Gordon Brown seemed to pull off a remarkable con trick with his bullying rant near the end of the referendum campaign.
He suggested that an independent Scotland would risk economic suicide. Unfortunately, he was never asked why most of the other comparable small countries in Europe – for example, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands – seem prosperous and near the top of relevant international league tables, and why Scotland with its wealth of natural resources would not be assured of doing just as well.
By implicitly dismissing this scenario, Brown was assuming the utter incompetence of future Scottish governments. Thus, by insulting his own country, he hoped to drive as many don’t- knows as possible into the No camp. What breathtaking cheek from the man who helped to engineer the near-collapse of the UK economy.
Watching Gordon Brown speaking on Saturday, I thought what an amazing act of self-delusion. He claimed he would protect the health service in Scotland from privatisation, yet he as chancellor implemented a massive PFI programme that has imposed an enormous burden on health authorities and hospitals including the Edinburgh Royal, which is going to cost us £1.2 billion over 30 years.
He claims to protect pensions yet he was responsible for taking more than £100 billion out of pensions by tax changes, ending many final-salary schemes for ever. He claimed that voting No would protect Scotland’s financial services sector yet he was the chancellor who encouraged the bankers to gamble and create the crisis, and then bailed them out with our money, while we pay the price with cuts to our services and incomes.
However, his biggest delusion is that he can deliver a programme of devolution within six months when it is clear that many Tory MPs, and quite a few Labour MPs, have no intention of implementing it.
Hugh Kerr (former Labour MEP)