Below is David Cameron’s statement on the union written on the 10th Feb, 2013 as it appears on the official site of the British Prime Minister’s Office. Additional comments have been added in parenthesis where I think response is merited.
Prime Minister David Cameron:
Scotland in the UK – best of both worlds.
Next year, Scots will be asked to make a huge political decision: whether to stay in the UK or go it alone.
(The Prime Minister starts as he means to go on. The phrase ‘go it alone’ is deliberately preferred to ‘become independent’ or ‘grant themselves the right to self determination’ in order to implant fear and self doubt. There is no logical or rational reason as to why Scotland would be alone following a positive vote for independence. Cameron imagines Scotland suddenly excommunicated, or like the new kid in class, standing before his peers gazing at his shoelaces and waiting for someone to come and show him where the toilets are. Cameron implies we would be denied help, support and/or guidance from either Europe, Ireland, our friends in Scandinavia, the United States…)
As Britain’s Prime Minister I’ve always been clear that this is a decision for people living in Scotland to make. But I do care passionately about the outcome – and I will make the case for the UK with everything I’ve got. For me that case comes down to two things: heart and head.
(Here Cameron attempts to simplify the choice put before the people into irreducible terms. The idea that the choice to vote for independence is a simply conundrum between heart and head is entirely erroneous. Cameron hopes that he can run the ‘No’ campaign on purely ideological reasoning that negates his party from having to answer questions with any degree of specificity)
It’s about heart because our nations share a proud and emotional history. Over three centuries we have built world-renowned institutions like the NHS…
(The NHS. Really, David? Here, here and here for those not yet aware of the systematic dismantling of this beloved ‘world-renowned institution’. It ought to be immediately apparent that the only way to preserve any degree of national health service is to break the link between Scotland and the self serving privateers in Westminster intent on lining their own pockets at the expense of nurses and beds.)
… and BBC fought for freedom and democracy in two world wars, and pioneered and traded around the world. Our ancestors explored the world together and our grandfathers went into battle together as do our kith and kin today – and this leaves deep, unbreakable bonds between the peoples of these islands.
(Is Mr. Cameron genuinely implying that the case to be made for the heart amounts to no more than some ambiguous connection between those sent to war from these islands to further British and American hegemony? I might also take objection to the phrase ‘unbreakable bonds between the peoples of these islands’. I don’t see any reason why any future government of Scotland would seek to break bonds between the people of our respective nations. It seems to me to be unconscionably counter productive. Cameron makes the point here as though this breaking of relationships and partnerships is synonymous with independence. This is a desperate effort to pander to the idea that by seeking self-determination we denounce the good people of England, Wales and the island of Ireland at a whim)
But the case for the UK is about head as well as heart – our future as well as our past.
(Note the deliberate ommission of ‘the present’. Far better to trade on our glorious past and imagine some bountiful future than draw attention to the economic hardships of the present and the Prime Minister’s determination to ‘go it alone’ on Europe)
I have no time for those who say there is no way Scotland could go it alone. I know first-hand the contribution Scotland and Scots make to Britain’s success – so for me there’s no question about whether Scotland could be an independent nation.
(You might want to pass this confidence on to your cohorts north of the border who continue to peddle doomsday scenarios rather than engage in informative debate)
The real question is whether it should – whether Scotland is stronger, safer, richer and fairer within our United Kingdom or outside it. Here, I believe, the answer is clear.
(More empty imagery here in the absence of factual evidence. Stronger? What is meant by that exactly? It’s a word that conjures much but means little. Safer? Well we wouldn’t be sending our ‘kith and kin’ to search for imaginary weapons at the behest of the US. Richer? According to the government’s own figures, no we wouldn’t be. We’d be a shiny pound coin worse off. One whole pound. I will gladly surrender mine now if asked but I am of the opinion that the government’s own figures are erring on the side of caution and if they’re even slightly inaccurate we’ll probably be exactly the same or a penny better off. As for fairer? Again, herein lies the problem with picking words simply because they sound nice together. There can be nobody who suspects that London’s parochial narrow self interest has served anybody outwith the EC, and WC boundary. The Resolution Foundation will next week publish analysis which shows that the earnings of the top 1% of earners has leaped from 7% in the mid-90’s to 10% today, meaning the top 1% now pocket 10p in every pound of income paid in the UK. Concerns echoed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in a statement last Wednesday,
Labor market conditions are widening the income gap between fulltime employees and an increasing share of the workforce on part-time, insecure and low-wage jobs. This comes in a context where income inequality was already high and rising before the recession
None of which strikes me immediately as a fairness worth fighting for)
Britain is admired around the world as a source of prosperity, power and security.
