Sarwar: ‘I want Scotland to be an example to the world, not just UK’
Anas Sarwar has called Scotland the “best country in the world”, but insisted it can be better.
Speaking to The Scotsman in the second part of our exclusive election video series, On The Holyroad, the Scottish Labour leader discussed his passion for the country and his pride at representing Glasgow.
Running against Nicola Sturgeon in Glasgow Southside, Mr Sarwar also revealed he still got homesick going on holiday.
He said: “I am a proud Glaswegian and a proud Scot, it’s a country that has given so much to my family.
“My grandad came here in the 1940s on a boat with nothing, settled up in Lossiemouth, brought his own family here, fell in love with Scotland himself. We are now a third generation family in Scotland.
“I am passionate about Scotland, I love Scotland. Scotland is the greatest country in the world as far as I’m concerned, and Glasgow is the greatest city in the world.
“I was born here, brought up here, bringing my own children up here.
“No matter where I go in the world I always will consider Glasgow home. I miss Glasgow, I get homesick.”
Speaking in a dental practice, the former dentist claimed the country still had work to do.
He explained: “Scotland is a phenomenal place and so is Glasgow, but can we do better? Of course we can.
“I want everyone across Glasgow and everyone across Scotland to be able to fulfil their potential.
“I want us to be an example, not just to the UK, but to the whole world.”
Mr Sarwar, who replaced Richard Leonard as party leader in February, admitted his party was unlikely to win May’s election, but claimed more Labour MSPS would “pull” the SNP towards doing the “right thing”.
He explained: “I would love to say Labour are going to win the election, but then you would probably say I need to
be in the chair getting treatment of a different sort.
“The reality is I’ve been in the job five weeks, and I’ve said to people I want to get Labour back on the pitch. I want them to be relevant to people’s lives again and coming out of this election in a better position, and then using the course of the five years that follows to turn from better opposition to alternative government.
“Scotland deserves a better government and better oppo
sition. I want us to be able to pull the government towards focusing on people priorities.”
Challenged on why the SNP was polling so well, Mr Sarwar suggested they had enjoyed weak opposition from the Scottish Tories.
He said:“we have not had a good enough opposition over the last five years, which in many ways has made life easier for the government and easier for Nicola Sturgeon.
“I want to have an opposition
that doesn’t just shout at the government… but also pulls the government towards doing the right things for the country around closing the attainment gap, catching up on our NHS, a significant boost for jobs and the economy, and challenging the climate emergency head on.”