By Angela Haggerty

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown told an audience in Govan on Monday that Scotland benefits from the pooling of UK resources and would be better off within the union with its own secured parliament.

Mr Brown told a United With Labour conference that Scotland receives nine per cent of the money spent on pensions, the same amount as London, although Scotland has only 8.6 per cent of the UK population compared to London’s 13.5 per cent, adding:  “We allocate resources not on the basis of nationality, but on the basis of need.”

The former Labour leader added that there would be “substantial risks” associated with splitting up British pensions and said Scotland should stay within the union but with legislative assurance that the Scottish parliament would be a permanent feature in Scotland’s future.

“We pool and share resources and we do so so that we have equal economic, social and political rights for working people, for pensioners, for people in need of healthcare or unemployed people in need of a job, throughout the whole of the United Kingdom,” said Mr Brown.

“I believe we should write this into the constitution, for the first time making it explicit that the purpose of the Union is not just defence security, is not just trading relationships, but to pool and share our resources for the benefit of working people, the elderly, children and families, in all parts of the United Kingdom.

“I would also write in the British constitution that the Scottish Parliament is permanent, irreversible and indissolvable.”

The MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath went on to attack the SNP for failing to set up a working party to address the affordability of pensions and said the SNP’s policies would result in a “race to the bottom”.

Mr Brown spoke in Govan as First Minister Alex Salmond delivered a speech at an event in Fraserburgh.  Mr Salmond argued the importance of a written constitution for Scotland and pointed towards the economies of countries like Norway and Sweden as models, saying a Norway-style oil fund would be beneficial for Scotland.

“The time is now to establish an oil fund creating stable public finances and ensuring natural resources benefit future generations as they have done in Norway,” he said.

Mr Salmond went on to take a swipe at wider UK policies and said an independent Scotland
would “never have participated in an illegal occupation of Iraq or introduced something as socially regressive as the bedroom tax”, adding that the intervention of SNP and Paid Cymru MPs in the UK parliament last week helped avoid “a headlong rush to engagement” in Syria.During the Govan event, Mr Brown attacked the SNP’s approach to the independence debate and made reference to Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech when speaking of his vision for Scotland.

“Because he gave a speech that said ‘I have a dream’ people remembered what he said, and that is the same thing about what we are saying now,” he said.

“We have a big idea.  We believe Scotland is a nation.  No one is more proud of being a Scot than I am.  We believe Scotland should have its own parliament to make decisions about its own affairs.

“But I believe also that we are part of something bigger.  They [the SNP] want to create the impression the only debate in town is between their vision of independence and those people who oppose it," he added.

Commenting on the speech today, Linda Fabiani MSP, a member of the Referendum Bill Committee, said:

"The fact is that the only way to entrench the Scottish Parliament is with a Yes vote and independence - including the additional democratic advance of a written constitution, which is light years ahead of anything on offer from Westminster.  Under the UK system, Westminster is and remains sovereign - rather than the people - and Scotland would continue to be subject to Westminster governments that we didn't vote for, imposing measures such as the appalling Bedroom Tax against the votes of 90 per cent of Scottish MPs.

"Mr Brown's speech sounds like an ill-thought out reaction to the latest poll, which as well as putting Yes a point ahead also shows that people trust the Scottish Parliament rather than Westminster to make decisions for Scotland by a factor of nearly four-to-one.

"In any event, Mr Brown's speech is another illustration of a Westminster politician offering something in opposition that he singularly failed to deliver when he was Prime Minister.  The reality is that only a Yes vote next September will deliver the powers over the economy and welfare that the people of Scotland want - a No vote is a vote for no more powers."   


# weegie38 2013-09-02 20:03
Laughable stuff. First question, Gordon, based on this quote:

I believe we should write this into the constitution...

What constitution? The UK hasn't got one - one of its many major flaws.
# hiorta 2013-09-02 20:13
He found Govan? Incredibly unbelievable.
# TheMightyBusch 2013-09-02 20:50
He got out of Govan? Incredibly unbelievable!!
# hektorsmum 2013-09-03 15:14
Well he certainly cannot find Kirkcaldy or Cowdenbeath.
# Fungus 2013-09-02 20:30
Scotland should stay within the union but with legislative assurance that the Scottish parliament would be a permanent feature

Legislative assurance...from a parliament which describes it's function as:
Parliamentary sovereignty is a principle of the UK constitution. It makes Parliament the supreme legal authority in the UK, which can create or end any law.

Does Broon think our heads button up the back?
# ramstam 2013-09-02 20:31
Brown's talk of comparative populations and the "good deal" he claims we get is an eye opener. While Scotland's population is at it's highest ever at a healthy and sustainable 5.3M, England's exploding population means one thing in relation to Scotland -Power! Votes in the LondonUK parliament are based on population. The higher England's population the more MP's and with only 59 Scots MP's the notion of equal Union with a country of 60 Million is nonsense. Time to unequal oorsels and hae oor ain democracy. YES!
# mudfries 2013-09-02 20:53
The words that James Maxton shouted to Ramsey MacDonald come to mind every time I see Gordon Brown stand and make a speech - "Sit down man, your a bloody tragedy".
# clootie 2013-09-02 20:53
This from the man who raided and ruined pensions for everyone. The man who announced he was selling our gold reserves to ensure rock bottom prices.
# .Scot 2013-09-02 20:56
Mr Brown was absent from his beloved parliament as Scots MPs took a stand against UK bombs being dropped on civilians? Either he was pulling a sickie or he was rehearsing this trash about fantasy constitutions? The Royal prerogative does not nor ever will permit a constitution. I demand random drug-testing for UK MPs.
# fynesider 2013-09-02 21:10
“I would also write in the British constitution that the Scottish Parliament is permanent, irreversible and indissolvable.”

