Gordon Brown: UK could become 'failed state' without reform

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Napp
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This is certainly a very bold claim from the man whose party, under his and Blairs leadership, sowed some of the main seeds for Scotland breaking away. After all, whatever view one holds on the merits of independence, it is hard to argue that devolution has not made it a more realistic outcome. Whether thats due to devolution itself or the cackhanded way the Blairites did it, well, thats a different matter.

On a couple of other of his claims though, principally about 'Whitehall' being at fault and, most amusingly, his actual claim that Britain would become a 'failed state'.
The first seems suspiciously like a politician once again using the hoary old tactic of bashing the Civil Service for the failings of its political masters. after all, say what you will about it, the Service merely enacts the policies of Westminster. It seems rather akin to blaming the gun for you shooting someone.
As to the latter, political hyperbole at its finest as, whatever happens to the union, it is unlikely to result in London and Edinburgh looking like downtown Mogadishu or Kabul.

What does everyone else think about our former masters remarks though? Does he have a point or is this merely him playing a similar role to that of Blair in making outrageously hypocritical comments from the sideline?

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-55791179
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DiddyDec
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His actual article in the Torygraph seems quite sensible.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics...olds-together/

I am a supporter of devolution because the London/South centric government of England doesn't give a flying **** about the rest of the country as proved by their Northern Powerhouse and now "leveling up" that never seems to actually materialise. I would imagine the now devolved nations could see that their needs were consistently ignored.

If the devolved nations want to walk free then I would say let them. Give them a binding decision to hold a referendum for secession on the condition they cannot hold another one for 20 years. That should stop the pissing around of holding one every time public opinion shifts.
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caravaggio2
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I'd rather listen to Gillian Duffy. 🙂
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imlikeahermit
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(Original post by DiddyDec)
His actual article in the Torygraph seems quite sensible.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics...olds-together/

I am a supporter of devolution because the London/South centric government of England doesn't give a flying **** about the rest of the country as proved by their Northern Powerhouse and now "leveling up" that never seems to actually materialise. I would imagine the now devolved nations could see that their needs were consistently ignored.

If the devolved nations want to walk free then I would say let them. Give them a binding decision to hold a referendum for secession on the condition they cannot hold another one for 20 years. That should stop the pissing around of holding one every time public opinion shifts.
I agree that referenda shouldn’t shift with public opinion, but I do believe that this situation is completely different to just public opinion changing. The entire landscape of Scotland’s trade has changed. You’ve got, at least the following.

- Scotland overwhelmingly voting to remain as part of the EU.
- Scotland being shafted and forgotten about during trade deals.
- Scottish fishermen, firstly being blatantly lied to, during the leave campaign, then being used as a pawn during trade negotiations, and then, being absolutely shafted when it comes to the finalised deal.
- Boris making not even half arsed attempts to try to shift public opinion in Scotland.
- The internal market bill even being proposed with the power to supersede the devolved powers is an absolute insult to devolving the power in the first place.

This is not just a public opinion shift, this is an absolute paradigm shift. Now while I am not fully convinced that Scottish independence would be a good thing for the people of Scotland, and I find for example Ian Blackford the most annoying man in the commons, and frequently cry with laughter when he speaks, one cannot deny at the times the angry angry man has a point.
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Mess.
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I do really like Scotland and want it to remain part of the UK but at this point, the Scottish government is making me them want to **** off.

As Diddy said, I’m happy for an agreement for a referendum to be held once every 20 years but only on the agreement that there is no *****ing about it or campaigning outside of an agreed 3 month period in advance of the vote or some other nonsense.

I am tired of the UK government running up to Scotland every time Sturgeon opens her mouth and there has to be an understanding that if Scotland do get independence, then things like subsidies from the UK stop immediately.
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DiddyDec
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(Original post by imlikeahermit)
I agree that referenda shouldn’t shift with public opinion, but I do believe that this situation is completely different to just public opinion changing. The entire landscape of Scotland’s trade has changed. You’ve got, at least the following.

- Scotland overwhelmingly voting to remain as part of the EU.
- Scotland being shafted and forgotten about during trade deals.
- Scottish fishermen, firstly being blatantly lied to, during the leave campaign, then being used as a pawn during trade negotiations, and then, being absolutely shafted when it comes to the finalised deal.
- Boris making not even half arsed attempts to try to shift public opinion in Scotland.
- The internal market bill even being proposed with the power to supersede the devolved powers is an absolute insult to devolving the power in the first place.

