Scottish independence referendum, plus jokes.

Wings Over Scotland


The Brown note

Posted on September 04, 2013 by

Curiously, the only place in the media we’ve been able to find even slightly detailed coverage of Gordon Brown’s speech on independence to a group of Labour MPs, MSPs and party apparatchiks in Govan this week was in Newsnet Scotland.

raginbroon

The press, which gave extensive coverage to the former Prime Minister’s last intervention in the debate, has barely mentioned the latest one, made again in the name of the figleaf “United With Labour” brand created to convince the party’s more gullible grassroots supporters that it’s not walking hand-in-hand with the Tories.

That may, of course, be because the media, while more or less obliged to cover UWL’s launch, is generally rather uncomfortable about it and doesn’t want to shine too much light on the group. But it may also be because Brown’s speech was such arrant, obvious nonsense that even Scotsman readers would be insulted by it.

Brown made two key suggestions. His first was to propose that the status of the Scottish Parliament be written into UK legislature such that it could no longer be abolished at will by Westminster:

“I would also write in the British constitution that the Scottish Parliament is permanent, irreversible and indissolvable.”

Alert readers will of course be wondering at this point precisely where Mr Brown would “write” such a thing, as the UK doesn’t have a written constitution, but that’s not the daft bit. It’s one of the most fundamental principles of ANY democracy that no government can bind the hands of its successors, and any such statute could be repealed just as easily as it was passed, no matter how many synonyms for “permanent” you wrote in.

The second grand idea of Brown’s speech was this one:

“We pool and share resources and we do so so that we have equal economic, social and political rights for working people, for pensioners, for people in need of healthcare or unemployed people in need of a job, throughout the whole of the United Kingdom.

I believe we should write this into the constitution, for the first time making it explicit that the purpose of the Union is not just defence security, is not just trading relationships, but to pool and share our resources for the benefit of working people, the elderly, children and families, in all parts of the United Kingdom.”

That all sounds very Utopian and socialist and well and good. Except we know what it actually means in practice for Scotland – money flowing out of the country to subsidise poor parts of England. And for better or worse, that prospect isn’t a big vote-winner for the No campaign.

It would be hard even for Scotland’s media, much of which still appears to worship Brown as some sort of god, to analyse his speech without banging into these whacking great elephants parked in the middle of the room. So they give it the most token coverage they can get away with and scuttle along to find something easier to spin or smear.

If this site’s shown anything over the last couple of years, it’s that what the press doesn’t report is at least as important as what it does. Gordon Brown, still popular in Scotland and a political heavyweight by any reasonable definition, ought to be in the latter category. Ask yourself why he’s not.

123 to “The Brown note”

  1. Albalha says:

    I understand a fair few of the press pack turned up as well? If so they clearly had planned to cover it more extensively.
     
    Though remember one saying he veered wildly off script.

  2. Kenny Campbell says:

    The issue isn’t the poor bits of England being subsidised that gets on my wick its the likes of HS2, Crossrail,London Olympics,London Centric Civil Service, MOD splurge etc etc.
     
    The UK seems to exist to keep London alive.

  3. Stuart Black says:

    This all baffles me. Brown is not a stupid man and must realise that what he is saying regarding the irreversiality (?!)of the SG is nonsense on stilts. He was also – from what I can gather – preaching to a lot of Labour heavyweights (sic) who must also recognise the mendacious nature of this pledge and, the papers are not reporting it. Why say it then?
     
    The second point regarding the poor of the UK is not new and the Rev has dealt with it elsewhere on the site. I’ve said it before, the advent of Brown to a high profile position is a boon for YES. You go, Gordon!

  4. benarmine says:

    My he does look ready to use the mighty fist there. Poor deluded idiot.

  5. Disco Dave says:

    The FM has been talking up (quite rightly) the importance of a written constitution post Indy. Seems to be that Old Gordy is attempting to hijack that with a Pro-Union slant, albeit in a ham-fisted manner.

  6. Simon says:

    It was all Susans fault.

  7. jafurn says:

    Just a thought but how many people out there outside the ‘bubble’ even knew that that was the case.
    I think the ‘knowledge’ that the Westminster government could at any time enact legislation to abolish the Scottish Parliament wouldn’t fit well with their trying to sell us the ‘jam’ of ‘more powers if we reject ndependence.
    Best not shout too loudly about that little piece of information.

  8. Thorbor says:

    Pressed the link for Gordon’s speech and just spent 10 minutes contemplating  what the world would be like if it was myth confirmed :)
    Though it saved me from Wikipedia ing all the big pointless words Gordon normally uses trying to appear intelligent 
    cheers rev a laugh a day keeps project fear at bay:)

  9. ` says:

    It would seem that this EX UK PRIME MINISTER has no clue how it is actually run. To propose something which is of no legal binding, while implying it does, is simply par for the course with this man. He is no asset to the MSM nor the Labour party, I think by now they must be realizing it.
    A dead head among more dead heads, no wonder the public are starting to show their disdain for all this rubbish. Zombie politicians would be a more apt way to describe their leaders.

  10. An Duine Gruamach says:

    If United With Labour pretends to exist, I suppose they’ll be allowed to spend a certain amount of money in addition to what Better Together spend.  It’s just a hollow body to expand the Unionist campaign budget.

  11. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    I understand a fair few of the press pack turned up as well? If so they clearly had planned to cover it more extensively.Though remember one saying he veered wildly off script.”

    Yeah. You’d think that alone would make for an interesting piece, but as far as I can see there’s been nothing.

  12. Melissa Murray says:

    I wonder if all this pooling of resources is what’s contributed to Glasgow having the highest rate of unemployed households in the UK!
     
    Oh well as long as the City of London survives.

  13. sneddon says:

    ‘still popular’  Are we talking about the same Gordon Brown?  I think the poor man needs to get away from politics completely for his own health.  The same with Jo Lamont.  To watch the physical and mental toll on what were once(some time ago) two decent people is car crash tv. It’s a pity none of their colleagues have the bravery to tell them to quit but are content to leave them to take the flak when things go tits up.  Or am I seeing things that are not there?

  14. Albalha says:

    @Rev Stuart Campbell
    Given the amount of pre speech coverage it may be worth a column inch comparison, before and after, as it were.

