News / Europe

Gordon Brown Pitches Social Justice Against Scottish Independence

FILE - Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
FILE - Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Reuters
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown sought on Tuesday to tempt Scots away from voting for independence by pitching the United Kingdom as the best vehicle to promote social justice and preserve welfare spending.
 
Striking a distinctly more positive tone than the British government which has warned Scots of the economic dangers of breaking the 307-year union, Brown said Scotland would win more powers and prosper if it stayed inside the United Kingdom.
 
In a passionate speech which signals the Scottish-born former Labor leader will play a more prominent role in the unionist campaign, Brown told Scots that voting against independence in a Sept. 18 referendum was the best way to guarantee their cherished state-funded welfare system.
 
“I'm asking you to vote 'No', because I'm asking you to cast a vote for social justice,” Brown, who served as Britain's prime minister from 2007 to 2010, told activists in Glasgow, a Scottish city 340 miles (550 km) north of London.
 
“Social justice is not advanced by retreating into independence,” said Brown, who cautioned that “inequality would last until doomsday,” under the plans of Scottish nationalists who favor independence.
 
Polls show Scots are unlikely to vote to break the union, with roughly 40 percent against independence and 30 percent in favor. But there are still enough undecided Scots to swing the vote.
 
Since losing power in the wake of the financial crisis, Brown has kept a low profile in British politics but his intervention in the Scottish independence campaign is significant as he garners deep respect across Scotland.
 
Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has conceded that his own privileged background and center-right politics mean he isn't the best person to win over Scots who elected just one Conservative lawmaker in the 2010 national election.
 
Labor was the major party in the devolved Scottish parliament until it was beaten by the Scottish National Party in 2007.
 
Nationalist leader Alex Salmond says Scotland has suffered centuries of mismanagement by far-off leaders in London and that independence plus control of a share of Britain's North Sea oil would place Scotland among the world's richest countries.

Independent Scotland?
 
Brown argued the Scottish National Party's commitment to cut corporation tax, as well as their refusal to tax higher earners more, was evidence that an independent Scotland would be less equal as an independent country.
 
“If you don't support raising taxes on income, or raising taxes on wealth, if you don't support any form of redistribution, how can you say you want to create a more equal Scotland?” Brown asked.
 
Speaking before a giant red poster which read “I'm voting NO”, Brown was confident and relaxed on stage, in sharp contrast to his reputation as a prime minister with a fearsome temper.
 
The 63-year-old even quipped that the main difference between the Scottish independence debate and being prime minister was that he was enjoying this campaign.
 
But he also steered clear of the main anti-secessionist warning put forward by senior British politicians: Scotland's risk of losing of the pound.
 
Brown was quoted by a local Scottish newspaper as saying that the British government's anti-secessionist campaign had been too negative and risked alienating some Scots.
 
“The way the currency argument was put by the government made the issue Scotland versus Britain,” Brown was quoted as saying in an interview with the Daily Record newspaper.
 
“It is bound to make people feel that people are talking down to us or are not taking us seriously or are trying to bully us.”

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Samuel Jones
June 04, 2014 2:04 PM
And Mr Brown, sir, what can you say on Zimbabwe? and social justice, please feel free to give your input which we look forward to reading.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More