Gordon Brown has recently revealed his opinion on the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. In his newly published memoir, My Life, Our Times, the former Prime Minister and University of Edinburgh graduate stated his preference for a third option to be included on the ballot paper.
Through his memoir, Brown also elaborated on his role in the ‘No’ campaign, speculating that the lack of an effective response towards the independence movement was instrumental in the downfall of Scottish Labour Party.
Quoting from his memoir, Brown explains the possibility of a third option in the independence referendum.
“Privately,” he says, “I had favoured a third option on the ballot paper, one that offered a more powerful Scottish parliament as a positive alternative to both independence and the status quo.’’
Calling it “the patriotic way”, he suggests that Scots view themselves less as British than Scottish and “any successful referendum campaign [has] to recognise this.”
As stated in his memoir, increased national consciousness was a key factor in determining the outcome of the referendum.
“While economic arguments mattered,” he said, “the Scottish people could not bear to think of themselves as unpatriotic.”
His memoir also addresses the design issues of the ‘No’ campaign, outlining the rifts between a traditionally left-wing Scottish electorate and right-wing Conservative government officials.
Weakening the potential of a unified campaign to sway Labour voters, the “message that came through was a Tory defence of the status quo… a distinctive Labour campaign would have appealed to anti-Tory Scots, who were most vulnerable to the nationalist message.”
Brown believes that the inability of the Scottish Labour campaign to approach the issue of independence was a rational explanation for the dramatic fall in their popularity in the next elections.
Image: Ivan Lai