  15. Albalha says:

    @sneddon
    Know nothing about JL, but GB, imo, was always power hungry and ruthless with it.

  16. Stuart Black says:

     It’s just a hollow body to expand the Unionist campaign budget.
     
    Yes, I’ve wondered about this. The Govan speech seems to be, as far as I can tell, the first initiative from United with Labour since its launch on May 13th. I may be wrong about this but I have been unable to find any events between announcement and this speech. Yet another group that exists to swell the coffers? The ostensible reason for it is to distance Labour from sharing platforms with the Tories, but that is shot down by the fact that BT are still the high profile campaigners, and if truth be known it is probably best (for them ;)) if events with the likes of Brown and Curran on the stage, undiluted, are kept to a minimum.

  17. Mark Coburn says:

    It would seem to me that the British Empire has shrunk so much (brilliantly mis-managed) that it’s walls are now shielding the last bastion that is London.

  18. Albalha says:

    @Rev Stuart Campbell
    Have you seen the Eddie Barnes piece?
    http://archive.is/qYvCu

  19. CameronB says:

    Somewhat OT, but bearing in mind the proposed introduction of regional benefits scales, here is a small extract from a speach made by Lord Truscott (Labour), on 26 Febuary this year:

     
    Transport: HS2 — Question for Short Debate
     
    I can see why some northern cities welcome HS2 as the best deal on offer. However, the fact is that HS2 will benefit London and connectivity between northern cities can be better improved by east-west connections over the Pennines and other inter-city improvements, rather than focusing on a north-south line to London. Most jobs and benefits will flow to London, as has been the case with Paris and Madrid with their high-speed rail networks. If I am not misquoting him, the noble Lord, Lord Jones of Birmingham, has rightly said that HS2 will turn Birmingham into a dormitory town for London. Meanwhile, hard-pressed commuters in the Home Counties, the south-east, south-west and East Anglia despite severe overcrowding will have all the costs but none of the benefits of HS2.
    Nor do I think that Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield will be so keen when they are asked to cough up some of the £26 billion subsidy that HS2 requires or to pay the premium fares demanded of their citizens. Besides, has anyone told the Department for Transport that the north does not stop at Manchester? Liverpool and Newcastle have clearly been sidelined, let alone Scotland. Incidentally, I am grateful to the Minister for his prompt and timely replies to my Written Questions on HS2. The responses revealed that the Department for Transport has no idea how much the line would cost to expand to Scotland; nor does it have any contingency plans for Heathrow should another airport take its place as the UK’s hub. (my emphasis)
    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2013-02-26a.1037.0
     
    So do you want to remain the cash cow for London’s benefit?
     
    Vote Yes to keep Scotland’s wealth in Scotland.

  20. Jimbo says:

    Whenever Brown gives a speech in Scotland it is all just sound bites for media repetition in order to either impress or frighten the politically ignorant.

  21. Ruby Tuesday says:

    @Albalha
     
    Did you read post by the ‘roman’ at 10:51

  22. Albalha says:

    @RubyTuesday
    ?, not getting the question, sorry being a bit dim probably ….

  23. sneddon says:

    Albalha- I suppose I’m trying to justify, to myself, why supposedly intelligent people, act like utter contemptible pieces of human excrement.  

  24. Ruby Tuesday says:

    The ‘Noman Roman’s’ posts on the Scotsman don’t usually last more than 12 hours.  You’ll notice that the vowels in the ‘Noman Roman’s’ moniker keep dropping with each banning. 

  25. Iain says:

    I’d guess also the Scottish media are beginning to baulk at using Brown as a symbol of how Scotland has a say at Westminster through its MPs, particularly so soon after the last flurry of ‘Scots MPs stopped Syria being bombed’ bs. I think even they’re having trouble stifling a snigger at any mention of the Brownian moral compass.

  26. Barontorc says:

    Is this apathy from newshounds another pointed reference to ‘the prophet in his own country being ignored?’ Or, does it really say it all – that Gordon talks mince and what’s more, it ain’t even spinnable mince.
     
    Looking at the derisory contributions yesterday from Lamont, Davidson and Rennie, it really is breathtaking stuff that it’s possible, by some fateful fluke and with all the excruciating hard work from the BBC and MSM given to the cause – the unionists might come to be in government! These three who pass themselves off as leaders are plainly no more than stooges and should not be let out by themselves, never mind left in charge of a country, albeit, as we know to be the truth, they would not be in charge anyway – that’s Westminsters role in their grand scheme of things, isn’t it?
     
    By God – I hope the polls are right and we’re drawing ahead!

  27. ianbeag says:

    GB quote from Govan speech “No one is more proud of being a Scot than I am” – When he’s out of Scotland he claims to be ‘North British’ – that’s integrity for you!

  28. panda paws says:

    “Except we know what it actually means in practice for Scotland – money flowing out of the country to subsidise poor parts of England.”

    Except that’s not what happens in practise. The poor areas of England get the lowest public funding according to the government’s own figures (PESA?). More the point I don’t see the poor areas of Scotland benefiting much from his “redistribution” in this union.

    I want a Yes vote but if God help us this doesn’t happen, can the people please vote out those Labour MPs that never turn up at Westminster or the others that indulge in GBH when they do turn up.

  29. Macart says:

    There’s only one way to make Holyrood’s creation irreversible or indeed to ensure that the poor, the working class, the less able in our society are heard and cared for and that is to make our parliament our own. We WILL have a written, codified constitution enshrining the rights and responsibilities of our citizenry and our parliament and it will be a constitution we all have a hand in.
     
    Accept no substitutes.

  30. The Man in the Jar says:

    @CameronB
    At 11;46am
    Good comment. It is truly unbelievable that Scots should have to pay billions towards this unnecessary project that only benefits the South East of England. As it typifies the “benefits” of the union I think that this issue deserves more attention.

  31. Ruby Tuesday says:

    @Albalha
    See post in comments on Scotsman’s article ‘Scottish Independence:One in four will vote yes’ by Publius Cornelus Scipo Africanus at 10.51 re manipulation of Panelbase poll by ‘pro-independence website’
     

  32. Albalha says:

    @RubyTuesday
    Ah ok, no I don’t read the Scotsman or the comments, I just picked up the Barnes piece on a search as I knew he was the one who’d tweeted about Brown veering off script.

