So the cat is out of the bag. The ‘Clunking Fist’ had no authority to make any promises on more powers to the Scottish people.
So powerless is Brown to implement any of his promises that he has asked us, the Scottish people, to help him by signing a petition.
Gordon Brown’s much vaunted pledge of Home Rule was always a con-trick perpetrated on the Scottish electorate.
When Yes looked as though it was going to edge in front as the referendum finish line loomed, Brown charged into the debate making promises he had no authority to deliver. His words were worthless but were given currency when the corrupt BBC beamed his speech live into the living rooms of Scotland.
However, the promise, as I suggested days after the referendum, has come back to bite the pro-Union alliance on the backside. Brown’s Home Rule pledge cannot be kept, it’s a simple as that.
Nor, it should be noted can his party colleague Alistair Darling’s promise of Devo Max – another promise promoted by the BBC on its flagship news programme Reporting Scotland.
These panic pledges are a gift to the Yes campaign which remains energetic and active. Brown and Darling have between them handed the Scottish Government a stick which they will surely wield in the coming months.
The SNP were quick to seize on the opportunity these panicky pledges offered with first Alex Salmond then Nicola Sturgeon highlighting their expectations of significant powers. Expect John Swinney and Linda Fabiani to press the importance of Brown’s Home Rule and Darling’s Devo Max announcements in the final days of the campaign when making their presentations to Lord Smith’s commission.
The Yes campaign has emerged strengthened by the referendum, but small factions within appear unable to accept the result or even acknowledge the opportunities that Darling and Brown’s pre-referendum pledges offer.
There have been some who suggest that demands for Darling’s Devo Max promise to be honoured should not be pursued, that it’s somehow a betrayal of the independence movement. However they miss the point that it’s precisely this pledge that needs to be brought to the public’s attention.
The electorate must be educated as to what Devo Max, or its less well known cousin Home Rule, actually are. The Yes campaign have to define these terms. That way voters will know instantly when neither is delivered.
An electorate that is aware they have been duped, is an electorate that won’t be as eager to take Unionists at face value again. The indyref mark II will be a different game altogether.
Yesterday Gordon Brown polished his brass neck even more and called for 100,000 Scots to sign a petition calling for the now infamous ‘Vow’ to be honoured. Newsnet Scotland sought to define that Vow and turn it back on Brown – Deliver Devo Max by May 2015 or the vow is broken.
Gordon Brown’s move is designed to cultivate the idea of a divide between his party and its two year anti-independence partners, the Tories. Voters are more likely to be persuaded back to Labour with a manufactured spat over more powers.
The truth is of course that both Labour and the Tories are now one and the same, two sides of a British Nationalists coin and whichever way the coin falls, it won’t mean the extra powers some No voters believed were on offer.
Brown and Darling’s Home Rule/Devo Max gambit was a con. People need to know who conned them – the Labour party.