JEREMY Corbyn has said he wants to harness the energy of Scotland’s independence referendum to reinvigorate politics across the UK.
With six months to go until the Holyrood elections, the UK Labour leader declared winning in Scotland a personal priority.
People say everyone involved in politics is ‘all the same’. We need to break that perception”JEREMY CORBYN
And he quoted Labour Party founder Keir Hardie – who died 100 years ago this year – and his vision, “the sunshine of socialism”.
Mr Corbyn told the Scottish Labour conference in Perth: “Too often, people say that everyone involved in politics is ‘all the same’. We need to break that perception.
“In the referendum last year, 85 per cent of people turned out to vote because the stakes were high, and because they knew that regardless of how people voted it would have a dramatic effect on the future of your nation.
“I believe that all politics today – not just constitutional politics – is that important.
“The stakes are high. When we vote for a government – as we are seeing with these Tories – their decisions have an impact on the lives and life chances of an entire generation.
“That’s true for Scotland and it’s true for Britain. So let’s take the best of the energy the referendum campaign unleashed, and let’s fuse that with Hardie’s hopeful vision.”
Mr Corbyn acknowledged the general election defeat had sent Labour a message that the party across the UK needed to change. “We had become too distant, too remote and – whether it was true or not – we were perceived to be a party that could no longer represent the whole of Britain. It is my mission, it is our mission, to turn that around.”
Today, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale is due to promise a Scottish Labour government would use the new powers coming to Holyrood to restore tax credits for working families in Scotland.
And she will say the move would be paid for by making different choices on tax from the SNP and the Tories – Labour would not go ahead with the SNP’s planned cut to Air Passenger Duty or the Tory plan for a tax cut for those on the higher rate of tax.
Ms Dugdale is expected to tell delegates: “Scottish Labour will stand for the elections with a promise to restore the money Scottish families will lose from this Tory tax rise on working families. We will act as soon as the new powers make it possible.
“We don’t need to tax ordinary Scots more to make this change. We just need to make different choices from the Tories and the SNP.
“A tax cut for those who can already afford to shop for airline tickets cannot be Scotland’s priority when families cannot afford the weekly shop.”
Tomorrow the conference will debate Trident, with calls for the party to change policy and oppose renewal of the nuclear weapons system.