  33. The Man in the Jar says:

    Oops wrong time in previous comment it should be 11;06 ;-(

  34. Albalha says:

    @sneddon
    You’re displaying the noble art of being unable to get your head round self serving, duplicitous, mendacious behaviour ……if it’s not in you it’s hard to understand that it’s in others.
    I agree it’s incomprehensible, however it’s all too real.

  35. Ruby Tuesday says:

    @Albalha
    Sorry you were referring to a different Eddie Barnes article. 
    I think a new another Nespresso!

  36. Atypical_Scot says:

    It’s one of the most fundamental principles of ANY democracy
    The House of Lords = no democracy.

  37. I was in total agreement, Stuart, till I got to the bit “Gordon Brown, still popular in Scotland.” I’m intrigued as to where you get that idea?  

    Even the good folk of Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath, who previously elected him on the basis that in a tribal Labour constituency you could pin a red rosette on a chimpanzee and they would vote for it, must be getting at least a tiny bit peeved at their absent MP.

    His contributions in person to debates in the Commons since the last UKGE on 6/5/10 have been on 9/7/13, 6/3/13, 15/1/13, 30/11/11, 13/7/11 and 1/11/10. Damn! you just have to start using the fingers of your other hand to count all 6 of them.

    Which brings me on to “and a political heavyweight by any reasonable definition.” I really doubt that Brown is regarded as such now even in his own party in the UK rather than just Scotland. Surely one of the prerequisites of being a big beast in the jungle is that one is seen to be actually in the jungle rather more frequently that 6 times in 3 1/4 years?

  38. CameronB says:

    The Man in the Jar
    Ah, but there is the rub. The HS2 project is considered to have ‘national benefits’, whatever that is supposed to mean. Now would that be the ‘nation’ of Great Britain, the ‘nation’ of England, or just the ‘nation’ of Greater Londonshire? Either way, it will hurt Scotland’s development potential and economic competitiveness.

  39. Stuart Black says:

    O/T, just bought a copy of ‘The Derk Isle’, Tintin in Scots (also in gaelic), check it out on Bella.
     
    http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2013/09/04/tintin-in-scots-and-gaelic/

  40. Thistle says:

    OT
    @Albalha meant to get your email address at Langside Halls to see if you could help out with the questions for our QT event. Could you help?

  41. Albalha says:

    @thistle
    It’s in quarantine, feel free to e mail. Re questions, as I went to the BT Glasgow event, I would suggest using some of those. But certainly e mail.

  42. ian mor says:

    The speech was covered by the Herald
    http://tinyurl.com/q3bvswl
    I just keep seeing the line “It makes sense now..”  I infer his new beliefs made absolutely no sense to him previously?
     (via mobile -if my formatting is a mess – apologies)

  43. Albalha says:

    Re Gordon Brown, this is from the Telegraph obituary of I Banks, says it all.

    “A hatred of Tony Blair’s foreign policy led him to vote for the Scottish National Party, though he also voiced his support for figures from the far-Left. Though he lived 100 yards from Gordon Brown, he maintained that he had never met the former Labour leader and that “having never had any illusions about him, I wasn’t disillusioned by him”. He did, however, reapply for the passport he had torn up on the day Brown replaced Blair at Number 10.”

  44. Jeannie says:

    I’ve been puzzling over this question for some time:  If you’re trying to persuade Scots that they are best sticking with the Union, why on earth would you give leadership roles to Gordon Brown and Alastair Darling when they are so closely associated with presiding over the near-destruction of the economy when they were in power.  They lost the last general election, making them double-time losers.  They supported the highly unpopular Iraq war, making them triple losers.  So why would you put them at the forefront of your campaign?  Maybe they’re just the best liars or the most deluded?  Or did they just volunteer for a job nobody else wanted?
     
    The only explanation I can see is that the Labour Party in Scotland just hasn’t moved with the times and are living in the Scotland and the UK that existed prior to 2007, where Brown and Darling were in positions of power.  The reality of it is that these days both of them are just back-bench Labour MPs.  Brown hardly even turns up to vote at Westminster.  Even the current UK Labour Party won’t give them an opposition ministerial portfolio.
     
    And the Tories keep a very low profile in the unionist campaign – they just provide the funding, really.  You’d think if they were serious about winning, they wouldn’t want somebody with Darling’s record of failure leading it.  If you’re a Tory and you’ve whipped up a negative campaign against the Scots – subsidy junkies, etc., and the Scots vote for independence, then you can presumably blame it on the Labour Party.  If the Scots vote No and the rUK electorate has bought the subsidy junky argument, then they’ll complain about having to keep on subsidising the Scots – and blame it on the Labour Party.  So where’s the win situation for Labour?
     
    And then there’s the campaign itself – based on smears and scaremongering – which can be easily dismantled and be shown to be lies -thus discrediting Labour even more.
     
    It’s a weird old way to run a campaign you’re trying to win.  Looking at this strategy, I’m now beginning to wonder which campaign the Tories are actually running – the Better Together one or the campaign aimed at winning the next UK general election.

  45. Stuart Black says:

    Yes CameronB, and these ‘national benefits’ do not, as you know, attract Barnett consequentials, amazing the amount of astonishingly expensive projects in and around London are assigned this ‘national’ status. So instead of getting the extension to the block grant, we actually have to contribute. That must be this Union dividend they are always rattling on about.
    Pity the poor old A9 has never been awarded this status, might have avoided a wheen of unnecessary deaths if it had.

  46. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I have just read the biography of Gordon Brown by Tom Bower.
    He is not clever. He is determined, self serving,self seeking, devious,vengeful, bad tempered, unreliable in anything with no consistent political philosophy except spin and he paid loud lip service to socialist and Labour ideals (as he always does) while delivering nothing of the sort. He encouraged  our banks into casino banking and inventing money from which he took huge tax revenues and the most significant thing he did with some of that money was to employ around 200,000 extra civil servants.
    He is not popular in Scotland and if the whole truth about him was better known he would be even less popular

  47. wee 162 says:

    Ken what, see this bit;
    “We pool and share resources and we do so so that we have equal economic, social and political rights for working people, for pensioners, for people in need of healthcare or unemployed people in need of a job, throughout the whole of the United Kingdom.

