If I had written this article 4 years ago nobody would have believed what I am about to say. In 2010 Gordon Brown could not have been in a worse position – having lost the support of the general public and many in the Labour party Brown seemed to be on a one way ticket to “I used to be the Prime Minister – ville”. A land filled with speaking tours and seemingly meaningless jobs. But over the past few weeks Brown seemed to prove himself by helping spur on the No campaign.
Brown managed to engage the public in a way that none of the party leaders and Alistair Darling could. Perhaps it was the fact that he is no longer a “Westminster” leader that made him seem appealing. During the referendum debates there was a lot of talk about the idea that the party leaders were only in it for themselves – that they were trying to preserve their own interests. With a general election looming this seems like a fair comment. Brown no longer has the power and therefore he doesn’t have the pressure to make the “right” decision anymore. He has no one but his constituents to answer to.
Perhaps it’s the fact that he is Scottish that helped. As a Scottish MP he is more familiar than most with the issues in Scotland and what Scottish people want. He actually spends time in Scotland.
However the one thing that perhaps impressed me more than this was his ability to speak passionately about something that you could plausibly believe he was fervent about. During his leadership, Brown was seen as wet, powerless and baseless—because he was never elected. Maybe it is indeed because he has nothing left to lose and that nobody expected anything of him. So when he managed to come out and speak honestly and genuinely about the problems Scotland faces people were taken aback.
Now many, especially in the Labour Party are starting to rethink Brown’s position in the party. Wondering if now is the right time for him to come back to the front line of politics, something that the 2010 Gordon Brown was more than reluctant to do. The future for Brown in England looks more uncertain but in Scotland it seems fairly clear that at least for now he is there to stay – there to ensure that the people of Scotland who voted No to independence get the concessions they were promised for staying in the Union.