Ever Closer Union: How to Promote the British Union in the Face of Separatist OppositionTweet
The following speech was presented by Alistair McConnachie to the London Swinton Circle (Chairman, Allan Robertson) on Tuesday 7 June 2016 at 7.00pm at the Counting House, 50 Cornhill, London.
Section headings are in UPPER CASE, you can click on any of the Links to jump to the appropriate part of the text, and back again.
Alistair would like to thank his supporters who alone make it financially possible for him to devote his full time to researching, writing and delivering this material. If you appreciate this content and if you would like to assist this work, please donate via this page.
Where indicated in the alt tags, the photographs were taken by Alistair McConnachie, while in London between 7th and 12th June 2016, and are copyright of Alistair McConnachie.
Posted on this site on 18 June 2016.
ATTITUDE AND STRATEGY
1. The United Kingdom is "The Great Work Of Time"
Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for coming along tonight. Please think of this as a Part 2 to the speech I gave here in 2013 Ever Closer Union: Over 50 Suggestions to Promote the Social Union and the Cultural Value of the United Kingdom.
Now in that speech, I listed over 50 suggested Policies. In this speech I am going to list another 35.
However, there is no point in having Policies, if you don't have a Philosophy to back them up – a Philosophy which informs the Policies.
So, the first half of this speech will be about Philosophy – with particular emphasis on the political Strategy; that is, the overall plan of action.
And then the second half will be about suggesting some broad pro-UK Policies related to the social and cultural spheres.
Those Policies will make more sense when you get what it is we are trying to do in the first place.
THE GOAL – 55% to 65%
Some background: This summer, the SNP is mounting a new publicity drive for separation. It is part of their constant strategy to push – what amounts to – daily division of the British.
In The National (30-5-16) – so-called newspaper…but really a daily separatist manual published by The Herald stable in Glasgow – SNP MP Tommy Sheppard laid out his Master Plan for converting No voters to separatists.
He got some publicity for it because critical to his strategy is waiting around for the current batch of "over-60s" to hurry up and die.
Or, as he put it so touchingly, "the demographics are with us in this journey."
Of course, they are not really with him at all, because he forgot to factor in that separatists die too, and each day there is a constant supply of new, old people…coming up.
This is not the first time we've seen these people trying to work out if they can ultimately win through the natural aging process.
They'll try anything these people!
It's ironic that Mr Sheppard is one of the SNP MPs who hate the British State but it is the British State which has given them everything they have – including a higher profile in Scotland than the MSPs.
Yet still people like Sheppard bite the hand that feeds them!
Be that as it may, and for all the criticism which we are inclined to level at him, we have to accept that at least he has got a plan.
In his article he suggested various other ideas, and that the aim of this summer's separation drive should be to raise the anti-UK vote by a certain percentage.
In the face of this, we must ask seriously: What are the "unionist" parties aiming to do over the next 5 years to persuade people in Scotland of the benefits of staying in the United Kingdom?
How do they plan to raise the number of people who want to stay in the UK? Have they given a moment's thought to this?
Or are they only going to sit about and hope that the SNP will eventually lose its lustre?
Because that is not a plan!
That is just…doing nothing – because you have no imagination or motivation to do anything!
Recently, I wrote that we must have a plan over the next 5 years of this Holyrood Parliament, to raise our support from the 55% who voted for the UK in 2014, by at least another 10% …to 65%.
That is pro-active. It is a clear goal. And it is do-able.
So, we should not let people like Sheppard seize the initiative. We must have an initiative of our own. A Goal of our own, and Guidelines on how to achieve it.
Well, we have one now – courtesy of A Force For Good!
Moving support for the UK from 55% of voters to 65% of voters is the Goal to which we devote our work over the next 5 years.
How should we go about doing that?
That's exactly what I want to talk about.
But first, if we are to succeed in doing this, it is necessary to establish the right mental attitude to the long-term challenge.
And in that regard, an important point to understand, in order to ground our work in substance is this philosophical point:
1. THE UNITED KINGDOM IS "THE GREAT WORK OF TIME"
The Great Work of Time! I love that Phrase!
I heard it from the journalist Charles Moore. He wrote: "The United Kingdom is, to re-coin the poet Marvell's phrase, 'the great work of time'. Our leaders have been so thoughtless of it, for so long that there is not much time left to restore it." 1
You know, when we think about Britain – and as always I use the term to mean the entire UK – we need to remember that no nation is guaranteed eternal life.
And in this regard, Neil Oliver, the archaeologist and broadcaster, wrote a tremendous piece on the anniversary of the Union this year. He said:
Great Britain has been here so long it can be easy to think it just happened, a work of nature like a mountain or an ancient tree. The truth is, it was ever a fragile thing. Union is a dream shared by a people and kept real only by their imagination and conviction. If we neglect to maintain it, the temple will fall. All of it will be destroyed and so the work of centuries will be undone. 2
What these two men are saying is that a nation is kept alive by those who believe in it.
And that it is for each generation to make the idea live. To make it a real thing – through politics but also through education, and culture, literature, art, sport, film...and through all the mechanisms that we spoke about in 2013.
Yes, it is important to make the economic and statistical case for the UK, and we accept that there are a lot of people who only care about how they, personally, will be economically affected.
However, the UK is bound together not only by economic necessity, but also by fraternal affinity – that is, by our sense of shared identity and shared endeavour with our fellows throughout these Islands.
It is worth fighting on those grounds, because those are powerful grounds.
'The Cavalry of the Empire' remembrance statue at Hyde Park Corner. For much of the 19th and 20th century, the phrase 'The British Empire' would possibly be used as often as, or more than, the phrase 'The United Kingdom'.
One of the ways we do this…one of the Courses of Action we take…and this is the second point…is that we…
2. HELP THE UNITED KINGDOM TO TELL ITS STORY
Compare Britain to the USA.
The USA has a founding mythology. It has its "Founding Fathers", its "Foundational Documents". It also has a National Myth – a National Story about the Frontier, about Freedom, about the idea that Everybody can Make It. It's all positive stuff and it has served the USA fairly well.
This is all central to how the USA understands itself and sees its role in the world.
Do we have the same in Britain? Perhaps not so much…
Britain doesn't really have generally recognised Founding Fathers. Not in the way, for example, that the USA talks about George Washington or Abraham Lincoln.
Although, of course, we have our Great Kings and Queens and Prime Ministers.
To an extent we do have Foundational Documents – in the sense that we have things like Magna Carta the Bills of Rights and various crucial Parliamentary Acts.
One can also point to the King James Bible which was hugely influential in moulding Britain – although we tend not to venerate these documents in the way that the USA would do so.
