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Brown: UK faces 50 years of conflict as PM fails to understand ‘culture and tradition’ of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

14 Jun 2021 2 minutes Read
Gordon Brown. Picture by World Economic Forum (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said that Boris Johnson doesn’t understand what holds the Union together, as he predicted 50 years of conflict between its constituent parts.

Brown said the future of the Union was under threat from the Prime Minister’s misunderstanding of the culture and traditions of the different nations.

Unless Boris Johnson stepped in to fix arguments over the constitution then independence movements in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would continue, he said.

“Boris Johnson has got to understand that this is a union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and each part of that union has got its own cultural traditions, sensitivities, needs and aspirations,” he said.

“The job of a prime minister is to unite the whole country, to bring people together.

“There should be a forum that brings the nations and regions together in a more systematic way so that common problems are discussed, chaired by the prime minister.

“But you can’t assume the United Kingdom is going to hold together if you don’t work at it and that demands efforts, cooperation, policies for cooperation, instruments for cooperation and of course a determination that cooperation is going to work.”

He added: “I fear 50 years of conflict between Scotland and England if we don’t get these problems sorted out, so we [Labour] have got to be the party of solidarity, of talking about empathy, reciprocity, co-operation and sharing.”

He suggested that Johnson’s threat to renege on the Northern Ireland protocol reinforced his argument for an improved devolution settlement between the four nations.

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Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
5 months ago

Is this the same Gordon Brown who campaigned with “better together” during the referendum in Scotland?
And is this the same Gordon Brown who did not have the courage to defend his Westminster seat – which of course was won by the SNP.
And is this the same Gordon Brown who promised the people of Scotland untold riches if they voted no?
Surely no one can be that duplicitous?

Shan Morgain
5 months ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

He’s not contradicting his preferred “better together” position. He’s saying Johnson is wrecking it. At the time when he said Scotland would be better off economically in the UK we were still in the EU. Brexit wrecked that. His statements you refer to have to be seen at the time he made them.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
5 months ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

Ambitious politicians can certainly be as duplicitous as they ‘need’ to be. I was ‘surprised’ at how pro ‘Welsh’ Neil Kinnock seems to be these days when giving his opinion on Welsh football and Welsh society in general. I still recall how he almost dismissed Welsh history as practically non existent and how the old Welsh kings had been nothing more than tribal chieftains and war lords, when he was doing his best to undermine the first devolution referendum. Wanting to be the prime minister will make a politician say and do almost anything!

j humphrys
j humphrys
5 months ago
Reply to  Huw Davies

We in Gogledd won’t forget!

Quornby
Quornby
5 months ago

Dr John Ball right on the money.

Shan Morgain
5 months ago

Brown tends to make solid cases so this is a timely warning. Also a wake-up call to English/ Westminster Labour – Starmer. Won’;t do any good because that lot are obsessed with centralising power in Westminster. Without new and different leadership English Labour is useless, just Tory-lite. Welsh Labour may not be perfect but it’s very different.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
5 months ago

His statement fits in with Labour’s liking for the idea of federalism. It’s not that different, for instance, from Mick Antoniew’s comments on the subject. It would probably work, if there was any likelihood of a Labour Westminster Government. But if he’s addressing his remarks to Johnson, they’ll probably fall on deaf ears. I don’t know where he gets “50 years” from as regards Scotland, though; they’re likely to have left the UK well within that timeframe.

William Habib Steele
William Habib Steele
5 months ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

Federalism would leave Scotland with WMDs, which we don’t want, and Westminster in charge of international affairs. It would simply be Britain as England.

Robert Lake
Robert Lake
5 months ago

Well Gordon, was it not your mate Tony Blair who opened what was clearly going to be a ‘Pandora’s box’. Labour was playing with matches near a volatile substance called nationalism, your PM was avoiding the really difficult problem of how to govern the United Kingdom from Westminster. His solution was a total cop out, I clearly remember the smaller class sizes manifesto promise and thinking well now he won’t have to deliver that and can blame the Welsh Assembly.

William Habib Steele
William Habib Steele
5 months ago
Reply to  Robert Lake

It’s not only Wales and Scotland that has nationalists. English nationalism has also grown. Then there are the British nationalists, which is really English nationalism, and a misnomer because Britain, or The UK, is not a nation.

Nationalism is not an adequate term for the movements for Welsh and Scottish independence. They are movements for national sovereignty and self-government.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
5 months ago

There won’t be 50 years of conflict – Cymru and Scotland will be independent very soon, while N.Ireland will finally make the island of Ireland whole again.

Robert G
Robert G
5 months ago

The same Brown who promised federalism within 2 years in 2014? And Voting No would guarantee EU membership?

Nobody is listening to this unelected has-been anymore, his credibility when it comes to the Scotland’s future has vanished. Why doesn’t he just sxd off, put his feet up and do some crosswords in his old age!

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