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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Labour Leader Lauds "More Equal" Small Independent Countries

Monday, 21 May 2012


MILIBAND AT ODDS WITH PREVIOUS LABOUR ATTACKS ON SCANDINAVIAN COUNTRIES
SUTTON TRUST THEMSELVES FOUND LABOUR MADE SOCIETY MORE UNEQUAL

SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP has welcomed the admission from Labour Leader Ed Miliband that the small independent nations of Scandinavia are more equal societies.

In a speech to the Sutton Trust today (Monday), Mr Miliband said:

“When you look around the world and compare the rates of social mobility, there is a striking fact. If you are born poor in a more equal society like Finland, Norway or Denmark then you have a better chance of moving into a good job than if you are born poor in the United States. If you want the American dream – go to Finland.”

This stands at odds with years of criticism of Scandinavia from senior Labour figures.

The Sutton Trust themselves sponsored research published in 2005 showing that – under Labour’s watch – social mobility in the UK declined to a level comparable to that of the US. Meanwhile, the Scandinavian countries continued to have the highest rates.

Commenting, Dr Whiteford said:

“This is a very welcome admission from Ed Miliband that we should aspire to have the social mobility of countries like Finland, Norway or Denmark.

“It stands in stark contrast to years of using Scandinavia to attack and undermine Scottish independence.

“Mr Miliband and his Labour colleagues have to explain why they think Scotland is somehow uniquely incapable of becoming as equal a society as our neighbours in Scandinavia.

“Ironically, the Sutton Trust themselves showed that – under Labour’s watch - social mobility in the UK declined to one of the worst levels in advanced Western democracies.

“So it’s a bit rich for Ed Miliband to criticise the unequal society his party created.

"An independent Scotland can be a beacon for progressive opinion south of the border and further afield - addressing challenges in ways which reflect the universal values of fairness - and are capable of being considered, adapted and implemented according to the specific circumstances and wishes within the other jurisdictions of these islands, and beyond."

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