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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid