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“Cooperation Can Make Scotland a Super-Power”

Gordon Brown used an online speech to Our Scottish Future yesterday evening to argue that deeper cooperation between Scotland and the rest of the UK can turn Scotland from a power to a “super-power” in key growth industries of the future.

On renewables, IT, technology and medicine, the former Prime Minister argues that by cooperating across the UK, Scotland can become a world leader.

The choice is clear, he said:

“Going it alone – separating off – means we can, at best, be a power in the land. But doing things cooperatively together means we can be an economic and social leader recognised across the world.”

More than 300 people from across Scotland took part in the event. Saying he wanted to reach out to people who voted both No and Yes to Scottish independence, Mr Brown said the vast majority of Scots wanted to see more cooperation between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“Pursuing the policy of intensifying cooperation across borders within the United Kingdom and using all its resources , means we can be a superpower recognised across the world and a huge job creator for the Scottish people.”

He says that to get deeper cooperation we need a “new Britain” which enshrines a “duty of cooperation” at its heart.

He says: “That will require a reformed centre , a democratic second chamber of the nations and regions as opposed to the current undemocratic Lords and a UK wide council of the Nations and the region chaired by PM, where everyone’s voice is heard – making the unfinished business of devolution less about powers here and there and more about better working relationships, the creation of a new Britain that guarantees what cannot be achieved by Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland alone: the pooling and sharing of resources to guarantee and deliver the best opportunities for everyone of us based on responsibilities accepted by all.”

The full text of Gordon’s speech:

SHOULD I START BY WELCOMING YOU TO WHAT BORIS JOHNSON WOULD CALL A WORK EVENT. 

SO PLEASE POUR YOUR DRINKS 

SO PLEASE FEEL FREE TO NIBBLE YOUR CHEESE AND BISCUITS, THERE WILL BE A FORMAL INQUIRY TO FOLLOW.

BUT SERIOUSLY, THANK YOU

THERE ARE I BELIEVE HUNDREDS OF US ONLINE, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US FOR OUR FIRST EVENT OF THE NEW YEAR.

TO THOSE WHO IN 2021 HAVE LOST LOVED ONES AND WHOSE FAMILIES HAVE SUFFERED BECAUSE OF THE VIRUS, I AND ALL OF US AT OUR SCOTTISH FUTURE WANT TO PASS ON OUR CONDOLENCES.

THESE ONCE UNTHINKABLE LOSSES HAVE REINFORCED MY – AND ALL OUR – DETERMINATION TO MAKE 2022 THE YEAR WHEN WE BRING THE VIRUS COMPLETELY UNDER CONTROL.

THE WAY TO DO SO CONNECTS DIRECTLY TO OUR MESSAGE THIS EVENING. IT IS ONLY THROUGH CROSS BORDER COOPERATION TO GET VACCINES AND TREATMENTS TO ALL WHO NEED THEM ACROSS THE WORLD AND BY ERADICATING VACCINE NATIONALISM THAT WE CAN PREVENT NEW COVID VARIANTS AND PUT THE VIRUS TRULY BEHIND US. SIMILARLY, HERE AT HOME, OUR ARGUMENT AT OUR SCOTTISH FUTURE IS THAT IT IS ONLY THROUGH THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT MAKING THE BEST OF COOPERATION ACROSS THE UK.

AND THAT MEANS RECOGNISING THE MUTUAL BENEFITS – AND VIRTUES – OF SHARING, RECIPROCITY AND SOLIDARITY – THAT MAKE THE BEST OF OUR POTENTIAL AS A COUNTRY AND MAKE NATIONALISM THAT DIVIDES THE WORLD INTO WARRING TRIBES A RELIC OF THE PAST.

SO, THIS EVENING, I WANT TO SPEAK TO EVERYBODY, WHETHER THEY VOTED YES OR NO TO INDEPENDENCE IN 2014, WHO FEEL WE HAVE BEEN STUCK AS A COUNTRY NOT JUST FOR TWO YEARS BECAUSE OF COVID BUT FOR MUCH LONGER BECAUSE OF THE STERILE STANDOFF BETWEEN NATIONALISM AND UNIONISM. SCOTLAND DESERVES BETTER THAN THIS. SCOTLAND IS BIGGER THAN THIS. INDEED, I WANT TO SUGGEST THAT THIS IS THE MOMENT FOR US TO BECOME THE LEADERS OF A MORE PATRIOTIC BUT ALSO MORE POSITIVE AND MORE PROGRESSIVE FUTURE FOR SCOTLAND IN BRITAIN, ONE THAT IS FOUNDED ON COOPERATION, SHARING AND SOLIDARITY

