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UK moving towards ‘American model,’ says Gordon Brown in last pitch for Scotland to stay in the union

September 17th, 2014
02:58 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Hours after a fiery last-ditch speech for Scotland to stay in the union, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an international exclusive interview that the United Kingdom is moving towards an “American model” of government.

“Never in the history of the island itself have we seen so much decentralization of power, so much of a transfer of power, from Westminster or London to one nation in the United Kingdom.”

“Britain can no longer think of itself as a centralized state, a unitary state, of undiluted Westminster sovereignty. That has changed. And in some sense we’re moving closer towards the American model of government.”

Nationalists and Unionists threw all their efforts into campaigning Wednesday, the last hours before Scots go to the polls.

Brown set the political and social media worlds alight early in the day, with a speech many said could be career-defining.

“There’s a good kind of change,” he told Amanpour, and a “bad kind of change.”

“A no vote did not mean no change, a no vote did not mean nothing would happen. Once people realized that there was going to be change – the Scottish parliament would have more powers, the British constitution itself will have to be revised – I think people then started to see that there were benefits in being part of the union.”

In an effort to convince voters to remain in the Union, the UK government has offered Scotland something they have long sought: The large-scale devolution of powers to the Scottish government, or so-called “devo-max.”

Brown told Amanpour he did not believe parliamentarians would block that effort.

“I do not believe that English MPs or MPs in other parts of the country will prevent this legislation going through.”

The future of the UK, he said, lies in a “quasi-federal state.”

“I believe in other parts of the country, over the next year or two, we will see the same kind of demands for change. Perhaps not the same settlement, but the same kinds of demands for change.”

Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday night reportedly joked, when speaking to a journalist who is writing a book on assassination, that “after the week I’ve had, it [assassination] would be a merciful release.”

“Do you,” Amanpour asked the former prime minister, “have any empathy for him at all?”

“Well of course I take very seriously, and I understand the difficulties, because we have a terrorist threat, and we have had a Scottish citizen, a British citizen, who has been executed cruelly by ISIS in Syria,” Brown said.

“I understand the pressures of office. As far as the future of Scotland and the United Kingdom is concerned, I think to be honest people are waking up to the fact that there is a demand for change, and this demand for change has got to be met.”

“And you cannot just walk away from it, turn a blind eye to it.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Scotland • United Kingdom
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