Labour MSP says independent Scotland could stand on its own two feet


By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP has welcomed comments from Labour MSP Hugh Henry saying Scotland would make a success of being an independent country.

Mr Henry, the party’s education spokesman, was quoted in yesterday’s Holyrood magazine saying:

“Scotland could stand on its own two feet as an independent country. I don’t doubt that.”

However, the Labour MSP insisted there was no economic or social value in separating from the rest of the United Kingdom.  He also criticised the introduction of an optional course in Scottish Studies into the school curriculum, saying it was “politically driven”.

Mr Henry expressed frustration that Scotland is now subject to a Conservative government, but said that the Conservative led UK government was Scotland’s rightful government and insisted he could see “no value” in Scotland becoming independent.

In his speech in Glasgow yesterday, party leader Ed Miliband also implicitly conceded the same point by admitting that Scotland is not “too poor or too weak” to become an independent state.

Mr Henry is the second leading figure within Scotland’s Labour ranks who has admitted within the past week that an independent Scotland would be financially and economically successful.  

Speaking on BBC Scotland’s Call Kaye programme last week, Labour MP and deputy Scottish leader Anas Sarwar also admitted that an independent Scotland would fare well economically.  

On a BBC debate last week, Shadow Scotland Secretary Margaret Curran also admitted that Scotland was not too small to manage its own affairs successfully.  However she insisted that resources were best shared across the whole UK.

Responding to Mr Henry’s comments, SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin Sandra White said:

“Mr Henry is one of many who believe Scotland will make a success of being an independent country, and I welcome his comments – I suspect they are privately shared by many other Labour MSPs and ordinary party members.

“The case is growing for an independent Scotland and the SNP is continuing to detail its ambitious vision for the future of our country.

“Mr Henry’s comments come as one of his party’s councillors in Glasgow defected to the SNP saying ‘Scotland will be better off as an independent country’.

“This is a monumental period in Scotland’s history and over the coming weeks and months the reasons for independence will be set out.

“We need to have responsibility for decisions affecting our country – not  suffer the damaging cuts from an out-of-touch and unpopular Tory-LibDem coalition government from London.

“Scotland can stand on its own two feet – which is being recognised by people from across the political spectrum.

“Nobody cares more about making this country a success than the people of  Scotland and independence will give us the tools to reach our full potential.”