Scotland losing access to our by far largest single market, the rest of the UK.
Kez is correct to say that over time far too much political power has become concentrated in too few hands; and that power and wealth hoarded in one corner of our United Kingdom has not worked for the vast majority of people in other parts. Clearly this debate goes much wider than just Scotland and it is encouraging that others including this week the Governor of the Bank of England are making clear that the current system is perpetuating greater inequality in many parts of the UK. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation today publishes research that demonstrates that for many working people Britain is not working.
So Brexit gives us the opportunity in all parts of the UK to have the discussion about how we are governed, how resources are distributed and spent and how best our structures of government and decision making can be re-established to better address the big challenges facing people in all part of the United Kingdom.