Former Prime minister Gordon Brown has said the UK is “moving closer together, not further apart”, while warning Boris Johnson to scrap his “muscular unionism” approach to devolution.
He claimed that “narrow nationalists” ran both Holyrood and Westminster.
A poll released today by the pro-union pressure group Our Scottish Future, of which Brown is founder, said the results demonstrate “that the nations of the UK are united on the key priorities they want government to pursue after the pandemic”, and by certain national values.
The group polled people across Scotland, England and Wales to ask them about their own values and their priorities for the coming years.
In Scotland, England and Wales, people are united in their belief that equality (78%, 76%, 78%), tolerance (83%, 83%, 83%), liberty (86%, 87%,83%), and diversity (82%, 82%, 80%) are key to feeling national pride.
In light of these findings Brown said: “If people thought before that England was not as forward in diversity, equality, tolerance or indeed on inclusivity, that is dispelled by this poll. In fact, the polling shows that England is more egalitarian than Scotland on the issues that we raised on colour. The idea that the three countries are moving apart is wrong.”
The poll also showed that people across the three nations largely agree on controversial social questions such as immigration levels, the nature of British history, and the balance between opportunity and equality in society.
47 per cent of respondents in Wales, 42 per cent in Scotland and 41 per cent in England said that the NHS was their number one issue.
Similarly, people across the UK listed a “dignified” retirement for old people, tackling climate change, and making sure every child has the best education as other top priorities.
Writing in the New Statesman magazine this week, Brown cites England football manager Gareth Southgate’s “Letter to England” earlier this summer, which highlighted the values of tolerance and equality.
Brown says the poll demonstrates that he was indeed speaking for the majority of people in England.
Writing in tomorrow’s New Statesman magazine, Brown argues that a “new Britain is waiting to be born” based on the shared values and priorities that now exist across the whole UK as the country emerges from the division of Brexit and the trauma of the pandemic.
Brown’s comments were later dismissed by a number of SNP MPs via Twitter.
We can at least concede that Brown is a trier. He never lets up on the ‘there is no demand for independence’ rubbish. Find the flags stuff moderately amusing from the man who invented ‘British jobs for British workers’. https://t.co/33FSlmU7rn
— Pete Wishart (@PeteWishart) September 16, 2021
Latest opinion poll showing the latest Gordon Brown intervention as credible as ever! 🤔 pic.twitter.com/7m4dT7me7P
— Richard Lochhead (@RichardLochhead) September 16, 2021