I remember the first time I took to the podium as one of Bristol University's Winston Cup Debating Team in 1993. We were arguing against our own B team and the title of the debate was "This House Believes in Abortion on Demand". I hadn't yet learned the crucial lesson not to debate from an emotional platform, and we took such a pounding it hurt. Never again have I made that same mistake, but I think I'm going to make it now...
In my view, the cry for Scotland's Independence is at best folly and probably one of the worse ideas I have ever heard in my entire life. To make matters worse, spin doctors within the Scottish National Party have decried those Scots who vote against them in the referendum, as traitors! Traitors No Less! Strong words from Tartan Tories masquerading as patriots, and the kind of intellectual bullying that might have been expected from Machiavelli himself in days gone by.
In a country where the Conservatives pretty much lost their deposit after after the Thatcher Poll Tax fiasco, David Cameron's words resonated for me when he called the scheduled 2014 referendum a "never-endum". Proposing a vote so far away in time is a thinly disguised delaying strategy by SNP. It creates the space for the Scots electorate to be fed a protracted diet of ill-thought-out patriotism, fuelled by the discontent established by a double-dip economic downturn. That's snide.
I am angry. My father wore the uniform of The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, a very proud regiment serving in what was Palestine in 1946. Just one year earlier, both of my grandfathers were interred in German prisoners of War camps during the Second World War. The stories live on in my family at least, of the united British soldiers who served over the past 100 plus years; served to defend a Union that was united by a common enemy; Germany and then the Nazis. In this new century, many of those men's descendants have fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan; is it fair or right to break up what they have been dying to defend? Is "Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori" indeed a lie?
What the Nationalist forget to mention, is that the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland ALL forfeited their independence to be part of this Union we call the United Kingdom of Great Britain. To me it dishonours the memory of the men and women who chose to don the uniform of a united Britain in the face of a fascist world threat. Is it really the fate of us proud Scots to turn our backs on our fellow Brits and neighbours- just because we are fortunate enough to have natural gas under our seas?
Not for me its not...
Its not just the shared military history that springs to mind. For me its the cultural history that poses the greatest reason to defend the union. Great Britain over the past 50 years has been synonymous to being on top in the worlds of music, literature, theater, science, art and sport. How can anyone seriously propose to dismantle Team Great Britain when it has stormed the bastions of media and culture from the days of The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, & The Who - through to Britpop; Oasis, Primal Scream and the likes? We don't hear our nieghbours to the south and west claiming these bands to be their real estate the same way we try to with North Sea Oil.
Shame on these Nationalists who argue we would be better off alone. Its simply not true and its not the point anyway. Britain is the 'creme de la creme' - top of their game - team to watch, because our diversity is our strength. Team GB is one of the biggest, best and sexiest brands on the planet. Do we really want to undo this world beating force in favour of a selfish, scots-centric view of the world - and Andy Murray? Will we really do as well in this British Olympiad year as Team Scotland?
I have two sons who were born in England, but they think of Scotland as home. I think of England as home despite being born and part raised in Scotland. I lived, studied and worked in England when the prospect of remaining in Scotland seemed dismal. I beg the Scottish people to be true to their heritage; their British heritage. We are a much reduced force alone than as part of an augmented British synergy.
As my da' would say: "Keep The Heid!" and to that I would add "Keep The Union!"
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