Former Ally Disowns 'New British Patriot' Brown

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), October 26, 2006 | Go to article overview

Former Ally Disowns 'New British Patriot' Brown


Wales' top think tank has published a controversial book in which an academic launches a scathing attack on Gordon Brown. Tom Nairn, now a Research Professor in Nationalism and Cultural Diversity of RMIT University, Melbourne, collaborated with the future Chancellor in 1975 to produce a socialist document called the Red Paper on Scotland.

At that time, Mr Brown was a strong advocate of a separate political identity for Scotland.

Now, however, Prof Nairn sees Mr Brown as, 'the Jeeves of Great Britain's last days, a courtier of self-abasement, sleaze, insanely false pretences, failed reform and neo-imperial warfare'.

In Gordon Brown: Bard of Britishness, published by the Institute of Welsh Affairs, Prof Nairn launches a full-scale assault on the man who is likely to be the next Prime Minister. The focus of the professor's disdain is Mr Brown's speech earlier this year about Britishness.

Prof Nairn writes, 'In mid-January 2006, Brown launched the latest round of the Save Britain campaign at a specially convened day conference in London. His keynote address to this sold-out event was warmly acclaimed, and widely noticed by the media.

'The British nation would be safe in his hands, he reassured the (mainly) Southern intelligentsia. However, it would be safer still if a different, more patriotic spirit could only be infused into politics - a spirit of more self-conscious and positive patriotism, in which citizens flew the flag in their front gardens, and were given an annual British National Day to enjoy.

'It was no longer enough for Britain to just be there ... Nowadays, a positive worship of these things is required, as in the USA, and we must learn to impart these values in school classrooms and swearing-in ceremonies.'

Prof Nairn sees the kind of loyalty to Britain advocated by Mr Brown as akin to Northern Ireland Paisleyism.

'In Brown's new patriot country ... the tail won't just occasionally wag the British dog, it's destined to become the dog itself. Presbyterians, Catholics, Anglicans, Muslims, Buddhists and no-hope Atheists: today all find themselves solemnly summoned to behave more like Paisleyites. …

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