Margaret Curran MP today gave a speech in Edinburgh in which she argued that “Britain has worked for Scotland” and that a Labour Government after 2015 offers a different vision from both the Tory-led UK Government and Alex Salmond’s Scottish Government.
On Scotland’s partnership in the UK, Margaret Curran said:
“What was, at the outset, a constitutional relationship built on pragmatism has become much more.
"With every step – every institution we built together, every shared experience, every movement of goods and people across our borders – the relationship between our nations deepened.
"And some of those institutions are ones that we in the Labour Party can take great pride in.
"Attlee’s welfare state was a Labour invention that took root in London, but spread out across the UK.
"To the benefit of all across the UK.
"It didn’t discriminate by what region or nation you came from.
"It was built to recognise the worth of everyone and to treat them equally with dignity and respect.
"Some of the finest leaders of British Trade Unions didn’t come from England.
"They came from Scotland.
"But their aspiration to improve the lives and livelihoods of working people extended beyond the borders of Scotland and were best served by shaping, influencing and leading British institutions.
"They knew that that was how they would bring about the greatest change.
"And when, in my lifetime, we stood against Tory Governments, we didn’t use it as a reason to leave behind people who were also suffering in Liverpool or Newcastle or Cardiff.
"When I argued against the Poll Tax in Glasgow, I did it knowing that my voice joined others across the UK that were making the same case.
"I would have taken little pleasure in thinking that my family in Glasgow were spared, but my family in Leeds still suffered.
"And the case for working together is stronger now than it ever has been.
"The challenges we face now aren’t challenges that are going to be solved by building walls around ourselves.”
On Labour’s offer for 2015, Margaret Curran said:
"I n 2015 we will present people a clear choice.
"It will be a set of ideas that will have building a better Scotland at its heart.
"And we’re taking a new approach to how we develop our policy.
"In the past few months we have started to develop the ideas that will form Scottish Labour’s platform in the 2015 election.
"This draws on the strength of the talented Scots we have on the front bench.
"They are working with the UK Shadow Cabinet to come up with the fresh thinking and new ideas we need for 2015.
"Ideas that haven’t just been thought up in seminar rooms, but ideas that come from the communities across Scotland.
"It will be a platform that will distinguish us both from the cruelty and incompetence of the Tories.
"And the false promises and contradictions of the SNP.
She also said:
"And that’s where I think you see some of the biggest differences between the SNP and Labour.
"On the one hand, Ed Miliband who calls for a One Nation approach.
"An approach that says we should bind together to tackle one of the biggest political challenges we’ve faced since the war.
"Using the talents of everyone across the UK, no matter where they are, to make our country great again.
"It’s an approach that says we all have a contribution to make and none of us has a monopoly on wisdom.
"Versus the SNP’s view of the world which is based on going it alone.
"Breaking away from successful partnerships and trying to say there’s no benefit to be created from working together.
"You can also choose a different approach to how we run our economy.
"Earlier this year, Ed Miliband called time on trickledown economics – the idea that the best way to make us all better off is to make sure it’s easier for those at the top to fill their pockets.
"A generation of experience now has shown us that this just isn’t true.
"But set against this, we have a Scottish National party that as recently as last Thursday said they’d be willing to cut taxes for big companies because that’s the best way to create growth.
"A Scottish National Party that still refuses to say whether they’re for or against the UK Government’s decision to scrap the 50p tax rate for the richest people at a time when ordinary working people are suffering.
"And finally, you have the choice between a Labour Party led by a man who staked his reputation on getting the best deal for victims of press intrusion.
"Versus Alex Salmond who wouldn’t admit on Sky News on Sunday morning when he last talked to Rupert Murdoch.
"And in his approach to building One Nation, Ed Miliband knows that Scotland matters.”