This is not just a public opinion shift, this is an absolute paradigm shift. Now while I am not fully convinced that Scottish independence would be a good thing for the people of Scotland, and I find for example Ian Blackford the most annoying man in the commons, and frequently cry with laughter when he speaks, one cannot deny at the times the angry angry man has a point.
I actually think independence would be terrible for Scotland because they don't actually make as much money as they use so would likely need to cut many of the things they have grown very accustomed to such as free university. But if that is what they want to do then they should be free to decide their own future.

I am no lover of the "union". Wales, Scotland and NI are not net contributors and end up costing English taxpayers far more than they should. I would strongly support reunification of Ireland.
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Smack
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(Original post by Napp)
What does everyone else think about our former masters remarks though? Does he have a point or is this merely him playing a similar role to that of Blair in making outrageously hypocritical comments from the sideline?
If it's to placate Scottish nationalists it won't work: they want independence, not further devolution, of which there isn't really a huge amount more to give anyway. Nor is it likely to prevent, say, future Welsh nationalism, either, as the evidence from Scottish devolution is that it accelerates it rather than, as Labour had initially hoped, dampens or defeats it. And I'm not sure if there is much appetite in England for further localised devolution, at the level of, say, the South East, West Midlands, etc., so England will always be a sort of monolithic entity in a more federal UK.

Not that I know what the solution is, I just don't think it's further devolution.
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Starship Trooper
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Well, Gordon is an expert on failure after all.

But I'm not paying to read what he says, especially when he talks about inclusivity which almost always means 'there should be less straight white people involved' ...


EDIT; *What a shock, I was right :rolleyes:

*https://www.theguardian.com/politics...s-gordon-brown
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uberteknik
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The SNP play the Braveheart card.

Nicky Fishy wants her name in history and the SNP have become accustomed to a very low bar for independence referendums.
It should never be that a 51% majority based on a 70% turnout could gain independence. i.e. 35% of the electorate is a minority by any standards.

But of course, raising the bar would cause a foul cry. Old BoJo did not help during the EU negotiations when he threatened to break international law with the Northern Ireland Protocol and thus creating ammunition for the gun Nicks will aim at him.

A liberal and democratic UK has not denied, and would not deny, an independence referendum to a Scotland determined to have such a vote. It can and should insist that such an important and irreversible decision can only be taken by a majority of Scots. Only those eligible for post-independence Scottish citizenship should vote, and all such citizens should be eligible including the expats.

In financial terms, Scotland has a population of just over 5 million and a GDP circa £160 billion (not much more than the UK NHS budget) giving it a global ranking just above Algeria and Qatar occupying 53rd and 54th positions. Scotland would rank between the U.S. states of Kentucky and Alabama. Heck, there are 25+ companies with a revenue greater than Scotland's GDP. Exports amount to 5% of the UK total - rather less per head than Scotland's 8% of UK population total.

Assuming Northern Ireland and Wales follow suit, that would drop England, with a GDP of £1.82 trillion, one place to 7th immediately below France and pretty much on par with Italy.

Hardly a global-ranking status knockout blow for England standing alone. Scotland, not so much.

One of the biggest issues would be defence and membership of NATO. The nuclear submarine base at Faslane providing strategic access to the North Atlantic, would need to move since the SNP have declared they want rid. As a percentage of GDP, Scotland could not service the budget necessary to sustain what amounts to 12%+ of the total UK defence expenditure to keep the MOD presence in Scotland at it's current levels. That together with the main RAF bases of Lossiemouth and Leuchars plus numerous smaller bases, RADAR sites, training sites and MOD ranges would need to be significantly scaled back.

Vlad must be creaming his underpants.
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DSilva
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(Original post by imlikeahermit)
I agree that referenda shouldn’t shift with public opinion, but I do believe that this situation is completely different to just public opinion changing. The entire landscape of Scotland’s trade has changed. You’ve got, at least the following.

- Scotland overwhelmingly voting to remain as part of the EU.
- Scotland being shafted and forgotten about during trade deals.
- Scottish fishermen, firstly being blatantly lied to, during the leave campaign, then being used as a pawn during trade negotiations, and then, being absolutely shafted when it comes to the finalised deal.
- Boris making not even half arsed attempts to try to shift public opinion in Scotland.
- The internal market bill even being proposed with the power to supersede the devolved powers is an absolute insult to devolving the power in the first place.

This is not just a public opinion shift, this is an absolute paradigm shift. Now while I am not fully convinced that Scottish independence would be a good thing for the people of Scotland, and I find for example Ian Blackford the most annoying man in the commons, and frequently cry with laughter when he speaks, one cannot deny at the times the angry angry man has a point.
Wow, I agree with you.
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DSilva
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I find it ironic when Brexiteers argue against Scottish independence on the basis it would be economic catastrophe, when those peoples same argument over Brexit was 'screw the economy, it's all boot culture/sovereignty".

