GORDON Brown has already started to trot out his, ahem, arguments for Scotland to remain a part of the UK and to vote against independence in a future independence referendum.

In an interview with the BBC, which is probably the only organisation remaining which is willing to grant him any credibility, the man who promised Scotland in 2014 that if the country voted against independence in that year's referendum then within two years the devolved parliaments would be on an equal footing with Westminster yet again rehashed his unfulfilled promises from that year.

Naturally, Brown displayed no acknowledgement or awareness that we have heard all this from him before, presumably hoping that the Scottish public will not remember that he not only promised the closest thing possible to full federalism in a union state where one of the constituent members accounts for 85% of the population, but that he also promised that he himself would ensure the then leaders of the main UK parties delivered on his now infamous Vow.

Of course, as we all know, instead of federalism we got English Votes for English Laws, Brexit and a Tory assault on the devolution settlement which has seen Westminster unilaterally give itself the right to intervene on devolved matters without even making a pretence of seeking a democratic mandate from the people of Scotland to do so.

Brown's only response to his utter and shameful failure has been to lie and claim that he did not in fact make the misleading promises that he is on record as making, and then following up this blatant lie with the bizarre and arrogant insistence that the people of Scotland ought to have checked the small print. So it's really our own fault that Gordon Brown makes promises he is neither able nor willing to keep, and it's our fault that he later lies about them. 

Yet despite a record for mendacity and political fantasising that would put Baron Munchhausen to shame, Brown continues to pop up to tell us that a reformed UK and full-fat federalism is just around the corner. In his recent interview with the BBC drama and storytelling department, Brown claimed to be working on a new plan with the Labour Party to redistribute power in the UK and to give greater responsibilities to the devolved nations.

He also insisted that most people in Scotland would like to see a complete overhaul of UK institutions rather than Scottish independence – and cited his own polling evidence as supposed proof. It is highly likely that most people, and not just in Scotland, would like to see a complete overhaul of the institutions of the UK. British institutions are noted for their unaccountability, lack of democratic oversight and the way in which they operate to protect and further the interests of the wealthy and the powerful. 

The real point, however – a point which it is clear that Brown is at pains to avoid addressing – is just how likely is it that this much-needed overhaul is actually going to happen? The answer, as we all know, is that it is really not very likely at all. Brown would have been as well polling the Scottish public to ask them whether they would like to keep working until they retire or if they would prefer to win the lottery and live a life of lazy self-indulgence.

We all know what the answer would be, but since winning the lottery is as unlikely to happen as Brown's federalist overhaul of the British government, asking the question is an exercise in pointlessness. It is foolish in the extreme to base all your retirement plans on the hope of winning big on the lottery.

It is sometimes said that politics is the art of the possible. Gordon Brown seems to think that it's the art of making pie-in-the-sky promises of federalism and then telling us we should have checked the small print when he fails to deliver. Independence is an option for Scotland which exists in the real world. Brown's promises of federalism are as much of a fantasy as a daydream of winning the lottery. Arguably it's even worse, because there is actually a chance of winning the lottery, albeit a tiny chance, but there is no chance at all of Brown's federalism ever coming to pass.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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