I NEED to respond to the article “Brown continues his calls for UK status quo” (January 25) in terms of its logic, content, understanding and the stance being taken by Gordon Brown towards Scottish independence.

Firstly I wish to question his supposition that radical action will solve the issue of poverty. How on earth will bringing Westminster and Holyrood together solve anything? What would be radical would be Westminster accepting that the Scottish Government has a legitimate right to pursue and protect all aspects of it interests in a Westminster/UK context. Mr Brown at every opportunity plays down “the right of Scotland” to decide its own destiny. Why would Scotland join with anyone in the UK when they have been tackling directly, with various initiatives and policies, child poverty and the effects of low incomes despite the Tory austerity of the last ten years?

READ MORE: Former prime minister Gordon Brown continues calls for UK status quo

Mr Brown suffers from amnesia when it comes to acknowledging what a devolved Scotland has achieved. All he sees is Britain and Britishness and a longing desire to a return to a pre-devolution UK with a Labour-run Scotland. It is rather ironic that he uses “Our Scottish Future” as the banner for his speaking event when he clearly only sees Scotland as a region and a British nationalist future!

Secondly, let’s examine his track record and his attitude to Scottish sovereignty and the other UK nations. The UK, as its name suggests, is made up of four distinct nations. Mr Brown has always suggested transferring power to the “regions” of the UK. How do we do that? Clearly he means Britain/England, and the other nations as regions. I do not accept this labelling. He body-swerves any mention of Scotland as a nation.

READ MORE: Gerry Hassan: Why the England-UK equivalency is a problem for us all

His complaint is that getting Brexit done will undo Britain. He talks about Irishness and avoids “Welshness” and “Scottishness” but suggests Britishness.

What will undo the UK is British nationalism, a nationalism that Gordon Brown peddles at every opportunity. This type of politics is well in place with the election of a Conservative government with a huge majority hell-bent on ensuring London-centric government is ratcheted up throughout all the UK nations. Rather ironically this ex-Labour PM, with his desire to subdue Scottish nationalism, is supporting Tory British nationalism at every turn. He talks about cooperation, but each speech he makes ratchet ups support for Scottish nationalism. He is incapable of seeing this. His latest suggestion to prevent the break-up of the UK is to give more power to the Scotland “region” and English regions. Tell that to Boris Johnson, Mr Brown, and the best of luck!

This article more than anything simply proves that this ex-PM is totally out of touch with the mood of the moment both in Scotland and the rest of the UK. Scotland and England and Northern Ireland are set on different economic, social and cultural paths.

This is not the environment of 2014, when Gordon Brown considered himself to be the saviour of the Union with his last-minute appeals to an uncertain Scottish nation. His large ego will not let him understand that the Vow and promises made at the time have been left unfulfilled, and the people of Scotland no longer listen to the key player in the Better Together gang of 2014.

Dan Wood

I CANNOT be alone in being concerned that the current mess created by Trump’s assassination of the Iranian general has similarities with the stupidity which started the First World War in the 20th century.

Iran has responded by attacking US bases in Iraq, much like the Austrian shelling of Belgrade. Russia has made clear its position is that it publicly backs Iran by sending representatives to the general’s funeral. China is fence-itting. Europe by and large wants nothing to do with the latest USA moves in the Middle East, but may well be dragged into a conflict if Russia mobilises. Yet again a war by proxy has the potential to descend into an open conflict unless world heads of state “keep the head”.

The potential for this stupidity, by a US president trying to save his own backside from impeachment, to lurch us all towards the same intemperance, ignorance and stubborness we last saw amongst world governments in August 1914, is real. We all know how that worked out.

Vengeance has never brought peace – wars always end in negotiation and agreement whether one side is victorious or it is a draw.

Do not let the “me too” government of Mr Johnson’s Conservatives lead us over the abyss into a destructive conflict which has little to do with the threat of Iran and everything to do with the threat of Trump’s impeachment.

Scotland’s MPs and MSPs must say “no!” to any involvement in Trump’s trumped-up conflict.

Peter Thomson



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