The Scotland Malawi Partnership is a politically neutral charity. We look to engage each of the major political parties in Scotland as we represent our members’ work and Scotland’s longstanding civic links with Malawi.
In the run up to the 8th June 2017 General Election, as with past elections, we look to brief members on those aspects of the published manifestos which relate to Scottish internationalism and could impact on the bilateral relationship with Malawi.
This article compares the manifestos of the SNP, the Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Labour, the Scottish Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Greens.
SNP: “Given Scotland’s long and enduring relationship with Malawi, the SNP will continue to call for the UK government to renegotiate a new, fair tax treaty with Malawi.”
0.7% of Gross National Income for International Development:
Scottish Labour: “Labour has a proud record on international development. We will continue to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income on official development assistance, and develop a targeted development agenda based on the principles of redistribution, social justice, women’s rights and poverty reduction.”
SNP: “SNP MPs will hold the UK government to its commitment of spending 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on international development.”
Scottish Conservatives: “British aid helps millions and is a powerful statement of Global Britain’s place in the world. It protects our interests: by building a safer, healthier, more prosperous world, we can protect our own people from disease, conﬂict and instability. This is the right ambition for a country with a global outlook, so we will maintain the commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of our gross national income on assistance to developing nations and international emergencies.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats: “Liberal Democrats have always been – and remain – strongly committed to ensuring justice and equity for poor people around the world.” “We will maintain our commitment to spend 0.7% of UK Gross National Income on overseas development assistance, in line with the OECD definition, which we legislated for in the last parliament.”
Definition of aid:
SNP: “We will seek to ensure overseas aid funding meets the internationally-recognised Development Assistance Criteria and does not undermine public services in developing countries. We believe that overseas aid funding must not be used for defence or intelligence related expenditure. We will urge the UK government to ensure development programmes have human rights and the rights of women at their heart.”
Scottish Conservatives: “There are still ways that we can improve the way that taxpayers’ money is used to help the world’s most vulnerable people. We do not believe that international deﬁnitions of development assistance always help in determining how money should be spent, on whom and for what purpose. So we will work with like-minded countries to change the rules so that they are updated and better reﬂect the breadth of our assistance around the world. If that does not work, we will change the law to allow us to use a better of deﬁnition of development spending, while continuing to meet our 0.7 per cent target.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats: “We will maintain our commitment to spend 0.7% of UK Gross National Income on overseas development assistance, in line with the OECD definition, which we legislated for in the last parliament.”
UN Sustainable Development Goals:
Scottish Labour: “We fully support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed globally to eradicate poverty and protect the environment. Labour will develop a cross-government strategy for ensuring the SDGs are implemented, and report annually to Parliament on our performance.”
SNP: “In 2015, Scotland’s First Minister conﬁrmed that the Scottish Government would be one of the ﬁrst anywhere in the world to commit to meeting the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development, both at home and overseas. The Global Goals should be a key focus for international development policy and spending, and the particular role of women and girls in development must be recognised.”
Scottish Conservatives: “We will continue to use our aid budget in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals, to end extreme poverty, save children’s lives, and provide an education for girls.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats: “We believe that the UK must continue to play a leading role in ending poverty and promoting environmentally sustainable development, through implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.” “We will…introduce Sustainable Development Goals audits of new trade, investment and development deals, reviewing the impact of the deal on People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnership.
Department for International Development:
Scottish Labour: “Labour will take robust action to end the self-regulation of the Department of International Development private contractors, establishing new rules and enforcing them to ensure aid is used to reduce poverty for the many, not to increase profits for the few.”
SNP: “The Department for International Development should be maintained as a standalone department of Government with its own Secretary of State.”
Partnership-working / Commonwealth:
Scottish Labour: “We will work in partnership with communities in the Global South to develop long-term strategies for strengthening economies and societies.”
Scottish Conservatives: “Alongside our proposed deep and special partnership with the European Union, we will maintain the historical, cultural and economic ties that link us to our old friends and allies around the globe. We will build upon our existing special relationship with the United States, and forge new economic and security partnerships that make us more prosperous at home and more secure abroad. We will strengthen our close links with our Commonwealth allies, continuing our mission together to promote democratic values around the world and build on our existing economic relationships to further our common trading interests. We will develop alliances and co-operate more with old friends and new partners.”
