The Abolition of Britain?
The 18th of September 2014 could go down in history as the day Britain was finally abolished. This would be a terrible tragedy and all the nations of these islands would be diminished as a result. An incredible 300 year old story of success, innovation, invention, adventure, kinship and resilience will end in an embittered collapse that will leave the British Isles divided and squabbling like it has not been since the tumultuous centuries before the union was formed. Recent polls show that the “yes” camp has closed the gap and has momentum, Our great country could soon be finished for good, never to be great again.
If this comes to pass, heads should roll. The lack of imagination, vision, passion and drive from the politicians tasked with defending the United Kingdom has been a disgrace. David Cameron has not been as pro-active in ensuring that a “no” vote is emphatically delivered as he should have been. Is it just that the Prime Minister firmly believes that the Scots will vote no? I believe he is right but that doesn’t excuse complacency. Despite the recent momentum the separatists have gathered I do believe, and sincerely and passionately hope, that we are both right. If we are not, he should resign. Not only is he the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, he is the leader of the Conservative Unionist Party, and he will have presided over the catastrophic break up of the union. He will go down in history as the Conservative who couldn’t conserve Britain. A 300 year old union has been at risk of disintegrating for years, yet he has willingly taken a back seat, allowed Labour to run a campaign based entirely on economic intimidation, belittlement and dry financial arguments. He has failed to stir the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland into a unified display of passion for the union that has left each nation far greater than it would otherwise of been.
The end of the union will steer the financial recovery into rocky ground as the uncertainty leaves markets panicking, investment halted and this country ungovernable while the constitutional ramifications are untangled. It would leave this residue of this country a much diminished player in the world, a smaller figure in each of the supranational counsels. A weakened rUK may lose its permanent seat on the UN security council, it will be far more vulnerable to the EU’s attempts to undermine its sovereignty and will be unable to stand up for what it believes in and stand against its enemies as strongly and resolutely as it has in the past. It would suggest that our decline is terminal.
The political class- Tory, Labour and Lib Dem- has been sleepwalking into catastrophe, unable or unwilling to get their heads around the sheer scale of the danger that is confronting us. Think of the petulant decision to refuse to have devo-max on the ballot paper, even though it is now effectively on the table. The decision to leave the campaigning to the Labour Party has proven to be foolish, Alistair Darling blew the debate wide open when he slumped in the second debate. Ed Miliband is a weak leader, and surely his position will be untenable after independence cripples his party. Labour is divided and has failed to speak with one voice. Furthermore, its elite hates so many of the things about Britain and its history; hence why they cannot stand up for it and the no campaign is based on economic threats and negativity.
Meanwhile, the other parties just took a back seat, content that a “no” vote would be delivered. Contrary to their belief that their involvement would be counter productive, their lack of action has made it look like Westminster simply did not care two hoots about Scotland. How shocking is it that no contingency plan has been put together? Now we have all three parties in a last minute panic and a backbench MP, and failed former Prime Minister, promising devolution and power for the Scottish parliament while the English are left wondering, what about us? This dire campaign will leave bitterness, confusion, constitutional complications and uncertainty whatever the outcome of the referendum.
I am not contending that the argument has not been won by Better Together, any seriously sceptical and thinking person must see that; anyone who votes with their head knows Scotland are better off in the union. There is an important place for raising the serious dangers of a “yes” vote. Despite SNP lies they will not be able to deliver a socialist utopia; the huge public sector, welfare state, free education and free prescriptions have to be paid for and will not continue without raised taxes and cuts in other areas. Alex Salmond is clueless on currency, as it stands an independent Scotland does not have a viable option. The Panama style pound will leave Scotland with no central bank, a worthless currency with no backer and a pound backed by the Bank of England is an illusionary independence. If it reneges on its share of the national debt it will become an economic pariah. There is no proper long term plan for currency, defence nor the affordability of the size of the Scottish state. An independent Scotland would fall into a mire of uncertainty. A close referendum result will leave it bitterly divided between unionists and nationalists, monarchists and republicans, and Scottish and English. Just you wait for investment to stop, and businesses to relocate, because that is the hard reality of it.
Any initial positivity will evaporate as it goes the way or Ireland and all its false hopes are exposed as folly and then Scotland, in time, will become an economic back water from which people migrate in droves. The likely outcome would be deeper integration into the European Union, meaning Scotland has gained independence from the UK in order to become a minor province in the EU. It would be politically constrained by Brussels; with its economy effectively managed in Frankfurt, its currency a slave to the fluctuations of the Eurozone, and its border with Europe abolished. Far from being a bright, new Scottish future and an awakening of a new Celtic tiger, that fragmented new nation state would soon be fed into the euro blender. Has anti-English sentiment in Scotland become so rabid and unreasonable that this is really what the Scottish people want? Surely Scotland is not falling for the silly propaganda that those willing and enthusiastic participants of the British Empire were in fact the colonised, repressed by the rapacious English? The lies, phoney history and plastic future of nationalist Scotland should be wisely rejected.
Despite all that, I have long wondered, where is the positivity? The passion? The sincere plea to our friends and brothers up north? I am desperately hoping that we do not sever the deep bond between us, our shared national identity, the strong links we have through our shared history, heritage and our closely intertwining cultures that complement each other. We share so much, and our differences can be celebrated without abolishing our great union. We people of the British Isles have developed and evolved genetically, societally, culturally and politically together on these islands, and we became undeniably stronger and more dynamic when we unified into one country.
We brought parliamentary democracy to the world, the great minds of these islands invented constitutional liberty and economic freedom, we created the world’s greatest empire that was mostly a force for good (especially compared to competing empires) spreading the rule of law and the concept of parliament, creating a legacy that laid the foundations for what would become the world’s most prosperous and successful nations, and abolishing the slave trade that had been practised worldwide for over a millenia. We stood up, stronger because we were unified, to Fascism, Nazism and Communism and can stand together again when we need to. We developed a system of welfare and healthcare in a joint effort that created a fairer society. We have grown and evolved together, lets not regress separately.
For 300 years we have been better together, but this is not all about history, it is about the future too. I urge everyone in Britain to think of what we could achieve in the future together, of the threats we will face that we will handle better together and of the greater chance for peace, happiness and prosperity if we refuse to break this bond. If the current constitutional settlement is unsatisfactory, if our political instincts are diverging and if there are grievances, then let us work them out. The United Kingdom can be altered, renewed for the future, the constitution can be changed and grievances can be worked out. But I hope with all my heart, and indeed my head, that we do all this together, please Scotland, lets we can work it out, and think of how to create another 300 years of greatness as a family of nations.