(By whom? Meaning what precisely? Is the implication that an independent Scotland would be incapable of portraying the same image if afforded the opportunity?)
Those glorious Olympics last summer reminded us just what we are capable of when we pull together: Scottish, English, Welsh, Northern Irish, all in the same boat – sometimes literally.
(This is becoming embarrassing. It would appear then that this much vaunted ‘togetherness’ that makes us so much better refers only to our prospects of medalling in a slalom canoe competition or the lightweight double sculls every four years?)
If you told many people watching those Olympics that we were going to erect barriers between our people, they’d probably be baffled.
(Baffled by our determination to jeapordise our medal hopes in Rio?)
Put simply: Britain works. Britain works well. Why break it?
(If by works you mean we have a formidable rowing team when combining our nations finest scullers, I will shed a tear and bravely move on. Our next reading comes from the Gospel according to David…)
Of course there are difficult challenges to face and tough choices to make. There always are – in government and in our everyday lives.
(Profound David, profound.)
These wouldn’t disappear if Scotland broke apart from the UK. But those arguing for separation want to force you to make another choice – between Scotland and Britain. I say why should you be forced to make that choice?
(Those arguing for separation were arguing for separation before the last election in which they won an overall majority. For the record, nobody is ‘forcing’ anyone to make the choice. By using the word ‘force’ twice in two sentences, Mr. Cameron is attempting to further undermine the democratic election of a party he considers abhorrent to his good taste and plant yet more fear in the hearts of voters. I have yet to write to Angus Robertson to ask if he has any plans to march his Moray constituents down to the polling station with two fingers held between their shoulder blades and force them to register their opinion with a portentous cocking of his thumb. I will if it will put the Prime Minister’s mind at ease)
Our United Kingdom is four nations united for the common good of all its citizens.
(I refer the right honourable gentleman to the remarks I made earlier…)
With its own Scottish Government and Parliament within the UK, Scots can take important decisions affecting their daily lives: decisions about what their children are taught at school; the way in which hospitals provide care; and how public transport operates across the country.
(At a time when the government is attempting to extricate itself from Europe in order to placate their creaking backbenches, I find myself less concerned about public transport than I am about export led growth)
Scots can take all of these decisions and more to meet the specific needs of Scotland – and they can do so without losing the benefits of being part of the UK and having a full say in its future – economic strength and opportunity, international influence and national security.
(I am not sure what Mr. Cameron means by having a full say. The Welfare Bill sailed through parliament with Scotland voting 12 Yes, 47 No. Cameron’s international influence diminishes every time he is granted a platform to speak in Europe and I happen to think that Scotland’s national security would be greatly enhanced were it not handcuffed to the imperialist hegemony of the United Kingdom. As for meeting the specific needs of Scotland, the powers afforded to the parliament currently are as useful as tits on a pencil)
Scotland within the UK has a system of government that offers the best of both worlds. Why swap Scottish MPs, Scottish cabinet ministers and Scots throughout UK institutions, for one Scottish Ambassador in London?
(For the very simple reason that they would not be needed. That’s what independence means. Instead of sitting 400 miles away in Westminster, our MP’s would be deciding on issues that affect the people of Scotland. Is Mr. Cameron considering withdrawing all British Ambassadors in exchange for seats in Congress or positions on the board of JP Morgan & Chase?)
So what should happen from here until the vote? I know those arguing for independence are already preparing their separation transition plan, as though they’ve got this in the bag, but to me that is wrong. It’s like fast-forwarding to the closing credits before you’ve been allowed to see the movie. The Scottish people still have many months to think about this decision and they are hungry for facts, evidence and expert opinion to help them make up their minds.
(There is no suggestion that anything is ‘in the bag’. The electoral commission in giving their recommendations on the wording of the referendum question also called on both ‘the UK and Scottish governments should clarify what process will follow the referendum’. The Scottish government has begun this process. The Prime Minister has refused to do so)
So we’ll be providing expert-based analysis to explain Scotland’s place within the UK and how it might change with separation – and our first paper is published tomorrow. We don’t shy away from putting facts and evidence before the Scottish people. We want you to scrutinize, challenge and form your own opinion.
This must not be a leap in the dark, but a decision made in the light of day.
This big question is for Scotland to decide. But the answer matters to all of our United Kingdom. Scotland is better off in Britain. We’re all better off together and poorer apart.
To sum up: It would appear for all the ‘better together’ trite sloganism, David Cameron wishes the people of Scotland to surrender economic responsibility, self-determination and autonomy so we have a better chance of winning some medals in the Rio de Janeiro.
(Altogether: Row, row, row your boat, gently down the Thames…)