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by Chris Marshall
16 September 2021
Gordon Brown: 'Muscular unionism' will not save the UK

Gordon Brown: 'Muscular unionism' will not save the UK

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has told Boris Johnson to ditch his policy of "muscular unionism" if he wants to stop Scotland leaving the UK.

Brown said the idea harked back to "an unrealistic view of an indivisible" and ignored the reality that the UK is a "family of nations".

Writing in the New Statesman, Brown's comments came as his think tank, Our Scottish Future, released new polling showing that people in England, Scotland and Wales are largely agreed on questions around limits on immigration, the nature of British history, and the balance between equality and opportunity in society. 

On priorities, people in all three nations said that making the NHS the best healthcare system in the world needed to be the top priority for government. 

He said the prime minister's "muscular unionism" would simply "play into the hands of Nicola 

Sturgeon and her plans to provoke a constitutional crisis next year".

He said: "Describing the UK as ‘one nation’, (Johnson) is abandoning the bigger idea – and better reality – that we are a ‘family of nations’.

"He wants to badge new Scottish roads and bridges as British as if hoisting more Union Jacks will make people decide they are only British and not also Scottish or Welsh.

"At a time when every country’s independence is now constrained by their  interdependence, muscular unionism harks back to an unrealistic view of an indivisible, unlimited sovereignty accountable to no-one but itself.

"It is a mirror image of the Scottish nationalist playbook, for they also have a one-dimensional and absolutist us-versus-them view of the world. You have to make a choice: Scottish or British: you cannot be both."


Read the most recent article written by Chris Marshall - UK Climate Change Committee chair brands Australia 'a disgrace' and its PM 'a denier'

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