Murphy announces plans to rewrite Scottish Labour’s Clause IV
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Today Jim Murphy, who was elected as the new leader of the Scottish Labour Party on Saturday, will make his first major speech since taking up the position.
In this speech, where he’ll also be accompanied by Shadow Secretary for Scotland Margaret Curran and newly elected Deputy Leader of Scottish Labour Kezia Dugdale, he will announce that he intends to re-write Clause IV for Scottish Labour’s constitution.
Clause IV of the party’s constitution was famously rewritten under Tony Blair in 1995 to remove the party’s commitment to nationalisation. Now it seems that Murphy is seeking a “Clause IV moment” of his own, by setting apart Scottish Labour’s aims and objectives from the rest of the UK party’s.
Murphy is expected to say:
“Once Labour’s challenge was that too many people felt they could not be Labour and make an aspirational choice.
“Today Scottish Labour’s challenge is that some people feel they can’t be Labour and make a patriotic choice.
“The change we need goes deeper than the leadership style of a new team. If this is to be a genuinely fresh start for our party we need to make more fundamental change.
“That is why I can announce that I will ask Scottish Labour’s Conference in March to agree a new ‘Clause Four’ for our Scottish constitution.
“A new statement of purpose for a new generation in the Scottish Labour Party. It’s the biggest change in Scottish Labour’s history.
“This is a ‘Clause Four’ moment for a different time and a different purpose.
“Tony Blair rewrote Clause Four of UK Labour to bring us closer to the centre of politics. I want to rewrite ‘Clause Four’ of Scottish Labour to bring us closer to the centre of Scottish life.”
Mr Murphy will set out five principles for the new ‘Clause Four’ of Scottish Labour:
“One: we will make it clear that we are both a democratic socialist party and a patriotic party.
“We are a socialist party yes, but we recognise that our political faith grew out of something deeper which is ingrained in our Scottish character.
“It was there before our party in the ethics of Burns’ poetry, the economic vision of New Lanark, the actions of the Highlanders who took on brutal landlords.
“A belief that we stand together, look after those who need our help, and make sure that everyone gets a fair shout.
“Two: while we do not give up on our belief in active solidarity with people across the United Kingdom and around the world, we will make it clear that this is complementary to, and not in conflict with, the national interest of Scotland.
“We will declare ourselves a party that represents Scotland first, and where, as Scots, we work with others to achieve the potential of all.
“Three: we will set in stone the total devolution of policy making in devolved areas. Policy will be made in Scotland, for Scotland, by our Scottish Party, putting the needs of Scotland first.
“Four: we will make the same commitment in our own party constitution, as the Smith Agreement did in the UK Constitution, to a permanent and powerful Scottish Parliament.
“And Five: we will renew our historic mission for a more equal and fairer society where power, wealth and opportunity are more fairly shared by our fellow Scots and our fellow human beings around the world.
“This will represent the refounding and rebirth of our Scottish Labour Party.
“A clear statement of our party’s beliefs. A changing Scottish Labour Party for a changing Scotland.”
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