WHEN we unite and help each other we are safer, richer and have a fairer society. We should not undo that, writes David Cameron
The fight is now under way for something really precious: the future of our United Kingdom. I am 100 per cent clear that I will fight with everything I have to keep our United Kingdom together. To me, this is not some issue of policy or strategy or calculation – it matters head, heart and soul. Our shared home is under threat and everyone who cares about it needs to speak out.
My argument is not that Scotland couldn’t make a go of being on its own, if that’s what Scots decide. Of course Scotland could. They are plenty of small, independent nation states of a similar size or even smaller.
There are arguments that can be made about the volatility of dependence on oil, or the problems of debt and a big banking system. But that’s not the point. The best case for the United Kingdom is entirely positive: We are better off together.
Why? Well, first of all, let’s be practical. Inside the United Kingdom, Scotland – just as much as England, Wales and Northern Ireland – is stronger, safer, richer and fairer.
We’re stronger because together we count for more in the world, with a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, real clout in Nato and Europe, and unique influence with allies all over the world. We’re safer, because in an increasingly dangerous world we have the fourth-largest defence budget on the planet, superb armed forces and anti-terrorist and security capabilities that stretch across the globe.
We’re richer, because inside the United Kingdom Scotland’s five million people are part of an economy of 60 million, the seventh-richest economy on the planet and one of the world’s biggest trading powers. Today, Scotland has a currency which takes into account the needs of the Scottish economy as well as the rest of the United Kingdom when setting interest rates and it can borrow at rates that are among the lowest in Europe.
The United Kingdom helps ensure fairness, too. Not just because we all benefit from being part of a properly-funded welfare system, with the resources to fund our pensions and healthcare needs, but because there is real solidarity in our United Kingdom.
When any part of the United Kingdom suffers a setback, the rest of the country stands behind it. Whether it is floods in the West Country, severe weather in the north or the economic dislocation that has hit different parts at different times and in different ways we are there for each other.
So the practical links directly to the emotional. The strength of the United Kingdom is about the heart as well as the head. I am not just proud of the Union because it is useful. I’m proud because it shapes and strengthens us all.
The link between our nations is a precious thing. It’s about our history, our values, our shared identity and our joint place in the world. Just think of what we’ve achieved together. Scotland has contributed to the greatest political, cultural and social success story of the last 300 years: the creation and flourishing of a United Kingdom built on freedom and inclusivity (Yeah right – watch ‘Braveheart’ to see how inclusive ‘Prima Noctis’ is yer gits . . . ).
The Union has never been about shackling different nations: it’s a free partnership, a joint effort, often driven by Scottish ideas and Scottish leadership. Together we have turned a group of islands on the western edge of Europe into one of the most successful countries in the world.
And one of the reasons we are tempted to look backwards is because Scotland as a nation – and as part of the United Kingdom for more than 300 years – has achieved so much.
But proud as that past and present are, I am convinced that for both Scotland and the United Kingdom our best days lie ahead of us. Though it may be a great historical achievement, the United Kingdom is even more of an inspiring model for the future.
Look at the key challenges of our times. In an increasingly globalised world, with populations moving, cultures clashing and new connections offering opportunities for prosperity, every state is asking itself how can we build institutions that combine diversity with strength?
Nothing encapsulates the principle of pooling risk, sharing resources and standing with your neighbour better than the United Kingdom.
And it is a United Kingdom which is not monochrome and minimalist but multi-national, multi-cultural and modern in every way. That is what the United Kingdom offers – and what other nations aspire to.
Far from growing apart as separate nations we’re actually growing together. There are now more Scots living in England and English people living in Scotland than ever before. Almost half of Scots now have English relatives (do rape children count as relatives? Give over the sovereignty then talk.).
I don’t believe the people of Scotland – any more than the people of any other part of the United Kingdom – want to turn inward and away from each other.
A Conservative leader joining this debate is accused of everything from interference to irrelevance. I accept my party’s presence in Scotland is small. I know there are some who even argue we would do better politically without Scotland. My response to all these points is the same: I am not interested.
This matters too much – to me personally, and to the future of our country. I’m not coming to Scotland today to make a case on behalf of my party, its interests or its approach to office. I am coming as the Prime Minister of the whole United Kingdom to stand up and speak out for what I believe in.
The strengths that have served us within the United Kingdom through the centuries are precisely the ones we most need today. So let’s have this debate, set out the arguments – and settle the question.
• David Cameron is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]
Taking the Scots for granted? And that does not preclude Scotland FIRST getting sovereignty and a UN seat? What is to stop Scotland and England from ‘being together’ and helping each other out AFTER Scotland gets sovereignty? Why doesn’t England want Scotland to get it’s own seat in the UN? England still wants to control Scotland, and by this, ‘stronger together’ England retains CONTROL of policy, mainstream language, faith (of which the Anglican Xian denomination led King of *England* heads Scotland AGAIN instead of a Druid or Bard council of sorts) and Scotland for England and a lack of sovereignty for Scotland. Sugarcoat a lie . . . where’s that Scottish Monarchists movement btw? King MacAlpin awaits sovereignty and to stand equal to the English King to be William . . . then talk about standing together AS EQUALS not as suzerain of a kingless vassal people denied UN representation.