    If that had taken place whilst Gordon Brown was first the man holding the purse strings, and latterly the man in charge of the whole of the UK, I probably wouldn’t be voting for independence (and I don’t think the SNP would be such a force in Scottish politics either fwiw). But it didn’t, in fact during Gordon Browns time in power these things moved ever further away. The prospect of the UK going in this direction is so close to being non-existent as to make it an absurd proposition.
     
    I also am not particularly comfortable with “money flowing out of Scotland to subsidise the poor parts of England” being an apparently bad thing. Because that sort of attitude is the one which has fragmented society imo. It’s the sort of attitude that has legitimised tax dodging. It’s the sort of attitude which separates the poor into deserving and undeserving categories. And frankly it’s something which I think the union has been attempting to entrench without success in Scotland. Subsidising the poor anywhere to help them up by the richer is a good thing and if Scotland is richer than the poorer parts of England I’ve no problem with that being the case if we’re still in a political union with them.

  48. Albalha says:

    @wee162
    I sense quite a few on the left, unlike Brown who has never been anywhere near the left, do believe this, I simply don’t understand their logic anymore.
    As someone put it to me ….”(As a YES voter) ….. you’re saying you don’t care about the worker in Bradford etc etc”. As the UK is now, and headed it’s so illogical, and these are not New Labourites either.
     
     

  49. Doug Daniel says:

    @Albalha – and to those people, I simply say “so that means you don’t care about the worker in Dublin?”

  50. Peter A Bell says:

    Gordon Brown’s notion of writing into the “British constitution” that the Scottish Parliament is permanent, irreversible and indissolvable [sic] is ridiculous not only for the reason that there is no “British constitution” but because this would be contrary to the fundamental principle of parliamentary sovereignty that lies at the core of the British state.

  51. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I should have added ” I suspect the media in Scotland are aware he is not popular in Scotland which is why they give him low level coverage”

  52. velofello says:

    Every cloud has a silver lining.
    In future campaign chats with the public we can quote Gordon Brown’s concern that Scotland is vulnerable to potential dissolution of the Scottish parliament, and that there is no constitution to safeguard us. Also his proposal that Scotland’s earnings surplus should continue to be handed over to the UK Treasury for distribution throughout the UK.
    Do I believe he is sincere over safeguarding the Scottish parliament – No.
     

  53. Albalha says:

    @DD
    Well I usually go further afield, Cairo or Istanbul, but, seriously, the problem is they seem so wedded to a socialist, federalist, republican pipedream.
    I may be wrong but I’d hazard we’ll need to convince at least some of them to change their minds.
     
     

  54. Gillie says:

    Macavity Brown

  55. CameronB says:

    Stuart Black
    Crossrail is another of these projects considered to be of ‘national benefit’. Here is a small extract from Crossrail themselves, regarding the estimated £42bn benefit to the ‘national’ economy.
     
    Wider economic benefits
    Crossrail will not only provide London and the South East with a world-class, high capacity affordable railway, it will ease congestion on London’s public transport system, provide better access to the capital and also generate significant employment opportunities.

    Overall Crossrail Benefits
    As well as easing many of London’s transport headaches, it will encourage regeneration and social inclusion and provide access to thousands of job opportunities. Crossrail is a key part of London’s plan for growth over the years ahead.
    Crossrail will have a beneficial impact on the lives of Londoners by providing better access to the capital for the 750,000 workers who already commute into London. It will provide strategic interchanges for local, national and international business and leisure travellers.
    A project of national significance, Crossrail will bring transport improvements that will be felt across the country. The scheme will be a catalyst for safeguarding a national economy inextricably linked with that of our capital city.
    During the construction phase alone, Crossrail will create thousands of jobs at the peak of construction and will also require the services of regionally-based manufacturers and other suppliers.
    Overall the benefits of Crossrail are estimated to be at least £42 billion in current prices
    http://www.crossrail.co.uk/benefits/wider-economic-benefits/
     
    If that is not clear enough, then hear is London First’s explanation as to why they have campaigned for the development of Crossrail and now Crossrail2;
     
    London First has campaigned for Crossrail since it was formed in 1992. On 5 October 2007, the Government gave the go-ahead for the vital east-west rail route – a move met with applause and relief by London’s business community.
    Here’s why:
    Crossrail is one of the two most vital pieces of publicly funded infrastructure London needs, along continued improvements to the quality, reliability and capacity of the Tube. Together, they will play a critical role in supporting London’s growth and economic success.
    http://londonfirst.co.uk/our-focus/keeping-things-moving/crossrail-crossrail-2/

    P.S. Sorry for going OT. What constitution is GB on about?

  56. Murray McCallum says:

    I expect to see Cameron and Osborne start to appear more in the referendum debate and try and find some tangible UK benefits to Scotland.  Better together is largely Tory funded so I think it is quite reasonable for them to play their role.
     
    I would think the Tory backers of better together must be deeply alarmed at the consistent reversal in fortune of their No to Scotland campaign. They have been told to stay out of the debate and look at what has happened – could they really do any worse?
     
    IMO Gordon Brown hasn’t been quite the same person since he saved the World in 2008 – I think he may have stood too close to some Kryptonite.

  57. panda paws says:

    For those wondering what Brown does when he’s not at Westminster
    http://theveiledsun.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/they-work-for-you.html
     
    I hope he’s getting airmiles!
     

  58. Brian Powell says:

    The obvious things are; why didn’t he do this while in total control of Westminster. Rhetorical question.
    And, the press don’t want to embarrass the No campaign, opening a debate that would knock more holes in their tattered argument.
    Similar to what happened recently in the European Parliament, when a Labour MEP, put forward a motion to debate Scotland in the EU. Socialist MEPs from other countries and the UK, though notably Spain, blocked it because it might not give the clear anti-Independence verdict wanted and it would bring out into the open a debate on Independence for other countries in Europe, which they wanted to avoid.

  59. Angus McPhee says:

    Never mind whether there’s a written UK Constitution for the UK or not, How the . would he re-write it even if it did exist if he can’t be bothered to turn up to represent his constituents in Westminster in the first place?

  60. Stuart Black says:

    @Dave McEwan Hill, bang on the money, esp. this:
     
    “…he paid loud lip service to socialist and Labour ideals (as he always does) while delivering nothing of the sort.”

