Which campaign did Gordon Brown really save?
By G.A.Ponsonby (21 Sept 2014)
So Gordon has done it again. The man who saved the world after the banking crisis has now donned his cape in order to save the Union.
Well, that’s the narrative the media and Labour would have us believe.
The truth is that Brown no more saved the Union than David Cameron or Ed Miliband intend to honour Brown’s panic pledge of Home Rule for Scotland.
What saved the Union of course was the might of the broadcasting machine called the BBC. And no, I don’t blame Nick Robinson’s cack handed news report when he let his own vanity get in the way of reporting the truth.
The BBC essentially stepped in when the Better Together campaign had all but disintegrated. When the fateful poll showing Yes had pulled ahead was published by the Sunday Times, all pretence of balance was ditched.
From that moment the BBC’s task was to allow the No campaign to set the narrative. At one point with days to go until referendum day, BBC Scotland chose a No campaign claim as their top story for five consecutive days.
Some of the stories were shocking. The role of the broadcaster in colluding with the Treasury in the RBS ‘brass plate’ scare story was disgraceful. Even worse was Eleanor Bradford’s shocking propagandising of a routine NHS report to suggest the Scottish Government were secretly planning cuts.
The BBC could have handled the job itself, but Brown’s nerve deserted him and he careered into the referendum like a bull in a china shop. Downing Street and his own party leadership had no idea what he was doing. He was winging it.
The BBC in Scotland, unwilling to challenge the man they view as Scotland’s de-facto First Minister of course gave him his platform. Brown’s emergency speech was broadcast live - Churchill style - to a waiting nation. The war against the uppity Scots had to be won.
The move was designed to give the impression of even more powers on offer in the event of a No vote and to persuade just enough undecided voters that the mythical beast of Devo Max was now on the agenda and would be delivered rapidly.
It was rushed and ill thought through and has now left Labour and the Conservatives with a constitutional headache.
Brown of course rushed in before the leaders of the Westminster parties had even formulated their plan to stem rising support for Yes. He effectively bounced them into signing a vow they knew couldn’t be honoured.
His timetable was always unworkable and both Cameron and Miliband have already effectively ditched the Brown promise of Home Rule.
So where are we?
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