First Minister

Part of Contract Research Staff – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:23 pm on 22nd November 2001.

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Photo of Dennis Canavan Dennis Canavan Independent 3:23 pm, 22nd November 2001

It is gratifying to know that there are three wise men in the Scottish Parliament.

In congratulating Jack McConnell, I recall an event of more than 20 years ago when, as a young Labour member of Parliament, I addressed a student meeting at the University of Stirling. I recall being introduced to one student activist whom I encouraged to join the Labour party. I am not sure now that I did the right thing—his name was Jack McConnell.

Even at that time, some people saw the Labour party as a ladder of opportunity for political careerists. I say to Jack McConnell that he should use his power, as leader of the Scottish Labour party and as Scotland's First Minister, to create a ladder of opportunity for all the people of Scotland, especially the disadvantaged and dispossessed—the people whom the Labour party was born to protect. In that spirit, I congratulate him and wish him all the best in working towards those objectives.