Wider Still and Wider is the Pro-UK Vision

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The White Paper due in November will promote a nationalist "vision" for Scotland. We should put this in perspective and see it largely as an SNP wish-list. It will be successfully countered with a positive pro-UK vision which recognises that, together, we can be a force for good in the world. This is the wide vision which will counter the narrow vision of the nationalists, says Alistair McConnachie.
Posted 20 September 2013.

The SNP is due to release a "White Paper" in November 2013 which will lay out its "vision" for an independent Scotland. It will, presumably, explain how they see the whole thing working. It will, possibly, have a lot of suggested policies which could happen if Scotland left the UK.

An editorial in The Herald said that this White Paper "needs to provide a refreshed sense of vision." (Leader, 18 September 2013)

"A refreshed sense of vision"? Let's be clear what we are dealing with here.

This is the "vision" of one political party - the SNP - which might include some input from the Green Party (both MSPs) and the SSP (no MSPs). The White Paper will probably explain the sort of things they would like to see if Scotland were separate. It will be a wish-list of various "wouldn't it be nice" policies, from a centre-left perspective.

It will be nothing more than that.

It will represent merely the vision - with policies thrown in - of the nationalists, neatly collected together in one document.

In some ways, it will be a waste of time and effort because it is not for the SNP to tell us what might happen in a Scotland separated from the rest of the UK.

They are not able to tell us what would happen, because what would happen if Scotland were "independent" would depend entirely upon whichever party is in power at that time. And it might not be the SNP, even less likely would it be the Greens or SSP!

For example, it would be silly to vote for an "independent" Scotland because you want Scotland to have a green energy programme, and you read in the White Paper that we could have that.

That is only going to happen if the party in power has a green energy policy. Just like right now, it will all depend upon the policies of the parties which are in power.

In such an instance, there is going to be a lot of people, usually the majority at any one time, who don't actually agree with what is happening - just like right now!

It is not as if all the people in Scotland are going to come together and rally behind one party - not, at least, so long as we continue to live in a liberal democracy.

In reality, what is able to happen in a Scotland separated from the rest of the UK will not in practice be any more than what is able to happen at present. That is, what is able to happen will be entirely decided by the party in power at any one time, which will create policies based upon its particular philosophy.

Having said all that...it can be easier for the nationalists to promote their vision than it is for the unionists - who are at a slight disadvantage for two reasons.

Slight Disadvantage Number 1: The Nationalist Vision starts from a Place which does not Exist at Present. The Unionist Vision starts from the Reality of the Now
The Nationalists are speaking about a vision which begins sometime in the future. It doesn't have to be bothered with a little thing like, how do we get there, from where we are right now? (Other than voting "Yes", of course.)

If you are starting your vision from a point in the future which does not exist at present - a starting point where Scotland is separate from the UK - then you can throw many considerations to the wind.

You don't have to take into consideration the limits set by the now. You can wax lyrical about all sorts of potentials without having to relate them to where we are today.

Unionists, however, are stuck with the reality of the moment. We are constrained by the limits of the now. Where we want to go will have to be built upon a realistic consideration of where we are at present. We are speaking from the starting point of today. We are starting from what we have right now - and in many ways that is far from ideal. In some ways, it is not good.

Slight Disadvantage Number 2: Nationalists have One Vision, Unionists have Several
The nationalist vision is, as we say, essentially the SNP vision, with a few crumbs thrown to the greens and far-leftists to keep them in the "cross party" coalition. In that sense, it can be kept quite precise. They only need to articulate one vision - the SNP vision.

The unionists, however, have at least 3 separate competing visions to try to articulate - those of the Labour Party, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives. These parties normally compete with each other with their different policies based on their different philosophies. That can make it difficult to find a common unionist vision which will cohere - especially if you start getting into specific policies.

The best that unionists can do in these awkward circumstances is to agree that whatever our aspirational vision may be, and whatever may be our different policy priorities, the best way of making them happen is by keeping Britain together. If Scotland separates then it will be much harder, or nigh impossible, for many of these aspirations to be realised, and for these policies to work properly.

However, none of these things mean we are entirely constrained. Our ability to create an inspiring vision is limited only by our imagination.

Nationalists imagine Scotland can be more successful outside of Britain. We believe Scotland will be more successful within Britain.

We speak about the huge potential of Scotland within Britain, not out of it; a successful Scotland within a successful Britain.

And it is not just about immediate "economic" or "material" success either.

There is also the grand vision of our place in the world.

We speak about the potential greatness of Scotland, and Britain, on the world stage again; a great force for good, an effective vehicle for service to humanity; a role which Scotland, or England, on their own could not achieve. We speak about how these things can only happen if we stay united with everyone else on these Islands.

We believe Scotland can be a greater nation still, by being part of Britain; and Britain can be a greater nation still if Scotland is part of it. Indeed, we emphasise that Britain can only be a great nation if Scotland is part of it. Without Scotland, Britain does not actually exist and is finished.

Some English people don't seem to understand that.

Some of them seem to think that England is going to be able to race ahead on its own - as if it has successfully thrown off some kind of dead weight. That is not how it will work. Scotland leaving the UK will mean the eventual end of England as a world power - a power it can only enjoy as part of Britain today. Northern Ireland will be thrown into turmoil again, and Wales will leave eventually. England will find itself alone, surrounded and much reduced on the world stage, imperiled politically, financially, and militarily (just like in the old days).

Scotland cannot be Great without Britain, and Britain cannot be Great without Scotland.

Scotland cannot reach its full potential without Britain, and Britain cannot reach its potential without Scotland, because without Scotland there is no Britain!

Scotland's destiny is bound intimately with everyone in the United Kingdom.

Our vision is deeper and broader and more inclusive, and involves everyone in these Islands working together.

Wider still and wider goes the pro-UK vision.

Narrower still and narrower go the separatists.

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You can find out more about Alistair at the About Alistair McConnachie page. And here is a link to Alistair McConnachie's Google Profile.

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