Speaking last weekend at a conference of Labour members in Fife, Scottish Labour MSP Alex Rowley called for support for ‘a transformation of Labour and how it functions within the UK, with the party in Scotland having an autonomous voice for Scotland’. Mr Rowley said; “Scottish Labour should build a new partnership and work with its sister party in the rest of the UK where it is appropriate, and where it is in the interests of the people of Scotland to do so.
Alex Continued; “Scottish Labour must speak with its own distinctive voice, its leadership must be able to react and respond to Scottish political challenges free from the constraints of a UK political party that may, understandably, have other priorities. It must have the autonomy and power to set the agenda in Scotland building and setting out a policy platform and direction which embodies the values and aspirations of the people of Scotland. The clear message in the referendum, whether people voted yes or no, was one of a demand for change. I am convinced the only way our party can continue its tradition of progressive and radical change in policy, our constitution, and our future is by taking decisions for Scotland in Scotland.
“On the future of Scotland I made clear in our Parliament last week that I will stand shoulder to shoulder with SNP Ministers to ensure the new Scotland Act delivers both the spirit and the letter of what was agreed by the Smith Commission, no ifs, no buts, nothing else will be acceptable.
“But Scottish Labour must then set out a clear and progressive vision on how we will lead the movement for change post Smith, what more powers we require and more importantly how we will use those powers to achieve our vision of a fairer and more equal Scotland built on the principles of social justice and equality.
“On issues such as welfare we need to move from the current position of what powers should be devolved to Scotland, to a new starting point of what powers should remain at Westminster in the best interest of Scotland. On employment, on job creation, on wages, on all aspects of Scottish life our starting point must be unless there is good reason for these powers not to be in Scotland then that is where they should be – in our elected Parliament which is directly accountable to the people of our country.
“So the challenge for, the Party of Home Rule for Scotland is to quickly and effectively put our own house in order regarding how we organise and are governed, define our relationship with Labour across the UK and then set out a clear and progressive agenda for the future of Scotland that can allow the people of Scotland to once again put their trust in Labour to be the government of Scotland”.