KEZIA Dugdale has identified SNP-voting working families as the key to Labour’s bid to win the next Holyrood election.
Speaking on the second anniversary of becoming Scottish Labour leader, Miss Dugdale claimed the party’s focus on improving public services will give them a chance with Scots who have deserted them in droves since 2007.
Miss Dugdale claimed the ability to judge the SNP’s record over a decade now was cutting through with voters fed up with the state of Scotland’s schools and health service.
And the Labour leader also suggested her support for federalism – largely ignored by voters to date – will become more relevant with the repatriation of powers from the EU as a result of Brexit.
Miss Dugdale said she was looking forward to the next four years with no scheduled elections. She said: “Scotland will benefit from this period of calm.
“Referendums and elections can often bring out the worst in politics and you don’t get enough time to stop and think, to let ideas bed in.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love an election campaign but that doesn’t mean I want one every six months.”
She continued: “Who do I want to appeal to who isn’t currently voting Labour in huge numbers?
“It is young families, in their first bought house in suburban Scotland, driving two cars that are in work and want to have a decent holiday once a year.
“I want those people and communities to vote Labour and a big part of that is investing in public services.
“They want their kids to have a good education, have good skills, and, if we don’t want a low wage, low skill economy, we need to invest now.”
Labour wants to use Holyrood’s new controls over income tax to make higher earners pay more so they can reinvest the cash into public services.
Asking voters to pay more tax is not a conventional route to ballot box success but Miss Dugdale claims it is all in how you pitch it.
She said: “If I knock on every door and say do you want to pay more tax, I know what the answer will be.
“But if I say do you want to the best schools in the world, I know what the answer will be.
“We need to show people why it is important we invest in public services and how that benefits everyone, not just the poorest in our society. I don’t think our tax policy should be seen as some sort of radical far left offering.”
She added: “The other thing we are not talking about as a country is automation. We know that lot of well-paid jobs are simply going to disappear.
“Where are the jobs of the future coming from? We are not having this conversation in Scotland and it has to change.“
Miss Dugdale said the issue of Brexit will be a catalyst for a more federalised approach to the UK.
She explained: “In the next few months we will start talking about the powers coming back from Brussels and I have been consistently arguing that those powers should come here to Holyrood.
“Brexit is going to force this on us if we like it or not and that is what makes it different to any other arguments before on additional powers.”