The Great Debate UK
- Professor Christopher Harvie is a historian, teacher, political writer and SNP MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife. He is the author of “Broonland: The Last Days of Gordon Brown.” The opinions expressed are his own. -
Outside 10 Downing Street at 7.29 on Tuesday evening, Gordon Brown announced his resignation as UK premier. Off to the Palace, where he would ask Her Majesty to send for David Cameron, ending five cliff-hanging days – or inaugurating many, many more?
On Monday morning Cameron’s Conservatives and Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats seemed to be engaged, about to form a coalition. By the evening they’d called it off, and when Brown announced his resignation as Labour leader, though not as Prime Minister, this gave the impression that a ‘progressive coalition’ of Labour/LibDem/SNP coalition was now a runner, under someone else.
Only for Clegg to turn up later and announce that the Conservatives were prepared to hold a referendum on a ‘fairer voting system’, their non-negotiable demand. The ‘progressive coalition’ vanished, as did Premier Brown.
As Britain gears up for a general election with polls pointing toward a hung parliament, pundits are not only speculating on how the political landscape of the future might look, but they are also taking stock of the past.
In his new book “Broonland, the last days of Gordon Brown“, Christopher Harvie, a former colleague of Prime Minister Gordon Brown and an SNP Member of the Scottish Parliament for mid-Scotland and Fife in Brown’s Kirkaldy base, takes a turn at surveying the lay of the land.