THE role of the next Scottish Labour leader is two-fold – to set out a positive Labour vision of the future and to hold the government of the day to account.

My vision is of a society where what you do in life isn’t determined by how much your parents earn but by your ability, work ethic and ambition.

We need a new generation of Scots to make the Labour Party their home, and to rebuild a movement capable of making that vision a reality – be that in or out of government.

But at the moment Scotland really needs a party holding the Scottish Government to account. This summer – from the exam debacle and a looming GP crisis to the unaccountability of Police Scotland – has shown us that.

This campaign has proved that the next generation are out there.

For Scottish Labour to succeed and become the radical party of change that Scotland needs, we need their ideas and support.

But I also met lots of people who have felt ignored. Who feel that Labour hasn’t listened to them. I understand their anger. I know that it won’t be an easy task, but I promise to try and reach out to them, and learn the lessons of the past.

And that means changing how we talk to you, and more importantly how we listen. So if I’m elected, our values are what we will carry forward with us – all the rest is baggage.

It’s because of that promise I’ll be going to see Jeremy Corbyn in Edinburgh this Friday.

Jeremy’s campaign has tapped into a real anger about how our society fails people, and a hope that Labour politics can, once again,change our society for the better.

I share that hope, and that anger.

It’s undeniable that every part of the Labour Party, and everyone involved in politics, has something to learn from that.

But the future isn’t made in conference venues or town halls. It’s made in our communities, our homes and our classrooms.

That’s why if I am elected leader of the Scottish Labour Party I’ll make ending educational inequality my top priority.

It remains the case today that your educational outcomes depend more on your parents’ income that any other factor, be that talent, hard work or the school you go to.

When it comes to basic skills that attainment gap is stark.

Take a look at Literacy figures for 2014. Ninety-three per cent of P7s from the least deprived backgrounds were performing well at reading – compared to just 81 per cent from the most deprived backgrounds.

When it comes to writing. It’s 77 per cent from least deprived compared to just 56 per cent of the most deprived.

If you can handle more numbers there’s the numeracy statistics – 77 per cent of kids from least deprived areas reaching the appropriate levels – compared to just 53 per cent for the most deprived.

Think about that for a second. Almost half of the poorest kids leaving school unable to write or count properly.

We are a country who have been driven by the desire to increase equality and opportunity – from universal schooling to the expansion of university education. Yet we still have thousands of young Scots who do not really have a chance. If I am elected on Saturday, I’ll work every day to tackle that problem.

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