The former prime minister’s move comes as the governments of Westminster and Holyrood stare each other down on the issue of Indyref2. SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Ms Sturgeon insisted last month’s general election successes returned a mandate for the second referendum within six years. Her stance has been rejected in London with the Government refusing to bow to demands for a re-run of the 2014 poll.
Mr Brown said it was time to talk openly with the people of Scotland and is set to launch a series of neighbourhood assemblies across Scotland organised by the Our Scottish Future think-tank.
He said: “Decisions in this country should not be made by dictates from the top, but from the ground up by hearing what people think and aspire to.
“That’s why, over the course of the next few months, Our Scottish Future will be holding a series of neighbourhood assemblies with the aim of hearing from Scots of all political backgrounds, or none, on how they want the country to move forward.
“For too long, we have listened only to the echo chambers around us. The plan with Let’s Talk Scotland is to sit down and talk openly and honestly with as many people as possible: Yes, No, Leave, Remain, from the central belt to the Highlands and Borders – not to seek out our differences but to find our common bonds.”
He continued: “I hope this process of listening and talking will reveal to us afresh the ties that bind us together in our communities, that were there all along but which have been frayed by a national debate that has pulled us apart.
“And I hope that by discussing – and sharing – our hopes and fears for the future with each other, our local communities can offer up the ideas and a vision for the future that we can all back and can bring us back together.
“Because Scotland must aspire to be, as a country, more united than we are today and championing a better way forward.”
Among the issues to be discussed are child poverty, climate change and the economy and what they mean for Scotland’s constitutional future.
The think-tank plans to use the ideas and views that emerge from the assemblies to lay out fresh proposals for all political parties ahead of the 2021 Holyrood elections.
Mr Brown is also due to deliver a keynote speech in Westminster today in which he will call for the United Kingdom to change fundamentally to stop Scotland seeking independence.
He will warn “cosmetic gestures” by Boris Johnson will fail to keep the country together and will attack “PR gestures” such as suggestions of moving the House of Lords to York.
He will insist the UK needs to change fundamentally so Scotland “does not abandon union” and regions can feel respected in it.