Brown calls for unity of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ camps

Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP -   credit - FPA
Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP - credit - FPA

Gordon Brown has called for the Yes and No camps to unite now the referendum is over - and work together for the good of Scotland.

Brown also revealed he will continue to drive the delivery of new powers for the Scottish Parliament after the country voted to stay part of the union.

Mr Brown told a packed meeting in Dalgety Bay this morning (Saturday) of his ‘’triple lock-in’’ to ensure the pledges of more powers are delivered.

He said the agreement signed by David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Milliband ‘’set in stone’’ the commitment to devolve more powers.

Mr Brown - who has also signed it - has also, with the permission of the Speaker of the House of Commons, called for a Commons debate, which he will lead, to ensure proper scrutiny of the timetable, This will take place on October 16.

And he said the work towards greater powers had already started.

Mr Brown said: ‘‘September 18 was decision day. September 19 was delivery day and today (Saturday 20th) is a delivery day, and every day thereafter is delivery day until a new Scotland Act comes into being.’’

The central theme of his speech was the need for unity, and he began by paying tribute to Alex Salmond, who has announced his intention to stand down as First Minister - ‘‘a formidable opponent with a lifetime of service to Scotland’’ - and also Alistair Darling, who led the Better Together campaign for his huge contribution.

But it was to the 45 per cent of Scots who voted for independence that Mr Brown addressed his core remarks.

‘‘We have to find the basis for reconciliation, to move from the battleground to the common ground,and find the high ground,’’ he said.

‘‘Today, two days after a divisive vote is not the time for barnstorming speeches, but for sober reflection - not a time for shouting, but for calm. Indeed we are entering a period where those who shout the loudest are unlikely to have the most important things to say.’’

On the issue of greater powers he said the ‘‘promise makers’’ must not become ‘‘promise breakers.’’

‘‘I see my job as holding them to account,’’ he said. ‘‘I am utterly convicted that the timetable set out two weeks ago will be delivered. The work has started already. It is being monitored and scrutinised.’’

He said the changes, once complete, would not be cosmetic or watered down: ‘’In my view there is enough in them for members of the Yes campaign and No campaign to come together, with only those who take the extreme views that nothing should change or everything should change outside the new consensus for the time being in Scotland.’’

He called on both camps to look at what unites them -for example, the desire for social justice - and to make the powers work rather than argue over their content.

‘‘It is our duty to seek unity around common purpose, and I feel we can achieve it.’’

Mr Brown spoke of the ‘‘extraordinary engagement’’ of Scots in the referendum campaign and the unprecedented turnout to vote.

‘‘I say to Scots: cast away the Yes and No stickers. Consign them to the history books where they will have an honoured place, and no longer think of yourself is pro-independence or anti-independence.

‘‘No longer think of yourself as patriots or nationalists. No longer think of yourselves as Yes Scots or No Scots but all of us Scots - and because we are united, we are able to say we are a nation again.’’

Allan Crow