The refusal of Gordon Brown to support the demand by Wendy Alexander Leader of the Labour Party in Scotland for the SNP to call a independence referendum amounts to a staggering display of hypocrisy on his part. 'Gordon Brown made a solemn pledge specifically to the people of Scotland, and to them alone, that in his every action and deliberation he would support their right to decide the form of government best suited to their needs,' Michael Knowles, member of the National Council of the Campaign for an English Parliament has said to a meeting of CEP members in Congleton in Cheshire. 'But he is now opposing that very right of the Scottish people which he had declared he supported.'
In Edinburgh on March 30th 1989 together with 133 fellow members of the Scottish Constitutional Convention Brown put his signature to what the SCC called the Scottish Claim of Right. It read: ‘We, gathered as the Scottish Constitutional Convention, do hereby acknowledge the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs, and do hereby declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations their interests will be paramount’. He signed that pledge. So did the present Speaker of the House, Michael Martin. Gordon Brown had been the driving force behind the SCC. His vision of Scotland's future was for it to remain within the United Kingdom but in the most beneficial and unique position as could be attained and maintained. He devised and promoted the policy of Scotland having its own own parliament with total power over all its internal affairs such as education and health. In 1997 on coming to power and as Chancellor of the Exchequer he put through the Scottish devolution legislation which in 1998 established the Scottish Parliament and the astonishing degree of 75% of independence for Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom, while retaining the right of Scottish MPs like himself to become UK Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers; and retaining access for Scotland for the funds, denied to England, for free university education, free personal care for the elderly, in due course free prescriptions, many other advantages such as a freeze on council tax rises, and retention of the Barnett Formula which gives £1500 expenditure more per head of population in Scotland than in England. For Brown it was essential that Scotland remained in the UK if it was to to continue to have access to UK wealth and power, 80% of which is produced by England and enable Scots like himself to become the UK Prime Minister. For that reason he has always opposed the SNP claim for total independence for Scotland.
'Gordon Brown thinks he knows what is best for Scotland,' Michael Knowles stated to the meeting. 'Though he pledged himself to support and work for the right of the Scottish people to determine for themselves the form of government best suited to thr needs, he believes he know best what that best form is. And to his mind it is not independence. It is instead,he believes, what he achieved in the 1998 devolution legislation.'
'It is a staggering display of arrogance and hypocrisy on his part, that having made the 1989 Pledge of the Scottish Claim of Right to leave it to the Scottish People to decide what form of government they wanted, for him to oppose a referendum on independence. His fear of an outcome different from what he wants for Scotland does not justify his refusal to let the Scots choose for themselves the form of government best suited to Scotland. It is illogical and it is hypocritical,; stated Mr Knowles.
Scilla Cullen, Chairman
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