10 Downing Street – Mid February 2014 – clandestine Meeting – Cameron & Brown (So secret it cannot be confirmed it ever happened) but let us pretend that it did.
Dave: Thank you for meeting with me Gordon. As you are aware Salmond appears to be gaining the upper hand. Polls show a 5% decrease in the “no” voting intention. “Better Together” led by your old mucker Darling are a shambles. In fact the leaders are so laid back they are nearly horizontal. Could you go up to Scotland and give them a kick up the a…e.
Gordon: Sorry Dave I am not involved with “Better Together”. have my own agenda and it doesn’t include working with your “Union of parties”.
Dave: I understand, they really are a bunch of chancers but I cannot send any of my toxic Tory ministers to Scotland they’d get lynched. What about a personal intervention, the Scots still trust you don’t they after all you saved the world from financial collapse.
Gordon: Shucks Dave you are making it very difficult for me to say no. I am getting out of Westminster you know. I’m off to the USA to seek my fortune.
Dave: I could pull a few strings for you Gordon. Fancy running Google?
Gordon: Naw!! I intend frying bigger fish. OK, I’ll go to Scotland. I have a home there y’now so I’ll get some gardening done. It happens I have a speech just ready for delivery but I would need to be assured of a captured audience and maximum television and press coverage. But it needs to appear spontaneous so Better Together musn’t know anything about it beforehand. Darling would throw a fit.
Dave: Could I read over your presentation.
Gordon: Sure. I’ll give you 10 minutes.
Dave: That’s fine. I’m happy with all of that. I’ll brief my BBC and Press barons to attend to your needs and to keep it undercover until you give the go-ahead. But the audience?
Gordon: No problem I can arrange a gathering of pensioners in Glasgow under the pretense of a free bingo night. Will you honour the entire content of my speech?
Dave: Sure mate, you can trust me. I swear this on the oath of the Bullington Club.
Gordon: Right Dave I’m off to Scotland. Scots Whahae!!!!!
10 March 2014: Gordon Brown unveils 6 point plan for Scotland (and Britain)
Many people had been wondering why Gordon Brown hasn’t been more involved in the debate around the Scottish Independence referendum. Today he’s getting involved in a big way – by outlining a 6 point plan to change the constitutional settlement of the UK and give more powers to Scotland. The six points are:
* A new UK constitutional law – backed by an historic document equivalent to a bill of rights – to set out the purpose of the UK as pooling and sharing resources for the defence, security and well-being of the citizens of all four nations, including a commitment to alleviate unemployment and poverty. Position at February 2016: Not even on the horizon
* A constitutional guarantee of the permanence of the Scottish Parliament, backed up by a constitutional lock that prevents it being overruled or undermined. Position at February 2016: The Scottish Secretary, Tory minister David Mundell and his unelected Deputy Lord Dunlop (he of the Thatcher Poll Tax fiasco) retain the right of veto over the Scottish parliament.
* A new division of powers between Scotland and Westminster that gives Holyrood more powers in employment, health, transport and economic regeneration. Position at February 2016: Little of note included in the Scotland Bill still under discussion but Mundell rejected out of hand any proposals brought forward by the Scottish government. Hardly inspiring.
* A new tax sharing agreement that balances the commitment of the UK to pool and share its resources with the need for accountability to the electors in all the places where money is spent. Position at February 2016: Well the on-going recently extended disccussion between the UK Treasury and John Sweeney gives lie to this.
* New power-sharing partnerships to address shared problems on poverty, unemployment, housing need and the environment which, Mr Brown argues, cannot be addressed unless the Scottish and UK governments work together. Position at February 2016: No partnerships in place. All business and all correspondence between the Scottish government and the Civil Service in Scotland ( who still report to Sir Jeremy Heywood at Downing Street) is to be routed through the offices of Mundell and Dunlop
* A “radical” transfer of powers downwards from Westminster and Edinburgh to local communities. Position at February 2016: Mundell pushes this agenda whilst retaining very strict and all powerful control of Scottish affairs retained without reason or explanation, including dealing directly with local councils undermining the authority of the Scottish parliament.
Unwelcome Interventions by Gordon Brown and the “Institute for Public Policy Research” (IPPR)
In Glasgow, in March 2014, to an invited audience of Labour Party supporters Brown said: “I want to move us from the old highly-centralised, uniform Britain dominated by out-of-date ideas of an undivided Westminster sovereignty to a new diverse power-sharing, risk-sharing, resource-sharing UK which is best defined not as an old union but as a modern, constitutional partnership of nations.”
Meanwhile, the left leaning Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) argued that many more welfare powers should be devolved to Scotland, including housing benefit and responibility for the work programme.
Both interventions are likely to increase tension within the Scottish Labour Party – especially with many Scottish Labour MPs being opposed to some aspects of greater devolution. Westminster based Scottish MP’s witheld any support to the programme of devolution in Scotland. They were aided by Johann Lamont and her Unionist supporting colleagues who stated quite vehemently their resistence to any further devolution. Lamont went on to say, on television, that Scots were incapable of reasoned political thought, (or something to that effect). A party so divided it no longer retains the trust of the Scottish electorate