Pictured: The front page of our 40-page magazine "Do More Together: 102 Ways to Keep the UK United" shows AFFG celebrating the bicentenary of the Union Bridge on 26 July 2020.
Sir Keir Starmer has appointed Gordon Brown to head up a Labour Party commission on the constitution.
There appears to be nothing new here. Every so often former PM Gordon Brown will appear, and push his dangerous notions for more devolution upon Scotland.
Mr Brown's idea is to devolve everything to the SNP/Holyrood except defence and foreign affairs. This is essentially federalism but without an English Parliament. It is what Scottish Labour likes to call "Home Rule" or "Devo Max".
It seems Mr Brown stubbornly holds to the misconception that devolution did not work out for the Labour Party – indeed was catastrophic – because not enough devolution was done in the first place.
This goes against all the physical evidence since 1999.
The fact is, more devolution only helps the SNP build and maintain power.
And it doesn't even make it more likely that people will support the UK either!
"The Vow" made no Difference
For example, Mr Brown's policy of "promising" more powers to the SNP towards the end of the 2014 campaign – referred to as "The Vow" – made no difference to the overall result at the end of the day.
See for example:
Magnus Gardham, "Salmond is wrong to claim The Vow was a game-changing promise of devo max" The Herald, 10-1-15.
Magnus Gardham, "The Vow had 'zilch' impact on the referendum, claims former SNP leader" The Herald, 10-3-15.
Magnus Gardham, "The 'vow' did not sway the referendum result, new research shows" The Herald, 26-3-15.
THE referendum result was not swayed by the dramatic cross-party 'vow' to deliver new powers for Holyrood, according to a major study into why Scots rejected independence. Extensive new research, led by academics from Edinburgh University, contradicts former First Minister Alex Salmond's claim that the pledge of further devolution, made by David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband, had a decisive impact on the outcome.
And what thanks did Brown get anyway?
Virtually all SNP supporters remain completely oblivious of the fact that the consequent Scotland Act 2016 passed massive new powers to Holyrood making it one of the most powerful devolved assemblies in the world. Most of them haven't even heard of the Act!
If they are aware of it, they certainly are not thanking him for it!
True to form, banners proclaiming "The Vow was a Lie" were popular on Scottish nationalist marches in the immediate years following the referendum.
SNP Grievance Strategy demands Never saying "Thank You"
As always, the SNP and its supporters will take what you give them without thanks, bank it, then pretend they never received it – and that's if they even know that you've given them something in the first place!
If they ever acknowledge it, they'll say it wasn't enough, or it was theirs all along, or they'll get angry about some imagined slight to their pride!
This is because the SNP is politically incapable of saying "Thank You". To do so would destroy their Grievance Strategy. They need to keep the grievance going if they are to generate the unhappiness which is their very reason-to-be.
We see this all over.
The SNP and its Supporters Act as if Devolution itself Does Not Even Exist!
For example, the SNP argument for separation is exactly the same today in 2022, as it was prior to devolution in 1999, and indeed, it is exactly the same as it was when the SNP was formed in 1934.
They speak as if nothing has changed. The fact that the SNP now controls a devolved Parliament in Edinburgh may as well not even be a real thing.
The SNP argument is still all about needing "independence" so that people in Scotland can have a Parliament that "we voted for" (ignoring the fact that we have Holyrood that we voted for – and that they control it).
It is all about "sorting out our own problems not relying upon others" (ignoring the fact that we have Holyrood which is meant 'to sort out our own problems' – which is their responsibility).
In short, devolution has not changed their essential arguments one bit.
This will continue to be the case, regardless of how many new powers you give them outside of complete separation.
This will continue to be the case, regardless of how many times the sun comes up in the morning and goes down in the evening.
And even if they got complete separation, then it still won't be enough. They will still find things to complain about and they will still find plenty of ways to excuse the problems of their own making by blaming them on others.
So…What is the Answer?
As we said in our 40-page magazine Do More Together: 102 Ways to Keep the UK United:
The answer to keeping the UK together is not "federalism" or "home rule" or a risky second referendum. The answer is a long-term one.
It is – over time and starting now – to help people appreciate the United Kingdom.
How do we help people appreciate the UK? We demonstrate its value and benefits.
How do we demonstrate its value and benefits? We do more together.
We do more together, not more apart. We do more in cooperation and solidarity, not more differently and separately.
At the end of the day, the way to keep the UK together is simple.
The lasting solution to defeat those who want to separate us into four separate and squabbling pieces is to do more things together, and less things apart, over the months, years and generations to come.