JEREMY CORBYN set a defiant mood at the Scottish TUC yesterday telling delegates that the “choice is clear and the stakes are high” in the upcoming general election.
The Labour leader, who received a standing ovation when he arrived on stage, said that the election was not another referendum but a choice between “the party of privilege and the rich” and a Labour Party prepared to “challenge these powerful interests and transform the lives of working people.”
He said: “Only Labour or the Tories can form a government, and I implore Scots to fight for the party of progress, and not the vicious Tory Party, who, alongside their previous coalition partners, the Lib Dems, unleashed an unprecedented attack on working people in this country.”
Mr Corbyn called for unity and challenged sections of the media and the Establishment for dismissing the election as a foregone conclusion, saying that “the politics and policies of Labour are needed now more than ever as our country becomes more unfair, more unjust and more unequal.”
Paying homage to the trade union movement, Mr Corbyn said that “the only real progressive alliance is the Labour and trade union movement working together.”
The Labour leader pledged to scrap the Tories’ hated Trade Union Act and introduce sectoral collective bargaining across the country.
He also vowed to “aggressively take on the tax evaders and avoiders” and make large corporations publish their tax returns.
Free from EU competition rules, Mr Corbyn said a Labour government would introduce a “right to own” which would give workers first refusal when their company faced a change of ownership or closure.
He also pledged a Scottish National Bank under Scottish control with £20 billion of lending power to spend on local projects and small businesses.
To rapturous applause Mr Corbyn pledged a £10-an-hour minimum wage and a ban on zero-hours contracts as well as promising to give workers “equal rights from day one to stop some workers being exploited and others undercut.”