The former PM announced that his think tank, Our Scottish Future, will be turned into a “campaigning movement” to make the “positive, progressive and patriotic case” for Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom. A senior Cabinet minister, meanwhile, fuelled expectations that an independence referendum will come in a few years time by saying the 2014 vote did not represent “a decision for all eternity”.
Jacob Rees-Mogg’s words followed a weekend of intense pressure from Ms Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, for a vote to be allowed in the wake of the SNP’s sweeping victory in last week’s assembly elections. She has said Boris Johnson would have to go to court to block her executive from holding a referendum without the approval of Westminster, although in reality few expect her to rush such a move.
Mr Brown said the Prime Minister’s “muscular unionism” — an attempt to put Britishness into Scotland — was not going to work. He added: “Project fear will not work. Scottish people are very proud indeed.” The former Labour leader said the real issue was what independence would mean for Scots. “The big issue is not the referendum, the big issue is independence,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“I would challenge Nicola Sturgeon, she’s had years to think about this, tell us what independence means — the benefits, tell us the costs, tell us about the pound, tell us about the pension, tell us about the border, tell us about quantitative easing.”
“None of these questions have been answered and every time you ask her she says she is going to produce a plan some time. We actually should have answers to these questions by now.”