WHEN Gordon Brown left office in 2010 he made it known he was stepping down from frontline politics.

So when he made such an impassioned contribution to the independence debate in Glasgow last week it was clear just how important September's referendum is.

As Mr Brown pointed out, there will be no going back after the vote should Scotland decide to leave our Union. It is a decision that will affect the lives of our children and our children's children.

Key to Gordon Brown's message is that by pooling our resources across the whole of Britain we can provide for better services and greater protection for all of us. That is a far more progressive and socialist idea than the narrow, risky agenda of nationalism.

By working together we are best placed to address the issues that really matter to people - jobs, pensions and the funding of vital public services.

Being part of Britain allows us to share risk. We all remember the banking crisis when the UK Government stepped in to bail out RBS at a cost of £46billion, more than the entire Scottish budget. Without this critical intervention from UK coffers the effects on jobs and mortgages in Scotland would have been catastrophic.

Nobody can question Mr Brown's patriotism. He is a deeply proud Scot who is committed to our place in Britain. Half of all Scots have relations who live in England and the majority of our trade is with the rest of Britain. So why would we erect a border at Carlisle?

Mr Brown also took time to praise Glasgow's successes saying that while we were once the second city of the British Empire, we are now the first city of the Commonwealth.

It was a privilege to share a platform with Mr Brown and to hear a statesman from the great Scottish Labour tradition make such a powerful case for why we are better together.

EXCITEMENT is building ahead of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games next month with details being unveiled this week of a fantastic range of events to mark the arrival of the Queen's Baton Relay on the 20th July.

Around 400 of Glasgow's unsung heroes will proudly carry the baton through the city's streets, which will be brought to life with street performers during a three-day celebration. Importantly it will pass through every council ward in the city, with lots of local events marking the occasion.

And there will be three 'Finish Line' celebrations in Springburn Park (20th July), Victoria Park (21st July) and the Queen's Park Recreation Ground (22nd July), with 8,000 free tickets available for each event via an online ballot.

Make sure you log on www.glasgow2014.com/baton-relay to be part of the action.