Do we have a National Myth – by which we mean an inspiring story, or stories, about our nation's past which serves to affirm the legitimacy of the nation today, and which helps to give meaning to its people's lives today.
Certainly, we used to have a National Story. It was one of Service to the World through the Empire – and that ideal was heavily influenced by the Christianity of the time, and the King James Bible.
Things in short supply these days!
We've also had the story of Britain as a Small Island which Stands Up against Oppressors.
That's all good! That's all inspirational!
These stories, and others, need to be always remembered and retold.
One of the things our organisation – A Force For Good – is already doing…and wants to continue to do…is to find ways of making our past stories meaningful to the present.
We want to help tell the National Story – and in particular the Union Story – by which we mean the creation of the UK; the story of our coming together.
For example, we want to identify the Founding Fathers (and Mothers) of the United Kingdom, per se, who have come from all four corners of our Islands.
We want to highlight the Documents which have been crucial to the creation of the United Kingdom, per se.
And we want to continue to find others who can help us tell these stories. And to work in cooperation with others to get these inspirational messages out there.
Now some people will object that…
"To Be British is Not to Have to State these Things"
No. It is not correct to believe that Britishness is some sort of "understated" identity which doesn't need – and should not need – to speak about itself.
Perhaps people like myself in Scotland (and people in Northern Ireland especially) understand through experience that some things about the British identity have to be consciously and deliberately maintained, because otherwise they will die out…and people like Mr Tommy Sheppard (who I mentioned at the start of this Speech) will have his day! 3
Thirdly…in our attempt to raise support for the UK by at least 10%...
3. OPPOSE THE NEGATIVITY, THE LOSS OF SELF-BELIEF, AND THE POVERTY OF AMBITION OF SOME OF THE BRITISH POLITICAL CLASS
Of course, the internal enemies of Britain do not want any kind of positive story to be told. For them, it is all about negative things, like emphasising the alleged wrongs of the past.
It is all about talking-down Britain today, as if we are a kind of small, irrelevant island group.
It is all deliberate, in order to delegitimise the very idea of "Britain"; to breed a sense of hopelessness in our collective future; and to encourage people to see separatism as some kind of shining alternative. 4
There has also been a loss of self-belief.
Listen to the way our politicians speak about a Brexit. Listen to the rhetoric of some of the Remainers. It is as if the world will end. Many of them are reinforcing a sense of national failure. 5
And of course this affects people who get the choice of whether or not to stick with the UK. Especially if they hear someone like Nicola Sturgeon who does nothing but talk-up Scotland!
So, from our perspective, let us recognise that:
1. There are people who will deliberately promote negativity about Britain for their own separatist purposes; and
2. If we are to move at least 10% who vote for separation to voting for unity instead, then we need to tell a British Story in the positive way that, for example, the USA, is able to speak about itself – and in the way that Nicola Sturgeon speaks about Scotland's unlimited potential.
The statue of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent Violet Szabo is found next to Lambeth Palace, the area of London in which she lived.
As part of this overall aim to raise support by at least 10%...Point 4:
4. DEVELOP A BRITISH-WIDE VISION – LET US ASSERT THAT "WE STAND FOR SOMETHING"
Because in addition to the loss of self-belief in Britain, there is also a poverty of ambition among some of the British political class.
Perhaps the Brexit debate may be changing that. We are hearing more positive ideas about Britain's potential.
However, if we are to really challenge the internal separatists in the UK, then we need to be hearing positive Britain-wide proposals.
Too often it seems that the Tory Party only speaks about "cutting spending" while boosting short-term, so-called "growth" through the self-defeating methods of mass private indebtedness and importing the rest of the world – rather than actually investing in things which will, in the long-term, help us get out of debt.
Too often it seems the Labour Party only talks about "welfare". (It appears to have given up on the whole "Jobs" thing.)
It is all very dismal.
There is no sense that our British leaders have a national plan for Britain around which everyone from all four corners of the UK can rally.
So, in the face of this lack of Vision, it's no wonder that a lot of people will look on and make the mistake that Scotland would be better off out of the UK.
This is especially so when we have articulate political leaders in Sturgeon and Salmond telling us how "wonderful" things could be if we separated.
Well, if our elected political leaders don't have any British Vision, then it is for the rest of us to help provide it.
It is for the rest of us to keep a Vision for Britain alive.
It is for us to assert that the United Kingdom Stands for Something – that our Destiny is to Be Together – and that we have a Bright Future Together! 6
Which leads us to the fifth Strategic Point for helping to increase the vote by 10%:
5. EMPHASISE AND DEVELOP SOCIAL AND CULTURAL COHESION BRITAIN-WIDE
Let us…Strengthen the British Ties that Bind.
If, God Forbid, there is another referendum, it is going to depend heavily upon emphasising and appreciating our social and cultural togetherness.
This is going to be especially the case because many of the political similarities which have existed hitherto – and which we used to argue, effectively, for the UK in 2014 – are being heavily compromised by the recent Scotland Act 2016. 7
Be that as it may, if we can emphasise our social and cultural togetherness then – regardless of how the politics of the moment are compromising the integrity of the UK – then at least we can still point to the bonds which continue to hold true.
This means that as we go into the future, there must be no reluctance to talk about Britain and its many benefits.
There must be no "cultural cringe" about Britishness.
Finding ways to integrate Britain socially and culturally must be a priority.
After all, "cultural integration" is meant to be a good thing!
We hear a lot about "integration" and attempts to "integrate" communities, often immigrant communities. Well, what about Scots and English! What about that sort of integration!
What sense does it make to try to "integrate" immigrants into "the British Way of Life", when the togetherness of the British, and our "Way of Life" is being destroyed by our own politicians!
SO TO RECAP…5 POINTS TO INCREASE OUR VOTE BY 10%:
1. Understand the United Kingdom as the Great Work of Time and know that it cannot be taken for granted.
2. Tell the Story of the United Kingdom and tell it in whatever way, and in whatever mediums that we can.
3. Correct the anti-British historical and political narrative, and reject the loss of self-belief and the poverty of ambition of the current political class.
4. Articulate an Inspiring Britain-Wide Vision which will encourage people to stay part of the UK.
5. Emphasise our Social and Cultural Togetherness and work to Strengthen the British Ties that Bind.
Those are the broad Foundations of Belief and Action upon which we can build all sorts of Pro-UK Projects; and move support for the UK in Scotland up, at least, another 10%.
However, in this effort, we also require and depend upon at least three more things:
6. THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT and GOVERNMENT to UNDERSTAND, and PROCEED on the BASIS, that the UNITED KINGDOM is A NATION
We spoke about this last year in our 30 pro-UK Principles.
