LibLink: Sir Malcolm Bruce MP – The positive case for the Union

Sir Malcom Bruce, Lib Dem deputy leader, has been writing for Endeavour Public Affairs on the choice facing Scots in next week’s referendum.

Here’s an excerpt:

To make a positive case for Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom is to recognise multiple identities and respect that what it means to feel British – or Scottish for that matter – is up to the individual as long as it is inclusive.

It would be all too easy to pick apart the arguments presented by the Yes campaign with endless short-term policy guarantees, limitless and non-costed spending promises. However, there is also a very strong argument in making a positive case for saying a polite but robust No, Thanks to independence.

Sharing resources and strengths while supporting each other through weakness means we can achieve much more than if either party was alone.

As much as there is to set Scotland apart from the rest of the United Kingdom, there is as much that brings us together in terms of culture, (modern) language, shared history, and the free movement of people over the generations. Together we have consistently punched above our weight in terms of international diplomacy, social development, the arts, invention, and enterprise. Scotland and Scots have played a major role in this.

Of course, Scotland could go it alone, but whether it would look like the nation that the Yes campaign describes would be another matter, but asides from the headaches of starting again and building up costly, new, untested national institutions from scratch, why would we want to when we can already enjoy the benefits of being both Scottish and British?

Being united means the convenience of posting a birthday card or calling your auntie costs the same from the Scillies to Shetland. Being separate countries will mean additional customs and trade barriers impacting on businesses as well as families. Frankly, who needs it?

It is my hope that Scots do not allow political policies of the day to rule their decision for the long-term irrevocable future of the country. This is not about party politics but the destiny of our nation. In any case the SNP is not Scotland and Alex Salmond does not speak for all of Scotland.

You can read the rest of Malcolm’s thoughts here.

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  • Posting letters – Royal Mail has been privatised. Don’t expect a universal service to be indefinite. Why are the SNP attacks on health privatisation working? Because although Scotland runs health policy itself, it lets people know that the elite who run the UK have a very different set of values to most Scots. Unless this is challenged, the Union is on thin ice and will remain so unless there is a big no vote in 2 weeks which looks increasingly unlikely.

  • Increasingly, these sorts of calling your auntie conveniences are now being handled Europe-wide as part of the single market and under common regulation made by the European Union. When it’s as convenient to call your other auntie on the Costas, or your in-laws out in Hungary or whatever, then hasn’t the British union become just a little obsolete?

    Of course, its not all about aunties, but this trend will end up leaving Westminster as an unnecessary layer of government bureaucracy between a truly globally significant European Union and a truly locally accountable Holyrood Parliament.

    Unless of course Britain ends up leaving the EU, in which case Scotland really needs to consider which union and market offers it the greatest opportunity.

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