  61. RedStarTrout says:

    I have to disagree with this, ‘for Scotland – money flowing out of the country to subsidise poor parts of England’.

    Many would say this was a good thing, we should show solidarity with the poor in other parts of the UK or elsewhere.

    The reality is that we actually subsidise inequality in England and the whole UK.

    Consider how much housing benefit in London goes to help buy-to-let investors become millionaires. The poor, and not so poor, are trapped between ever rising purchase prices and even faster rising rents and the rest of the country gets to pick up the tab.

    Look at Crossrail in London, Europe’s biggest construction project, costing the best part of 20 Billion and employing thousands of well paid workers. It may well come in on budget and on time, it may well reduce overcrowding, slightly, on the tube, and it may well let city bankers get home to their houses in Windsor 10 minutes quicker. But to help pay for it, Labour councils in Scotland are having to evict disabled people from their houses thanks to the bedroom tax.

    Is that really what Brown calls ‘pooling and sharing resources’?  

  62. X_Sticks says:

    Jeannie says:
    “I’ve been puzzling over this question for some time: If you’re trying to persuade Scots that they are best sticking with the Union, why on earth would you give leadership roles to Gordon Brown and Alastair Darling”
     
    I think George Osbourne may have given us a clue yesterday in his speech in Aberdeen, you know, the one where he put forward the idea that even if Scotland were to vote for independence the oil industry (and taxes and licencing and Crown Estate income et al) would be better managed by westminster.
     
    I have suspicion that the tory plan may be just that, let (even encourage) us to vote for independence but to fiddle things such that they keep the oil. That would be the best of both worlds as far as the tories are concerned.
     
    No Scottish Labour vote and all the oil revenues – what’s not to like for a tory?

  63. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Except that’s not what happens in practise. The poor areas of England get the lowest public funding”

    Yes. Which is what Brown wants to change. He wants them to be subsidised in future by relatively-well-off Scotland.

  64. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Many would say this was a good thing, we should show solidarity with the poor in other parts of the UK or elsewhere.

    The reality is that we actually subsidise inequality in England and the whole UK.”

    Yes, I know. What Brown wants to do is put a patch over that with Scottish money, rather than fixing the entire UK system that concentrates everything on London. He did absolutely nothing to rebalance the economy away from London when he was Prime Minister.

  65. creigs1707repeal says:

    ‘United with Labour’? Is it just me or could this be Brown’s attempt at placing a foot in both camps? Is this Brown positioning himself as the ‘true Labour’ party (as opposed to Labour for Indy) should YES win the referendum?
     
    YES Scotland.

  66. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “See post in comments on Scotsman’s article ‘Scottish Independence:One in four will vote yes’ by Publius Cornelus Scipo Africanus at 10.51 re manipulation of Panelbase poll by ‘pro-independence website’”

    That story doesn’t seem to have comments enabled.

  67. Albalha says:

    Given how loathed G Brown is in parts of England, what is this all about, who is he doing it for, why does he even care anymore?
    We know he’s self serving, what is he hoping to gain? Deliberate spoiler, maybe, is that why BT put out the image, clearly I haven’t a bloody clue.
    Baffled.

  68. iain taylor (not that one) says:

    Does dovetail nicely with SLab’s grand plan not to oppose the bedroom tax, but to expect the Scottish Government find the money to bail out councils which don’t evict tenants in arrears.
    That’s a nice way to share resources.
     

  69. Ron Burgundy says:

    Lots of very good points guys I would make only one.
    Why is Brown so dedicated to the idea of Scotland’s membership of the Union whose ruling elite and wider society despise and detest him.
    I am not just talking here about the countless examples of racist abuse to which he has been subjected to in the Daily Mail and Telegraph comment pages over the years, mocking his loss of eyesight in one eye, his “Scottishness”, his foul temper and alleged abusive relationship towards those who worked for him, his total lack of personal charisma and of course his role in trashing the economy in 2008 by building on the deregulation of the City started by Thatcher in the 1980′s.
    Together wider English society hate him, he is both a figure of fun and contempt. Yet somehow he wants us to be part of something he has so thoroughly been rejected by.
    His popularity in Scotland only really exists among the few  SLAB apparatchiks who remember his “Red Paper on Scotland” from 1978 but conveniently forget his cuts in Capital Gains Tax and his “we are entering a golden age of the City” speech at the Lord Mayor’s Dinner a few weeks before the crash

  70. Jon D says:

    I haven’t seen this article referred to in any threads lately.
    Another breath of fresh air and common sense from Craig Murray and worth a wee read
    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2013/09/we-can-rule-the-world-err-no-we-cant/
     

  71. Juteman says:

    Brown reminds folk of the failures of Westminster. Long may he represent the No campaign.

  72. Juteman says:

    @JonD.
    I seem to have upset someone in that thread you linked to. :-)

  73. jim mitchell says:

    Two points: first re the Eddie Barns bit, how kind and useful of Gordon  to touch on something many of us have been wondering for years, what is the union really for?
    Secondly, surely I am not the only one who has grave doubts about the supposed intelligence level of Gordon Brown, this man,(in my opinion), has been a failure at everything he has attempted, plus I strongly suspect that emotionally he is damaged goods and is in need of serious help.

  74. Rod Mac says:

    GB quote from Govan speech “No one is more proud of being a Scot than I am” 
     
    Isn’t it amazing that it is only Unionists that feel the need to tell everyone they are  a “proud Scot” , never heard Alex ,or Nicola , or any member of YES start a phrase with that.
    It is like Adolf saying some of my best friends are Jewish.

  75. scottish_skier says:

    we can quote Gordon Brown’s concern that Scotland is vulnerable to potential dissolution of the Scottish parliament
     
    That was the first thing that sprung into my mind when I read what Gordon said.
     
    It seems he believes if we vote No, then the end of the Scottish Parliament is a credible threat.
     
    If the Tories want to solve the constitutional issue, that’s all they need to do is say ‘Vote No and Britain will become one country again. We’ll end devolution and put the matter to rest.” Oh please Dave, please…

  76. Dcanmore says:

    Like everything else from Unionists, it’s all noise really, serving as a distraction from what the actual people in power are saying in regards of a written constitution (ie the SNP). Gordon Brown is doing nothing but trying to steal a march on the SNP by trying to claim all these wonderful progressive ideas as theirs. United with Labour is nothing more than a front to galvanise the Labour vote against independence, but once again Labour’s big problem is that anything they seem to promise can only be treated as Jam Tomorrow.
     