NOW MY COLLEAGUES IN OUR SCOTTISH FUTURE JIM, HEATHER, HENRY, EDDIE AND SUZI WILL, LIKE ME, BE HAPPY TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT WE ALL BELIEVE ARE THE WEAKNESSES OF THE NATIONALIST CASE ON THE POUND, ON PENSIONS, ON PASSPORTS, ON PUBLIC SERVICE FINANCING, INDEED ON ALL THE ISSUES WHERE THEY HAVE NO CREDIBLE ANSWERS, INCOHERENT ON QUANTITATIVE EASING AND HOW WE FINANCE THRE RECOVERY; INCOMPREHENSIBLE ON THE BORDER AND HOW WE PREVENT HARD BARRIERS TO TRADE; CONFUSED ON THE EU AND ON HOW YOU CAN JOIN WITHOUT AGREEING TO THEIR DEFICIT RULES AND THEIR FISHERIES AND FARMING REGIME; DANGEROUSLY CONTRADICTORY DEFENCE AND ON HOW YOU CAN OPPOSE NUCLEAR WEAPONS BUT WANT TO JOIN A NUCLEAR WEAPONS ALLIANCE

BUT WE BELIEVE IT IS LESS IMPORTANT TO SPEND OUR TIME EXPOSING THE SNP AND MORE IMPORTANT— BECAUSE SCOTLAND DESERVES BETTER THAN THIS – TO SPEND OUR TIME EXPLAINING OUR POSITIVE VISION OF A SCOTLAND LEADING IN BRITAIN – NOT LEAVING IT – A VISION THAT CAN NOT ONLY CONVINCE OUR FELLOW SCOTS BUT INSPIRE THEM.

ONE THAT CAN IN PARTICULAR GET THROUGH TO MIDDLE SCOTLAND, TO THE 1.5M MEN AND WOMEN WHO HOLD THE KEY TO WHETHER WE ARE IN BRITAIN OR OUTSIDE IT, THE 40% OF SCOTS WHO ARE NOT ULTRA-NATIONALISTS NOR ULTRA-UNIONISTS; THEY ARE MEN AND WOMEN WHO – LET US BE HONEST – NOT ONLY FEEL MORE SCOTTISH THAN BRITISH BUT ALSO PREFER THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT TO THE UK PARLIAMENT, MOST OF WHOM HAVE VOTED SNP. BUT THEY ARE MIDDLE SCOTLAND, NOT EXTREME -NATIONALIST- SCOTLAND BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOT REJECTED FOR ALL TIME ALL CONNECTIONS WITH THE REST OF BRITAIN, AND DO NOT FEEL THE NEED TO CHOOSE BETWEEN SCOTLAND AND BRITAIN THEY ARE NOT OUR OPPONENTS; THEY ARE OUR POTENTIAL SUPPORTERS BUT THEY WANT CHANGE, AND THEY NEED REASONS FOR SUPPORTING THE UK. 

AND WHAT WE CAN OFFER -BECAUSE SCOTLAND DESERVES BETTER AND CAN DO BETTER- IS A VISION THAT ARGUES FOR, IN PREFERENCE TO SEPARATION THE RIGHT BALANCE BETWEEN AUTONOMY AND COOPERATION TO A GUARANTEE EVERYONE WILL BE TREATED AS FIRST-CLASS CITIZENS AND THAT ATTHE SAME TIME HAVE THE BEST OPPORTUNITIES POSSIBLE.

FOR WE MUST NOT, AS DEFENDERS OF BRITAIN, FORGET AND LET NATIONALISTS AS DESTROYERS OF BRITAIN IGNORE WHAT SCOTLAND AGREES ON MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE: THAT 75% – YES, IN EVERY POLL, THAT’S THREE-QUARTERS OF ALL SCOTTISH PEOPLE – WHO ARE IN FAVOUR OF MORE COOPERATION WITH THE REST OF THE UK.

AND WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO THE BURNING ISSUES FACING FAMILIES TODAY – SCOTTISH PEOPLE BEING HIT BY RISING POVERTY, AN EXCESS OF LOW PAID JOBS, POOR HOUSING, DECLINING EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS, PRESSURE ON HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE, RISING CRIME AND ARE NOW SOON TO BE HIT HARDER WITH HIGHER TAXES, INCREASED ENERGY BILLS AND FOOD PRICE INFLATION, WE CAN DO BETTER THAN TELLING PEOPLE THEY HAVE TO WAIT FOR ANSWERS UNTIL THE DAY AFTER INDEPENDENCE.

SCOTLAND DESERVES BETTER THAN THIS, SCOTLAND CAN DO BETTER AND CAN DO BETTER NOW.

