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Suchet Speech in Glasgow
Faye Gallacher introduces Ari with a small non-descript speech.
I want to reflect upon the campaign that happened a bit, we have had a campaign that has been accused of lies, flip flops and dramatic outbursts. We have seen Yes campaign actually going out and ignoring real questions about future of Scotland as Project Fear, adopting tactics of right wing nationalists parties across Europe dividing people into camps and tell people of Scotland that there is only one way of being a proper Scot and that way being their way. I am utterly disappointed at the campaign that has been run by some parts of the Yes campaign, this is not verdict or accusation on all of the Yes campaign. The so-called Project Fear was just an attempt by the Yes campaign to mask legitimate questions about Yes campaign’s promises, yet these questions are still to be answered. You can not just shout North Sea oil and be done with. Questions about SNP’s reluctance to actually embrace repeal of bedroom tax, increasing basic tax allowances, public sector pay increases and more is still out there and we have not heard answers about these questions. Asking SNP why did they voted to keep the bedroom tax is not Project Fear, asking the SNP what would happen if the oil prices crash is not Project Fear, asking the SNP why are promising something in Scotland and doing the opposite in the Westminster is not Project Fear.
Unfortunately, the Better Together or the No campaign has not been as good as it could have been. Actually, I am equally disappointed at some parts of the No campaign. I do regret that English Tories chose to campaign cynically over this campaign and chose political expediency over the union, the Conservative and Unionist Party dropped the Unionist part of their party and chose to implicitly harm the union. We have seen petty fights of Westminster carried over to Scotland for the independence campaign. I am genuinely saddened that this has happened, I want to tell every single person in our country that this has reflected into how voters in Scotland responded to the vote. I am utterly disappointed at the dirty campaign English Tories ran in Scotland and how Conservative and Unionist Party Leadership actually failed to do anything about it. They have muddied our message related to the currency union and what they have done during the election night, this is just disappointing. Now we are seeing Dylan Macmillan actually bringing Westminster politics to the results, from top levels of the Conservative Party to their backbenches, Conservative Party chose to bring Westminster politics into this campaign, I have bitten my tongue and wanted to make this campaign about Scotland but with the campaign is over, I won’t let cynical attacks on our union go unanswered, as the Prime Minister of this country, it is my duty to ensure stability of this country, even if others wants to damage it for political expediency.
You might ask what I am proud of, I am proud of the campaign that has been run by Scottish Labour. This campaign has created a superstar, Faye Gallacher, she has been spectacular in this campaign and I want to thank Faye once again, here in Scotland (nods to Faye). This campaign has also reminded why we loved Gordon Brown so much, Gordon Brown actually saved this country from a disaster and does not get nowhere near enough credit for that. I want to applaud both Gordon and Faye for their contributions to the campaign and for their deep belief in Scotland and the United Kingdom. I can not thank enough our volunteers for the campaign, our volunteers were the backbone of this campaign and without you, we couldn’t have achieved what we have achieved. You won’t hear me saying this a lot but I also want to thank Scottish Tories, while their English counterparts may have damaged the campaign, Scottish Tories picked up the pieces and I want to thank them for it. Contributions of Scottish Liberal Democrats were also incredible and I want to thank them for their contributions.
So what is next, that is the question. Yes, I have laid out what kind of powers that will be devolved to Scotland and my government will work with Scottish Parliament and government to ensure that we can achieve the best possible solution for Scotland but that is not enough, because this campaign was not just about more powers to Scotland, it was also about future of Scotland and future of the United Kingdom. How our country works together and how does our politics work, last general election results made it clear that people are not happy with how politics are going on in this country and this referendum result has also indicated that. Right now, we are working on reform how politics work in our country in a quite a radical way. This reform legislation is the most significant piece of legislation that our parliament has been debating for quite a while and it will transform politics as we know it. We will change the way politics work in this country and I can assure you everyone will be represented better under this system, every vote will count. In the 21st century, every vote should count and we will ensure every vote will count, that every vote matters, no matter where you call home.
This result also showed something more, while the job our government started has been received well, it is not enough and I completely agree, you can not simply repair years, in fact decades of negligence in a couple of months, it takes something big and radical to repair that said negligence and actually revive our communities. This government seeks out to do that, we have started this transformation with our budget, I know it was not rolled out in the best possible way but it is time to move on from how it was presented to what does this budget actually do. Our budget invests billions in capital spending, this may sound like a buzzword but what does this mean is that we will invest in our country, we will provide money to our local governments, to government initiatives and to private companies to actually build houses, to improve our infrastructure,to hire more workers,to open businesses and more. Business secretary will provide the details of these investments, the point is that this government is done with austerity and actually started to invest in our country. We have actually invested in our NHS and we have invested 6 billion in our NHS, 750 million into mental health care, 400 million into direct social care budget and a billion pounds investment into social care. We have doubled the pupil premium, we have increased the basic tax allowance to 10000 pounds, abolished the bedroom tax. We have delivered all of these.
Now, let’s move on to what will we do in the future. The job is not done yet, this budget was restoration of sanity and starting to invest in our country. We will invest more, eliminate the deficit and more but apart from those we will also start transformation of our country. We will invest more in green energy, transportation and make sure UK is leading the transition into green economy. We will revive our left behind communities, this revival clearly won’t be done investing in businesses and else, we also need to invest in our cultural infrastructure, in our grassroots sport and revive these communities in a holistic manner, only with that kind of investment we can revive our communities. Finally, Europe, this government is committed to reform European Union in a way that EU actually represents the people that is living in it, not just the bureaucratic class. Right now, EU is too focused on bureaucratic side of things. We need to empower people’s representatives, we need to make sure EU works bottom up, not top down. The rhetoric around EU in this country has been exploitative and frankly impractical, our previous government basically surrendered any influence we have in the EU to look tough on Europe so that Tories can combat UKIP. I hope you can see a pattern here, Tories are willing to surrender our power and influence in Europe for political expediency and Tories are willing to inflict damage in our Union for political expediency once again. Scotland and UK can not trust Dylan Macmillan and his Tories to defend interests of UK and to defend our union because for Dylan Macmillan’s Tories, this is a zero sum game. For Labour and for my government, this is about defending our best interests, protecting the Union and to actually advance our country as a whole into a better future. This country deserves the truth and deserves better than what Tories are offering and that is what we are offering, a positive future for our country. We believe in Britain and we believe in people of this country.
The Rt Hon Ariadne "Ari" Suchet MP
Member of Parliament for Holborn and St Pancras
The Prime Minister
Leader of the Labour Party
Media: 28 Novice (19 base +1 Media I/ +4 Media IV /+2 for Leader's Debate/+1 for Press Cycle 11/+1 for Press Cycle 12 )