Gordon Brown targets overwhelming support for EU in Scotland

Former PM believes as many as 70 per cent of Scots could vote to stay in the EU.


Amid the Labour Party’s internal navel gazing over the past few days, former prime minister Gordon Brown will seek to refocus attention on issues of substance as he intervenes in the debate over the UK’s place in the European Union.

In what is expected to be a powerful speech later today at the launch of the new Scottish Labour Movement for Europe, Brown will argue that Scotland could vote by an overwhelming 70-30 majority in favour of remaining in the EU if the case to stay is based around the “needs and aspirations” of ordinary families.

On the first anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, addressing suggestions that leaving the EU would somehow make the UK less likely to suffer terrorist attacks, he will argue that this would amount only to a “betrayal of our history” by abandoning fellow member states facing the same threats.

According to polling published last month by Survation, across Scotland, 58 per cent of voters currently intend to vote to remain in the EU, a similar figure to the results north of the border at the time of the 1975 referendum on membership of the European Community.

Brown however will argue that with the right campaign support could be much higher than this. He will use his speech to argue:

“I believe we can do much better in 2016, and if we put forward a positive, principled and progressive case, we can win 70 per cent for versus 30 against.

We must start this debate from the needs and aspirations of Britain’s working families – not institutions and constitutions – and make the case for exactly what kind of country we want to be.

This referendum should be about jobs, security and the future prospects of our young.

We must be positive by showing, as the research from the Centre for Economics and Business states, that up to 300,000 Scottish jobs are linked to membership of the European Union and 20,000 Scottish businesses trade with mainland Europe.

What’s more is that 1,000 Europe-owned businesses are Scots employers, and 46 per cent of Scots international exports go to Europe.

We must be principled showing we do best not just as members of Europe but as leaders of Europe.”

He will continue:

“There is a stronger, patriotic view of Britain’s best future that is different from those who glory in us standing apart and want us to be wholly separate, defiantly independent of others.

It is the patriotic vision that affirms that Britain is not the Britain we know unless we are outward-looking, unless we are engaged with the continent and unless British values – tolerance, liberty, fairness and social responsibility – play a leading role in shaping Europe and helping Europe to lead in the world.

Our destiny can never be some kind of bit-part player semi-detached on someone else’s stage or a bystander hectoring from the wings.

We must at all times be setting the agenda in Europe, bringing people together in Europe and championing change in Europe.”

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

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7 Responses to “Gordon Brown targets overwhelming support for EU in Scotland”

  1. Selohesra

    We all know UK is big net contributor to EU but does anyone have break down of that by England, Scotland, Wales & NI. Just wondered if there was any correlation with Scots desire to stay in

  2. RolftheGanger

    Futile attempt by Brown to regain relevance – and the peerage he thought he’d get for being the Tories sock puppet in the referendum.

    The pro-EU ‘parade’ will be led by the SNP in Scotland as Brown knows full well.
    All he is doing is to try to nip in at the head of the parade and claim the credit!

    Not going to wok, you old has been, never were.

  3. Helen Oyintando Ilitha

    Gordon Brown did not want a peerage from Cameron for goodness sake. He wants to work in the International Aid sector, as he already does with the charity work his wife and himself undertake – without fanfare – to help children in the developing world. The change that left of centre EU politicians and Labour effected over workers lives in the UK was profound after the Thatcher/Major years. Additionally, Brown’s judgement on the Euro kept the UK out of it and we can see now that this was the right call. There were many. many other things that he did that he should get credit for, but I can see that you would rather take a jaundice view. Just know this: the SNP have no monopoly over campaigning issues. Labour and the Socialist Group in the EU are right to bang their drums. It will remind people of the good the EU achieved before people turned to nationalism, protectionism and fear as their political focus.

  4. Mike Stallard

    “This referendum should be about jobs, security and the future prospects of our young.”
    Absolutely. Like the hopeless young of Greece and the vast numbers of unemployed youth in Spain perhaps? If we want to do some good in the world, we need freedom to act in Africa, the Middle East and Asia and not be bogged down in the EU directives.

    “We must be principled showing we do best not just as members of Europe but as leaders of Europe.”
    Does he honestly believe that we are anything but outsiders? We are right up there with Liechtenstein, Latvia and Croatia. Those Churchillian days went ages ago. Which is why Mr Brown himself did not sign the treaty of Lisbon with the rest of the state representatives.

    “Our destiny can never be some kind of bit-part player semi-detached on someone else’s stage or a bystander hectoring from the wings.”
    Which is an exact statement of our present position within Europe until we free ourselves to take our rightful place in world trade and setting world standards.

    PS Nobody wants us to be part of an ever closer union; everyone wants us to continue our trade uninterrupted with Europe – and their trade with us. Is that beyond the wit of man?

  5. Mike Stallard

    Helen, Mr Brown was both good and bad just like the rest of us.
    There are good people in the EU. And there are, no doubt, bad ones too.
    This is not about that. It is about the future of our country.
    It is also about our place in the world – as opposed to becoming a mere “state” within a gradually coalescing and declining Europe.

  6. Mike Stallard

    Aren’t you assuming that the Scots – whoever they are – all want to stay in? Aren’t you confusing Mrs Sturgeon and Mr Salmond with the will of the Scottish people?


  7. RolftheGanger

    The SNP are a self government party, not your fake “nationalist” and are pro EU.

    Brown’s “charity” has a notably high ratio of “expenses” t donations.

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