I don't want to see Scotland go. But I can't think of a single compelling reason not to allow them to do so if they want to.
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imlikeahermit
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(Original post by DSilva)
Wow, I agree with you.
(Original post by DSilva)
I find it ironic when Brexiteers argue against Scottish independence on the basis it would be economic catastrophe, when those peoples same argument over Brexit was 'screw the economy, it's all boot culture/sovereignty".

I don't want to see Scotland go. But I can't think of a single compelling reason not to allow them to do so if they want to.
Wow, I agree with you too. :danceboy:
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Tempest II
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DSilva

It's very much apples and oranges. While I can sympathise with the point, the UK's relationship with the EU is a very different one to the UK and Scottish one.
The UK joined the EU in 1973 and left less than 50 years later. Scotland has been defacto joined with England and Wales since 1603 and dejure a part of the UK since 1707. There is far more shared history, successes, culture etc than the UK will ever have with the EU.

Economically, there is far more linking the UK and Scotland. For one, we share the same currency. The SNP is split on what its currency plans are but could well have to keep Sterling, which would immediately mean that their monetary policy is at least partly made by the Bank of England.
Even if they could join the EU, the Euro would have even more issues - less control over monetary policy and they'd have to cut their deficit massively to even be allowed to use the Euro.


As for joining the EU, good luck:
As a percentage of Scotland’s GDP the notional deficit increased from -7.4% in 2018-19 to -8.6% in 2019-20. For comparison the UK’s deficit rose from -1.9% of GDP to -2.5% over the same period. New members of the EU are required to have a deficit less than 3% of GDP.

And even if the deficit wasn't an issue, you've got to hope that other EU nations don't block Scotland entering the bloc. There's some debate whether Spain and / or Belgium would block their membership due to their own independence movements.
In terms of exports, at its peak in 2002, 54% of the UK's exports when to the EU. It has fallen since then and we're down to 43% as of 2019. Around 60% of Scotland's exports go to the rest of the UK. In fact, Scotland exports more to the rest of the world (excluding the UK) than it does to the EU.


The EU has never been responsible for UK Defence. On the other hand, the UK is very much committed to the defence of Scotland. While the SNP bleats about the UK Nuclear Deterrent, the UK government is committed to RAF Lossiemouth and various other military installations in Scotland that maintain security and pump money into the local economy.
Any attempt at Scotland trying to have its own military is laughable and it'd be relying on the UK for its security long after independence. Russian air and sea probing wouldn't just stop. What would a Scottish Defence Force have to meet them? It certainly wouldn't be Typhoons or F-35Bs in the air or Type 45s at sea. They'd probably have to make do with armed Hawk trainers and coast guard style cutters.


The SNP seems rather anti-NATO, so they might not even be able to rely on help from the UK, US etc. If they did want to join NATO, they'd also certainly have to spend more on Defence than they'd want to.


The SNP believe that they'll defacto get control of the North Sea's natural resources as this is the only chance they've got to claim that Scotland can survive independently. The issue is that these fossil fuels are becoming less important, especially as Scotland plans to be carbon neutral by 2045.

It's also clear that, despite the SNP's propaganda, per capita Scotland gets more public funding than the rest of the UK - almost £2000 per person.


Summary:
While the people of Scotland would be entitled to vote for independence, they'd find that trying to extract themselves from the UK far more difficult than the UK has from the EU. They'd have no military, diminishing oil and gas, no independent currency, a large deficit and quite possibly no EU membership.
Last edited by Tempest II; 1 month ago
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Starship Trooper
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Tempest II

Just on your point about Scotland joining NATO and the EU (I'm pretty certain it's in the SNP manifesto to join NATO)

Many NATO countries Inc Germany are infamous for not spending the required money on defence. I couldn't see NATO turning them down.

And also the EU has incorporated countries with far worse economies than A Independent Scotland. It would also be A big political victory for the EU if Scotland were to rejoin even if that might upset the Spanish and England.
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DSilva
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(Original post by Tempest II)
DSilva

It's very much apples and oranges. While I can sympathise with the point, the UK's relationship with the EU is a very different one to the UK and Scottish one.
The UK joined the EU in 1973 and left less than 50 years later. Scotland has been defacto joined with England and Wales since 1603 and dejure a part of the UK since 1707. There is far more shared history, successes, culture etc than the UK will ever have with the EU.

Economically, there is far more linking the UK and Scotland. For one, we share the same currency. The SNP is split on what its currency plans are but could well have to keep Sterling, which would immediately mean that their monetary policy is at least partly made by the Bank of England.
Even if they could join the EU, the Euro would have even more issues - less control over monetary policy and they'd have to cut their deficit massively to even be allowed to use the Euro.


As for joining the EU, good luck:
As a percentage of Scotland’s GDP the notional deficit increased from -7.4% in 2018-19 to -8.6% in 2019-20. For comparison the UK’s deficit rose from -1.9% of GDP to -2.5% over the same period. New members of the EU are required to have a deficit less than 3% of GDP.

And even if the deficit wasn't an issue, you've got to hope that other EU nations don't block Scotland entering the bloc. There's some debate whether Spain and / or Belgium would block their membership due to their own independence movements.
In terms of exports, at its peak in 2002, 54% of the UK's exports when to the EU. It has fallen since then and we're down to 43% as of 2019. Around 60% of Scotland's exports go to the rest of the UK. In fact, Scotland exports more to the rest of the world (excluding the UK) than it does to the EU.


The EU has never been responsible for UK Defence. On the other hand, the UK is very much committed to the defence of Scotland. While the SNP bleats about the UK Nuclear Deterrent, the UK government is committed to RAF Lossiemouth and various other military installations in Scotland that maintain security and pump money into the local economy.
Any attempt at Scotland trying to have its own military is laughable and it'd be relying on the UK for its security long after independence. Russian air and sea probing wouldn't just stop. What would a Scottish Defence Force have to meet them? It certainly wouldn't be Typhoons or F-35Bs in the air or Type 45s at sea. They'd probably have to make do with armed Hawk trainers and coast guard style cutters.


The SNP seems rather anti-NATO, so they might not even be able to rely on help from the UK, US etc. If they did want to join NATO, they'd also certainly have to spend more on Defence than they'd want to.


The SNP believe that they'll defacto get control of the North Sea's natural resources as this is the only chance they've got to claim that Scotland can survive independently. The issue is that these fossil fuels are becoming less important, especially as Scotland plans to be carbon neutral by 2045.

It's also clear that, despite the SNP's propaganda, per capita Scotland gets more public funding than the rest of the UK - almost £2000 per person.


Summary:
While the people of Scotland would be entitled to vote for independence, they'd find that trying to extract themselves from the UK far more difficult than the UK has from the EU. They'd have no military, diminishing oil and gas, no independent currency, a large deficit and quite possibly no EU membership.
Maybe so, but that's their choice isn't it? If they value sovereignty over economics, who are we to tell them they're wrong? Whether they would flourish or not, is not really the point.
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Tempest II
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(Original post by Starship Trooper)
Tempest II

Just on your point about Scotland joining NATO and the EU (I'm pretty certain it's in the SNP manifesto to join NATO)

Many NATO countries Inc Germany are infamous for not spending the required money on defence. I couldn't see NATO turning them down.

And also the EU has incorporated countries with far worse economies than A Independent Scotland. It would also be A big political victory for the EU if Scotland were to rejoin even if that might upset the Spanish and England.
There's a difference between already being in NATO and not spending the 2% and wanting to become a member but with the intention of never spending it. Scotland might be allowed in anyway, because it's geographical position in relation to the GIUK gap, but it'd be wrong to assume that membership is guaranteed.

It'd be more difficult to obtain EU membership and even if they succeed, could take five plus years. Every nation in the EU must approve the membership in its Parliament. Just one parliament could temporarily if not permanently hault the entire process. Spain and Belgium would most likely need some convincing.
Plus, as I mentioned above, the deficit of Scotland is very much an issue. Its worse than Greece's, at least as of 2016.

https://www.taxpayersalliance.com/sc...er_than_greece

Edit - added another source:
https://ukandeu.ac.uk/explainers/how...2C%20accession.
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Tempest II
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(Original post by DSilva)
Maybe so, but that's their choice isn't it? If they value sovereignty over economics, who are we to tell them they're wrong? Whether they would flourish or not, is not really the point.
I don't disagree with you regarding that it's the Scottish people's choice.
I disagree with idea which is being banded around that Brexit and Scottish Independence are both equally justifiable. It's far too simplistic to compare them on anything other than face value.
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DSilva
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(Original post by Tempest II)
I don't disagree with you regarding that it's the Scottish people's choice.
I disagree with idea which is being banded around that Brexit and Scottish Independence are both equally justifiable. It's far too simplistic to compare them on anything other than face value.
They're not identical, no.

But there are similarities and I think we should be consistent. If we argue that Brexit is justifiable because sovereignty is of greater importance than economic prosperity, then we can't argue the opposite when it comes to Scottish independence.
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