Labour best placed to re­build the coun­try

Rutherglen Reformer - - Ged Killen -

I have just re­turned from Liver­pool where the UK Labour Party held its most-well at­tended an­nual con­fer­ence in re­cent years, show­cas­ing just how vi­brant and rad­i­cal the Labour move­ment is across the UK.

I was de­lighted to hear from Jeremy Cor­byn and John McDon­nell who un­veiled a bold plan for gov­ern­ment that would see wealth and power re­dis­tributed across the UK from the few to the many.

Ideas in­clude cre­at­ing a place for work­ers on the boards of big com­pa­nies, in­creas­ing the co-op­er­a­tive sec­tor and cre­at­ing more green jobs than ever be­fore.

A per­sonal con­fer­ence high­light was Labour’s Shadow For­eign Sec­re­tary, Emily Thorn­berry, who gave a barn­storm­ing speech on the proud his­tory of the Labour move­ment in de­liv­er­ing change and stand­ing up to the big­otry of the far right.

She made it clear that the next Labour gov­ern­ment’s for­eign pol­icy would be one based on the re­spect for hu­man rights and in­ter­na­tional law, some­thing the en­tire con­fer­ence wel­comed to thun­der­ous ap­plause and a marked con­trast to the cur­rent Tory Gov­ern­ment’s ap­proach.

Keir Starmer set out Labour’s long held pol­icy on Brexit, stat­ing that Labour will vote down any deal that does meet our six key tests, which means we will only ac­cept a deal that: de­liv­ers for all na­tions and re­gions of the UK; en­sures a strong fu­ture re­la­tion­ship with the EU; en­sures fair man­age­ment of mi­gra­tion; de­liv­ers the same ben­e­fits we en­joy as mem­bers of the sin­gle mar­ket and the cus­toms union; de­fends rights and pro­tec­tions; and pro­tects na­tional se­cu­rity.

He also made it clear, as did Jeremy Cor­byn, that if we can­not se­cure a gen­eral elec­tion, all op­tions re­main on the ta­ble, in­clud­ing a peo­ple’s vote on the fi­nal deal.

Richard Leonard also de­liv­ered an ex­cel­lent ad­dress on be­half of the Scot­tish Labour Party out­lin­ing a rad­i­cal pro­gramme of de­volved pol­icy on land re­form and a prop­erly re­sourced Scot­tish Na­tional In­vest­ment Bank.

Richard re-it­er­ated his and Scot­tish Labour’s po­si­tion that to re­new our democ­racy we must have a new deal on de­vo­lu­tion, where the na­tions and re­gions of the UK are strength­ened through fed­er­al­ism.

What is clear, how­ever, is that the stop and start ap­proach to de­vo­lu­tion is no longer work­ing, the West­min­ster sys­tem is in­creas­ingly un­bal­anced, and we need a rad­i­cal change in how power op­er­ates in the UK to cor­rect our highly cen­tralised and skewed po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic sys­tem.

I be­lieve the top down ap­proach to de­vo­lu­tion must come to an end, we must em­power the na­tions and re­gions of the UK to bring power as close to peo­ple as pos­si­ble.

I left con­fer­ence feel­ing

Jeremy Cor­byn un­veiled a bold plan for gov­ern­ment that would see wealth and power re­dis­tributed across the UK

Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn at the re­cent Labour party con­fer­ence in Liver­pool

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