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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 September 2007, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
Think tank to map Labour policies
Wendy Alexander
Ms Alexander said Labour had to tune into the hopes of the people
Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander has outlined details of her new think tank to take the party forward.

The "arms-length" organisation, to be run by Oxford academic Gregg McClymont, aims to flesh out new policies.

The move was part of a series of major party reforms set out by Ms Alexander when she officially became leader.

The Paisley North MSP also announced the appointment of external advisers to help party spokespeople on health, children's issues and housing.

The new "virtual" think tank, called Ideas Scotland, is to start work in October, helping to map out party policy and speaking to various groups across Scotland.

Ms Alexander must remember that there is a difference between virtual policies and real ones
Bruce Crawford
Parliamentary business minister

Labour MSP Margaret Curran will also take a leading role in the organisation.

"We need to tune into the changing aspirations and hopes of the people of Scotland and reach out effectively to all sectors of Scottish society," Ms Alexander said.

"We will listen to, work with and engage with business, the voluntary sector and civic Scotland and through Ideas Scotland and with the assistance of our team of new external advisers, we will do just that."

Three policy discussion papers have already been commissioned by the new think tank, on participation in local government, widening public democracy, and improving public services.

"Politics is about ideas. This think tank will provide them," Mr McClymont said.

Bruce Crawford, minister for parliamentary business, said people in Scotland wanted real changes and not "gimmicks".

"Ms Alexander must remember that there is a difference between virtual policies and real ones," he said.

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