Leonard and Corbyn: real change CAN happen

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Richard Leonard, the newly-elected leader of the Scottish Labour Party, will today give a wide ranging speech in Glasgow laying out his plans for the first months of his leadership.

He will announce his ambition that the core of his leadership campaign – his policy plan for real change – will form the basis Scottish Labour’s future programme for government.

He will explain how he will bring policies he stood for as a leadership candidate to Scottish Labour’s next Conference – which takes place in Dundee in March next year – as part of a rolling programme of policy development, including twelve reviews and a commission on tax.

Leonard will declare that his driving mission is to give confidence to the Scottish people that real change can happen so that the real wealth creators – that means all of us – run society, not the wealth extractors.

Leonard, speaking at a joint press event with Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, will state that his leadership will be measured by three goals:

  • to win for Labour in Holyrood and become First Minister
  • to give the Scottish people confidence that they can make real change
  • and to lead a Labour surge in Scotland that will help Labour win the next Westminster elections.

Welcoming Richard Leonard’s vision for Scottish Labour and the country, Corbyn will say that he will work “as closely as possible” with Leonard to “change our society for the many not the few.”

Corbyn will state the Labour’s mission is to inspire people in every nation and region of the UK to “have the confidence to be a country that genuinely cares for all.”

Draft speeches

Leonard is expected to say:

I was elected Scottish Labour Leader promising real change – and it is real change that together we will deliver.

This task will not be easy. Change never comes without a fight. But we must, and we will, face the future with confidence.

Confidence that we, the Labour Party and labour movement, will be the force to transform our society for the many not the few.

Confidence not just in our own abilities, but in the capacity of working people in our country to run their own affairs, to control their own lives, and build a more prosperous and just nation.

We must give our people the confidence that real change can happen.

That’s the agenda I set out over these past few weeks – and I’d like to thank Anas Sarwar for his spirited campaign. And it is this agenda – a plan for real change – that we must now take into our party and to the people of Scotland.

Real change, for the many not the few, is the beating heart of our party. It has been our mission and our inspiration ever since Keir Hardie stood as the first Labour candidate in Mid Lanarkshire in 1888.

But a powerful mission can and must always be reshaped and recharged. That’s what Jeremy Corbyn has done so successfully as Leader of the Party in Westminster.

His principles, policies and integrity – along with the energy and passion of hundreds of thousands of new members – has breathed new life into our party.

I pledge to do the same here in Scotland.

That’s why I am announcing today plans to take my policy programme for real change, that I stood on to be leader into the Party, to our membership at our Party Conference in Dundee next March.

Over the coming months, we will set up up twelve policy reviews and a commission on tax to further develop our policies on the vital issues facing Scotland including: funding and powers for local government, meeting the housing crisis, improving the health of our children, tackling climate change and developing green energy as well as extending public ownership.

This moment can be a turning point for our Party in Scotland but also for the UK as a whole. We can and must change our society. We will challenge austerity from the SNP in Holyrood and the Tories in Westminster.

Inequality, injustice and poverty are not inevitable. Together, we can seize the day and, as John Smith said when he became Labour leader, “persuade millions of the strength of our vision, the relevance of our policies and the urgency of our demand for change”.

Labour has changed, and now we are determined to change Scotland. That is our task today; it is one I am confident that we can achieve together.

Corbyn is expected to say:

I want to offer my warmest congratulations to Richard Leonard for being elected as the new leader of the Scottish Labour Party. I know that under Richard’s leadership Scottish Labour will once again bring hope and confidence to the people of Scotland.

During this leadership election, Richard laid out a bold and radical agenda for Scottish Labour and showed his determination to bring real change to Scotland. I look forward to working as closely as possible with Richard to change our society for the many not the few.

Now our whole party and movement must campaign together to inspire people in every nation and region of the UK to have the confidence to be a country that genuinely cares for all.

It is Labour that offers the Scottish people real change and a break with the failed and rigged system that has held our people back.

Together with the people of every nation and region of the UK, we will build a new economy that delivers good jobs and cutting edge investment in every part of our country, and puts equality and social justice at the heart of everything that we do.

Having witnessed the impact of the ‘Corbyn surge’ during the General Election, Labour’s political opponents in Scotland will not be thrilled at the prospect of facing a Scottish Labour leader whose political views complement those of the leader of the UK party but who has his own vision and plan for the direction of the party in Scotland.

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  1. Meanwhile, in the jungle, Kesia having failed in her attempt at celebrity status in her daytime job is getting on with the really important task of making sure everyone recognises her ‘talents’. Unfettered hubris can be very destructive.thing.

    1. Actually on the today programme on (or after) Leonard’s election victory they introduced the topic with “In Scotland, Richard Leonard, a privately educated trade unionist has been elected….” You might wonder why they highlighted the private education when I don’t recall any Tories ever been introduced in this way. Besides, I’m sure Leonard himself didn’t have any choice in that matter!

      1. Accepting the education while rejecting the political indoctrination of the private school culture shows strength of character.
        Tony Benn for example.
        Tony Blair’s an example of something much less savoury.

  2. Cause for a celebration as Scottish and English Labour unite for the many not the few.

  3. The Scottish accounting branch of the Labour Party will have to differentiate itself from the other unionist parties in Scotland if it wishes move forward otherwise they are just collecting the votes split between the unionist parties, winning some, losing many. In addition, it will be difficult to promulgate left of centre policies without mimicking the dominant Scottish political party with left of centre policies. There is a way out of the conundrum but, so far, their visceral hatred of the dominate Scottish political party blinds them from accepting alternative strategies.

  4. Pleased to see that Richard Leonard, unlike his recent opponent, opposes nuclear weapons:
    http://www.banthebomb.org/index.php/102- uncategorised/1960-scottish-labour-party-leadership-candidates-views-on-trident

    Corbyn should now seek to change Labour Party policy on this issue. The time to compromise has passed.

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