GORDON Brown has warned that the upcoming general election could pit Scotland against the rest of the UK – Boris Johnson potentially claiming the rise of the SNP “is preventing Britain from moving forward”.
The former prime minister sounded the alarm by insisting that the nations of the UK are “coming closer, no further” after a new poll suggested a alignment of priorities.
The study, conducted by Stack Strategy for Mr Brown’s think tank, Our Scottish Future, identified key commonalities between the priorities of Scotland, England and Wales.
The former Labor politician warned that the UK government framing an “us versus them” battle between the SNP and the Tories “is playing Nicola Sturgeon’s game”.
He said: ‘There is a danger that the next general election in Britain will unfold like a battle between a Conservative party that makes the future of the Union a problem and plays an English card and says it is. is the Scottish nationalism that keeps Britain from moving forward. and then claims Labor will make a pact with the SNP, which of course is a lie.
“Then you have an election against Scotland against England or Scotland against Great Britain and that’s a real possibility.”
Mr Brown’s study found that Scots want cooperation between parties and governments on a range of issues, including poverty alleviation and economic recovery.
He said: “Nicola Sturgeon this week at her party conference said she wanted” cooperation, not confrontation. ”
“What was really surprising was that if the people of Scotland want cooperation on economic recovery, poverty reduction, the NHS, crime and terrorism, better education, the only area they chose for cooperation, when she mentioned it, it was cooperation to make independence possible faster because of England’s cooperation with Scotland – if you will, cooperation to end cooperation.
Mr Brown added: “This is not where the Scots are.
“They want cooperation on jobs, poverty, social care, health services and everything in between.”
The former prime minister said he hoped the importance of cooperation “would come to the fore.”
He added: “We have lost the sense of the fact that in order to do certain things, to have a green revolution to deal with climate change or even to deal with vaccination, to deal with economic regeneration, you have to have a cooperation between Scotland and England.
Mr Brown also criticized the Prime Minister’s “muscular unionism”, pointing to the Home Market Act and the Shared Prosperity Fund which allowed Westminster to retain some post-Brexit powers – policies described as “takeover.” power “by the SNP.
He said: “In my opinion, that has no support in Scotland – other than the very hard-line Conservatives who will just follow Boris Johnson no matter what he says. You don’t want strong unionism, nor do you want the SNP’s deadlock. “What you want is to offer your hand of cooperation and see if you can be successful – as we did, in fact, on immunization, on the need and to make cooperation one of the principles. guiding how you move forward.
The Our Scottish Future study reached 2,000 in England, 1,000 in Scotland and 500 in Wales, revealing that every nation has identified making the NHS the best healthcare system in the world as its priority absolute.
Some 47% of those polled in Wales, 42% in Scotland and 41% in England identified the NHS as their number one problem.
A dignified retirement for the elderly, tackling climate change and tackling inequality were also high on the list of priorities.
The poll also found that only 20% of Scottish respondents identified the independence referendums north of the border or in Wales as a top priority. Only 9% of Welsh respondents agreed.
Mr Brown said the findings would make it harder for supporters of either country’s independence to argue that there are significant differences with other parts of the UK – stressing that there is an alignment.
He said: ‘What we are essentially seeing, as this poll shows, is that in terms of values and in terms of choosing priorities, Scotland, England and Wales are coming together and not more.
“It’s something in politics that actually forces people to go their separate ways – it’s not that people have such a wide divergence of values and priorities.”