The Future of Scotland

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 9:39 am on 29th March 2007.

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Photo of Annabel Goldie Annabel Goldie Conservative 9:39 am, 29th March 2007

My party has a comprehensive manifesto of fully costed proposals to revitalise the economy, including an imaginative and positive scheme for business rates relief. We will allocate an extra £20 million a year to town centre regeneration. We will deal with regulation. We will reform public procurement.

On education, in the eight years of the Lib-Lab pact, strategies, initiatives and targets have been produced. We have seen the Lib-Lab pact interfere with the work of hard-pressed professionals in our educational sector and we have seen it challenge the ability of those dedicated professionals to deliver the service that Scotland needs. That is why my party will propose a new education act to enhance the powers of head teachers. We will strengthen parent power by restoring school boards—a popular Conservative concept that proved too much for Lib-Lab ideology.

Turning to the Scottish National Party, I will not use the bone-chilling rhetoric of Labour. I believe in Scotland every bit as much as Alex Salmond does. What I do not believe in is the sterile destination of isolation that is the founding platform of SNP policy. What alternative does that party bring to Scotland? Is it the voice of the people? Opposing eight Executive bills in eight years is not a voice, it is an echo. This morning, Nicola Sturgeon said that we should judge a party by the sum of its policies.