Scottish independence: Gordon Brown ‘doomsday’ warning

Gordon Brown yesterday attacked Alex Salmond’s left-wing credentials claiming that SNP policies would see inequality and poverty reign until “doomsday”.

Better Together leader Alistair Darling and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Picture: HeMedia
Better Together leader Alistair Darling and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Picture: HeMedia

At a Better Together rally in Dundee, the former Labour prime minister argued that the beneficiaries of Scottish independence would not be ordinary people, but the shareholders of the country’s most profitable private companies.

Mr Brown launched an attack on the nationalists’ tax policies under independence as he joined pro-UK Better Together campaign leader Alistair Darling at Dundee’s Caird Hall.

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The event was seen as a rapprochement between the two men after their bitter fall-out when Mr Brown was prime minister and Mr Darling was chancellor.

Speaking at the event, Mr Brown paid tribute to Mr Darling’s role in leading the No campaign and criticised Mr Salmond’s followers.

“They dine out on Scottish ideas of equality. They talk as if they actually believe it,” Mr Brown said.

“But when you look at the actual policies of the SNP, there is not one measure in their document that suggests there would be a higher rate of income tax for those at the very top, or a millionaire’s tax at the top of council tax, or a mansion tax at the top of stamp duty, or even the bankers’ bonus tax that is proposed for the UK.

“They have no way of raising the money to pay for all the expensive promises they have made.”

Mr Brown said Nationalists’ proposals to cut corporation tax would benefit large companies, including energy firms.

“The biggest beneficiaries of the SNP’s tax policy are the shareholders and directors of the privatised energy companies in Scotland,” he said.

“The beneficiaries of an independent Scotland are not the ordinary people of Scotland but the richest directors of the most profitable, privatised companies in Scotland.

“When you look at the Scottish National Party policies, inequality and poverty will survive until doomsday if 
Alex Salmond is all that confronts it.”

Mr Brown ignored a noisy interruption from a heckler. The man, who was reported to have given a false name to gain entry to the event, shouted “rubbish” and “you’re an absolute disgrace” before he was removed from the meeting midway through Mr Brown’s address.

The rally, which came as those who have chosen to vote by post in the 18 September referendum received their ballots, saw Mr Brown and Mr Darling share the stage despite well-documented disagreements between them in the past.

Mr Darling served as chancellor when Mr Brown was in charge at 10 Downing Street. In his memoirs, Mr Darling criticised Mr Brown’s premiership, saying it was characterised by an air of chaos and crisis.

Yesterday, Mr Brown said: “It is a pleasure to sit alongside Alistair Darling, who for the last two years has done the incredibly difficult job, which we must now thank him for, of bringing together all the parties under the banner of Better Together.”

When asked if he and Mr Brown were friends, Mr Darling answered: “Of course.”