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Public Responsibility For Social Justice

Part of Orders of the Day — Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 4:56 pm on 10th March 1997.

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Photo of Mr Bill Walker Mr Bill Walker , North Tayside 4:56 pm, 10th March 1997

I do not believe any figures that come from the hon. Member for Moray or any other member of the Scottish National party. I would not want to be involved in any kind of merger on the figures that they produce, which do not stand up to close examination. Their figures are wishful thinking and fairytale economics.

One can address the problems of society only if one has a thriving economy in which employers can create jobs, producing goods and services for which the world will pay. Scotland and the United Kingdom have no option—we have to be a world trading nation. Just to stand still, we have to export more than one third of the goods and services that we produce. It is essential that we have an economic climate in which entrepreneurs—risk takers—can create jobs.

The problem for members of the left-wing Scottish National party is that they have not learnt the lesson of modern history, which is that their kind of socialism does not work. They cannot point to any country in which it brings home the goods. Despite our difficulties during the recession, the United Kingdom has come out of it better than anyone else and the world is looking to us.

I remind Opposition Members that the hours that we spent in Standing Committee changing trade union legislation helped to create today's enterprise economy. To throw all that away would be crazy, whether in an independent Scotland or in the United Kingdom. Jobs would vanish, as has happened in every other socialist country, and we would end up with money being printed and ever fewer people being employed.

The Scottish nationalists wear their hearts on their sleeves and tell people that they care, but they would not be able to sort out the problems because they would not have the necessary economic circumstances. After 18 years, the Conservative Government have produced a situation that we dreamed about in the post-war years. We have had growth for nearly six years and we have low inflation and low interest rates. We are the dynamo of Europe. We would be crazy to throw all that away with hearts-on-sleeves, fairytale, economic policies.