Jeremy Corbyn 9 March 2018
Speech to the Scottish Labour conference
That’s why we have demanded Theresa May’s government uses the visit this week of Saudi Arabia’s ruler Muhammad bin Salman to halt British arms sales to Saudi Arabia while its devastating bombing of Yemen continues and demand an immediate ceasefire.
A humanitarian disaster is now taking place in Yemen as a direct result of the Saudi-led bombing and blockade.
Millions face starvation and hundreds of thousands of children have cholera while thousands of civilians have been killed.
UK arms supplies to Saudi Arabia have increased sharply since the war began and British military advisers are directly involved in the prosecution of the Saudi bombing campaign which has repeatedly targeted civilian infrastructure, including schools and hospitals.
It cannot be right, as I told the Prime Minister on Wednesday, that her government is colluding in what the UN and others say is evidence of war crimes.
Germany has suspended arms supplies to Saudi Arabia, and so must the British government. This outrage must end.
Nor is it true, as the Prime Minister claimed, that the Saudi-led war in Yemen has been authorised by the United Nations Security Council.
What’s needed now is both a ceasefire and a concerted international effort to achieve a negotiated political settlement.
I also want to pay tribute to Richard Leonard for the work he has done preparing a movement to oppose any visit by US President Donald Trump to Scotland.
While the SNP wooed Trump to build his golf course in Aberdeenshire, and Theresa May appeases him as she bets the UK economy on a race-to-the-bottom trade deal with the US.
Richard has shown Labour is standing up to oppose the racism, misogyny and dangerous belligerence coming from the US administration.
A Labour government will ensure that our international relations are not dictated by the global dominance of multinational corporations, but are governed by the values of socialism and international solidarity and shared progress in the interests of working people across the globe both inside and outside of Europe.
They’re values which are encapsulated in part of a poem by Liz Lochhead, the previous Makar.
She wrote in her poem Connecting Cultures:
Remembering how hard fellow feeling is to summon
When Wealth is what we do not have in Common,
May every individual
And all the peoples in each nation
Work and hope and
Strive for true communication –
Only by a shift and sharing is there any chance
For the welfare of all our people and Good Governance.
Such words can sound like flagged-up slogans, true.
What we merely say says nothing –
All that matters is what we do.
I think you’ll agree conference that sums up the central philosophy of what our internationalist outlook should be.
The outlook that must define our international policy as we work to ensure that our voice in the world is a wholly positive one encouraging peace and prosperity.
Conference the Labour Party has a vision, a vision for a society where everybody cares for everybody else, we call it socialism.
And when we do get into government:
We will go further than any government has ever gone before.
We will go further in tackling inequality.
We will go further in ending poverty.
We will go further in bringing power closer to people.
Further in transforming our economy to work for the many and not the few.
Further in bringing about a common sense revolution that puts public service above private profit.
And we know the further we go in reflecting people’s priorities the more support we will get.
That is why we are building a genuine mass movement of people.
One that is capable of organising in every city, town and village in Scotland and across this island.
A movement that can propel Labour into government in both Holyrood and in Westminster, so that we can bring real change and create a society that truly is for the many and not the few.
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