To do that there has to be a written constitution to start with. It is proposed & guaranteed that we have one in an Independent Scotland.

Can Gordon Brown guarantee that this would even get a First Reading in Westminster never mind become law?
# Mad Jock McMad 2013-09-02 21:29
He's still breathing then - I wonder what happens when you take Brown off Westminster Life support, will he survive or simply curl up into a small ball shouting "I'm melting!"

So Brown is backing his own campaign which does not want Labour sharing a platform with the Tories and the Libdems in 'Better Together' and yet still spouts the same message. Is Brown a couple of slices short of the full loaf if he thinks we are going to buy this?

United with Labour - given the state of Labour in Scotland that has to be an oxymoron.
# ButeHouse 2013-09-02 21:34
Today we heard the first real proposal from the NO Camp. Safeguard Holyrood by writing it into the Constitution - but as weegie38 wisely asked, what constitution?

However, the thought was there - conversely it demonstrates there are those in the unionist camp who would like to abolish Holyrood.

Thanks for confirming that Gordon.

Gordon loves stats but deal with this simple irrefutable fact gordon:

1975 The first Oil comes ashore and the main revenues with it.

2013 The people of Scotland are queuing at Food Banks.

I don't see the Kuwaitis, Saudis or Norwegians queuing for food.

AH!! I hear you cry, we have Food Banks in parts of England too!

YES, which only goes to show what a complete mess England has made of the Billions of pounds of Oil and Gas revenues.

Better Together??? Do you REALLY think so??

VOTE YES in 380 Days 88minutes
# ratzo 2013-09-02 21:58
Despite all the chat about the 1998 Act, and the institution as a creature of statute etc etc, the Scottish Parliament is already indissoluble.

That was the shadow hanging over the Edinburgh Agreement - that Westminster was not willing to make a formal challenge to the concept of the sovereignty of the Scottish people as expressed by the developing parliament because they knew that a technical win on the basis of the letter of the Act (which was by no means guaranteed) would end up in a political catastrophe and a certain victory for the pro-independence folk.

What Brown aims to do is not 'save' the parliament, but trap it, box it further in, sell it out. He's an embarrassment to himself, a barking mad British nationalist, and just weird.
# flying haggis 2013-09-02 22:29
Gordon Brown claimed in his speech that "No one is more proud of being a Scot than I am".
So why does he insist on being called 'North British' and definateley not Scottish?
# Massan_Gow 2013-09-02 22:46
Gordon Brown: a man I wouldn't trust to walk my dog.

Jam tomorrow, eh Gordon?

The last paragraph sums it all up for me despite wanting to go on a rant about him (as my local MP) not even responding to an important Special Delivery letter I sent to him about my mother's treatment in hospital.

He is only concerned with himself and his own 'image' (such as it is) & would turn up at the proverbial letter opening if he thought it would get his face in the paper! (You might think so, but that wasn't a rant compared to what I'd like to say!)
# chicmac 2013-09-03 00:44
Still up to his old tricks. The reason for the lower pension burden in London is entirely down to the age demographics.

London's age demography chart is completely anomalous because it is so skewed towards a young population.

People go there to work. When they retire they mostly do so elsewhere. often to whence they came from in the first place.

Nothing to do with implied largess.

Broon the buffoon. rejected even by better together.
# pomatiaH1 2013-09-03 10:28
Gordon Brown, failed Chancellor and failed Prime Minister, tells us lots of things that would happen and we could do. But I'm wondering why he didn't do it during all the years Labour had complete power; a written constitution for example.
A written constitution has been an SNP policy for decades and Brown is too late, constitutions have been in our conversations for years and already there are versions in print.
Osborne failed in his predictions from 2010 onwards, and now tells us what will happen in 30years time. And Amazingly enough, proLabour newspapers are taking him at his word!!
# Henderson 2013-09-03 11:17
2 points really on Mr Brown

“I would also write in the British constitution that the Scottish Parliament is permanent, irreversible and indissolvable.” Alex Salmond nailed this nonsense - Westminster would still be sovereign and could reverse anything at any time .(duhhhh???)

"No one is more proud of being a Scot than I am" ... I challenge this complete guff
Mr Brown as all those who support full independence are clearly, by a country mile more proud of this nation than you.
# advocat 2013-09-03 13:55
This is the man who passed laws that let Vodaphone go tax free and sold the gold reserves off cheap. Now he urges us to continue with his corrupt financial system. Yes we would be part of something bigger ........a bigger mess !!!!!
# CathkinBraes 2013-09-04 08:04
The NO campaign would have us believe that the UK has been about "pooling resources", when in actual fact it has been about looting wealth from the peripheries. One proof of how Scotland has failed to prosper during the Union can be seen in the comparative population percentages of Scotland and England: in 1707 Scotland's population was 19.77% that of England; in 1801, 19.36%; in 1851, 17.23%; in 1901, 14.66%; in 1951, 12.42%; in 2001, 10.3%, and in 2011, 9.99%. Clearly, if Scotland had prospered under the Union, and resources had actually been "pooled", Scots wouldn't have felt the need to leave their country in droves to look for work, or, in the case of a lucky few like Brown himself, a place on the Westminster gravy train.

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