In the run-up to today, the year-out point from the referendum, words such as “historic” “generational” and “once in a lifetime” have been regularly sprinkled in newspapers, on television and in interviews—rightly so, because this is an era of big politics in Scotland. We are all blessed to be participants in the discussion surrounding our nation’s future, and those who are eligible to vote next September will cast their ballot not just for themselves but for future generations.
We should be proud to be making a mature and democratic choice about the future form that we want our country to take, where we want to stand in the world and, crucially, whom we want to stand alongside. I have said before, and I repeat it, that I doubt neither the sincerity nor the legitimacy of people on the nationalist side of the argument who want Scotland to break away from the rest of the UK and go it alone. I do not share that aim, but I do not question the motives of those who do. That is why I get angry, on behalf of my fellow countrymen who want to continue to be part of a union that we have built, shaped and contributed to for centuries, when we are told that that belief, that continued contribution and that wish to build something up rather than to break away makes us somehow less Scottish and less patriotic, and that it means that we are doing our country down. It does not.
I believe that Scotland’s future will be best served by a strong Scottish Parliament in a strong UK. I believe that the currency union that the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister espouse is a poor facsimile of the economic, financial and political union that we already enjoy.
I believe that we are stronger together as part of the United Kingdom armed forces, that Scots around the world who are proud to serve with a union flag on the arm of their uniform are part of the most professional fighting force on the planet, and that our integrated land, sea and air platforms allow us to respond to conflicts and crises in all parts of the globe. I believe that the defence of our allies, our response in the world and the safety and security of our people here at home are best served in that way.