More articles Tuesday 14 August 2012 3:23pm
Gordon Brown shares thoughts on the Union at the Edinburgh International Book Festival
Last night the former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, argued that the pooling and sharing of resources across the UK would benefit Scotland more than any independence alternative.
Brown was at the Edinburgh International Book Festival to deliver the annual NLS Donald Dewar Lecture during which he spoke publicly for the first time on the issue of Scottish Independence.
Mr Brown argued that breaking up the fiscal union would break up the sharing of resources across the UK which would lead to higher taxes and cuts in services in Scotland saying ‘when we pool our resources, the benefit is far greater’. He supported his argument by citing a number of shared British institutions including the NHS, the armed forces and the BBC saying ‘when we pool and share resources for the common good the benefit is far greater than would have occurred if we’d just added up the sum of the parts’. He also referred to the recent British Olympic success saying ‘this week, of all weeks, we can point to all our Scottish Olympic medals, where it is clear from the views of the athletes that a British team was the best platform upon which Scotland’s success was built’.
Mr Brown also noted that the breaking up of the fiscal union between Scotland and the rest of the UK, either by devolution or ‘devo max’, would ultimately lead to a situation where taxes in Scotland would rise and there would be regional variation in the minimum wage, pensions and other benefits, and that ‘people would think that’s not progress, that’s moving backwards’.
During the event Mr Brown said he wanted to make a case for the Union based on hope not fear, and showed his willingness to support and help the anti-independence campaign.