The Red Paper Collective welcomes Kezia Dugdale’s intervention in the discussion on Federalism. We agree with her about the potential of the UK as conduit for redistribution of wealth among its constituent nations and regions.
We also agree with Kezia’s endorsement of Jeremy Corbyn’s call (21 November 2015) for a People’s Constitutional Convention when he said:
“As part of our constitutional convention, Jon Trickett will be asking citizens’ assemblies to discuss where powers should be held, who should hold them, and how they should be accountable…”
We are disappointed however, because it was a missed opportunity for explaining the socialist case for political change that progressive federalism offers, as opposed to increased powers for their own sake.
For example, while we agree with Kezia’s call for powers over fishing and agriculture, an opportunity which Brexit affords, we believe this because it to introduce land and fishing reform in favour of social ownership and cooperatives which would do much to sustain rural and fishing communities.
Progressive federalism would allow a Scottish Parliament to explore a whole range of changes that would benefit Scotland including social ownership of utilities including energy, rail and bus transport. It could devise an economic strategy including state intervention in the Scottish oil industry to preserve skills and control decommissioning.
In terms of labour protection, the Scottish parliament needs to have powers to require all public contractors to adhere to minimum conditions such the living wage, outlawing of zero hours contracts and the mandatory restoration of collective bargaining and union recognition. EU Court of Justice restrictions on strike action would need to be lifted.
Neil Findlay MSP said “The Red paper collective has for the last 5 years consistently made the case for progressive federalism. We believe it can secure support across the nations and regions of the UK, building a lasting settlement that retains UK wide social and economic solidarity whilst at the same time delivering local autonomy and accountability. We look forward to this debate being rolled out across the UK.” ENDS