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

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers 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.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

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