Gordon Brown has warned that Scotland is at risk of becoming ‘one of the West’s most divided countries’ – with the issues of Brexit and independence polarising the debate.
The former prime minister made the claim after a YouGov poll of 2,500 Scots suggested that only 16% believe the country is united.
Commissioned by the Our Scottish Future think tank, the poll also found that 47% of respondents believe Scots will always be divided on the issues of Brexit and independence.
Almost half (44%) of those surveyed also said that they now have less trust in politicians, while 34% said they are less likely to discuss politics with casual acquaintances.
Ahead of a speech at the These Islands conference in Newcastle, Brown said: “The poll shows Scotland is at risk of becoming one of the West’s most divided countries and stuck in a rut.
“I want us to break out of the trench warfare from which everyone loses out. We are divided because we have been polarised by extreme positions – either a no-change, status quo ‘do nothing’ stance or an ever harder separation including now abandoning the UK pound.
“The poll shows that Scotland is not just more divided than at any time in my lifetime but these divisions could dominate our lives for many decades to come.”
Brown also criticised prime minister Boris Johnson for offering nothing other than “cosmetic gestures” to the devolved administrations.
“Scotland looks more like two nations, not the united country I’d like it to be,” he said.
“Divisions over independence and over a referendum are now spilling over into other areas – the future of the pound, the future of Scotland’s relations with Europe, the priorities we give to health, education and high-quality jobs and the environment.
“Nor is there any sign that existing policies can break the Scottish deadlock. Boris Johnson is not offering any new ideas to Scotland and the regions other than the current cosmetic gestures.
“This Punch and Judy cycle – with both sides dug in with all or nothing stances – has got to give way to common sense answers. I want to end the divisions with a plan to bring us back together again.”