SCOTTISH Labour leadership hopeful Richard Leonard has saluted the “timely” convening of the Morning Star’s Big Capital, Small Nations conference in Glasgow this weekend.
The summit — featuring an opening address by shadow chancellor John McDonnell — will focus on “how politics can be changed to enable small nations, like Scotland, to exercise democratic power in the interests of working people.”
Mr Leonard, a veteran socialist who has won the backing of every trade union to declare a favourite so far, warned that Scotland is rapidly turning into a “branch plant economy” with over a third of its economy owned by overseas investors.
“Foreign direct investment can bring innovation but all too often it comes in the shape of predatory acquisition of existing assets,” he said.
“That’s why I am calling for an economy built from the bottom up and with greater worker and co-operative ownership.”
The organisers of this weekend’s conference share Mr Leonard’s concerns, saying that “Scotland is a small nation in a world dominated by giant corporations and investment companies.
“This has meant the stripping away of industrial jobs and the external control of most of its remaining productive assets.”
The conference will see discussions on trade treaties and corporate power, “is the single market compatible with a radical economic manifesto?” and on “democratic control within a federal Britain.”
And lunchtime will see the launch of Scottish Labour Morning Star supporters’ group “committed to making the Morning Star integral to political campaigning in Scotland,” according to Labour Left’s Vince Mills.
“This Morning Star event is crucial and will give the campaign to elect a radical Labour Party in Scotland a real boost,” Mr Mills said.
It will hear from a range of labour movement speakers, including Unite Scotland’s Roz Foyer, FBU Scotland’s Denise Christie and RMT Scotland’s Phil McGarry as well as from Labour MSPs Elaine Smith and Neil Findlay, the SNP MP Chris Stephens of Glasgow South West and the Communist Party’s Scottish secretary Tom Morrison.
• The conference takes place on Sunday in the STUC building, 333 Woodlands Road, Glasgow (Kelvinbridge Underground). Tickets are £5 waged or £2 unwaged — apply to John Foster at firstname.lastname@example.org.