Engaging civil society:
Scottish Labour: “We would reinstate the Civil Society Challenge Fund to support trade unions, women’s associations and other civil society organisations, which are the most effective forces in winning human rights and workers’ rights.”
Scottish Labour: “In the wake of Brexit, and in fulfilment of our national obligations under the SDGs, Labour will guarantee the world’s least developed countries continued access to the UK market to protect their vital export revenues.”
SNP: “As new trading relationships are formed, the SNP will back policies which support development and ensure that the UK’s trade arrangements with developing countries prioritise poverty reduction. Given Scotland’s long and enduring relationship with Malawi, the SNP will continue to call for the UK government to renegotiate a new, fair tax treaty with Malawi.” “As the UK sets its own trade policy, it must be done responsibly and ethically. ActionAid has ranked the UK joint worst in the world for having the largest number of treaties with developing countries which most restrict the rights of poor countries to tax UK companies operating there. The SNP will urge the UK government to develop a trade and development policy that outlines how the UK will support development as part of its trade with developing countries.”
Scottish Conservatives: “The United Kingdom will be a global champion for an open economy, free trade, and the free ﬂow of investment, ideas and information. Open and free trade is key to international prosperity, stability and security – it is an essential component of an economy that works for everyone. We believe the UK must seize the unique opportunities it has to forge a new set of trade and investment relationships around the world, building a global, outwardlooking Britain.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats: “We will… introduce Sustainable Development Goals audits of new trade, investment and development deals, reviewing the impact of the deal on People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnership.”
Scottish Labour: “The current global tax system is deeply unjust. Africa’s economies alone lose more than £46 billion a year through corruption and tax evasion – more than 10 times what they receive in aid. Labour will act decisively on tax havens. We will introduce strict standards of transparency for crown dependencies and overseas territories, including a public register of owners, directors, major shareholders and beneficial owners for all companies and trusts.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats: “Lead international action to ensure global companies pay fair taxes in the developing countries in which they operate, including tightening anti-tax haven rules and requiring large companies to publish their tax payments and profits for each country in which they operate.”
SNP: “Extreme poverty, inequality, climate change, the plight of refugees fleeing war and repression, and the humanitarian impact of disasters and emergencies are global issues on which we have a moral duty to act. A strong team of SNP MPs at Westminster will make sure that when it comes to their humanitarian and moral obligations, the UK government will not be let off the hook.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats: “Liberal Democrats are internationalists – we understand that by working together, people and countries can achieve so much more that they can alone.
“It is a difficult time for people who believe in international co-operation. Liberals have been challenged by the vote to leave the EU, the election of increasingly nationalist and isolationist leaders across the globe, and a Conservative government seeking new trade deals with countries who are fundamentally opposed to our liberal values. With the election of Donald Trump and an increasingly assertive Russia, we must work to defend the international liberal order.
“Liberal Democrats believe that Britain’s place in the world is patriotic, optimistic, and progressive. We will work with our European and other international partners to promote the ideals that bring us together and make us more secure, championing human rights, helping the poorest people in the world, protecting our country and our allies.”
Scottish Conservatives: “The United Kingdom is a global nation. Our history is a global history; our future must be global too. We believe Britain should play an active, leading role in the world. Not because it is our right or inheritance, but because our leadership in the world is the surest way to defend and advance the interests of the British people, and to extend around the world those values that we believe to be right.
“The United Kingdom is already a global power. We have a leading diplomatic service and one of the largest overseas development budgets in the world. Our armed forces are respected around the world and enable us to project power globally. Our global businesses and London’s position as the global centre of ﬁnance make us more interconnected with the global economy than any other comparable nation.
“Britain is already a signiﬁcant inﬂuence for good around the world. Our aid is giving millions an education and an opportunity to rise out of poverty. Our naval vessels are stopping the vile trade in people and in drugs. We are at the forefront of action against global climate change.