It is crucial to understand the UK as One Nation because without that understanding, it is very difficult to effectively defend its integrity. It is much harder to effectively defend its togetherness.
Let me explain…
Right now, the UK is understood by our politicians as merely a State. They call it a "Union of Nations".
The House of Lords recently released its Report called "The Union and Devolution", and throughout it they have framed the UK as this "Union of Nations".
This is despite the fact that groups such as ours lobbied them last year to tell them if was much more than this.
As we pointed out, the UK is also a "Nation of Unions"; by which is meant a Nation which has been forged through time by a succession of Unions – England with Wales, the Union of the Crowns, the Parliamentary Union with Scotland, and then with Ireland.
Over time, and as a result of all our unions, we have become a Nation.
We are more than just a "Union". We are more than just a State. We are a Nation – a Nation-State which has been forged by its unions – by its coming together into one. 8
WHY is this RELEVANT to the MAINTENANCE of the UK?
Because if you understand the UK as merely a Union of separate "Nations" then this breeds indifference to the idea of us staying together.
It breeds indifference because it encourages people to only care about their own particular quote/unquote "nation".
Nobody feels personally invested in…a greater entity which needs to be protected.
For example, why should English politicians at Westminster care about Scotland if "Scotland is another nation"? In that case, "caring about Scotland" should only be for those Scottish MPs to bother about.
Why should politicians from Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales care about what is happening in England…if we are all to be encouraged to think of ourselves as different "nations"?
If you say that the UK is merely a convenient arrangement where people in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales agree to get along – for the time being – then this removes the idea, and the sense, that we are all part of a bigger national community.
It removes the idea, and the sense, that we are all part of the same country.
And when you do that, you've removed the idea that there is one country to care about – and keep together – in the first place!
You've removed the reason to care about keeping the UK together.
Why should people in England care about what happens to Scotland, if we are all different "nations"? Why should people in Scotland care about what happens in England if we are all different "nations"?
One is only going to care if one sees the other person and the other place as part of one's own nation – Britain.
So for the UK to be held together, then substantial numbers of people must feel a part of it. They must feel vested in a greater entity.
And that can only happen if people understand the UK as a Nation – as their Nation – of which they are a functioning, valued part – a Nation which confers upon them a collective British identity; and which holds them to responsibilities and duties to defend and uphold that Nation; in solidarity with all who dwell therein.
However, if we are to be encouraged to see the UK as merely some kind of glorified political arrangement where people from different quote/unquote "nations" agree to associate for the time being – and only for so long as they don't upset each other too much – then that will just mean that there is no ultimate reason for anyone to feel part of a UK, in the first place.
The concept will already have excluded everybody from participating in the idea of the UK as a joint endeavour in which we all have a collective interest and a common purpose.
It will have removed the idea of solidarity with other people in the UK because it will have prevented us seeing them as part of the same thing that we are part of.
It breeds indifference to the idea of the UK as "the Great Work of Time".
And so our politicians must get back to understanding and articulating the UK as a Nation. And if they won't do it, then we will certainly keep doing it until they do.
And because we are One Nation...We Require, and we Depend Upon…
7. OUR BRITISH PARLIAMENT AND GOVERNMENT TO BE FORTHRIGHT IN STANDING FOR THE INTEGRITY OF THE UNITED KINGDOM
And because we are One Nation, then the British Parliament and Government needs to be forthright in standing for its legitimate and proper right to decide matters which pertain to the overall integrity of that entire Nation – the United Kingdom.
It has a perfect right to do so. After all, the British Parliament represents all the people of Britain collectively through our MPs. All the MPs are responsible not just for their constituents, and not just for their own part of the UK, but for the entire Nation of Britain.
It is the absolute constitutional and democratic right and responsibility of the British Parliament and Government to moderate, or to prevent, or to overturn any action – including any action of any devolved administration – which may be damaging to the overall integrity of the United Kingdom.
That integrity is something for which the British Parliament has sole responsibility. It is something upon which we British throughout our Islands entirely depend!
Parliament and Government must be confident enough to state these facts; these Democratic Facts. 9
Here is an example of when and why it should make such a stand.
Just because the First Minster of Scotland may demand another referendum does not mean that she should get one.
For so long as we live in a United Kingdom, it is not her sole right to demand it. Nor is it the sole right of the people in Scotland to decide whether or not to break up the UK.
Now, Sturgeon may point to the people who voted for her to claim she has a democratic mandate to call one. But what about those of us who did not vote for her? Who speaks for us?
We need the British Parliament to back us up! We need it to speak for those of us in Scotland who did not vote for the SNP.
And what about everyone else in the rest of the UK who does not want to see their country being broken up by a small number of Scots. They need the British Parliament to speak for them too!
As we emphasise, it is an absolute Democratic Fact that the British Parliament and Government has a right and a duty to speak for us, and it should not be shy about stating that fact. It should not be shy about stating that democratic fact.
It should articulate clearly that whether or not Sturgeon – or whoever – should be given that opportunity depends upon the say-so of all the other people of the UK, acting through their elected representatives at the British Parliament.
If the British Parliament says no, then that is the end of the matter.
That remains the case so long as people in Scotland continue to send MPs to the collective British Parliament and regardless of whether or not there are any pro-UK MPs in that number.
As with States in the USA, there should be no right to unilaterally secede from the UK. The British Parliament must always have the final say!
Noor Inayat Khan GC, an SOE agent executed at Dachau, contemplates Gordon Square Garden, where she used to spend time.
And just as we must hear the British Voice from Parliament, the third thing we depend upon is to…
8. HEAR THE VOICES FOR THE UK FROM ENGLAND, NORTHERN IRELAND AND WALES
Everyone must feel free to be involved and engaged!
Everyone must feel "allowed" to be involved and engaged!
This did not happen in 2014. Those voices were fairly silent at the referendum because the debate had been framed in a way which tended to exclude, and delegitimise voices from outside Scotland.
That must not happen again, because this is not just a matter for "the Scots".
As we are keen to emphasise in this presentation, it is a matter for everyone who values Britain and being British! It is a matter for everyone who does not want to see their country – their Nation– being broken up.
Regardless of where you are from, it is 100% legitimate for everyone to speak up for the UK. 11
SO TO RECAP:
6. Absolutely crucial to our efforts to maintain the United Kingdom is to understand it as One Nation; a Nation-State, not just a State. Only that way can everyone throughout our Islands feel involved and invested enough in it...to care about it…in the first place!
7. Consequent to this understanding, the British Parliament and Government has an absolute democratic right to oppose anything that will damage the integrity of this Nation. We, who are not separatists depend upon it to do this. It must be forthright in asserting its place, when necessary.
