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A message from Richard Leonard

Scottish Labour is on your side.

From public services like the NHS and schools, to the economy and the cost of living we are working for a Scotland that is for the many, not the few.

When I was elected as leader last year my first act was to join workers at the gates of their factory fighting for their jobs. That was a statement of intent.

“We want to transform a society and an economy that produces so much poverty and inequality, not simply manage the present system in a better way.”

Our society is deeply divided, with the richest one percent owning more personal wealth than the whole of the bottom fifty per cent.

Scotland must be a country that works for the majority on those things that matter most to them – whether it is on the NHS and other public services, the cost of living, or the economy itself.  That is where Scottish Labour stands.

Scottish Labour is where you can find new ideas to improve the lives of the majority. Policies like a Mary Barbour law to control soaring rents. A taxation system that ensures that those with the broadest shoulders bear the biggest burden. Municipal socialism to help our councils deliver better public services. Public ownership – including for our railways – and better buses. Changing the balance of power and wealth in Scotland to make our country more equal.

“I am campaigning to deliver those ideals as First Minister for Scotland.”

Scottish Labour has changed. If you like what we have to say, please join us.

About Richard

As a trade unionist for decades right up to the present day, and now, as leader of Scottish Labour and Member of the Scottish Parliament for Central Scotland, Richard has always been on the side of working people and their fight for a more equal society.

Richard worked as Assistant Secretary of the STUC where he was responsible for economic affairs, a post he held for five years.

Before that he worked with the socialist Member of the European Parliament, Alex Falconer, as a researcher and campaigner.

In 1996 Richard took up the role of an organiser for the GMB union representing workers in manufacturing, commercial and public services across Scotland. This has included workers in the food and drink industry, contract cleaning and catering and Scottish Water. As part of Richard’s time as a trade unionist he represented workers and won numerous cases and organised the union’s retired members in Scotland.

Richard has been deeply involved in the Labour and trade union movement: He was first elected to the Labour Party Scottish Executive Committee in 1997 and is a former chair of the Scottish Labour Party. He has been an agent, campaigner and candidate for Scottish Labour. He was the agent in Stirling in the 1997 General Election where Labour famously unseated Michael Forsyth.

For many years Richard has been a regular writer and campaigner on the economy: he has written extensively on the Scottish economy, contributing to publications and campaigns as diverse as the Scottish Left Review, the Red Paper on Scotland, for the Labour Party Socialist Environment Resources Association (SERA) pamphlets “Renewable Energy” (2003) and “Sustainable Jobs” (2002). His published articles include in the Fraser of Allander Quarterly Economic Commentary and Scottish Affairs.

Richard is a founding member of the Keir Hardie Society, vice chair of the Scottish Labour History Society, and a member of the William Morris Society.

Richard served on the Board of the Govan Initiative in Glasgow and then the Glasgow South West Regeneration Agency since 2000. He was a Friends of the Earth (Scotland) Board member from 2005 to 2008.

He studied Politics and Economics at Stirling University.

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