    Now suddenly Labour’s original policy of The Bedroom Tax is something to be gotten rid of…
     
    Labour plans Scottish tenant welfare laws
    The party said it would bring forward a backbench bill to mitigate against the spare room subsidy – called the “bedroom tax” by critics.
     
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-23959688
     
    Now that they’ve had a bit of bad publicity over the Bedroom Tax they want rid of it! Pity earlier this year Labour never voted against it in the first place.

  77. Jeannie says:

    @Murray McCallum
     
    Better together is largely Tory funded so I think it is quite reasonable for them to play their role.
     
    That’s the thing – I would personally only keep funding a campaign that would be likely to get me what I wanted.  And I wouldn’t fund anything that would make my main rivals look good.  But I might fund something that would make them look stupid and put people off voting for them or blame them for the result.
     
    Wouldn’t it be ironic if Brown and Darling wind up losing Labour the next general election as well as the last one? If we vote Yes, how will the Tories spin it so that it looks like Labour’s fault?  Who better to blame it on than the two people widely blamed for the 2007 crisis? 
     
    If we vote No, how will the Tories spin it then – they can’t afford to have Labour looking good in the run-up to a general election.

  78. Stevie says:

    My honest assessment is that he’s gone bonkers – reason and logic have evaporated into the ether of his career as a failed idiot chancellor ‘light touch’ Brown and his tramplings as a hapless grump of a prime minister (the office which he stole from Blair).

    He probably sees himself as some sort of SuperBrown but he’s yesterday’s hapless IdiotBrown  and his real efforts to produce a credible positive case for the union have produced a few empty platitudes and naught else, thus he intellectually knows it but his laughable ‘save the BritNat world’ psychology is competing with reality to produce the odd manifestation of DaftyBrown.

    Not a single partial scintilla of a superhero amongst any of these slim shady alter egos.

    BrownBrown is all that is left.

  79. Jon D says:

    @Juteman, 1.09pm
    Back of the net, sir. Well done
     

  80. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Now that they’ve had a bit of bad publicity over the Bedroom Tax they want rid of it!”

    NB “mitigate against” != “get rid of”.

  81. Dcanmore says:

    @Albalha…
     
    Broon cares enough for the Union and its elite that despises him, for the chance to be knighted, given his baubles and an all expenses paid trip to the House of Lords. Remember, first and foremost this is about self-preservation and the continued suckling of the Westminster teat. In their minds, including El Gordo’s, Scotland is an insignificant backwater (one in which he is proud of obviously) all the glitz, glamour, money and influence is in London and that is something to fight for. Scotland is a cash cow for London, nothing more nothing less, and GB gets his silver from London. Simples. He is also well aware that the City of London owes him a big load of gratitude for sanctioning the stimulus   money to the banks, that alone is worth a directorship or two once he gets Lord and Sir before his name.

  82. G H Graham says:

    Gordon Brown is no statesman. He is neither a great thinker nor an inspired philosopher. He has poor vision (no pun intended) & has a poor grasp of English grammar. His economic track record is dreadful because it was based on flawed Labour principals which were invariably undermined by subservience to The City. He sold off 60% of Britain’s gold reserves in a back door deal to ward off the potential collapse of large parts of the investment banking sector while he had oversight of the regulators that controlled said sector.

    He was an ambitious but flawed character with insufficient political acumen or economic wit to manage through a crisis. Though his bad temper was probably an asset which helped him ascend the ranks within Labour’s back stabbing club.

    It is no surprise that even the comical Scotsman has given his latest nugget of wisdom minimal attention because there’s barely anything in the man’s record or character worth shouting about.

    A grumpy old man who barely shows up for work with a long history of underachievement is a hard sell, even in Scotland, where he aught to be receiving the red carpet treatment.

    For me, he is the sum product of a flawed political party, operating within a corrupt British parliamentary system which is constructed primarily to serve & reward the interests of those who are already within it. His service will of course be recognised in due course with a title, an ermine robe & a red leather seat in the House of Lords. As far as Brown is concerned then, job done.
     

  83. Jeannie says:

    @Juteman
     
    Jeezo! You certainly have upset him.  Dummy well and truly spat oot the pram.

  84. Dcanmore says:

    @Rev…
    NB “mitigate against” != “get rid of”.
     
    Apologies. They obviously DON’T want to get rid of it, but change it to something else through huff and puff. But no doubt they’ll want to give the impression they’re on the side of the poor and disadvantage… “is that cancer you’ve got, there you go take two aspirin every day and don’t bother me again”… is the Labour way of ‘we did something, but not really.’

  85. Brian Powell says:

    Dcanmore pointed out the BBC report on: “Labour plans Scottish tenant welfare laws”.
    Even if this was not just an attempt by Labour at political point scoring, it doesn’t deal with the obvious question, of “What about the next time?” When the next tax comes down from Westminster. Lamont’s first suggestion was that the community tax should be increased to pay for it!
    So each time Westminster makes a decision to ‘solve’ a problem not of our making, we would chip away at the Scottish budget to pay for it.
    God help us if they ever get control of Holyrood, or Westminster.
    The Tories must love having politicians as dim as Baillie in Holyrood.

  86. HandandShrimp says:

    It was an odd speech. Wonder what the Better Together lot made of it?
     
    It seems to me that the “more powers” mantra or Willie “I have a federal mojo” Rennie is getting a hell of a lot of outings for people who think they have No in the bag.
     
    Are we going to have the bizarre situation of Ruth “line the sand” Davidson asking Dave to put a “its not on the ballot paper but here is Devosomething” on the table? It is all getting a tad messy Hopefully Yes will shine out as the simple, clear and honest option.

  87. I’ve only just clicked on the link under Gordon Brown’s speech to discover the definition of The Brown Note.  Absolutely inspired, Stuart!

  88. Robyn - Quine fae Torry says:

    O/T, sorry!
    Came in to find there was an Indy rally flyer with the post this morning.  First time I’ve had anything through the door from either camp. 

  89. Andy-B says:

    O/T Rev sorry about that.
     