8. And let us hear the voices of everyone else in the UK because everyone who is British is perfectly justified in standing up for their country!
This very British memorial to WW1 and WW2 is part of the entrance to Euston Station. It consists of the main Obelisk with 2 buildings on either side of the entrance. On the facing corners of each building are inscribed, in alphabetical order, the names of towns throughout the British Isles, from Aberdeen and Aberystwith, including Belfast and Dublin, to 72 in total.
LIST OF POLICY SUGGESTIONS
So that is the broad Philosophical and Strategic approach behind the attempt to raise the pro-UK vote by 10%.
Now let's look at some broad Policy Suggestions – which would also help to encourage people to see the value of the UK – even if only in small and subtle ways.
I should say that some of these things are things which government can mandate or do. Others are things which only individuals or companies can do, and can do just because they are good ideas.
As we said in 2013 when we listed over 50 ideas, some of these may strike you as good and immediately do-able. Others, good but perhaps not possible at present.
Also, let's be clear: Of course we understand that taken separately, these things are not likely to "save the Union" on their own; but they are the sort of things which are going in the right general direction.
Since we've just thrown everything into the mix, some of these ideas may strike you as perhaps a bit quirky, or unusual, or largely symbolic, or surprising.
But, let's put them out there. Perhaps they will spark other people's ideas; and inspire people who will be better placed than us to take these ideas, or similar ideas, forward.
You know…we cannot go on proclaiming ourselves to be a United Kingdom if we are not doing "United" things. It is not enough to say, "I believe" in the Union. It's also necessary to do.
The first half of the talk was fairly intense political stuff, so let's lighten up here. We have Euro 2016 starting on Friday, so how about…
A British Football "Championship Cup"
This pic is taken from the West Ham v Celtic Bobby Moore Testimonial Match, on 16 November 1970.
Perhaps the top 2 teams in the top divisions of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales could battle it out – perhaps over the summer months every couple of years. Or perhaps something similar could be encouraged at the amateur level.
No one is suggesting that the respective Football Associations need to merge or give up their identity in any way, for these things to happen. It just requires good will and perhaps central funding to get it started.
This is for an imaginatively British Minister for Sport to take the lead on.
The Entire UK to be a Venue for the Football World Cup
Creative thinking for the future! Why should only one part of the UK (England) apply to host the World Cup?
Scotland has several excellent football venues, as does Northern Ireland and Wales. It should be the UK which applies.
Why should the various Football Associations stand in the way of this when the economic benefits to the sport in their own areas would be tremendous? And why should the Government stand back and allow the financial benefits to the whole of the United Kingdom to be lost?
Ideally, we wouldn't want to see this sort of thing "enforced" because its merits should speak for themselves. Everyone can benefit.
However, if the various Football Associations can't come together on this, then the politicians should, if necessary, over-ride any "objections" – for the financial benefit of the whole of the UK.
Some of the football games of the 2012 London Olympics were held in Glasgow and so there is a precedent for Britain, rather than just England, hosting the World Cup.
Again this is something that an imaginatively British Minister for Sport could make a priority.
Last year we had the Rugby World Cup…
The Rugby World Cup should (be) have been Britain-wide
The Rugby World Cup in 2015 was branded "England 2015". However, games were also held in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff? Why couldn't it have been UK-wide, with games hosted at Murrayfield and in Belfast?
There is a precedent for this.
When the Rugby World Cup was hosted in France it was co-hosted in the UK, including Murrayfield in Edinburgh. So why, when it was hosted in England, were there no games in Scotland?
This is the sort of thing which could be used to bring people together within the Union.
Such a missed opportunity. We presume it was because of parochial politics among the respective rugby associations.
If that is the case, then where necessary they should be overruled in the national economic interest. 12
A British Football Team – if only at Amateur Level
We mentioned this in 2013. We mention it again because we have one for the Olympic Games this summer, but the parochial Scottish Football Association is again likely to exclude its players from the Men's Team this year – which is disgraceful.
A British Football Team – professional or otherwise – in no way threatens the independence of the SFA, and it is not a replacement for "Scotland". It is simply an additional team, like the British and Irish Lions at Rugby. Why can't the Minister for Sport at Westminster get this sorted?
If such a team can't be established for occasional games at a professional level, then maybe it could be established at an amateur level.
The British and Irish Lions to Tour the UK against Local Teams
This could be exhibition games or charity games to raise money for local rugby clubs. It wouldn't have to be their first team, but it could be the 2nd or 3rd fifteen. 13
A British Football Team to Tour the UK against Local Teams
This idea could also be used in football – and it doesn't have to be a professional team, it could be an amateur team – where a British Team plays local teams to raise money for charity. Again, it doesn't have to be the first 11. It could be an opportunity to give younger, up and coming players, a bit of prestige. 14
And while we are still on the topic of Sport – and we warned you that we were going to throw some unusual stuff into this mix:
Ring the Olympic Bell to Commemorate Key Events
The Olympic Bell was specially constructed for London 2012 and is one of the largest in the world. It now sits silent and dead in the Olympic Park.
It could become a Great British tourist attraction – like the One o' Clock Gun in Edinburgh. So why not ring it on the occasion of Royal Birthdays, or other suitably British dates in our Sporting Calendar – and Goodness Knows, there are enough dates in the history of our Great Sporting Nation to celebrate!
All these things are limited only by our imagination.
Bring the Invictus Games to Glasgow
When we spoke here in 2013, one of our suggestions was to bring the "Warrior Games" to the UK. That has since happened in the sense that, in 2014, Prince Harry took the lead in promoting the "Invictus Games" for disabled ex-servicemen and women. He even suggested, back in 2014, after the Inaugural Games, that they could be in Glasgow. 15
These all need more thought, of course, but we are putting them out here…
While Westminster is being Repaired move it out of London
There is a lot of talk about the Palace of Westminster having to be temporarily closed down while it is being renovated.
If the Parliament has to move out, then let it move to somewhere else in the UK. Get out of London, bring it to the Provinces. How about setting it up in Birmingham for 3 years, or Glasgow or Cardiff.
The precedent is the European Parliament which sits in both Frankfurt and Brussels – it does that deliberately to spread itself around Europe, and why not?
Roving Cabinet Meetings held at Devolved Parliaments
If moving the entire seat of government is too ambitious, then there could be a rolling plan to move Cabinet meetings around every part of the UK. Perhaps once a year, hold the Cabinet meetings at Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont. These places already have the capability and the security.
This would help to integrate the British Parliament with the devolved parliaments and assemblies in the public mind – rather than giving the impression that these places are hostile or in opposition to each other.