“We can and should do more, not just because acting as a force for good is an important end in itself but because the result will be greater peace and prosperity for the British people. We will continue to champion British values around the globe: freedom, democracy, tolerance and the rule of law. We will be the world’s foremost champion of free trade. We will expand our global eﬀorts to combat extremism, terror, and the perpetration of violence against people because of their faith, gender or sexuality. We will continue to lead international action against climate change, and the degradation of habitat and loss of species. We will continue to lead a global campaign for the education of women and girls, which is the key to progress in so many countries. We will lead the ﬁght against modern slavery, just as we overcame the trade in slaves two hundred years ago. We will lead a global eﬀort to close down online spaces for those who abuse children, incite violence or propagate hate speech. We shall lead the world in the hard work to end extreme child poverty and co-ordinate eﬀorts against microbial resistance and emerging tropical diseases. And we will take up leadership in a new arena, where concern is shared around the world: we will be the global leader in the regulation of the use of personal data and the internet.”
Scottish Greens: “The vote to leave the EU has opened questions on the UK’s role in the world. We believe the UK should be a global citizen and welcoming to all.”
Scottish Conservatives: “The security and prosperity of the United Kingdom is built on the international institutions that we helped to found and will continue to help maintain: the United Nations and the UN Security Council, NATO – the cornerstone of our defence, the Commonwealth, the G20, G7 and the World Trade Organization. We will continue to give strong support to an international order in which rules govern state conduct; in our own behaviour we will support this system and apply it in a principled way. We shall continue to seek to reform multilateral institutions, especially in the way they distribute development funds, so that money is used to greatest eﬀect to protect and help the world’s most vulnerable people.”
Scottish Greens: “We will leave NATO and cancel the replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system, saving at least £100 billion over the next 30 years.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats: “The UK has a proud record of playing a leading role in the European Union and in international institutions like the UN, NATO and the Commonwealth and should continue to do so, promoting wherever possible the liberal values of freedom and opportunity for all.”
Scottish Labour: “At least a billion people suffer each year because they cannot obtain the health services they need, and another 100 million are pushed below the poverty line as a result of paying for the services they receive. A Labour government will establish a Centre for Universal Health Coverage, providing global partnerships, support and encouragement to countries that want UHC, helping them to generate adequate sources of funding and the systems required or delivery. We will invest in new public health driven research and development to find effective and affordable treatments for diseases in the developing world, and we will invest in fighting TB, HIV, malaria, HIV/AIDS and neglected tropical diseases.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats: “We will…invest to eliminate within a generation preventable diseases like TB, HIV and malaria and explore new ways to support research and development into vaccinations and treatment to combat these and other deadly diseases and infections.”
Climate and environment:
SNP: “The world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries are the least responsible for climate change, yet face its biggest impacts. We will maintain the position of a Climate Justice Spokesperson, and call on the UK government to match the approach of the Scottish Government with a dedicated Climate Justice Fund.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats: “We will…provide greater resources for international environmental co-operation, particularly on climate change and on actions to tackle illegal and unsustainable trade in timber, wildlife, ivory, and fish.”
Scottish Conservatives: “We will continue to lead international action against climate change, and the degradation of habitat and loss of species.” “The United Kingdom will lead the world in environmental protection. As Conservatives, we are committed to leaving the environment in better condition than we inherited it. That is why we will continue to take a lead in global action against climate change, as the government demonstrated by ratifying the Paris Agreement. We were the ﬁrst country to introduce a Climate Change Act, which Conservatives helped to frame, and we are halfway towards meeting our 2050 goal of reducing emissions by eighty per cent from 1990 levels. In Scotland, we have reached our interim target, as set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act, several years early.
“We will champion greater conservation co-operation within international bodies, protecting rare species, the polar regions and international waters. We will work with our Overseas Territory governments to create a Blue Belt of marine protection in their precious waters, establishing the largest marine sanctuaries anywhere in the world.
“We can no longer think of economic development as a competing force against environmental protection. Earlier this year, the Scottish Conservatives set out our approach to environmental policy in a comprehensive policy document. The paper included ambitious plans across seven key sections including the circular economy, biodiversity, energy, homes and transport. In it, we have argued for the setting up of new national parks, the introduction of a range of non-ﬁscal incentives for the use of electric vehicles, new urban consolidation hubs to reduce traﬃc emissions or further development of district heating networks. Our approach will provide a greener and more sustainable Scotland for us all. We set ourselves this task because we believe it is one of the greatest challenges of our times. It is for this generation to tackle the issue and ensure that the next will live in a better, more productive and more sustainable world.”
Scottish Greens: “We will work to strengthen the global deal on climate change, including delivering climate justice, building fair trade relations and promoting ecologically sustainable development so that poorer countries can cope with the impacts of climate change.”
