Scottish Political Press Releases — Donald Dewar's Speech

Text of speech by the First Minister, the Rt Hon Donald Dewar MSP, Bute House, Edinburgh, 17 May 1999.


The first six words of the Scotland Act read simply: 'There shall be a Scottish Parliament'.

We must not forget the reasons that lie behind those words from the start of the Scotland Act.

It was because of the General Election in May 1997. It was because of the Referendum in September 1997. And it was because of the votes of the Scottish people on May 6th this year, that Scotland started being a very different place.

It was because of those achievements that I am able to announce our team in Government.

And it was because of those six simple words that Scottish politics were forever changed.

We — the Scottish Labour Party working in partnership with the Liberal Democrats in our first ever democratic Parliament here in Scotland — are united in our determination to do better for the new Scotland.

Our shared objectives of social justice and economic success for all may not be secured overnight but they must be the abiding legacy of my first government.

As a team, this first Executive will lead the new Scotland into the new Century — and I am determined that we must make the new Scotland a showpiece for social justice and for economic success.

I am determined that this partnership Government — Labour working with the Liberal Democrats in partnership for the children of Scotland — will turn around our failing schools, will narrow the disparities in our education system and will build Scottish public schools fit for the task of educating Scotland's children.

I also want this Executive and the Parliament working together in partnership — united by a determination to build an inclusive and generous spirited new Scotland.

The new Scotland still needs to work hard at including all of our people and all of our communities in government and in the new civic institutions that we build here.

I will work to speed up the process of involving as many people as possible in the decisions affecting their lives.

I set out these aims and ambitions for the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Parliament.

I invite all members of the Parliament to work together with the Government I have just announced so that together we might achieve these ambitions and continue the business of delivering the real and lasting changes that the people of Scotland demand and deserve.

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