FOR IN ADDITION TO THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT 65% OF SCOTS WANT MORE COOPERATION WITH THE REST OF THE UK IN HEALTH TO DEAL WITH PROBLEMS LIKE PANDEMICS, 66% WANT MORE COOPERATION ON THE ECONOMY TO CREATE GOOD JOBS AND END LOW PAY; AND 61% WANT MORE COOPERATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND SO SCOTTISH PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND ME SHOULD NOW LEAD THE DEMAND FOR THE PRACTICAL COOPERATION NECESSARY TO BRING ABOUT CHANGE WE CAN ALL GET BEHIND, FAIRER, FASTER, SAFER AND LESS RISKER CHANGE THAN INDEPENDENCE YES CHANGE MEANS REFORMS AND THERE WILL HAVE TO BE IMPROVEMENTS IN THE WAY WE RUN THE UK TO DO THIS.

BUT THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN CONSTITUTIONAL FIGHTS.

GOOD JOBS, BETTER HEALTH CARE MORE PERSONALISED PUBLIC SERVICES AND THE GREATER SECURITY THAT EVERYONE AGREES ARE THEIR UPPERMOST POST-PANDEMIC, POST AUSTERITY, POST-BREXIT PRIORITIES CAN BE DELIVERED BETTER BY EXTENDING COOPERATION AND MOBILISING ALL THE RESOURCES OF THE UK INSTEAD OF THROUGH YEARS OF CONFLICT. HERE IS THE CHOICE FOR THE FUTURE.

SCOTLAND IS A POWER IN RENEWABLES, IN WIND AND WAVE POWER, AND HYDROGEN. BUT SCOTLAND IS BIGGER THAN THIS AND, AS CLIMATE CHANGE AND PANDEMICS PROVE EVERY DAY, IT MAKES SENSE IN A WORLD THAT IS INTERCONNECTED, ECONOMICALLY INTEGRATED AND INTERDEPENDENT, AND WHERE PROSPERITY TO BE SUSTAINED HAS TO BE SHARED FOR US, TO WORK WITH OUR NEIGHBOURS USING ALL THE RESOURCES OF THE UK TO SECURE THE INVESTMENT THAT CAN MAKE US AN ENERGY SUPERPOWER WITH THE GOOD PAYING SCOTTISH JOBS THAT WILL FLOW FROM IT

THE SAME APPLIES IN IT AND TECHNOLOGY. IF INSTEAD OF LEAVING THE UK CURRENCY UNION, THE UK SINGLE MARKET, AND THE UK CUSTOMS UNION WE CAN DRAW ON AND DEPLOY ALL THE RESOURCES OF THE UK, WE CAN BE RECOGNISED WORLDWIDE AND INTERNATIONALLY COMPETITIVE AS A GLOBAL SUPERPOWER IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING JUST AS WE WERE A CENTURY AGO.

WERE WE TO BREAKAWAY FROM THE UK HEALTH SERVICE, UK SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND THE UK WELFARE STATE WE COULD AT BEST BE A POWER IN MODERN MEDICINE AT HOME.

BUT SCOTLAND IS BIGGER THAN THIS. PURSUING THE POLICY OF INTENSIFYING COOPERATION ACROSS THE UNITED KINGDOM AND PUTTING ALL ITS RESOURCES, TO WORK MEANS WE CAN BE A SUPERPOWER RECOGNISED ACROSS THE WORLD AS A WORLD LEADER FOR OUR MEDICAL INNOVATION AND BE A HUGE JOB CREATOR FOR THE SCOTTISH PEOPLE.

SO GOING IT ALONE – SCOTLAND SEPARATING OFF – MEANS WE CAN, AT BEST, BE A POWER IN THE LAND.

BUT SCOTLAND IS BIGGER THAN THIS, DOING THINGS COOPERATIVELY TOGETHER AND USING ALL THE RESOURCES OF THE UK MEANS WE CAN BE AN FULL EMPLOYMENT ECONOMIC SUPERPOWER AND THIS – THIS IS A MORE EXPANSIVE, MORE AMBITIOUS, MORE INSPIRING VISION OF WHAT SCOTLAND CAN ACHIEVE, AND SO WE SHOULD LEAD THE CAUSE OF COOPERATION AND THE CALLS TO DESIGN A NEW BRITAIN WITH A MORE FLEXIBLE CONSTITUTION – WITH A DUTY OF COOPERATION AT ITS HEART AND A REMIT TO ENSURE AN EQUALITY OF RESPECT FOR EACH OF US IN WHATEVER COUNTRY WE LIVE WITH NO ONE EVER AGAIN TREATED AS SECOND CLASS CITIZENS.

