Jeremy Corbyn last night told Scots that Labour has the answers to the “deep unfairness and inequalities” facing the country and not the SNP’s vision of independence.
The newly re-elected UK party boss warned there was a “huge question mark” over the SNP’s core strategy for independence as the oil price crash has plunged the country’s public finances further into the red.
The Islington North MP was delivering the annual Jimmy Reid lecture in Glasgow last night, in which he railed against the “failed” neo-liberal economic model which has created a “brutal and unequal society” in the UK.
Mr Corbyn insisted he was not looking for alliances with other political parties like the SNP, but would welcome support for Labour policies.
“Fundamentally Labour’s purpose has always been to shift the balance of power and wealth in favour of working people,” he told a sell-out audience of 500 in Govan Old Parish Church.
“Under this leadership, this party is committed to turning that into a reality. All parties have a different purpose. The SNP’s is to achieve independence. I reserve the right to disagree with them, just as the majority of Scots in 2014, but there are economic issues that have to be faced.
“The current deficit of £15 billion presents a huge question mark over the central economic strategy that’s on offer.
“A Labour government will demonstrate to the Scottish people that it is Labour which has the answers to the deep unfairness and inequalities that currently stain our country.”
Former union leader Mr Reid, who later became a Nationalist and joined the SNP, had set out an alternative to the “neo-liberal economic strategy” in the 1970s, Mr Corbyn said, adding that the message is just as relevant today in the age of austerity.
He said: “We need to challenge not just austerity that is now being imposed upon us but the failed economic model that has undermined our public services creating a more unequal and more brutal society.
“Too many people in too many parts of our country have been excluded from the prosperity that a small number enjoy. Inequality has disfigured our society.”
Austerity policies of the past six years, he added, have been a political choice and not an “economic necessity”.
He said: “I stand here on an unashamedly anti-austerity platform of policies that will ensure no-one in Scotland and the rest of the country is left behind.”