In an infuriating, but not unexpected turn of events, Gordon Brown has asked the people of Scotland to sign a petition demanding that the unionist parties remain true to their referendum clinching Vow of devolving significant additional powers to the Scottish Parliament.
It looks like a face saving panic measure from the former United Kingdom Prime Minister who asked the people of Scotland to trust a Labour party that no longer has a sense of its own purpose in Scotland, and a Tory party that has always been crystal clear on its purpose in Scotland, and who now appear to be seeking a way of making additional devolution for Scotland contingent on securing a ruling against Scottish MPs voting on English only matters.
Worse than this, they seem to be seeking a way of selecting the exact combination of additional powers that would have very little impact on Scotland’s ability to make the social and economic changes many people desperately want to see, whilst adding up to a reduction in Scotland’s ability to influence certain United Kingdom affairs.
So to be fair to Gordon Brown, despite the feeling that he tried to sell us out, there is a sense in which he is quite correct: fully devolving certain powers, but not others, would leave Scotland in a difficult position; it would compromise the effectiveness of Scottish MPs in Westminster and would negatively impact their ability to make decisions on key parts of the United Kingdom budget, for instance.
The problem for Gordon Brown is that there are people who believed that he was the lead figure on a promise to devolve significant additional powers, with no strings attached, in return for a No vote. It is not too difficult to imagine that there are many people who now believe that he has betrayed that trust and sold out the country he claims to love.
On the Saturday morning after the referendum, Gordon Brown made a triumphal speech in which he claimed to be too old to return to front line politics and too young to be seen as an ‘elder statesman’.
Regrettably for Gordon Brown, but more for the people of Scotland, you can play an unintended lead role in someone else’s devious game at any age. As far as the former Prime Minister’s career is concerned, he is now stuck in some kind of political no-man’s land. Exactly the state in which he has left his beloved Scotland.