AND WE HAVE ALLIES IN ENGLAND AND WALES WHO ALSO WANT THIS TO HAPPEN, FOR THE BRITAIN THAT MOST OF US FEEL MOST AT HOME IN AND CAN IDENTIFY WITH IS NOT THE INSULAR BRITAIN OF JOHNSON AND FARAGE BUT THE BIGGER BRITAIN OF MARCUS RASHFORD, DAVID ATTENBOROUGH RAHEEM STERLING, AND EMMA RADUCANU – AND YES OF ANDY BURNHAM AND MARK DRAKEFORD TOO, WHO LIKE US BELIEVE IN SHARING ACROSS THE UK.

AND SO WE SHOULD BE THINKING HOW HERE FROM SCOTLAND WE CAN HELP SHAPE A MODERN BRITAIN LESS CENTRALISED AROUND WHITEHALL MORE INCLUSIVE IN A WAY ALL NATIONS AND REGIONS CAN FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH.

WITH AN ELECTED SECOND CHAMBER OF THE NATIONS AND REGIONS AND A UK WIDE COUNCIL OF THE NATIONS AND THE REGION CHAIRED BY THE PM BUT WHERE EVERYONE’S VOICE IS HEARD.

MAKING THE UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF DEVOLUTION LESS ABOUT POWERS HERE AND THERE AND MORE ABOUT COOPERATIVE WORKING RELATIONSHIPS: THE CREATION IN FACT OF A NEW BRITAIN TO DELIVER WHAT CANNOT BE ACHIEVED BY SCOTLAND, ENGLAND, WALES AND NORTHERN IRELAND ALONE: THE POOLING AND SHARING OF RESOURCES ACROSS THE COUNTRY THAT GUARANTEES EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR EACH OF US BASED ON EQUAL RESPONSIBILITIES ACCEPTED BY ALL OF US SO, I WANT 2022 TO BE THE YEAR WHEN WE TALK OF THE POTENTIAL OF SCOTLAND AND OFFER A PLAN FOR THE FUTURE OF SCOTLAND AND BRITAIN IN A POST-NATIONALIST WORLD.

FOR THERE IS A MORE FUNDAMENTAL SET OF BELIEFS THAT CAN UNITE US.

YES SCOTLAND IS A GREAT COUNTRY OF GREAT PEOPLE WITH BOUNDLESS POTENTIAL

YES WE ARE PROUD OF OUR DISTINCTIVE CULTURE AND NATIONAL IDENTITY.

BUT WE MUST ALSO PROUDLY STATE THAT PART OF THAT CULTURE AND HISTORY AND WHAT MAKES US WHO WE ARE IS THAT FOR THREE CENTURIES WE HAVE NOT JUST SOUGHT NATIONAL AUTONOMY IN MATTERS CLOSE TO HOME BUT ALSO EMBRACED AND INDEED PIONEERED CROSS BORDER COOPERATION TO OUR BENEFIT AND REJECTED THE IDEA OF A WORLD OF PEOPLES AND COUNTRIES FOREVER IN CONFLICT.

ADAM SMITH WHO WROTE FROM MY HOME TOWN KIRKCALDY PICTURED THE WORLD AS A SERIES OF CONCENTRIC CIRCLES, CIRCLES OF EMPATHY, STARTING WITH THE EMPATHY WE FEEL MOST INTENSELY FOR OUR FAMILY, AND OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD, AND WHAT’S CLOSE TO HOME.

BUT IT IS ALSO AN EMPATHY CAPABLE OF EXTENDING OUTWARDS TO NATIONS, GROUPS OF NATIONS AND ULTIMATELY HUMANITY AS A WHOLE – A WORLD WHERE WE ARE CONNECTED TO EACH OTHER LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER AND THAT’S OUR SCOTTISH IDENTITY – VALUES THAT REJECT ISOLATIONISM, SELFISHNESS, AND ENDLESS CONFLICT.

AND INSTEAD WE CHAMPION WHAT I THINK MATTERS TO YOU AND ME, EMPATHY BETWEEN NATIONS, RECIPROCITY ACROSS COMMUNITIES AND SOLIDARITY WITH AND TOWARDS OUR FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS.

WE DON’T JUST COOPERATE OUT OF NEED BUT HAVE A HUMAN NEED TO COOPERATE.

AND SO LET US THINK OF OURSELVES IN THE WAY GEORGE ORWELL DID – NOT AS NATIONALISTS WHO SEE LIFE AS AN ENDLESS STRUGGLE BETWEEN US AND THEM.

BUT AS PATRIOTS WHO LOVE OUR COUNTRY AND SEE THE BENEFITS OF COOPERATING WITH OUR NEIGHBOURS.

LET IT BE OUR NEW YEAR RESOLUTION TO CREATE A POSITIVE PATRIOTIC AND PROGRESSIVE SCOTTISH FUTURE THAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE SCOTTISH PEOPLE CAN BELIEVE IN AND GET BEHIND.

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We will only achieve our goals if we work together

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