The Flag of our Unequal Union

This letter to the Herald is the first in a series answering Iain MacWhirter’s question: “What is the Union for?”

John Milne (Letters, September 5) rightly raises the question of whether there should be more attention given to the non-economic case for independence. A useful starting point might be to look at the ethical basis of the British state. Are there any reasons today why we should feel loyalty to or admiration for that state? Permanent warfare and the promotion of major corporate interests have become core objectives of the UK, whether with Labour or Tory governments.

We know that governments engage in dishonest and low tactics in pursuing their interests but the evidence emerging from Libya about the close co-operation between Britain and the Gaddafi regime still has the capacity to shock. Although we knew about the outsourcing of torture, to see the details of the co-operation and the willingness to give the Libyan security service information on their opponents in the UK, shows such cynicism and dishonesty that must seriously undermine respect for central British institutions. What values are the unionists seeking to defend?

The powers that we already have in Scotland have enabled us to protect some social democratic values in our services that reflect majority opinion in Scotland at a time when so much in the health, social care and education services is being dismantled in England by Westminster. Scotland has taken important initiatives in environmental policy. This should give us the confidence to take on the full powers of a normal state in the knowledge that we have established a political culture that is comparatively open, comparatively democratic and comparatively egalitarian. We need to initiate a debate on how Scotland could develop a national security policy and make a positive contribution to international peace and justice issues rather than remain attached to a state committed to militarism and nuclear weapons.

Isobel Lindsay, Biggar.

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  1. Ian Hamilton says:

    Could some Unionist tell us what the Union’s for?
    Ian Hamilton

    1. Scottish republic says:

      I couldn’t say what it’s for but I could tell say what to do with it.

  2. Siôn Jones says:

    The union is worth preserving BECAUSE IT IS! ! ! , stupid.

    At least, that is what I was told (at least in essence) recently, when I asked an otherwise intelligent unionist to explain to me why Wales should not become independent once Scotland does.

  3. James Mackenzie says:

    1. We were at war with England about every generation until 1707.
    2. We are the only country that has been allowed to participate in the government of a larger and more powerful neighbour.
    3. Not only that but they are obliged under the current funding formula to spend extra on us every time they spend more on themselves.
    4. They are bigger and relatively more powerful than they were in the past
    5. They didn’t want a federal union in 1707 and they don’t want one now but we still get a good deal from points 1-4.

    1. Andrew says:

      Point 1:Not sure if we were at war with them or vis versa
      Point 2:Why would i wish to partake in the goverment of another country.
      Point 3This extra money milarky that they spend on themselves then give to us comes from us in the first place.
      Point 4:eh
      Point 5:All power to the london centric Soviet,all hail comrade Cameron.

  4. Siôn Jones says:

    Your point 5, the ‘good deal’ part is stated as though it is a self evident truth, which it isn’t – the whole point of this article is to ask for something better than that.

    And your points 1-4 are questionable in any case. I take it that you are actually pro-independence, and merely trying to belittle the case for retaining the union, in which case, you have done a very good job.

  5. piobaireachd says:

    There is absolutely nothing new in the revelations concerning the British state and Libya. They should not surprise any reasonably well read Scot. The “Union” exists for the same reason, today, for which it was founded; an agent for the unbridled activities of money makers. 18th century mercantilism and the current activities of “the City” are unchanged. We are constantly reminded how “we” were willing participants in the Union activities of slavery/ colonisation, etc. I’m sure some of “us” liked bear-bating, at one time. This is now; the 21st century. I don’t want to be an appendage of the arse-end of the “British” empire. Independence of thought. Now.

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