Gordon Brown attacks SNPs ‘extreme’ independence drive as vote could happen in 2022

SNP: Derek Mackay proposes transition to Scottish currency

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Andrew Wilson, who chaired the SNP Growth Commission said a vote could happen as early as Autumn 2022. The timescale is slightly earlier than Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s date by the end of 2023.

Speaking to Scotland’s choice podcast, economist Mr Wilson, who advises Ms Sturgeon, said: “Fingers crossed but let’s assume there is an independence referendum at some point next autumn or the autumn after that. 

“I don’t know when it might be, if it’s successful then it would be probably about two years before we were formally independent.”

But speaking at the Edinburgh Book Festival this weekend, the former UK Prime Minister said as things stand “the argument, it seems to me, for cooperation is greater”.

He added: “Nationalism is about ‘us versus them’ – it’s seeing the world divided into two, between us and them. 

“That is a nationalist ideology. That is what nationalism is about.”

Mr Brown also took aim at the SNP plans for a Scottish currency and rejoining the EU, which the party hopes to do within several years of independence.

On currency, the SNP voted to replace the pound with a separate Scottish currency “as soon as practicable” at last year’s conference. 

The Labour politician said: “What’s happened since 2014 – and I don’t think it’s quite got through – the Scottish National Party policy in 2014 was for a form of independence that didn’t involve a separate currency, and didn’t involve them leaving the British customs union and the single market.

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“So the SNP in 2014 reassured people they would keep the currency, and they would stay in the British common market, the British single market, and therefore [on] trade there will be no need for a border. That is not their policy now.

“So we’ve now got a more extreme policy for a separate pound, for being outside the single market and customs union.”

Donald Cameron MSP, Scottish Conservative Constitution spokesperson, said: “As we recover from the pandemic, the last thing Scotland needs is a nationalist coalition of chaos pursuing a divisive independence referendum.

“For anyone to be promoting another referendum as early as next year is reckless in the extreme.

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“All of our focus must be on economic stability and rebuilding communities across the country.

“Supporters of independence should ditch their push for indyref2 and prioritise protecting jobs and fully remobilising our health service.”

In response, SNP depute leader Keith Brown accused Mr Brown of attempting to “keep Scotland shackled to Westminster”.

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