For weeks I have requested one of the writers of The Evans Review to write up an article arguing to support Scotland leaving the United Kingdom. In the sake of fairness, I wanted our readers to have the opportunity to read some of the ideas to support the Scottish Nationalists’ plans to tear the United Kingdom apart. Not one person – in four weeks – has wanted to write one. Perhaps it says something about the writers we recruit, perhaps it says something about the age group from which we recruit, or perhaps it says something about people who have a little bit of sense to their name.
I had hoped that even one of our Scottish writers would be able to contribute on the topic – but, alas, no one stepped up to the plate.
Perhaps I am driven by a misguided sense of idealism within journalism, to desperately try and portray as many sides of an argument as possible whether I agree with them or not. But ultimately, the situation has left me with no choice but to accept the fact that there simply isn’t a good reason to leave the United Kingdom from my – or my team’s – perspective. In short, we don’t want Scotland to leave.
This article is written not to appeal to the logical, economic, the political or the business reasons for a United Kingdom (for those read our ‘mind’ article published tomorrow) but to appeal to the emotional reasons. Much has been said about the “Pride of Scotland” in the nationalists arguments and Alex Salmond has regularly made the point that Scotland should be for the Scottish and that there is no reason for Scotland to not become independent; but so little has been said about the pride of the United Kingdom in this run up to an occasion which could well be the biggest political event in the history of our country.
People in Scotland are proud of their heritage – and rightly so, it is rich, diverse and unique – but that is the same for the UK as a whole, the variety of our little island nation is what makes us so great. Whether it’s the beautiful ancient architecture of London; the breathtaking white cliffs of Dover; Morris Dancers in the streets of English towns or the fierce highlands of Scotland which can take your breath away; the incredible history of Edinburgh or the cosmopolitan metropolises of Glasgow or Cardiff; the imposing might of Mt Snowden, Scaffers Pike or Ben Nevis or the ferocious Irish sea off Nothern Ireland – our little nation has so much beauty to offer. It may suffer from a severe lack of sunshine but that’s something which makes us all so alike. Be it hardy Scots, feisty Welsh, gutsy Irish or gritty English, we all share the same attitude to the weather; and life as a whole.
What upsets me most about the Scottish referendum isn’t the political reasons for change (many of which I can completely understand) but the seeming desire to leave a country which is so similar to it. The UK leaving the EU I can understand, there are the numerous language, culture and currency barriers which make that unity tricky; even Quebec leaving Canada makes more sense (a notoriously close referendum 20 years ago almost allowed this to happen) because of the language barrier between the two. But Scotland leaving the UK makes no sense. We share a vast and intricate history together, we have the same currency and we all speak the language (bar a few colloquial languages here and there).
The issues Salmond argues about (poverty and food banks, Nuclear Missiles and a disproportionate electoral system) may be true but why are these issues not dealt with together? Because some the Scottish nationalists are deluded with one thing and one thing only, leaving the UK. It doesn’t matter if the problems they list are solved, it’ll still be their agenda so they’ll find a new problem against which to fight.
So I’m fighting their emotional response to past grievances about the UK being “down on Scotland”; whether it’s Bannockburn or Tory leaders, Salmond is fighting with passion – you have to give him that – so so should we.
Do you love the UK? Are you proud of what our country has achieved together? Are you happy to share your island with people with an amazing variety of quirks, accents, dialects, backgrounds and traditions? If the answer is no then I can’t for the life of me understand why, but you may as well leave, us Brits don’t want you here. If the answer is Yes – as it is for me – then argue with all your might against those who seem to think otherwise.
You can start with Alex Salmond.
Harry Parkhill is the Editor of the Evans Review and is Half Scottish, Quarter Irish and Quarter English. But more importantly, he is a resident of the United Kingdom, and wants it to stay United.