Here's a controversial one…
Establish a new UK Committee which includes the Secretaries of State, relevant members of the Cabinet, the First Ministers, and their Deputies
The aim here would be to find an inclusive and unifying way to integrate everyone into a wider sense of British politics.
Having said that, there is a chance that a group like the SNP would do nothing but try to disrupt such a Meeting or use it to further division and separation.
So caution is needed.
But if it wasn't for the presence of divisive separatists in our midst, the idea seems sound!
Find a way to Prevent the Civil Service being Enlisted again to Break-up Britain
The extent to which the British civil service in Scotland, funded by the British taxpayer, was able to be enlisted by Alex Salmond to produce his 2013 White Paper, "Scotland's Future" (an exact acronym of "Fraudulent Costs") is a very serious concern.
It may be necessary to strengthen the Civil Service Code in some way. We have to find some way to prevent them "going native". 16
Don't allow the BBC to fall under Scottish Nationalist Control or Influence
Do not devolve broadcasting!
We want to ensure that the BBC continues to reflect Britain as one. As Ian Bradley has written: "What the BBC must continue to do is report and reflect on the whole of Britain to itself." 17
Every Bank Note to Carry a Statement that it is British Sterling
What is this about?
A common Scottish nationalist complaint is that the bank notes of the Scottish private banks are sometimes not accepted in England. This is largely not so. However, it does sometimes happen – especially with large denominations.
There is an easy way to prevent this happening.
We could do this by an Act of Parliament which defines all references to the British Central Bank as meaning "the Bank of England"; and states that all the notes of all the private banks in the UK must carry the Imprint, "This Note is Standard British Sterling which is backed by the British Central Bank". 18
At a stroke, that would render all these notes absolutely legitimate in the eyes of every holder and it would help people to realise that it is all British Currency.
Considering that the private Royal Bank of Scotland is still heavily owned by the British taxpayer who bailed it out anyway, then this is the least that should be expected!
Now, I want to talk about, Things to do with the British Flag:
Here's one of them! Hand it to Nicola Sturgeon to wave! That's me on 4 May the day before the 2016 Holyrood election offering Nicola Sturgeon the chance to wave the Union Jack. She touched it but didn't wave it!
THE BRITISH FLAG
Increase the Number of "Designated Days" for Union Jack Flag Flying
The government has a list of "Designated Days" for Union Flag flying from its public buildings. At the moment the list of Designated Days – is fairly brief, centred around Royal birthdays.
One of the Projects which we want to start on, if we're able to obtain funds going forward, is to compile a much more extensive list of suitable "British" dates where the Union Flag could be flown by all the Councils throughout the UK – and to approach Councils, and sympathetic Councillors, to suggest that they do this.
Of course, flying the flag on Designated Days is something anyone can do.
For example, if you have some kind of responsibility over a private building which has a flag pole then why not work to ensure the Union Flag flies on it on these Designated Days?
To give you a for instance: The Union Flag used to fly over George Square in Glasgow on Armed Forces Day, from the privately owned Merchants' House. For the last two years the flag has been absent. Presumably there has been a change in management, or the Committee is simply not alert to such matters.
The Union Flag to Fly every day at all Military Bases, Barracks, and Reserve Centres in Scotland
Mandating this is something the British government can do because the military has not (yet!) been devolved to the SNP.
The Union Flag to Fly every day at all British Government Civil Service Buildings in Scotland
Even in the devolved areas, these buildings are still British, and paid for by British taxpayers.
The least we should expect is that they fly the Nation's flag, if only out of respect to the people who pay their wages.
There should be no question about this! However, if it is too much to ask then the Civil Service Buildings should at least be doing it on the Designated Days. But many of them are falling down even on that. If you work in such a Civil Service building then why not encourage your employer to do so.
The British Flag displayed Prominently at every Public Airport and Seaport in Scotland
Without these visible symbols it can be easy to forget that we are still living in a United Kingdom.
'Police Scotland' Stations, and all Fire Stations, to Fly the Union Flag on Designated Days
If the heavily centralised 'Police Scotland' won't do this every day, they should at least do it on the Designated Days. Although it won't be on orders from their SNP overseers.
Perhaps some of them do fly the flag. Often these things just depend on who the Station Manager is.
The Royal Family greets the crowds after Trooping the Colour, Saturday 11 June 2016. (Say what you like about the Queen's outfit that day, but she certainly stands out!)
Use the Palace of Holyroodhouse to Celebrate the Monarchy Today (not just of the past)
When we spoke here in 2013 one of our suggestions was that we should "Make more use of the Royal Residences to Involve all 4 corners of the Nation in Major Royal Events".
The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the major Royal Palace in Edinburgh. It sits at the bottom of the Royal Mile, and it has a very big garden area where annually, in July, the Queen holds her Garden Party – attended by around 8,000 invited people – invited from all parts of Scottish society.
However, it is somewhat exclusive in that many of the same people – elected officials, Councillors etc –always get the same invite each year.
It is also the only large public Royal event which it holds each year.
As a venue for Royal events to which the general public can attend, it is heavily under-utilised.
Indeed, with the exception of the Queen's Garden Party it is not utilised at all for large public Royal events – even though it is situated perfectly in the centre of Edinburgh.
You know, we've just had the Queen's 90th Birthday on 21st April. We've got the official Birthday coming up in London on Saturday this week. What has Holyroodhouse done for either of these two dates?
The answer is basically nothing. Certainly not on any kind of scale. Only a small 2-hour private guided tour event on 14 June.
Such a wasted opportunity.
You know, a Monarch's 90th is not going to happen again for a long time, if ever!
Here is what could have been done:
It is a fact that many people in Scotland support the Monarchy. Many of us want something we can go to, to celebrate the Queen's 90th.
Or at least, if we can't get to it, we want to know that there is something semi-official, or official, happening somewhere in Scotland, which other people are going to.
Something located in the centre of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is the ideal place for it to happen.
This Saturday is Trooping the Colour. People can apply, by ballot, to attend Trooping the Colour at Horseguards Parade. You can apply in January and February, your name is added to a ballot, and then you are told if you are successful. Then you pay £30 for a ticket to sit in the stands.
Attendance at the Queen's Birthday Event in Windsor in May was also by ballot and then by paying for a ticket. It was well attended.
All very democratic!
Ideally, Holyroodhouse could and should have had a Queen's 90th Birthday Party in its grounds, perhaps before this weekend – the Official Birthday – or after this weekend.
People could have applied by ballot. That's the most democratic way.
There could have been several thousand people each paying for a ticket. There would have been family entertainment, perhaps a military display of some kind, a minor Royal in attendance.
That would help to cover the costs of the event. That would take away the petty, nasty complaints – which would be sure to arise – from elements of the Scottish media and the republicans – about the so-called "cost to the public purse".
