The last Labour prime minister has warned against the dangers of “aggressive nationalism”, which he says is taking over the world.
Gordon Brown was speaking at the Dunfermline Outwith Festival on Thursday, where he said nationalist countries must stop “blaming each other” for their problems and should instead come together to find a solution.
He spoke with host Arabella Weir, a famous Scottish Comedian and actor at the fringe event held at the Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries.
The former prime minister, who once served as MP for Dunfermline East, now known as Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, sold exclusive signed copies of his new, unreleased book to attendees.
The book, titled Permacrisis: A Plan to Fix a Fractured World, was co-authored by Mohamed A El-Erian, president of Queens’ College, Cambridge, Michael Spence, dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Reid Lidow, executive officer to the Mayor of Los Angeles.
During the talk, he warned that “aggressive nationalism” has taken over America, China, Japan, Russia and India.
He said: “What has happened is that people are seeing the world in terms of a struggle between ‘us and them’.
“So, there’s ‘us’, and then there are ‘them’.
He referenced former US president Donald Trump, whom he said has turned “Americans against anybody who they think is responsible for the very obvious sign that the standards of living of middle income and lower income Americans” is declining.
Mr Brown said “Globalisation has meant that American manufacturers have been undercut by the Chinese government” and that Mr Trump has told the American population “you’ve got to blame the immigrants, you’ve got to blame the black population, you’ve got to blame China, you’ve got to blame someone”.
He added: “And what Trump really, sort of exploits, is the sense that people have lost out, and giving the impression that he will ‘make America great again’.”
He also spoke of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, calling him a “populist xenophobic nationalist” for his treatment of immigrants, despite the country having so few.
He said: “Hungary has got hardly any immigration. It’s got the least immigration, I think, of any country in Europe.
“And we see now, there are a lot of anti-immigrant parties in Hungary, where there aren’t immigrants. That’s how bad it is.”
He told the audience Mr Orban has convinced his country they are constantly getting a “raw deal” and blames immigration for the Hungary’s problems.
Mr Brown moved on to India where he said Hindu nationalism is “very hostile towards Muslims and other religions”.
He continued: “You see, this is happening everywhere and the world is sort of turning in on itself.
“What you need is leaders who are prepared to stand up to that and be prepared to say: ‘We cannot blame everybody else for our problems. We have got to solve our problems ourselves.’
“We cannot survive in a world where you’ve got climate change, pandemics, financial instability – which is global.
“[These are] global problems, which need a global solution, without having some way of working together instead of blaming each other for what goes wrong.”
Permacrisis: A Plan to Fix a Fractured World will reach bookstore shelves on September 28.