SNP: “…the particular role of women and girls in development must be recognised.” “SNP MPs will continue to support the EU in the pursuit of the objectives outlined in the EU Global Strategy, particularly in the cross-cutting themes of Human Rights, Women, Peace and Security and Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.”
Scottish Labour: “We will… develop a targeted development agenda based on the principles of … women’s rights. We would reinstate the Civil Society Challenge Fund to support … women’s associations…”
Scottish Conservatives: “We will continue to lead a global campaign for the education of women and girls, which is the key to progress in so many countries.” “We will work to end the subjugation and mutilation of women… And we will continue to lead global eﬀorts to tackle sexual violence in conﬂict.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats: “Prioritise support, protection and equal rights for women and girls, which is both right and essential for effective, sustainable economic development. We will aim to end female genital mutilation worldwide within a generation.”
Scottish Labour: “Jobs in global supply chains can be of enormous importance to working people across the Global South, but human rights abuses and exploitation of lower environmental standards and workers’ rights is too common. Labour is committed to ensuring respect for human rights, workers’ rights and environmental sustainability in the operations of British businesses around the world, and we will work to tighten the rules governing corporate accountability for abuses in global supply chains.”
SNP: “We will urge the UK government to ensure development programmes have human rights and the rights of women at their heart.” “The SNP Scottish Government has committed to “always consider the human rights implications of its engagement with countries and business” and to ensure that “investment agreements should only be signed where appropriate due diligence, including on the human rights record of companies involved, has been undertaken.” The SNP Scottish Government is now engaging with Amnesty International to put these commitments into practice. SNP MPs will demand that the UK government follows the lead of the Scottish Government.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats: “Liberal Democrats believe that British foreign policy and international aid should seek to promote the liberal values of human rights and democracy throughout the world.”
SNP: “SNP MPs will support the establishment of a special envoy to promote the rights of LGBTI people throughout the world, as an integral part of UK foreign policy - helping to alleviate the discrimination and persecution faced by LGBTI people in Chechnya and across the world.” “There needs to be reform to the detention and asylum system for LGBTI individuals escaping countries where homosexuality is still criminalised, removing unfair and invasive demands for ‘proof’ of sexuality or gender identity.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats: “Develop a comprehensive strategy for promoting the decriminalisation of homosexuality around the world, and advancing the cause of LGBT+ rights.”
Freedom of speech:
Scottish Liberal Democrats: “We will…support free media and a free and open internet around the world, championing the free flow of information. We will…support the current UN initiative to protect journalists and to combat the impunity with which many countries treat those who attack reporters on the frontline. To this end, we will provide ad hoc funding to UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication.” “We will…appoint an Ambassador-level Champion for Freedom of Belief to drive British diplomatic efforts in this field, and campaign for the abolition of blasphemy, sedition, apostasy and criminal libel laws worldwide, having already been responsible for ending them in this country.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats: “We will…champion global anti-corruption initiatives to safeguard global security and economic development and maintain a strong voice in international platforms on ending corruption. We will implement outstanding commitments made by the British Government at the 2016 Global Anti-Corruption Summit. We will…publish a government anti-corruption strategy.”
Scottish Labour: “The current global tax system is deeply unjust. Africa’s economies alone lose more than £46 billion a year through corruption and tax evasion – more than 10 times what they receive in aid.”
Scottish Conservatives: “British scientists and inventors have helped to address some of the greatest challenges facing the world’s poorest people. A global Britain should aspire to do even more: we will signiﬁcantly increase our funding of UK-led medical and technical research into the biggest threats to global health and prosperity.”
Migration, refugees and asylum:
Scottish Labour: “There are now more refugees and displaced people around the world than at any time since the Second World War. This is a failure of diplomacy, conflict resolution and of human rights, which is why they will be at the heart of Labour’s foreign policy. The Tories have completely failed to show any leadership on this issue. In the first 100 days of government we will produce a cross-departmental strategy on the refugee crisis so that we meet our international obligations.”
SNP: “We believe that the UK government has a responsibility – through action and leadership – to tackle global issues such as extreme poverty, the impact of climate change, the plight of refugees ﬂeeing war and repression and the humanitarian impact of disasters and emergencies.
