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Scot vote, Brown give Labour head-start for 2015 poll

world Updated: Sep 20, 2014 18:05 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times

Former prime minister Gordon Brown led Labour to electoral defeat in 2010, but the Scotland referendum has given him the opportunity to reinvent himself and make game-changing interventions that now give Labour a head-start in the run-up to the May 2015 elections.

Galvanised by Brown’s passionate speeches and his intervention that the ‘Yes’ campaign take a vow to transfer more powers if Scotland voted against independence, much of the credit for the referendum verdict is given to Brown and the Labour party.

Brown, who is a backbench MP and does not hold any office, delivered another influential speech on Saturday morning, promising that he will ensure that the vow will be delivered as per the timetable promised.

He has clearly pitched himself over and above leaders of the three parties who made the vow, and as one who has the power to monitor and ensure that they do not vacillate on delivery. The public vow was signed by David Cameron (Conservative), Ed Miliband (Labour) and Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrats).

The ‘No’ campaign was led by senior Labour leader, Alistair Darling, and came alive in the closing stages with at least three fiery speeches by Brown. The speeches soon got large views on Youtube and other websites.

In the end, leaders of the other two parties in the ‘No’ campaign – Cameron and Clegg – were seen as bit players compared to the big-hitters from Labour, mainly Brown. Cameron flew into Scotland for day visits and made some emotional remarks.

Impressed by Brown’s speeches, social media was full of comments that if he had shown some of the same spark as prime minister before the 2010 elections, he could have still been in 10 Downing Street. Twisting a popular headline in British politics, some said: 'It's Brown Wot Won It'.

Aware of such comments, Brown, however, began his Saturday speech by saying that he was not returning to frontline politics, since he was ‘too old’ for that, neither had he become an elder statesman, since he was ‘too young’ for that slot. Labour’s annual conference began on Saturday.

Brown and Tony Blair were the architects of New Labour, which came to power in 1997 and won successive elections until 2010. After coming to power, the two had an uneasy relationship, with Blair stepping down in favour of Brown in 2007.

Brown was one of the first British politicians to recognise the opportunities India presented to Britain's economy. India figured frequently in speeches inside and outside parliament. During his prime ministership, he developed a rapport with Manmohan Singh, with whom he shared a strong academic background in economics.