At a supporters' event in Edinburgh on Sunday, SIU Director Alastair Cameron called for a strong and positive approach to Scotland's place in the United Kingdom
On Sunday 5th July, at a Scotland In Union event, SIU Director Alastair Cameron outlined the movement’s purpose and aims in the coming months. He also highlighted the group’s belief that the SNP should be held to the ‘once in a generation’ promise at the time of the separation referendum (if not their ‘once in a lifetime’ one), meaning no referendum until at least 2030.
While acknowledging the SNP’s PR machine is slick and well-funded, Mr Cameron stated, ‘Despite its claims, the SNP isn’t Scotland. It’s imperative we decouple Scottishness from separation. You can be a patriotic Scot AND proud to be British.’
The enormous benefits the UK brings to Scotland need to be articulated much more loudly and clearly in Scotland. In the run up to the Holyrood election and beyond, Scotland in Union will remind Scots of the benefits that being part of the UK brings to Scotland, be they related to the economy and jobs or national security, social justice, welfare and rights.
Mr Cameron believes that movements such as Scotland in Union must hold the SNP accountable to deliver on the wide-ranging powers they already have, and that are soon to increase. ‘Scottish politics should be about improving lives, not relentless constitutional reform.’
Scotland in Union challenges the SNP’s parochial vision for Scotland. It intends to encourage awareness of how pivotally important the UK is to everyone living in Scotland – and what leaving the UK would mean in very tangible terms.
Mr Cameron also stressed: ‘It is beyond doubt that pooling and sharing rewards and risks across the UK has benefited Scotland in the past, and will continue to do so in the future.’ This point was reiterated by guest speaker Kevin Hague, a businessman whose ‘chokka blog’ has consistently highlighted the discrepancies between the separatists’ economic arguments and the reality.
Mr Hague used the Scottish Government’s General Expenditure and Revenue statistics to show how Scotland benefits from the pooling and sharing of risks and rewards. He noted that the pre-referendum white paper had picked the most favourable period for its economic analysis, and reminded the audience how the SNP Government had changed the forecast scenarios a few months before the vote. He clarified that independence is of course possible, it’s just that it would bring huge increases in taxation, or massive cuts in spending, or both, and we should be honest about that.
The other guest speaker, The Daily Telegraph’s Scottish Editor Alan Cochrane, mused on the personality of Nicola Sturgeon, expressing respect for her abilities as a campaigning politician, and on the iron discipline of the SNP as a party. Mr Cochrane also raised concerns about the partisanship of the Scottish civil service, and the strength of the SNP propaganda machine. Likening Ms Sturgeon to Margaret Thatcher, in that her personal stamp is on everything which her government does, he wondered what her ‘poll tax moment’ would be – perhaps the Named Person scheme.
Mr Cameron closed the event by asking supporters to ‘do something for the UK every day’, saying that if enough people do their bit then we can look forward to a return to harmony, unity and stability in Scotland.