Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

There he stood, the hero of the hour.  Tasked by the leaders at Westminster in the final week of the referendum campaign with doing whatever it took to save the Union, Gordon Brown came up with the Vow.  He staked his reputation on Westminster delivering extensive new powers to Scotland to a strict timetable of his devising.  It was enough to persuade the undecided and the waverers.  The ones who wanted more powers for Scotland but the security blanket of the Union.  The ones who wanted the best of both worlds.  The ones who wanted to believe that Labour still had Scotland's best interests at heart.

There he stands, his reputation in tatters.  It took all of nine hours for David Cameron to renege on Mr Brown's promises by linking any new powers for Scotland to 'English votes for English laws (EV4EL)', something that was never mentioned in the Vow.  The strict timetable is being treated more as a set of guidelines.  Mr Brown has been reduced the hi-jacking someone else's petition calling on Westminster to keep its promises on more powers.  The final humiliation must be that in the debate in the House of Commons yesterday on new powers for Scotland, none of the three leaders of the Government and Opposition bothered to turn up, and the debate itself was mainly about EV4EL and various other digressions.  This the same Gordon Brown who was praised by the Unionists for his statesman-like qualities during the referendum campaign, but who now sees the trap into which he and his party have been led.  The epithet applied to King James 6th &1st seems apt for him - 'the wisest fool in Christendom'.

I almost feel sorry for him.  Almost.

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