By a Newsnet reporter
Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has said an independent Scotland could be a “beacon for social justice” that will show the way for everyone across the British Isles.
In a speech to be delivered in the Mitchell Theatre in Glasgow this evening, Ms Wood will argue that devolution alone is not enough address social inequality.
Ms Wood is expected to say: “Devolution has started to address the political imbalance of the UK, but without the economic levers that come with being independent, there will always be a limit to our ability to deliver just prosperity and social justice.
“We can point to Scotland already as an example in terms of the different way they have prioritised public health and free education. Scotland gives us in Wales and our progressive friends in England opportunities to point to demonstrable examples of an alternative to neo-liberalism and the politics of austerity.
“Just imagine what we could point to if Scotland emerges as an independent country. Having a new state on our doorstep approaching public services in a different, more progressive way compared to what will be left of the UK. Pursuing collaboration not competition.”
The Plaid Cymru leader will say that independence will allow Scotland to create a different social security regime – one that will refuse to penalise and punish the unemployed, the sick and the disabled.
She will add: “You are known throughout the world for your oil, your food and your whisky. But your greatest export to us after September will be social justice, Scotia style.”
Ms Wood’s visit to Scotland was welcomed by pro-independence campaign group Yes Scotland which has said that a Yes vote will kick-start the process of constitutional reform south of the border and strengthen the UK social union.
Blair Jenkins, Yes Scotland’s Chief Executive said: “More and more people south of the border such as Leanne Wood, Billy Bragg and Peter Tatchell are joining the ranks of those who believe that a Yes vote will not only be good for Scotland, but for the rest of the UK as well.
“People in Wales are all too aware of how a remote, out of touch, London-centric government at Westminster has time and time again ignored their economic needs, and the same goes for regions of England.
“A Yes vote in Scotland is an opportunity to end that by kick-starting a process of political and constitutional reform in the rest of the UK.
“A social union has long endured throughout all parts of the UK, and I believe that this will be strengthened by an independent Scotland being a good friend and neighbour to the other nations of these islands.”