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

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    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.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora