Kezia Dugdale says the left need to "put their money where their mouth is"
Kezia Dugdale vows to take on "the new Scottish establishment" with socialist policies
The transfer of more powers from Westminster to Holyrood will force left-leaning Scottish politicians to “put their money where their mouth is”, according to Kezia Dugdale
In her first key speech since taking over as leader, Dugdale vowed to take on “the new Scottish establishment, with radical policies on redistribution and reform”.
Speaking at Edinburgh College, Dugdale said: “The new tax and welfare powers mean that those who position themselves on the left will have to put their money where their mouth is.
“Power means that left wing posturing will have to be replaced by socialist policy. If you believe in the redistribution of power and wealth, as I do, you’d better get ready to say how you’ll achieve it.”
She added: “There is a powerful new establishment in Scotland. It dominates government, public life, both parliaments. Its premise is that shared identity means shared interest.
“But the interests of the rich and the poor, those sat in the boardroom and those stood on shop floor, are not always aligned.
“I would keep universal services and the gains of devolution. But let’s be clear we cannot have a more equal society without redistribution. We cannot fund public services unless the wealthy, as well as the rest of us, pay a fair share.”
In the speech Dugdale touched on her experience of growing up with both her parents working as teachers, saying she first felt the “unfairness of inequality” after moving from Elgin to Dundee.
She said “I moved from a primary school with expansive sports fields to an inner city urban school, with a concrete playground.
“I couldn’t believe some schools didn’t have grass.”
The new Labour leader was first elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2011 after being put second on the party’s list for the Lothian region.
Describing herself as “an accidental politician”, Dugdale said: “My socialism wasn’t learned from a book, it comes from lived experience.”
She said: “No-one was more surprised than me when I was elected to parliament.
“In 2011, I took a secondment from my job to work as a party organiser in an election we were widely expected to win.
“I was fully expecting to wake up the day after the election unemployed, with a redundancy package and three months to work out what I was going to do next. But the candidates I was working for lost and I was elected in their place.”
Dugdale announced her front bench team yesterday, changing the titles of those in the shadow cabinet so they no longer mirror those of the Scottish Government.
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