Financial News

  • 10 June 2014, 12:50

Brown Slams Salmond's Oil Wealth 'Fantasy'

Gordon Brown has told Sky News an independent Scotland would be a "more unequal country", despite the SNP's claims to the contrary.

In an exclusive interview with Eamonn Holmes marking 100 days to go until the referendum vote, he warned of serious economic consequences if the country splits from the rest of the UK.

The former prime minister said: "The SNP claims Scotland would be more equal - a fairer, more socially-just place - but actually, when you look at the policies, they're so keen to appease so many different people, they would end up making Scotland a more unequal country.

"The idea that oil is the solution to our problems is simply fantasy.

"We should not be led into this belief that somehow, the day after independence, everything is going to be wonderful when there are quite painful decisions that have to be made."

Asked by Holmes whether Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond had been telling "porky pies" about the true cost of independence, he replied: "I don't believe we're getting the full picture about what the consequences of independence are."

In a wide-ranging interview, Mr Brown said he felt embarrassed when Mr Salmond staged his controversial Saltire stunt after Andy Murray's Wimbledon triumph.

He said the gesture was a "terrible mistake", "cheap" and "made Scotland look small".

But he also hit out at the Coalition Government's tactics in the battle over Scottish independence in the run-up to the referendum in September.

He claimed the tone of claims by the Liberal Democrat Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander that Scots would be 1,400 a year better off by staying in the UK was "patronising".

"Last week when the Scottish Office and the UK Government put out that statement that Scotland would be 1,400 better off without independence, and they gave the example of (the amount of) fish and chips you could buy ... I thought that was patronising," Mr Brown said.

Asked by Holmes whether David Cameron had lectured Scots during a visit to his home country last month, Mr Brown said: "It was done for the right reasons but it looked like Britain versus Scotland.

"We've always been a nation. We've always had our institutions, we've always had our Parliament.

"The only issue that remains to be decided is if you want to break every link that remains with Britain."

Asked why he had stepped up his own efforts for the "no" campaign, Mr Brown said: "I'm a proud Scot. I want to put the case. I believe we have a strong sense of national pride.

"We're making a decision for my children's future. I'm not complacent but once I and others within Scotland make the case, I think we'll win this argument."

He was then asked: "What if you lose?"

"People will have to accept it," he admitted.

"The problem is this vote is almost irreversible.

"I think people will want to end the divisiveness and work together. We're adults with a vote (that) will affect generations."