31 December 2018

We need to recapture the ambition and hope that marked the establishment of the Scottish Parliament 20 years ago, Richard Leonard says in his new year message.

Quoting Donald Dewar from his opening speech in 1999, the Scottish Labour Leader says the Parliament he campaigned for was about more than politics and laws, it was about “who we are, how we carry ourselves”.

In the video, which will be released on his social media channels on New Year’s Eve, he adds that it was set up not as an end in itself but as “a means to greater ends”.

But he goes on to ask – with poverty, homelessness and foodbanks now almost taken for granted, with public services stretched to breaking point, and the economy flagging and jobs being lost – what has happened to that ambition and hope?

The message concludes: “So we must renew that founding spirit. That ambition that power can mean real change.

“That is what Scottish Labour stands for. And what we will fight for in 2019.

“Happy New Year. Together we will build a better, brighter future for the many, not the few.”

“This coming year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of this Parliament.

“A Parliament that I and others in the Scottish Labour Party and the trade union movement were proud to campaign for.

“At its opening, in a speech full of ambition and hope, the late Donald Dewar said that it was about much more than politics and laws.

“He said that it was about “who we are, how we carry ourselves”.

“A Parliament for Scotland not as an end in itself but as “a means to greater ends”.

“Power for a purpose.

“Twenty years on, what has happened to that ambition and hope?

“Poverty, homelessness and foodbanks now so rife they’re almost taken for granted.

“Our National Health Service, schools and local services stretched to breaking point.

“An economy flagging and manufacturing jobs lost.

“The power we have is not being used to make people’s lives better.

“So we must renew that founding spirit. That ambition that power can mean real change.

“That is what Scottish Labour stands for. And what we will fight for in 2019.

“Happy New Year. Together we will build a better, brighter future for the many, not the few.”

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