By a Newsnet reporter

Gordon Brown has come under fire today after calling for Scotland’s education to be brought under UK control.

The former Prime Minister, who has shoehorned himself into the independence debate front-line, made the call in a speech at Edinburgh University.

The former Labour leader called for an end to Scotland’s centuries old education system and for common UK exams and qualifications. Mr Brown claimed most young Scots didn’t want to be edcucated in an exclusively Scottish education system but instead wanted it intergated into one which was UK wide.

Insisting young Scots were “suspicious of being seen as exclusively Scottish”, the Labour MP added: “… breaking all links with the UK makes no sense – in this case for our young people and for their education.”

Scotland’s distinctive education system, which is revered across the world, was protected by the act of Union over 300 years ago.

The speech by the Kirkaldy MP comes on the day his party colleague, Better Together head Alistair Darling, questioned the Scottish Government’s free university education policy.

Mr Darling said: “It’s perfectly plain that their idea of free university education for Scots, but charging students from elsewhere in the UK, is legally unsustainable, and their assertion that Research Council funding would remain even after Scotland had left the UK is simply laughable.”

Commenting on the speeches, Kenneth Gibson MSP said:

“Having undermined the No campaign last week by calling for David Cameron to debate with Alex Salmond, Gordon Brown has done it again. This week, he has endorsed the idea of a UK-wide education system – which could only mean taking powers away from Scotland and giving them back to Westminster – on the very day Alistair Darling and the No campaign are desperately trying to say that they stand for more powers for Scotland.

“In bizarrely arguing against having the Scottish education system, Gordon Brown makes the Yes case for us. If education was controlled by Westminster, not in the Scottish Parliament, Michael Gove would be deciding education policy for Scotland – I doubt if a single person in Scotland would want that, other than Gordon Brown. And students in Scotland would be paying £9,000 a year tuition fees as is the case south of the border, instead of enjoying the benefits of free education.

“We are better off taking decisions for Scotland in Scotland – and by becoming independent we can apply these benefits to the rest of our national life currently controlled by Westminster, including job-creation, getting rid of nuclear weapons, and representing ourselves in Europe.

“That is the real international outlook for young people and everyone in Scotland – instead of having our horizons limited by Westminster, which doesn’t represent Scottish votes or our interests.

“The Yes campaign published a new poll today showing that only a third of people in Scotland trust the Westminster parties to deliver more powers – and no wonder, when Gordon Brown is praising an idea that would actually strip the Scottish Parliament of powers!

“We already know that three-times as many people in Scotland trust the Scottish Parliament, rather than Westminster, to make the right decisions for Scotland – and that is the essence of what a Yes vote is all about.”


2014-06-16 21:23

I am not sure outside the universities anyone much cares about the politics of research council funding and most people within the universities are relaxed about it, believing that, whatever happens, no Scottish government would allow our excellence in research to diminish. Darling’s position was just blatant scaremongering as there is an overwhelming financial and educational imperative for joint research councils to continue. This is an age of collaboration between universities, not for erecting unnecessary borders…

He is right however about tuition fees for English students, the SNP are on pretty shaky legal ground on that one, but there are numerous ways to get around the EU rules such as charging all students fees but giving Scottish students an equivalent credit back via a maintenance allowance and so on. This already happens elsewhere and is legit. English students will not be able to study here for free whatever happens.

2014-06-16 21:26

Excuse me while I scrape my jaw off the keyboard.
2014-06-16 21:31

Gordon Brown calls for an end to Scotland.
2014-06-18 09:26

certainly it will be an end to Scottish History on the ciriculum.

2014-06-16 21:38

Kirkcaldy High School must be so proud of him…
2014-06-16 22:08

Well,how do British Labour square One Nation policies with more devolution to Scotland?
The answer of course is that they can’t.
All the talk about more powers is just that and I really don’t see the relevance of this particular British nationalist to our debate.
2014-06-16 22:21

No Gordon No, just go for a nice walk along dalgety bay take in the view and clear you head.
2014-06-16 23:07

And he’s basing this rubbish on two unpublished polls of 14-17 year-olds, whom are either ineligible to vote or not worthy of a vote in Westminster elections according to the unionists.

Words fail, just fetch the straitjacket. Crash Gordon is crashing.

2014-06-16 23:10

I have in my mind’s eye a vision of Gordon delivering his next public utterance.

His left hand repeatedly touching the lectern, as though some sort of talisman, his far from dulcet tones will boom forth the immortal line…

“The trouble with Scotland is that it’s full of Scots”.

