Scotland needs democratic socialism - Richard Leonard
Scottish Labour Leader Richard Leonard writes exclusively for the Red Robin.
A broad base of progressive voices is essential if we are to win the argument for radical change. Red Robin is a timely initiative, adding a welcome new forum for the left in Scotland.
We still live in a class based society in which the unequal distribution of wealth remains not just unaltered but largely unchallenged. In Scotland today the richest one per cent own more personal wealth than the whole of the poorest fifty per cent. We cannot simply manage our way to an equal society: we must transform the system that creates such huge levels of poverty and inequality in the first place.
This requires a politics which understands the pressing need for genuine, far-reaching change. It is not simply that the present social and economic programme of this Scottish government is too limited and insufficiently bold: though it is. It is also that even on its own limited terms it has run out of steam.
For all of these reasons democratic socialism – which represents real change – is what Scotland needs. Our conference this month will bring together activists and elected representatives from communities and workplaces right across Scotland. It is the annual parliament of Labour in Scotland where we not only consider the injustices of society and the failings of the economy but where we forge solutions based on our real life experience and our democratic socialist values.
This year’s conference will dedicate time to discussing some of the issues that were priorities from my leadership campaign last year. For example, the debate on public ownership underlines that the Scottish Labour Party does not limit itself to change within the existing framework of the Scottish economy. We want to push for more radical and transformative change to rebalance the economy so that it works in the interests of the many, not the few.
This is my first conference as leader. My overriding objective is for this conference to demonstrate to the people of Scotland that we are a party offering hope for the future and that once again the Scottish Labour Party is the vehicle for the realisation of that hope. Because it is not enough to call for the amelioration of deepening poverty and widening inequality: we must also win power to transform the system that creates it in the first place.