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Scottish Labour leader says UK has ‘major flaws’ but that he wants to see ‘reform’

29 Aug 2022 3 minute read
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar. Photo Dominic Lipinski PA Images

The leader of Scottish Labour has said that the UK has “major flaws” but that he would like to see “reform” under a Labour UK government rather than independence.

Anas Sarwar was responding to calls by Stephen Noon, the chief strategist of the Yes campaign in 2014, who had called for the SNP to compromise and call for a reformed UK with significant new powers for Scotland.

The suggestion mirrors that of Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford who has called for the continuation of the UK as a “voluntary association of nations” with significantly more powers for the Welsh Parliament, including the devolution of justice and policing.

Speaking to the BBC, Anas Sarwar said: “I also believe that the United Kingdom has major flaws and needs to change, and I want to see a strengthened Scotland with any modernising and reforming UK.”

He added that Scotland should remain part of the Union but that he had “always been about building consensus” and would work with anyone across the political spectrum to achieve that.

Last week Stephen Noon, who was senior policy adviser to former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond before masterminding the Yes Scotland campaign, said “there is a different path” to independence.

“I want Scotland to have the form of government that it wishes, and that may not be independence,” he told the Times.

“I will argue with my heart and soul for independence, but I recognise that that may not be the point we get to in the immediate future.

“I may want to get 100 per cent of what I want, but that’s not life. In life you sometimes get 90 per cent of what you want and that’s good enough.

“And so for the independence movement, if we can get 90 per cent of what we want, and in a way which gives the No side also a good chunk of what they want, is that not worth exploring?”

‘Capacity for reform’

Last year, Mark Drakeford launched the Welsh Government’s own blueprint for reforming the union, saying that the belief that the present system works well was “misguided”.

“But it is possible to renew and revitalise our union in ways that will allow it to thrive and prosper for the long-term, not in spite of devolution but because of it,” he said.

“This requires thought, imagination and co-operation, and above all an acceptance that the status quo cannot and will not continue. The case for the break-up of the UK is made vigorously across the nations, including here in Wales. Those who believe in the benefits of union cannot take it for granted.

“The case for union has to be made positively, based on a capacity for reform and a sense of the future rather than a retreat into the past or a misguided belief that the existing system works well.”

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been commissioned by Labour to publish a report on recommendations for reform of the UK.

The current consistent poll lead for Labour over the Conservatives has made the likelihood that such a plan could be implemented more likely than it has seemed in the past.


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Arwyn
1 month ago

The only reform worth considering for the UK is its dissolution. Now can we get on with discussing what will take its place instead of faffing about with the ideas of a Scottish Labour with no no signs of gaining a mandate in Scotland.This is where Labour are as bad as the Tories. No intention of electoral reform, happy to win a majority via FPTP on a minority vote and impose policy from the centre of the back of a shonky constitution. Totally undemocratic.

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago
Reply to  Arwyn

The more we give credence to the constitutional and political matters of the other parts of this island, the more we reinforce the idea of a joined-up system and identity. The quicker we move past this, the quicker we can discuss and implement “what will take its place”. Other than that, cytuno ‘da ti fel arfer.

Last edited 1 month ago by CJPh
arthur owen
1 month ago
Reply to  Arwyn

I can tell these boys one thing,after independence we will still be next door to England,we will still watch English telly,read English papers and our economy is totally entangled with England’s. And,I almost forgot, there are 3 million of us and over 50 million of them.

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
1 month ago

And then he woke up and realised it was all just a dream.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 month ago

So Mr Sarwar thinks the UK has major flaws. Which ones did he have in mind? It would have been excellent if he had told us. After all we might have agreed with him. Surely if one wishes to sort out a problem, it does help if there is general agreement about what the problem is. I think, and I may be wrong, that most of the readers of NC see the Tory Party running the government in Westminster as the main problem and that getting rid of them is the first and most important reform that needs to implemented.… Read more »

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

It’s too late. The genie is out and there is no putting it back in. In Cymru’s case we have been neglected for far too long and no amount of rhetoric from politicians in Westminster, in order to try and save the Union, will stop the breakup of the UK now. Focus should now be on how the individual countries within Great Britain and Ireland can work together effectively so that we can all be successful. If people like Frost are worried about prestige and power – the British isles, just like the EU, can still have a lot of… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Steve Duggan
Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

I believe that he is genuine when he seeks reform, but, to get reform he has to get the English establishment to give up just about everything they currently control. Not going to happen. Only last week a top Tory said it would be a humiliation for them if the UK dissolved into 4 country’s. Do people think , with that mindset, the establishment are going to let the devolved Gov’s, control all except foreign policy, the military and one or 2 other things, so they the devolved Gov’s can deliver on election promises to the people of Cymru Scotland… Read more »

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

Sarwar spits his political venom at the SNP and the very idea of Scottish independence. Now he can see the Indy express train thundering towards him, he’s looking for the middle way. Perhaps he’s just trying to smooth his own path ahead for when he finds himself in an independent Scottish Parliament in case he is constantly reminded when he is standing in a place he stood so vehemently against.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sawar says the UK needs reform, lol. It needs scrapping not reforming. It’s the usual desperation once again from Labour’s branch office in Scotland. He forgets that Keir Starmer is his boss and he has no power to change anything and he knows it. Sawar is attempting to hoodwink Scottish voters into coming back into the fold by voting for Labour come the next General Election because Starmer cannot regain Westminster power without its former heartland. So Anas you’ve got your job cut out, not only to persuade Scots to trust again the likes if Labour… Read more »

Welsh_Siôn
Welsh_Siôn
1 month ago

Goodbye, Anas and thanks for all the fish:

Onward Labour lemmings

Onward Labour lemmings,
Marching o’er the cliff,
With the mark of Sarwar,
Leading them skew-whiff.
Anas, chief of numpties,
Heads his band of woe;
Forward into hist’ry:
See those bampots go!

Chorus:

Onward Labour lemmings,
Marching o’er the cliff,
With the mark of Sarwar,
Leading them skew-whiff.
___________

[With acknowledgements]

Songs for the New Politics
2013-2022

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
1 month ago

The most attractive “reform” is Independence!
Everything else is for England to be called “GB”, or “UK”, and the same old thing for us.

One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
1 month ago

The “union” has had CENTURIES to reform and hasn’t. How much longer does this serf think it will take.
The experiment has failed. Time of death? About 10 minutes after it started.
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