On Wednesday 13 May, Scotland in Union sent the following open letter to the Prime Minster ahead of his meeting with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Dear Prime Minister
STRONGER TOGETHER: A UNION FOR THE 21st CENTURY – AN OPEN LETTER
Scotland in Union is a non-party movement which unites people around a positive view of Scotland in the UK. We are a diverse and inclusive group united in wanting the best for people both in Scotland and in the UK and we wish for a confident, stable and prosperous Scotland within the UK.
We are writing to you to emphasise that the result of the UK general election does not in any way alter one fundamental fact: following the referendum on Scottish independence, which took place just eight months ago, the question of Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom is now settled.
As you know, under the so-called Edinburgh Agreement of October 2012, the UK Government and the Scottish Government, agreed that the referendum should deliver a ‘fair test and a decisive expression of the views of people in Scotland and a result that everyone will respect’. And as you will recall, the Agreement was signed by you as Prime Minister and by the present First Minister.
In November 2013, the Scottish Government published a White Paper, launched by the then First Minster and the present First Minister, in which, on its very first page, it referred to the referendum on independence as a ‘once in a generation opportunity’. This reflected the fact that the future of Scotland and of the wider United Kingdom transcends shorter-term electoral politics, in which voters consider multiple issues and which can be volatile and result in dramatic changes of fortune — in either direction — for political parties.
Indeed, in identifying a referendum as its preferred means for resolving the question of Scottish independence and in confirming that it was a ‘once in a generation opportunity’, the Scottish Government acknowledged the very quality that gives the result of a referendum its long-term legitimacy.
On 18 September 2014, after a lengthy campaign in which the issues were fully considered, less than 38% of eligible voters voted for Scotland to become an independent country; and over two million people voted in favour of Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom.
The wisdom of that decision is perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that while the Scottish Government’s White Paper stated that Scotland would become independent on 24 March 2016, the SNP manifesto published last month stated that a transition to its proposal for ‘full fiscal responsibility’ within the United Kingdom ‘would take a number of years’.
We therefore urge you to: play your part in ensuring the result of the referendum is respected, in line with Edinburgh Agreement; regard the referendum as a ‘once in a generation event’, in line with the Scottish Government’s own White Paper; and honour in full your commitments to Scotland, including the recommendations of the Smith Commission.
We also urge you, as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, to build on what the Scottish Government’s White Paper rightly described as the ‘precious bonds of family, friendship, history and culture’ that exist between people throughout the United Kingdom and to demonstrate, as you have said, that together the nations of the United Kingdom ‘have done so much’ and ‘can do much more’.
Yours in unity
for Scotland in Union