By Carole Ford, the newest Director at Scotland in Union.
I am delighted to have been invited to become a director of Scotland in Union. I have been a supporter of the organisation for some time and welcome the opportunity for further involvement.
I have spent a lifetime in Scottish education, as a teacher and head teacher. My focus has always been on widening opportunities for young people, promoting their prospects for a prosperous future. Breaking up the United Kingdom, creating barriers between Scotland and our nearest neighbours and most important economic partners, is a sure way to reduce those opportunities and prospects. More than ten years of SNP government have confirmed that a grievance culture and a constant shirking of responsibility - ‘it’s Westminster’s fault‘ - have resulted in poorer outcomes for Scotland.
The fall in educational standards is well documented, as are the statistics for health outcomes and even decreasing life expectancy. For me, it is particularly galling to observe Scotland’s consistent slide down the world educational rankings. As a former mathematics teacher, if I wanted to be facetious, I could plot a graph of the figures and calculate its negative gradient! While the Scottish Government repeatedly uses the phrase ‘world leading’, so far it appears that it can only claim this in relation to drug deaths.
The United Kingdom has benefited from the close union of its constituent parts. Its economic and cultural success has been built on the talents and efforts of people from every part of the UK.
We have pooled and shared our resources to build one of the most influential countries in the world. It is no accident that our democratic system has formed the basis of many other democracies; it is no accident that people from around the world want to visit or live in Britain. Breaking up this successful union would be of no benefit to Scotland or to the rest of the UK, creating problems and barriers to future prosperity and security. The United Kingdom is a striking example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. I am looking forward to working with Scotland in Union to support the organisation in promoting the benefits of Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom. I want to preserve those wider opportunities for young people, not unnecessarily limit them.