Something similar could have been done in Wales, perhaps in the grounds of Cardiff Castle, or Caernarfon Castle; in Northern Ireland, perhaps at Hillsborough Castle.
The thing is: people will go to these things. And they will pay for them!
There is support for the Monarchy, and if something semi-official, or official, is arranged, it will be sold-out very quickly.
Again, as I mentioned in 2013, this sort of thing would help to disperse the London-centric feel of many of the events around the Monarchy. It would have helped to Spread the Love around a bit.
Something like that probably did not happen because the people in control of Holyroodhouse – the Royal Collection Trust – would probably say that "It's not our remit to do that sort of thing." That's very possibly so. In which case, the remit needs to change.
It may also be that, right now, Holyroodhouse, and its management, does not even has the physical ability to hold such an event.
So, what we are suggesting here is a substantial re-imagining, and re-purposing, of the function of this particular Royal Palace, going forward. 19
Have an Event in Scotland on the Occasion of the State Opening of the British Parliament
What about official functions in each of the 4 corners of the UK on the occasion of the State Opening of Parliament. For example, a function at Holyrood, or HolyroodHouse. This would help to emphasise the centrality of our British political system to the devolved situation.
Councils to make Funding Available to Celebrate Royal Events
There is at least one council in Northern Ireland (possibly more) which has given grants to constituted Community Groups who wish to "to deliver a programme of activities and events to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen's 90th birthday." 20
We are unaware of any such thing in Scotland. So, have a publicly-funded pot of funds to which local groups can apply in order to hold pro-UK events. This would be the government enabling pro-UK activity, rather than organising it directly.
A Government Statement to Clarify that there is no "anti-Scottish verse" in the British National Anthem
The separatists bring this erroneous claim up several times a year and it is damaging.
We examined all the evidence for this and we pointed out that the original 3 verses of the National Anthem are virtually identical to the 3 verses today. Our definitive research is published at The Alleged Rebellious Scots "Verse" De-bunked.
Establish an Official Royal Residence in Wales
Have an Annual Royal Garden Party in Wales
It could be held in the grounds of Carnarvon Castle – even if it is not a Royal Residence – it is where Prince Charles was inaugurated and he could host it. It would also help strengthen the relationship between the Prince of Wales and Wales itself. 21
Portrait of the Queen in every Court House in Scotland
Why don't Court Rooms in Scottish courts have a portrait of the Queen in the way that they all do in England and Wales? Or even a Royal Crest? After all, it is the Queen's laws they are enforcing and adjudicating upon!
If it is too much to ask to have a Portrait in every Court Room, then there should at least be a portrait in every Court House.
A Portrait of the Queen displayed Prominently at every Public Airport and Seaport in Scotland
And the rest of the UK, if this is not already done! There should be an Act of Parliament to that effect.
Portrait of the Queen displayed Prominently in every British Government Civil Service Building in Scotland
Restore the Crown symbol on Pint Glasses
This was removed to conform with various EU edicts.
Police Officers in Scotland to Swear an Oath of Allegiance to the Queen
Why don't Police Officers in Scotland swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen, or Crown, in the way that they do in England and Wales?
Red Post Boxes should have the Royal Cypher painted in Gold
This is a quirky one – but potentially very colourful. After all, what is more British than Red Post Boxes?
This was a suggestion we saw in a reader's letter in The Daily Telegraph of 17-1-16. It helps to identify the history of the Boxes and relate them back to the particular Monarchs of the past. After all, they are visual representations on our streets of our monarchical history. Otherwise these little things go unnoticed.
Here's a symbolic one…but which holds considerable meaning.
The Stone of Destiny to be returned to the Coronation Chair
The removal of the Stone of Destiny from under the Coronation Chair (from Westminster Abbey on 14 November 1996) was vandalism. The Chair was deliberately constructed to hold the Stone. To remove the Stone is a desecration of a Great British National Monument.
The Stone belongs with the Chair and if you are going to move them around then move them around together, as one, say every 5 years from London, to Scotland, to Wales, to Northern Ireland – a moving symbol of British unity under the Crown.
This would also be a considerable tourist attraction.
Whatever happens, the Stone and Chair should be reunited.
And whether the Stone is "the real stone" is not crucial. The meaning is in the symbolism, not necessarily the actual historical provenance of the stone itself.
Let's see the Household Cavalry in Scotland more often
The Household Cavalry is a great iconic image of Britishness. It would be good to see them in Scotland more often. The last time they were here was in 2011 (28-8-2011, Floors Castle, Kelso) and prior to that they hadn't been for 10 years. In that regard, here is a great pic of them in Glasgow on the 17 May 1977 on the occasion of the Queen's Silver Jubilee.
Another quirky one…
Run a Competition to find a New "UK Theme" Tune on Radio 4
The "UK Theme" was a medley of music from all parts of the UK – which played every morning on Radio 4 before the Shipping Broadcast. An apparently small thing, but considerable in meaning. How about running a competition to find a new one?
Prior to the 2014 referendum a musician – Eddie McGuire – from the pro-UK group "Vote No Borders", produced a "Unity Suite" which was a selection of music from all over the UK. You can listen to it here.
Place a copy of the Magna Carta in the Houses of Parliament
Or have it travelling around the UK – Cardiff, Holyrood, Stormont. To the extent that Britain has "Foundational Documents" then let us esteem them. 22
So, who is to take these ideas and this positive attitude forward?
A MINISTRY OF STATE FOR THE UNION
In our speech in June 2013, we said that we need to create A Ministry of State for the Union:
To bring this all together, we need Whitehall to set up a specific Ministry, and maybe even Holyrood too. We need a Union Office – a Ministry for the Union – and a Minister for the Union. This would be an official government body tasked to promote the social and cultural value of the Union of the United Kingdom, and which is able to spot and prevent, and defeat threats to the Union. It would be able to make sure that the things I have been speaking about tonight have a good chance of happening.
We are not talking about a Ministry intended merely to manage the administrative complexities of quasi-federalism between the different "Governments" of the UK.
We're talking about a Ministry to promote the cultural and social integrity – the togetherness – of the UK.
That would help co-ordinate a lot of what we have spoken about tonight.
Other things we can do:
We can Support the Grass-Roots Pro-UK Groups in Scotland
Our Group – A Force For Good – "A double F G", has recently incorporated as a Company, and we will be publishing our 5-year plan and asking for funding later this year. That will be in order to take forward some of the things we've spoken about tonight.
We will continue to find other people with whom we can work and who can help us develop our Projects. And we will be careful not to duplicate the efforts being made by others.