    I see MSP Jackie Ballie in the Glasgow Evening Times, bumping her gums,
    saying, Quote “I find it appalling, that in 21st century Scotland we have foodbanks”
     
    I find this comment quite astonishing, when Jackie Ballie and her Labour cronies, can be seen in several photo’s rubbing shoulders with the very government at Westminster, who couldnt care less about hungry children and foodbanks.
     
    Never mind the truth Jackie, any opportunity for a photo shoot, or to attack the SNP Government, comes first, and if all else fails mention the foodbanks.

  90. gordoz says:

    Albalha says:
    4 September, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Re Gordon Brown, this is from the Telegraph obituary of I Banks, says it all.
    “A hatred of Tony Blair’s foreign policy led him to vote for the Scottish National Party, though he also voiced his support for figures from the far-Left. Though he lived 100 yards from Gordon Brown, he maintained that he had never met the former Labour leader and that “having never had any illusions about him, I wasn’t disillusioned by him”.
    Loved that
    Rev : Come on …this should have been called The Brown Stuff; cause thats the substance of this man.

  91. Andy-B says:

    I see George Osborne flew in a Super Puma Helicopter in Aberdeen today, a publicity stunt to get worried oil rig workers back to work.
     
    Reminds me of that Westminster Minister who made his daughter eat a cheeseburger for the cameras during the BSE scare, his name alludes at the moment.
     
    Westminster Minister know no shame it seems.

  92. HandandShrimp says:

    @Juteman
     
    That realy was a “Right said Fred”
     
    only he didn’t have a cup of tea
     
    :) He is rubbish at the insult thing though. The idea is to annoy not reduce to quivering, giggling jelly. 

  93. scottish_skier says:

    I don’t recall these other panelbase results being discussed? I don’t remember seeing them in the tables initially?
     
    If you felt the 2015 UK general election was going to result in a Conservative-led government, or another Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition at Westminster, would you be:
     
    41%  Very likely to vote for Scottish Independence:
    9% Quite likely to vote for Scottish Independence:
    Total Likely = 50%
     
    10% Quite unlikely to vote for independence
    31% Very unlikely to vote for Scottish independence
    Total unlikely 41%
     
    Unsure = 8%
     
    If you felt the 2015 UK general election was going to result in a Labour-led government at Westminster, would you be:
     
    37%  Very likely to vote for Scottish Independence:
    10% Quite likely to vote for Scottish Independence:
    Total Likely = 47%
     
    10% Quite unlikely to vote for independence
    32% Very unlikely to vote for Scottish independence
    Total unlikely 42%
     
    Unsure = 11%
     
     
    Wow, a majority in both cases. 

  94. gordoz says:

    Doooohhhh !!! – Apologies Rev : Just noticed this too!!
     
    Rev : Come on …this should have been called The Brown Stuff; cause thats the substance of this man.
     
    Roddy Macdonald says:
    4 September, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I’ve only just clicked on the link under Gordon Brown’s speech to discover the definition of The Brown Note.  Absolutely inspired, Stuart!

      Roddy Macdonald

  95. gordoz says:

    G H Graham says:
    4 September, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Gordon Brown is no statesman /
    But he insists “Nobody is more proud to be  a Scot than I am” (????)

  96. HandandShrimp says:

    Andy B
     
    Seymour Welly Boots or something

  97. Robyn - Quine fae Torry says:

    @ Andy B
     
    I was running at Aberdeen Beach this morning and saw a Super Puma fly out a bit over the water then back. Thought it was a bit strange turning back like that.   I wonder if this was the one Osborne was in?    There was also a Spitfire or something like that flying low up towards the Don estuary at roughly the same time. 

  98. gordoz says:

    Robyn – Quine fae Torry says:
    4 September, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Pity the outline of a Super Puma doesn’t resemble a ‘Stuka’ form a distance then.(assuming the said person was on board)

  99. Andy-B says:

    Another interesting wee snippet with regards to the Scottish oil/gas industry from the DR today.
    the UK energy industry, has said 25.000 jobs will be created over the next five years, as a report from Barclays says North Sea gas production has hit a 30 year high.
    Nearly two-thirds of firms in the area plan to pump more money into the bouyed industry, due to a prediction of sky high oil prices.
     
    No wonder Westminster is desparate, to hold onto Scotland, but its not because we’re in this together, but because our assests, are a vital part of the rUk’s economy.

  100. Calgacus says:

    If Scotland were to vote ‘No’ in the referendum then the logical thing would be for Westminster to set about rolling-back Devolution and ultimately finding cause to abolish the Scottish Parliament.
    If you have had a nasty close call, then the best form of defence thereafter, against a recurrence in the future, is to go on the attack.
    So not only would there be no new powers following a ‘No’ vote, the existing powers and the Scottish Parliament itself would come under threat.
    What Gordy said was gloriously incoherent, but he did wander into a very relevant area of discussion regarding the shelf-life of Devolution if Scotland were to fail to seize its chance next year. Maybe that’s the cause of the under-reporting.

  101. gordoz says:

    Andy-B says:
    No wonder Westminster is desparate, to hold onto Scotland, but its not because we’re in this together, but because our assests, are a vital part of the rUk’s economy.
    I concur. although people probably know this already, its one of those truths that need to be kept ticking over with the public.

    Calgacus says:
    If Scotland were to vote ‘No’ in the referendum then the logical thing would be for Westminster to set about rolling-back Devolution and ultimately finding cause to abolish the Scottish Parliament.
    If you have had a nasty close call, then the best form of defence thereafter, against a recurrence in the future, is to go on the attack.
    So not only would there be no new powers following a ‘No’ vote, the existing powers and the Scottish Parliament itself would come under threat.
    What Gordy said was gloriously incoherent, but he did wander into a very relevant area of discussion regarding the shelf-life of Devolution if Scotland were to fail to seize its chance next year. Maybe that’s the cause of the under-reporting.

    BINGO – couldn’t aggree more

  102. call me dave says:

    Here is a sentence from his (Gordon’s) speech (allegedly)
    The plan was something he “should have done” while in power, he said, reflecting on his three-year period as prime minister.
    Aye right!
    The only thing he did imply was that
    What Westminster giveth it can take away, which should alarm all Scottish people on both sides of debate.  
    However as there is a wealth sharing aspect to Gordon’s philosophy can Glasgow get some now please as 30% of households have no-one in employment.

