Jackie Baillie says ‘Bring on the Nats’
By Bill Heaney
Scottish Labour deputy leadership candidate Jackie Baillie today said the party must campaign for solidarity – not separation – and challenge the ‘arrogance’ of the SNP.
In a keynote campaign speech, she said Labour must strongly oppose a second independence referendum and champion an ‘outward looking, internationalist, hope-filled Scotland’ focused on co-operation, not conflict.
Ms Baillie said Scotland’s entire political system is suffering because ‘nationalism crowds out every other consideration’, branding the SNP ‘increasingly arrogant and intolerant’.
She warned that the SNP doesn’t have a poll lead because its record is strong, but because Labour has been too weak.
Ms Baillie outlined a number of measures to revitalise Scottish Labour, including giving Labour councillors the power to elect a councillor who will sit in the party’s Shadow Cabinet, and restarting and widening the Gordon Aikman Leadership Programme to nurture fresh talent in the party.
Ms Baillie said the party needs to change and she is up for the fight against the ‘arrogant, rotten SNP government’.
Jackie Baillie MSP, Scottish Labour deputy leadership candidate, said: “We need to open our doors, rebuild and unite our party, look outwards not inwards and be ruthless in our intention to win.
“I’m a strong supporter of the notion that if you believe what you say then say what you believe.
“So, I’ll say it: I believe in socialism, not nationalism; I believe in solidarity, not separation.
“I don’t believe independence is in the best interests of Scotland and I don’t support another independence referendum.
“We simply can’t go into the next election saying we support indyref2, but oppose independence – that is a very small voter pool indeed.
“We should never forget that devolution isn’t an anaemic form of nationalism, it is the antithesis of nationalism.
“We are the party of devolution, but we have only been telling half the story.
“That means we make the case for socialist policies using the powers of the Scottish Parliament, but we also have to make the case for the things we think are better shared with others.”
The Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh.
She added:“Why would you want to end the redistribution of wealth from the richest parts of the United Kingdom to Scotland?
“That’s nationalism, and none of us in the Labour party, nobody in the trade union movement, no one truly committed to the funding of public services could support the vision of austerity set out by the SNP’s economic prospectus.
“And we should have the courage of our convictions to come out and say that.
“It’s not just the daily business of government that has suffered.
“Our entire political system is suffering because nationalism crowds out every other consideration.
“Are we going to spend the next few years repeating the SNP’s criticisms of us or are we going to get off our knees?
“Are we going to throw everything we’ve got at this arrogant, rotten SNP government or spend the time fighting amongst ourselves?
“I’m up for the fight.”