We can Lobby the Pro-UK Parties at Westminster and Holyrood
They need to be encouraged to stand for the UK – as well as educated! So, let us encourage our (often nominally) unionist MPs, and MSPs and Councillors, as well as private individuals who are in a position to influence things along the lines that we have suggested tonight.
We started this presentation by saying that we want to move support for the UK from 55% of voters to 65% of voters.
It is to that Goal that we at "A double F G" devote our work for the next 5 years. Thank you for listening. 23
2. Neil Oliver, "SNP vision of independence is same as the Union, but dead", The Sunday Times (Scotland), 1-5-16 at www.thetimes.co.uk/article/snp-vision-of-independence-is-same-as-the-union-but-dead-shwfm3r6l
3. We like this quote from Daniel Jenkins from his book, The British: Their Identity and Their Religion. Scots…
"remain more likely than most of the English to see that there are certain issues which cannot be resolved simply by a little give and take here and there and a sensible readjustment of perspective, while the continuities are preserved. They put a little iron, a little intellectual rigour, into British moderation which in its English, and especially its Anglican form, it needs."
First spotted in Ian Bradley, Believing in Britain: The Spiritual Identity of Britishness, (Oxford, 2008: Lion Hudson plc), at 149 quoting, Daniel Jenkins, The British: Their Identity and Their Religion, (London, 1975: SCM Press) at 135.
In this regard, it was pointed out to us that "The Union was secured at the fringes." www.commonrepresentation.org.uk
By which is meant, although King William landed in Brixham in Devon during the Glorious Revolution, the Union was secured at the Siege of Derry by the Apprentice Boys, and it was further secured at the Battle of the Boyne – both in Ireland. It was further secured at the Battle of Culloden, in Scotland.
Perhaps that is why some people in Scotland and Northern Ireland are more conscious of it. We have these historical memories and associations – in a way that perhaps some people in England don't have. And just as the Union was secured at the fringes, so "the cracks always appear on the outside".
If we are going to maintain the building, then we need to be able to spot the signs of disrepair.
4. During the referendum, this tactic was very noticeable among the cybernats on social media and it is regularly pushed in their propaganda today. For example, see Paul Kavanagh, "The 20th century Fox denies took place", The National, 9-3-16, p.16.
5. Archie Norman, chairman of ITV, made a lot of good points about Britain and the pessimism which often seems to pervade the political and chattering classes - which we would add is to the detriment of our sense of national unity. As he said: "We still prefer Dunkirk to D-Day...instead of talking up achievement, the political system reinforces a sense of national failure…"
"To an extent, our prospects are what we believe them to be. We need to be suitably British about our past mistakes. But suitably American about our future prospects. A British Prime Minister talking about the future sounds like an argument about statistics. The same theme from a US president sounds like an argument about national character. When President Obama wrote about America's next 40 years – hard to imagine in this country – he did not mention a single economic statistic. He did say that what defines America's people is 'our spirit, a restless search for the right solution to any problem, an inclination to dream dreams, an insistence on making those dreams come true and an enduring faith even in the darkest days that brighter days lie ahead'".
Archie Norman, "Britain's future is bright – so show some optimism", The Sunday Telegraph, 16-6-13, p.B4 at www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/10122719/Britains-future-is-bright-so-show-some-optimism.html
6. The journalist Peter Jones wrote correctly that we need to answer the Question: "What is Britain's purpose in the world and is it worth being part of it?"
There has to be, quote "a demonstrable worthwhile vision and purpose for the British nation to pursue together. So far, it seems to me, no British political leader has articulated that. Until they do so convincingly, it is a major weakness in their campaign to preserve the union."
Peter Jones, "Vision of the future is hit or myth", The Scotsman, 13-5-4, p.23.
We add that while any list of Britain-wide Economic Policies is likely to be something of a "Wish-List", here, for the record, are some of the priorities of A Force For Good:
a. Break the stranglehold of the debt economy.
b. Challenge the banking oligarchy.
c. Revitalise British manufacturing, especially the smaller scale manufacturing where we can still compete with the rest of the world. For example…
d. Invest in the sort of shipbuilding at which we can still compete (smaller crafts).
e. Develop our crucial transport connections, our roads, railways and airports, which help to spread the wealth around.
f. Build up the Armed Forces; a form of investment which has huge carry-over benefits for scientific research and engineering.
g. Invest in appropriate apprenticeships and training for the jobs that will result from such a programme.
h. Develop the potential of the Anglosphere and the Commonwealth.
For example, it makes it a lot more complicated to argue for the importance of shared income tax receipts when income tax is now devolved! It makes it harder to argue against the unnecessary cost of setting up a separate Scottish tax revenue service when that is being effectively created right now – and being funded by the British taxpayer – irony of ironies!
8. One of the reasons the House of Lords has framed this wrongly is because one of their former advisors, Prof. Adam Tomkins – who is now a Tory MSP – has framed it incorrectly for them.
His submission to the House of Lords enquiry on the Union and devolution states: "The United Kingdom is not a nation state. It is a union state: that is to say, it is a state comprised of four nations."
See paragraph 1 of his submission (13 October 2015) to the House of Lords Constitution Committee's Inquiry on "The Union and devolution" at data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/constitution-committee/the-union-and-devolution/written/21975.html
Tomkins was a legal adviser to the House of Lords Constitution Committee from 2009-15. In 2014 he was nominated by the Scottish Conservatives to be a member of the Smith Commission. In May 2015 he was appointed by the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Rt Hon David Mundell MP, as Constitutional Adviser to the Scotland Office.
While the UK could be considered to be partly a "Union State", we point out that it is primarily a Nation State. It is unfortunate that the House of Lords Committee has founded its view of the UK on this erroneous position – because, as we emphasise, it is a frame which makes it much harder to defend the UK as an integral political unit.
9. Furthermore, democratically, Scotland has much more engagement with the British Parliament than with the Scottish Parliament. For example:
During the past 19 years, since the 1997 referendum, people in Scotland have consistently shown considerably more democratic political engagement with British politics at Westminster, than they have ever done with Holyrood. Turnout at Holyrood has never surpassed its "peak" of a mere 59% in 1999, whereas at the Westminster election in 2015 it was 71.1%.
1997 - 71.3%
2001 - 58.2%
2005 - 60.6%
2010 - 63.8%
2015 - 71.1%
Average over 19 year period (1997-2016) = 65%
1999 - 59%
2003 - 49.4%
2007 - 51.8%
2011 - 50.4%
2016 - 55.6%
Average over 19 year period (1997-2016) = 53.2%
For more info see are our article here
10. Imagine if Scotland had voted to leave the UK. If we use the official figure of 45,325,100 UK Parliamentary electors in the UK in 2014, and if we imagine that the 2,001,926 of people in Scotland who voted for the UK had actually voted to leave, then it would mean that the UK would have been broken up by less than 4.5% of the British electorate. How can that be acceptable if we believe the UK is One Nation?
