A letter to my daughter and son-in-law in Scotland
David Cameron encouraged the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland to contact their loved ones in Scotland about the independence referendum. Here a father in the north of England writes to his daughter and son in law in Scotland.
Dear Calum and Natasha,
I have been asked by my Prime Minister, Mr Cameron, to write to you, as my daughter and son-in-law, saying how much I love you and how much I cherish England’s historic link with Scotland. As a reasonably obedient citizen, I am happy to comply with his request and ask you to consider a number of issues before casting your vote in the independence referendum on September 14th.
Scotland has always been a dynamic and progressive force within the UK, producing not only some outstanding politicians (Keir Hardie, John Wheatley and, let’s be fair, Gordon Brown) but writers, artists, engineers and scientists. And, let’s not forget Scotland’s greatest gift to the world, whisky.
So why leave? Staying within the UK will allow you to enjoy the benefits of London government, with a noble history stretching back to the Act of Union in 1707. Yes, perhaps it was a reluctant marriage but no relationship is easy and it’s perhaps true that Scotland has never relished the role of subordinate partner.
But let’s be realistic, we’re a lot bigger than you and size matters. Our empire conquered much of the world, and we are grateful for the assistance of Scotland in this, not least the efforts of the doughty Scottish soldier in quelling more restive subjects of the crown, whether it was Ireland, Africa or, more recently Iraq and Afghanistan. Britain remains a powerful international player and we don’t want to weaken our military clout by losing important bases on the Clyde and other parts of Scotland. And remember, this is in your interest as much as ours in England. Instead of being left undefended by a reckless nationalist government in Edinburgh, you will have a new generation of Trident submarines to keep you safe.
But it’s not just about military fire power; it’s also about economics. England has long been a lot clearer in its commitment to the virtues of the free market. Staying within the UK will ensure Scotland enjoys the benefits of the sort of neo-liberal policies pioneered by that great English (sorry, British) patriot Mrs Thatcher, and continued by our successive leaders, regardless of party labels.
It’s important that all subjects of what remains of the empire should be able to visit the capital. On your visits to London you will enjoy an outstanding transport system, as a result of the disproportionate investment going into the capital’s infrastructure. Contrary to what many whingeing Northerners say, everyone benefits from this, however infrequently they may chance to visit. Building HS2 will allow you get to London much more quickly of course, even if your local bus service has been withdrawn (Scots are famous for their community spirit and I’m sure you can get a lift to the nearest railway station some 15 miles away). Whilst on HS2 you will be able to enjoy the benefits of at-seat TV screens allowing you to watch as many old films as you like, including classics such as Rob Roy. Lassie and 39 Steps to make you feel at home. The many tunnels will avoid any unpleasant views of derelict industry and decaying housing in the north of England, that may blight your view en route.
By voting for independence you will hasten the demise of ‘Great Britain’ as we know and love it. An independent Scotland would be free to go its own way and instigate the sort of policies which have resulted in places like Norway, Sweden and Denmark becoming by-words for profligacy, welfare spending and egalitarianism. Public spending has been diverted away from defence into building new railways and improving schools and hospitals. Everyone is forced to cycle. Is this the sort of world you want your children (and my grand-children by the way) to grow up in?
And think about the effect of Scottish independence on the rest of our United Kingdom. Wales will be next, wanting to go its own way ‘within Europe’. Here in the North of England, the 15 million subjects of the crown may get increasingly restless and want their own government. There is already a subversive group calling itself ‘The Hannah Mitchell Foundation’ (named after a notorious suffragette and Bolshevik) which is quite openly campaigning for ‘devolution’ and something they call a ‘Federal Britain’.
A scenario could open up of this Federal Britain becoming popular amongst the more deluded people in other English regions too who feel their interests have not been given top priority by our government. But why should people in Somerset or Devon be regarded as important as London? More people live in London; it’s a simple question of arithmetic. And as the economy of London and its south-eastern hinterland continues to expand, owing to the spirit of entrepreneurship people have down there, more sensible people in the North, Midlands and south-west will either move to London, or make a daily commute by high-speed train, thus solving the so-called ‘regional’ problem.
The alternative is a depressing scenario of a revived spirit of social democracy such as the country experienced after the last war. Academics have already shown that people in the North are closer to Scotland in their left-wing inclinations. There is a risk that they might make common cause with their commie friends in Scotland, leaving the power of London (and what remains of our great Empire) considerably reduced. Is this what you want? If so, vote yes. If you prefer things to carry on pretty much as they are, support our Prime Minister.