Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Scotland: please stay!I



My contribution to The Spectator's Stay! campaign, 


One of the great things about being British is a sense of dual identity. I’m a proud Welshman living in England. I have a deep love of my homeland; its history, culture and rugby playing tradition. But belonging to a small nation could become a rather parochial and inward looking affair. That Wales alongside Scotland, Northern Ireland and England belong to something bigger than their constituent parts helps ensure that Celtic and English patriotism doesn't degenerate into a narrow, sectarian nationalism. We can focus on what unites as well as our distinctives as we strive to make Great Britain a great place for all its citizens to live.

The things achieved by the United Kingdom have been the fruits of our common endeavour. Together we have ensured that all adults, whether rich or poor, male or female get to decide on who governs us at the UK level, in our devolved Assemblies and the Scottish Parliament.   The National Health Service is funded by the wealth generated by the whole of the United Kingdom so that all our people can obtain the treatment they need when they need it, free at the point of need. 

I could go on to mention the technological advances of the Industrial Revolution, driven by English entrepreneurialism, inspired by Scottish Engineering brilliance, forged by Irish labour and fired by Welsh coal. What of British ideas of freedom, tolerance and democracy that have served as a beacon of hope for the world, especially as we stood shoulder by shoulder to defend them in two World Wars?

We're better together. Please stay. 

3 comments:

Ben said...

Would it be carping to suggest that the NHS isn't in fact free (not "for free", because free is an adjective) as you say in your antepenultimate paragraph? Many people pay prescription charges and for treatment, especially dental treatment, at the point of use. Far more of us pay through income tax, vat and so forth.

Surely one of the problems with Scottish nationalism is the belief that health services ought to be free for all Scottish people but that the English should have continue to subsidise them.

Altogether the behemoth known as the NHS costs £53 billion per annum according to the latest figures (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/financial-year-2011-to-2012-reference-costs-published). It's not free.

Guy Davies said...

Updated to 'free at the point of need'. The Spectator specified 250 words max so I was compressing.

Jacob Phillips said...

"I could go on to mention the technological advances of the Industrial Revolution, driven by English entrepreneurialism, inspired by Scottish Engineering brilliance, forged by Irish labour and fired by Welsh coal. What of British ideas of freedom, tolerance and democracy that have served as a beacon of hope for the world, especially as we stood shoulder by shoulder to defend them in two World Wars?

We're better together. Please stay."

I love this!