Taxi for Brown!

2014-06-17 00:49

Am I right in thinking that Scotland came tops the other week of most highly educated nation on the planet? that aside the man has lost the plot.
2014-06-17 02:03

Would this not break the Treaty of Union unless the Scottish govt. agreed to an amalgamation? Of course with the Treaty broken we could claim independence again.
2014-06-17 03:31

Is Gordon Brown really a closet Yes?
2014-06-17 04:22

A hint of what lies ahead following a NO Vote. Further erosion of Scotland’s identity and why not we will by default have voted NO to an Indepemdent Scotland . Westminster will grasp every opportunity to strenghten the union and ensure our unique institutions are removed or integrated. What a prospect your home address might become- Scotlandshire! Westminster will argue that a NO Vote will forfeit our national identity for ever. Gordon Brown and his cronies will be first to relinquish it!
Jamie Black
2014-06-17 06:16

“Scotland’s distinctive education system, which is revered across the world,”

Clearly the person writing this article lives in an alternate reality and has not witnessed at first hand the destruction of the once great Scottish Education system, the ‘Curriculum for Excellence’ being the nail in the coffin. Thankfully Gordon Brown is not afraid to speak the truth.

2014-06-17 06:56


2014-06-17 06:31

Scottish education from Westminster:

Your oil is our oil.
Your whisky is our whisky.
Your industry cannot compete.
Your industry is expendable.
Your people rely on state handouts.
Your people must pay for our infrastructure.
Our infrastructure will never serve you.
Your people are expendable.
You will listen to the BBC.
You will watch the BBC.
You will be denied your own news broadcasting.
Your language is a low brow bastardisation of ours.
Your culture is a low brow bastardisation of ours.
Your language and culture survives because we allow it.
Your assets are our assets.
Our assets do not belong to you.
Our flag represents patriotism.
Your flag is to be ridiculed.
Our ridicule and abuse of your people will be tolerated as free speech.
Your muted abuse of our people will be vilified.
You will bow to your betters.

Education complete.

2014-06-17 18:31

And you will mind your manners when you do it.

2014-06-17 06:37

Gordon Brown also wanted an end to a Scottish football team. This north Brit wants an end to Scotland
2014-06-17 06:45

On a visit to the USA several years ago, Brown, when asked where he was fromm replied “North Britain”
That, together with this article, sums him up.

Only a CLOWN would listen to BROWN

2014-06-17 07:29

Why not a truly Europe-wide qualification? A European Baccalaureat Mr Brown?
2014-06-17 07:39

Brown and Darling have spent too much of their political lives south of the border , they do not really look upon themselves as Scots, but as British citizens first and foremost .The policies of the two will always be what is best for the UK .
2014-06-17 07:41

Jamie Black -don’t allow your bitterness to skew your logic! It was the London based Office for National statistics which placed Scotland at the top of the league in Europe “Scotland is best educated country in Europe” – the Scotsman 6th June! Stop being such a curmudgeon. Or are you, like Gordon content to be a “North Briton”? This proposal would nullify the Treaty of Union. Good thing! I wonder in which “reality” Gordon Brown lives?
2014-06-17 07:43

Its truly wonderful to see that this disfunctional clown has emerged from the cupboard and launched himself into the independence debate.
Whilst we don’t enjoy the daily prospect of Tory ministers coming north to hector and lecture us, we have our wonderful Gord, clearly up to and exceeding the task of tripping up Darling and the rest of the so called ‘united’ unionists promising us everything with the intention of delivering nothing.
The twists and turns from the North Brit Gord fills in the available time before another millionaire Tory Eton Toff comes to wave a finger in our direction.
Well, I too have fingers and I deploy one now towards any idea of jam tomorrow.
No Thanks, we’ve been there before and you can only lie to us once.
2014-06-17 08:14

Ah Gordon, the gift to Yes that just keeps on giving. Since he is too big a beast, apparently, to be put back in his box by anyone he is liable to keep dropping clangers like this.

I’m also with Talorgan, I had to scrape my jaw off my keyboard too. As our American cousins say: the stupid, it burns.

2014-06-17 08:29

And there goes Mr Brown’s devo whatever case. Winging its way to a bin even as we watch.

Mr Brown has always, but always been about a unitary state known as the UK. Scotland would be a region of the UK and in his mind I’m sure a distinct entity, but a region none the less and with a region’s powers. In his vision there apparently is no country called Scotland, there is no partnership or treaty of union.