“The UK government’s response to the refugee and migration crisis has fallen far short of their humanitarian and moral duty. The decision to close the Dubs Scheme for unaccompanied children – putting them at risk of exploitation – is shameful. SNP MPs will back an immediate reversal to ensure safe and legal routes are open. In addition, the Dublin Regulation process needs to be simpliﬁed, reformed, and properly implemented so that those with family in the UK can be more easily reunited with them.
“SNP MPs will urge the UK government to take action on the recommendations of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees including implementing a National Refugee Integration Strategy that ensures all agencies coordinate support for refugees and helps refugees take part in, and contribute to, our society.
“There has been a worrying trend in the rhetoric coming from the current UK government as it relates to those seeking protection. The SNP will always defend the system of international protection of refugees that provides a place of safety for those facing serious harm or persecution. We need to ensure that the system of assessing asylum claims is thorough and fair and treats all passing through it with dignity. Those who have waited six months for an asylum decision should be able to use their skills and to support themselves by taking up work – as most EU countries allow. We will continue to oppose the continued cuts to support that have led to asylum seekers becoming destitute.
“We need to fundamentally change the UK government’s system for housing asylum seekers. The disgraceful condition of the housing provided and the contracts the UK government has with providers have been roundly criticised by all parties. The Scottish Government’s work to resettle Syrian refugees has shown how people can be supported and welcomed into communities and should be used as basis for settling asylum seekers in the future. We will urge the UK government to work with the devolved administrations, local authorities and local communities to provide services for asylum seekers rather than use private contractors who have proﬁt rather than people as their prime motive.
“There needs to be reform to the detention and asylum system for LGBTI individuals escaping countries where homosexuality is still criminalised, removing unfair and invasive demands for ‘proof’ of sexuality or gender identity.”
Scottish Conservatives: “We will ensure Britain remains a place of sanctuary for refugees and asylum seekers. The existing system, however, is geared towards people who are young enough, ﬁt enough, and have the resources to get to Britain, rather than those who are most in need of our help.
“Wherever possible, the government will oﬀer asylum and refuge to people in parts of the world aﬀected by conﬂict and oppression, rather than to those who have made it to Britain. We will work to reduce asylum claims made in Britain and, as we do so, increase the number of people we help in the most troubled regions. We will continue to work with other countries in Europe, and the United Nations, to review the international legal deﬁnitions of asylum and refugee status.
“We will make sure our councils get the help they need, and we will work with the devolved administrations and councils in devolved nations, to support people as they arrive, and establish schemes to help individuals, charities, faith groups, churches and businesses to provide housing and other assistance for refugees.”
Scottish Greens: “Scotland can welcome many more migrants and asylum seekers who enrich our culture and are an asset to the economy. We will promote a humane and compassionate immigration and asylum system, with a bespoke policy for Scotland including the post-study work visa to allow students who study at UK universities to stay.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats: “In light of the US government’s dangerous and anti-science attacks on international programmes of vaccination and family planning, which impact disproportionately on the health of women and children, seek to protect global spending on these essential provisions.”
Scottish Labour: “Labour will work with business to ensure the provisions of the Modern Slavery Act are fully respected, including reporting on due diligence in supply chains.”
Scottish Conservatives: “We will lead the ﬁght against modern slavery, just as we overcame the trade in slaves two hundred years ago.” “We will work … to combat the brutal slave trade in fellow human beings.”
“The UK is a global leader in ﬁghting the evil trade in human beings – both around the world and in our own country – for sex and labour exploitation. As home secretary, Theresa May brought forward the Modern Slavery Act, the ﬁrst of its kind in Europe, appointed the world’s ﬁrst anti-slavery commissioner and set up the Modern Slavery Taskforce to bring together the heads of MI5, MI6 and the National Crime Agency to co-ordinate our response to criminal gangs operating across the world. In Scotland, political parties have unanimously backed a new Human Traﬃcking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act.
“We now need to go further. We need to focus on the exploitation of vulnerable men, women and children for their labour, people who are moved around our own country and between nations, as if they were not human at all. We will review the application of exploitation in the Modern Slavery Act to strengthen our ability to stop criminals putting men, women and children into criminal, dangerous and exploitative working conditions. And the UK will use its power to push the United Nations and other international bodies to make Modern slavery a thing of the past.”