The National Conversation

Last week, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond set out the question he intends to ask voters in a referendum on Scottish independence in a public consultation paper.

The public consultation paper – Your Scotland Your Referendum – states that Scots would be asked: “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?”. But is that really the question? Is it simply about whether or not Scotland should be an independent country? Or is it whether or not Scotland should withdraw from national and international politics, in favour of an isolationism and nationalism?

In the event that Scotland would leave the UK, it would not only be leaving a country, but also the United Nations Security Council, G7, G8, G20, NATO, the Council of Europe, and the European Union. Seeking to selfishly better itself, rather than others.

In 1707 and 1801, we set aside selfish nationalism to form a family to better ourselves and others and, like any family, we would not be the people we are today, if it was not for Scotland.

Simply put; we are better together, we have ties of culture and language and we have shared adversity and prosperity. We have faced down nationalism many times before this:

  • Together we fought and faced down one of the most evil exponents of nationalism in the form of fascism in World War II.
  • Together, we have fought and faced down violent nationalism.
  • And together we will face down peaceful nationalism.

Do not believe the lie of nationalism; there is no contradiction in being Scottish and British, English and British, Welsh and British or Irish and British. In fact, to be Scottish, English, Welsh or Irish is to be British. Whether Scottish, Irish, English, Welsh, Ulster or Cornish; nationalism is wrong; it is a malevolent and perverse doctrine.

We became a family to better ourselves and others in a benevolent liberal democracy. The old adage is as true today as it was in 1707 and 1801; the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and I would encourage Scots to remember this in the polling stations.

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