Alexander sets her stall out

Wendy Alexander officially launched her campaign for the Scottish Labour leadership yesterday, with a promise of more autonomy from London:

"Under my leadership, Labour will reform, renew and reconnect –
reform our party organisation, renew our policies and reconnect with
the people."

She added: "I want to see a new structure for Scottish Labour, signalling a party that takes more responsibility for itself."

Ms Alexander said she believed "a fresh look" was justified at relationships with the UK.

She went on: "We should not fear a debate on our constitution. But
our starting point – as most Scots would agree – is to make the
relationships within the UK work better, not to stop them working at
all." (Scotsman)

Over at OurKingdom, Anthony Barnett hints at the possibility that an Alexander leadership could expose Labour to charges of nepotism:

I’m sure the issue will be raised in a tacky way, so let me be among
the first (to my knowledge) and raise it myself. Is there something
significant about the Labour Cabinet and families? David and Ed
Milliband are brothers in the cabinet. Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper are
man and wife in the Cabinet and now Cabinet Minister Douglas
Alexander’s elder sister is to become leader of the Scottish party. (OurKingdom)

One other relationship worth mentioning is that Alexander’s husband, Professor Brian Ashcroft, is on the board of the Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland, which produced a key document setting out the case for a Northern Ireland corporation tax cut. It appears he sees a similar way forward for Scotland:

Ashcroft believes Gordon Brown could ease some of the pressure for
economic separatism by allowing Edinburgh to set its own corporate tax
rates – so that just as young couples used to elope to Gretna Green to
take advantage of Scotland’s more liberal marriage laws, companies
might be encouraged to look north for investment opportunities. ‘This
is a government that argues for tax competition within Europe, but
wants to stop that at our borders.’ (Guardian, May 6)

Things could get very interesting if Alexander herself takes a similar view.






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