In this regard, we had the following published, under the following title, as the lead letter in The Scotsman of 1-4-16:
SCOTLAND COULDN'T HAVE SECOND REFERENDUM WITHOUT PERMISSION OF REST OF THE UK
Nicola Sturgeon has been reported as saying: "We believe that the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people."
Her intention is to make this constitutional notion the accepted norm among all parties at Holyrood. If nobody contradicts her then she will get away with it.
However, she is wrong. Constitutional matters are reserved to the British Parliament. Legally, only Westminster can agree to a referendum.
Why is it reserved? The reason is because the UK is one country and one people. Ms Sturgeon's "Scottish people" are also British people. Everyone in Scotland has a responsibility to the UK's integrity, and vice versa.
Since we are one country and one people, then everybody in the UK must be involved in the decision as to whether one part should break away from, and break up, the whole.
In the UK we collectively address such questions, and we make such decisions, by acting through our common Parliament; that is, through the mechanism of our MPs and the Government which we have elected.
It is not for one part of the UK to usurp this power, any more than it is right for one person who is car-sharing with 3 others to remove its wheels.
It is high time our pro-UK politicians pointed this out to Ms Sturgeon, before this Scottish nationalist notion morphs into some kind of accepted new constitutional "fact".
11. In this regard, Graeme Archer wrote:
Partly English politicians – particularly Conservatives – have held their tongues for fear of helping Salmond. The theory is that the Scots so loathe English Tories that the mere recitation of a desire to maintain the Union, if uttered in an accent not drawn from north of the border, will release antibodies into the political system that will attack the Unionist host. I'm not so sure. The more extreme nationalists are, fortunately and by definition, atypical, and my family-based anti-separatism is hardly unique. By staying silent in the debate, I worry that English politicians have merely reinforced the SNP narrative, about some mythical, mutually exclusive, foreign nature to our inter‑relationship.
Graeme Archer, "Killing off the Union will make me an immigrant in my own country", The Daily Telegraph, 8-2-14, p.26 at www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/10624466/If-Scotland-kills-off-the-the-Union-I-will-be-an-immigrant-in-my-own-country.html
12. Another precedent: The UEFA European Championships are being held in 2020, and one of the stadiums is Hampden in Glasgow, which will host 3 Group State and 1 Knockout Stage games. These are European football teams, which will be playing in Scotland. If bodies at a European football level can come together and host a "Europe-wide" competition, then why cannot a competition be hosted not just in England and Wales, but all of the UK?
13. We found this idea in Restoring Britishness: A cultural policy for an independent Britain, a Policy Statement published by UKIP in January 2010.
14. We are pleased to note that two "Great Britain Rugby Sevens" teams have been formed. There are two teams – GB Royals and GB Lions – which are playing in the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Sevens Series in Moscow 2016.
The head coach said: "We've put a big focus on the importance of an extraordinary GB spirit. The players have really embraced that and everyone knows we are on a unique and special journey together over the next seven weeks. There was clear criteria for the two squads. Firstly, it was about the GB feel and making sure there was a good combination of the home nations in each team."
15. Gregory Walton, "Prince Harry lends support to the Union in Scotland debate", The Daily Telegraph, 14-9-14 online at www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/prince-harry/11095196/Prince-Harry-lends-support-to-the-Union-in-Scotland-debate.html
16. A significant body of work called Accidental Witness has been published by Keith Howell. It relates to the creation of the "White Paper" of November 2013. It brings together the evidence which leads him to believe that:
In the early preparations for the Scottish referendum campaign, the leadership of the SNP Government, perhaps convinced they would otherwise lose, decided to go further than ever before in stretching the bounds of what could be done within the rules and then going beyond that. The preparation of the "Scotland's Future" White Paper, with its misleading and highly politicised content, involved breaches of the Civil Service Code and consequent breaches of the Ministerial Code. Such breaches would mean there had been a misuse of public funds and abuse of the levers of power. This was not supposed to be possible, in a British democracy that prides itself on keeping wrongdoing out of the corridors of Government. Under the Civil Service Code, Civil Servants are not only required to provide impartial support for the Government of the day, they are equally intended to always be honest and above reproach. Allowing misleading material to appear in a White Paper without proper clarification or explanation is a clear breach of the Code.
You can read his detailed report here where it can also be downloaded as a PDF – and where you can also watch his videos and other pro-UK material.
17. Bradley, Op Cit, at p.236.
18. We have previously mentioned that the Bank of England should be re-named the British Central Bank. That is what it has been since 1707, and certainly since it was nationalised in 1946!
19. We know that Holyroodhouse is getting a £10m makeover by the Royal Collection Trust, which is the charity which runs it. We suggest that this makeover should factor in its unique potential to be an ideal place in Scotland where people can actively celebrate the Monarchy today, rather than simply being a museum to past Royalty. See report Brian Ferguson, "£10m makeover plan for Holyroodhouse", The Scotsman, 5-4-16, p.3.
We also know that Holyroodhouse has hosted commercial events before. For example, a 3-day vintage car show "Contours of Elegance" 4-6 September 2015.
20. Apparently 25 groups were successful in making applications. See report from 13-4-16: www.antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/News/2015/2016/Her-Majesty-The-Queens-90th-Birthday-Celebratory-E
21. Hillsborough Castle is the official Royal Residence in Northern Ireland, and there has been an annual Garden Party there since 1984 (although it is officially called "The Secretary of State's Garden Party", perhaps for political reasons). In 2014, it was attended by the Queen herself, and this year by William and Kate. See www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/william-and-kate-to-attend-northern-ireland-garden-party-34797609.html
22. Restoring Britishness, Op Cit
23. In discussion afterwards the following suggestions were raised:
1. Have separate queues for citizens of the British Overseas Territories and the Commonwealth Realms at airports. This helps to emphasise that their British relationship is valued by the United Kingdom. As it is, such people – who are all subjects of the Queen – are "thrown in" with the rest of the world's tourists giving the clear impression that there is no special relationship there at all!
2. Provide government incentives for businesses to set up in the less economically successful areas of the UK. This is a good thing provided that it is clear that it is British taxpayers' money that is being used and the devolved administrations do not try to misrepresent the Projects as their own.
3. Reforming the House of Lords along the lines of a Senate with representatives from all parts of the UK may be a possibility, but needs further thought as to any possible negative implications for British cohesion.
The view from the north wall of the Tower of London.
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