On Scotland

Huw Davies

Scotland. The home of Robert Burns, Scotch whisky, and haggis. But this integral part of Britain needs to be saved from the prospect of separation. We need new innovative ideas to protect our nation from breaking up. That means facing up to the errors of the past and building a new vision of the Union for the 21st century.

Firstly, we need to reassert the idea of British nationhood and identity. Despite the claims of the Nationalists, Britain is a nation. Many people in our country perceive themselves as British in addition to being defined by nationality of the constituent nation. Language such as the ‘four nations’ or just using the institutional name or its shortened form ‘UK’ undermines this.

We are not fighting to preserve a multinational organisation like the EU, but our nation itself so the way we argue our points must reflect this. This means emphasising that we are one nation, that we have shared institutions and that the British Parliament still matters to us all despite devolution. Talk about Britain and British identity, what it means to be a British citizen not just always some extravagant economic statistic which is open to claim and counterclaim.

Let’s remind our fellow Brits in Scotland of the fantastic things we have built as a nation, a democracy to which is admired around the world. It isn’t the flag of America, Australia, Canada or even South Korea which thousands of Hong Kong citizens fly in the face of their authoritarian government, but ours. Our nation to many symbolises liberty, opportunity and hope.

Unionists have to push this vision to the Scots, if millions around the globe believe in this nation, we must ask why don’t they? It’s because we don’t talk about these factors. The days of ‘it’s the economy stupid’ are waning, debates such as these in this age are won on identity and culture. If we are to defeat the SNP it is so important to make a romantic case for the union, otherwise, we may lose the battle for Britain.

It’s good to see Government ministers visit Scotland, but it’s going to take more than crab fishing in the Orkneys to save the nation. They need to be more pro-active in how they approach Scotland, it is not the sole fiefdom of the SNP left to govern as they see fit. Ministers in Westminster must not be confined to commenting on Scottish affairs
when Ian Blackford gets up at Prime Minister Questions. These ministers represent every one of us, and Scots need to be reminded of this.

The Prydain Review takes its name from the medieval Welsh name for this island. Even in the era of the Ancient Britons, parts of Scotland were separate. It is partly the reason why in 1707 when Britain unified that the nation was called ‘Great Britain’, because Britain is greater for Scotland being with us not against us.

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