Richard Leonard: Dewar’s hopes for Scottish Parliament betrayed

Donald Dewar, Scotland's first First Minister, pictured in 1992, said the establishment of the Scottish Parliament was a 'means to greater ends', not an end in itself
Donald Dewar, Scotland's first First Minister, pictured in 1992, said the establishment of the Scottish Parliament was a 'means to greater ends', not an end in itself
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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 food banks now so rife they’re almost taken for granted.

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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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