Gordon Brown: It’s irresponsible to talk about a referendum
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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the SNP offered serious government for serious times and pledged a second Scottish independence vote should take place “once the COVID crisis is over.” Speaking today, the SNP leader said it has never been “more important” to give people in Scotland a choice over their future because “Boris Johnson was taking the country in the wrong direction.”
But Mr Brown claimed the SNP should end “petty politicking” stressing it was time for Scotland’s “political leaders to hunker down.”
Referring to powers to hold a second independence referendum, the former UK Prime Minister, said: “Too often, the SNP prefers to think short term or talk about the powers it doesn’t have.
“That now must stop.”
Writing in the Daily Record, Mr Brown continued: “Nicola Sturgeon must do what I think even she knows is right – to put her constitutional argument to one side and focus on the job in front of her.
“What we need is concrete and ambitious policy.
“As Scotland emerges from the pandemic, the situation is as serious as it was then – and without action, the consequences will be just as dire.”
Mr Brown who was prime minister during the financial crash of 2008, which he compared to the economic toll of the pandemic, added: “More than 10 years ago, as the financial crisis ripped apart economies across the world, we faced the same challenge – and a similar choice.
“We could batten down the hatches and accept a new Great Depression or act with speed.”
Mr Brown’s comments come as Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar is set to outline a Jobs Recovery Plan as Scotland’s lockdown restrictions ease further today.
The party will also look to stop the use of zero-hour contracts in the public sector under any circumstances.
The latest election pledge, announced yesterday, would see companies awarded public contracts barred from signing staff up to such agreements.
Mr Sarwar added: “The partial re-opening of the economy today is a step in the right direction, but we need to take urgent action to kickstart our economy.
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“Scottish Labour’s Jobs Recovery Plan seeks to stimulate our economy and place fairness and opportunity at its heart.”
Gordon Brown welcomed the plan and added: “I am glad this week Scottish Labour is to set out its ideas, in a new National Recovery Plan for jobs.
“Anas Sarwar has a strong sense of what needs to be done.
“He will set out plans to guarantee work for young people, to increase apprenticeships and to ensure those in work are able to upskill and change jobs to tackle the likely upheaval in the labour market.”
He concluded: “Devolution was designed to deliver Scottish solutions where there are Scottish problems but too often it has been reduced to a row between Nationalists and Unionists, which has taken us nowhere fast.”
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