  103. Stuart Black says:

    What G H Graham said (squared!)

  104. Robyn - Quine fae Torry says:

    @ Gordoz,
     
    That is cruel, but I like it!  We better watch what we write though, in this NSA/GCHQ brave new world.  The Stazi, sorry, Police Scotland will be chapping the door any minute now….

  105. BuckieBraes says:

    Gordon Brown is the proudest Scot in the land: he says so himself. That won’t go down well with Blair McDougall, whom I believe thinks he’s the proudest Scot, and says he loves his country every bit as much as Alex Salmond.
     
    All these No folk proclaiming they’re so proud of their country that they want it to remain being governed by another…strange!
     

  106. gordoz says:

    call me dave says:
    4 September, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    However as there is a wealth sharing aspect to Gordon’s philosophy
    I know he has a point, I’m considereing letting the butler go !!

  107. Andy-B says:

    @gordoz.
     
    I couldnt agree more.
     
    If we can just have the foresight to vote YES next year, who know how innovative and prosperous and fair a country Scotland could be.
    Its been far too long in coming, Holyrood is like a sapling growing in a forest all it needs is space to grow, will it get it ?

  108. MajorBloodnok says:

    Calgacus says: If Scotland were to vote ‘No’ in the referendum then the logical thing would be for Westminster to set about rolling-back Devolution and ultimately finding cause to abolish the Scottish Parliament.

    Maybe this is what Willie Rennie and others are really on about – the fact that a Independence Referendum has come to pass means that whichever way it goes, Devolution (as a process or as an end point) will cease.
     
    Preferably I’d like to be repalced by full independence rather than deliberate destruction by Westminster, but as the WoS Panelbase poll showed, Scots are very aware that a NO vote will at the very least mean nothing and at worst, less than nothing.

  109. Bill C says:

    This is the guy who couldn’t even be bothered to turn up to vote on whether his beloved UK was going to war or not and whose attendance record at the ‘Mother of Parliaments’ is around 12%. The man is a charlatan and a hypocrite and I think he is bonkers.  As you might have guessed I don’t like the fellow!

  110. Archie [not Erchie] says:

    @ Juteman – Wow that was hot and steamy over on that link. Good to see other well kent names backing you up.

  111. velofello says:

    So what if Gordon Brown was sending a straightforward message to whoever will pay attention? No doublespeak,no craftiness, simply warning that in the event of a No vote he believes that Westminster will take steps to eliminate the risk to their power and revenue stream. Westminster will eliminate the Scottish parliament.

    We know there is no written UK constitution, he must too.A follow-on government isn’t tied to the actions/promises of the retiring government, he will know that too. Could be that Gordon Brown is not so much the fool as the messenger? 

    A crafty scheme for Westminster would be to have their Scots political lackeys talk up Devomax as a commitment.The unscrupulous regard promises as only words and lackeys to be used as befits the purpose. A nod towards  peerages for a few of the lackeys is a small cost vs retaining Scotland’s revenue scheme.

    And Juteman if you respond to this and call me names, I’ll call you names. just like Fred.  Great stuff over at Craig Murray.

    Regards Fred’s banking info. My recollection is that the UK borrowed the sum Fred refers to at a lower rate than ireland could, added a bit of interest and then loaned the money to Ireland. It wasn’t a gift it was a middleman transaction by the UK. Done when the UK had triple A status of course.

  112. Juteman says:

    @Archie.
    I’ve been crossing swords with ‘Fred’ for a while. On most subjects, I agree with his left leaning politics.
    When I comes to Scots Indy though, he loses the plot.  A bit of an Ian Smart. Maybe he is Ian Smart?

  113. Juteman says:

    @vellofello.
    No name calling. I don’t want to compete with the Rev and his collection of insults. :-)

  114. Albert Herring says:

    “Wow that was hot and steamy over on that link.”
     
    Is ‘Fred’ Gordon in disguise?

  115. Jamie Arriere says:

    Juteman, I’m still recovering (oh the laughter!) from “heap of puke”.
     
    One reduced to a gibbering swearing wreck, a few more to go….
     
    As for Brown’s brownstuff, it might have made sense coming out the mouth of a 20 year-old aspiring Labour student – but from an ex-PM & chancellor leading a 13 year landslide government which flicked the equalization lever into reverse and did nothing of the sort, I’d say he has a fucking nerve!!! It’s over, Gordon.

  116. Chic McGregor says:

    @Gillie
    “Macavity Brown”   :)
     
    Catty.
     
    or ‘Incapability Brown’ perhaps.

  117. Chic McGregor says:

    Federalism would, technically, entrench powers with the Scottish Parliament, but he didn’t use the ‘F’ word did he?

  118. Dcanmore says:

    Going by that picture, Gordon was never the sharpest of characters :)

  119. Vronsky says:

    “the party’s more gullible grassroots supporters”
     
    That would be all of them, I’m afraid.

  120. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    velofello
    Or could it just be that Gordon Brown thinks the rest of us are idiots.

  121. Tamson says:

    Isn’t it rather interesting how Alistair Darling has never appeared at a United With Labour event? Him being a Labour MP and all, yet quite happy to attend Tory Party conference fringe meetings and Tory BT fundraisers.
     
    And I don’t believe Gordon Brown, arguably the most globally prominent Scottish politician of the entire post-war period, and thus surely the Union dividend incarnate, has ever graced a Better Together meeting.
     
    One could be forgiven for thinking that the last UK Chancellor and PM hated each others’ guts.

  122. velofello says:

    Dave McEwan Hill:
    Well many of “us” have voted for him/them.
    There is something deeply wrong with an education system (?) that fails to guide the electorate from behaving like idiots and tolerating very inadequate people as political representatives.
    Or, if you prefer something very wrong with a political system that so disinterests the electorate that very inadequate people get elected and are enabled to  suit themselves and benefit themselves. Consider the House of Lords, could a more ridiculous self serving political arrangement than that be devised?
    Maybe a system of political National Service is needed whereby “we” are called up to serve as MPs, MSPs or whatever for a set duration and there is a civil service class in place to undertake the Yes Minister role.

  123. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Velofello
     
    I believe the ancient Greek democracy utilised a random selection of citizens being put into government



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