Crawford/Boyle’s report made Mr Brown’s case quite clear an expanded and rebranded greater England. Scotland as a nation, absorbed and ceasing to exist in this scenario. There was a reason our law, education and church were left separate entities in the treaty of union. They were seen to define us and pay at least lip service to the notion of a partnership and union between distinctive individual entities. Mr Brown’s proposals, indeed the premise of the whole Westminster case would see this distinctiveness removed.

2014-06-17 08:43

No so, Jamie Black. According to the OECD:

“Scotland performs at a consistently very high standard in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Few countries can be said with confidence to outperform it in mathematics, reading and science. Scotland also has one of the most equitable school systems in the OECD. Only a very small proportion of Scottish 15 year-olds are assessed in the lowest bands of performance… On national tests, many children are one or two years in advance of expected levels.”

As for the Curriculum for Excellence you mention – it does have its weak points, but on the whole I think it’s a great improvement in many areas, especially with its emphasis on “source analysis” – i.e. thinking for yourself and figuring out in what ways material might be biased. That’s an invaluable skill in today’s info-flooeded internet world.

2014-06-17 09:13

Gaun yersel Gordon,
he’s turning into our best asset,
this deserves a poster campaign,
Noo I wonder if Chris Cairn has any thoughts on the subject? 😉
2014-06-17 09:25

A wee taster of what awaits us if we vote no. The dogs will be unleashed and Scotland as we know it will be torn apart. Our distinctive education system, our health service, our laws will all be slowly but purposely homologised with the English systems, our parliament will be neutered. Oh and Scottish Water will be privatised. This is what Better Together will mean and make no mistake.
Mad Jock McMad
2014-06-17 09:40

Calls for an end to promoting Gordon Brown!
2014-06-17 10:40

I don’t think the Scottish education system is revered across the world. It certainly shouldn’t be as it is, at best, mediocre in international comparisons. Or as someone more articulate than I am put, ‘a rich comic pageant’.
2014-06-17 11:13

Gordon Brown knows that ultimately taking over the Scottish education system and making it English would take the Scottishness out of Scotland and kill forever the desire for independence. Its not a fervent desire to improve education. We couldn’t have a better advert for YES then Brown and his ego.
2014-06-17 11:13

I think there are a couple of guys in White Coats just sitting in their van round the corner from Gordi’s Hoose waiting for the call. They will not have long to wait at this rate. Poor man.
2014-06-17 14:09

I was once talking with a staff member at the university of Glasgow, he informed me that 90% of the students from elsewhere in the UK get heavy discounts or don’t have to pay any tuition at all. The only people who are actually paying full fees are foreign students from places like China. I imagine other universities in Scotland might have similar arrangements.
Rosa Alba Macdonald
2014-06-17 14:49

Jamie Black: the CfE is still in its infancy in terms of Secondary School but it is a highly evolved and systemically coherent education package which encourages metacognition of learning: what we are learning, how we are learning, why we are learning, how this learning in terms of skills and knowledge relates to previous learning and real situations, and how can we use this; cooperative learning; skills-based over knowledge (but skills to access the knowledge, analyse, evaluate and make use of); higher order skills in terms of creativity and working in a group, while remaining pupil centred in terms of support and individual needs; all the learning and achievement is not academic nor classroom based.

Hand in Hand with this is GIRFEC the education component of which, in tandem with the HWB Subject area of the CfE ensures the drive is for every child to be safe, healthy, active, nurtured, achivieng, respected, responsible and involved.
Respct teachers, please.

2014-06-17 15:02

Does Mr Brown perhaps want the Treaty to be nullified, now that would save a vote on the subject. We have already lost our mint, education would be the icing on the cake. I would say much more but then I would become an insulting cybernat.
2014-06-17 16:10

iain2013 – there was a time, probably up to the early 70s when Scottish Education was revered across the world. Unfortunately, now it is only the best in Europe (Scotsman and Record 6th June – neither a friend of Scotland)Their articles were based on the London based Office of National Statistics and read the OECD comments above!
Dundonian West
2014-06-18 13:13

OT.NHS England faces £2 billion funding gap.[black hole].…/health-27894551
This is announced on the day the Royal College of Nursing is debating to charge patients £10 for a visit to their GP!
We can only protect our NHS in Scotland by voting Yes in September—-both Labour and Tory parties are committed to swingeing cuts in the next Westminster parliament—and that’ll include savage cuts to Scotland’s Block Grant threatening the NHS finances in Scotland.

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