We can strengthen the Union by maintaining and raising the profile of the British identity in Scotland; by building up Britishness.
How do we do that?
Firstly, WHAT IS 'BRITISHNESS'?
We gave a Speech back in the referendum year on 20 February 2014, in Hamilton, entitled "Being British: Some Practical Benefits and Spiritual Elements". We described some practical benefits, and some spiritual elements, which are interwoven throughout the British identity.
We said that "being British" was about identifying with – and having a relationship which could be described as 'spiritual' or 'mystical' with – the symbols of the nation, for example, with the Monarchy, the Flag; with the institutions of the nation, for example, with Parliament, the Armed Forces, the Churches; with the rituals of the nation, that is to say, the ceremonies; with the art, the craft, the culture, the products of the nation, and with the people of the nation, both present and past.
It is to understand their value, remember them, respect them, cherish and hold them dear, take pride in them, celebrate them, be loyal to them, defend them, fight for them even.
Therefore, to "raise the profile of Britishness" is to Do These Things!
It is to use the symbolism, support the institutions, participate in the rituals, celebrate the art and the craft, support the culture, buy the products; learn and recall to memory our history, and cherish the people of our present and past.
To do so is to Transmit the British Spirit through British Substance.
If we are to hold the Union together, we need the Substance not only the fine words!
WITHOUT the SUBSTANCE there is NO SPIRIT (and Vice Versa)
If we want to build up belief in the United Kingdom then we must give the idea of the UK Substance.
If you create the physical Substance, then this helps to transmit the Spirit, which in turn helps people want to remain part of the Substance...which encourages more Spirit...which creates more Substance.
Without getting too mystical about this, if you are not doing something, then it is not existing.
Only when it is existing will people see it, and hear about it, and feel it; only then will they know about it; and only then will they want to be part of it, and want to keep doing it; or not as the case may be.
But it has to be done, or it doesn't exist.
In other words, if we want Britain to exist, we have to...Do It.
The opponents of Britain's unity understand this very well.
That is why the SNP decreed in 2018 that the Union Flag was no longer to fly on any of the "Designated Days" (see below) for Union Flag flying, on any of the buildings of the devolved Agencies which it controls.
By putting the Flag of the UK out of sight, they know they can put the UK out of mind.
At the macro-level, here are some things our politicians would do well to also know about...
IMPORTANCE of the ARMED FORCES to the UNION
The military is one of the ways in which a sense of Britishness is transmitted and made manifest throughout Scotland.
Running down the Substance of the military is to run down the British Spirit.
For example, today you could try to "save money" (inverted commas) by running down the amount of ceremonial duties, or public Armed Forces Days, but you will ultimately run down Britain – and the Union – because you are removing the practice of things which conveys the spiritual meaning and value to everyone who views them, who hears them, who learns about them.
By closing down the practice, you close down the meaning and value which these things are representing.
IMPORTANCE of HEAVY INDUSTRY to the UNION
Heavy industry in Britain is another way in which the British Spirit and the identity associated with it have been spread throughout Scotland and Britain. But successive British Governments have been responsible for running down the Substance.
Here's an example of it being potentially run down right now – even though the power to build it up is directly within government hands!
We need 3 new "Fleet Solid Support" ships for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary – which is a civilian-manned fleet, owned by the MOD, which supports Royal Navy ships, including refuelling them. It's a major production order of around a billion pounds.
But this contract has been put out to international tender!
A Force For Good believes there should be no question that all Royal Navy/RFA related contracts should stay in the UK, as a matter of deliberate policy!
After all, "the Free Market" is not a flawless ideology. The world is not a level playing field. Other countries may be subsidising their industries, and have lower costs and lower wages. Yes, of course we agree that state support is not suitable in every case, but there are times when it is – this being one of them!
The "cost" (inverted commas) of these ships should be thought of as an investment in British industry rather than a "cost". The money and skills should be circulating in the British economy for the long-term...not for a short-term saving...in the South Korean economy! (1)
We mention ship building: Let us give you an example of how heavy industry can invoke spiritual feelings of patriotism in our hearts and souls.
We were researching the history of "Red Clydeside" and we read an interesting autobiography of one of our Glasgow politicians at the time, the socialist MP, David Kirkwood. He was partly responsible for getting the Queen Mary built and launched at Clydebank.
The best chapter of his book is on his efforts to get it built, which also involved meeting with the Prince of Wales at the time (who became Edward VIII).
His long fight to get the ship built culminated when it was launched on 26 September 1934. He writes about watching the ceremony in a very poetic way, and in a way which helps to illustrate the point we're trying to get across:
"And on that day I felt that the whole nation was built into that ship. Throne and Parliament, Commerce and Industry, Arts and Crafts, parts of one great unity. And I remembered how in a former day this feeling had been expressed:"
He then goes on to quote Shakespeare's "Royal Throne of Kings" verse, and says that he wishes Shakespeare had ended it by saying this blessed spot, this earth, this realm, "this Britain". (2)
IMPORTANCE of BRITISH INSTITUTIONS to the UNION
Other areas: Devolution of specifically British institutions should never have occurred. All that happens is the separatists deliberately destroy them in order to remove the British Substance.
For example, the Scotland Act 2016 foolishly devolved control over the British Transport Police to Holyrood. From that moment on (as we warned them at the time) the SNP has been trying to destroy it and merge it with Police Scotland – for no other reason than it has the word "British" in it.
IMPORTANCE of FLYING THE FLAG to the UNION
Flying the Union Flag is another practical thing, the doing of which conveys the spiritual meaning at the heart of our Union.
Naturally, because it opposes the British identity, the SNP is trying to get rid of the Union Flag in Scotland.
As we say, they know that if they can get rid of the Substance, then they can get rid of the Spirit; and they can get their way over the rest of us.
They have essentially prohibited its flying on all the buildings of the devolved Agencies which they control, except for 1 day a year, Remembrance Day (for now)!
In response, Local Councils need to start flying the Union Jack a lot more.
If we stop flying the Flag, then people can forget that Britain even exists in the first place! Very quickly, it can become too late because we've ceded the ground to the Scottish Nationalists.
Remember the old days in battle? The flag always had to be picked up again when it was dropped.
It's time for us to pick the flag up again. (3)
AFFG's "THIN RED LINE" KEEPS IT FLYING!
So, one of the reasons why our group, A Force For Good, meets the SNP/ScotNat Marches with our Red, White and Blue Union Flags, and posters and colours (pic above at Dumfries 2-6-18), is deliberately to maintain the presence of British symbolism in Scotland, at what are, otherwise, highly anti-British events.
Because if we were not there, people would forget that there even was another side to this argument. They would forget that the United Kingdom even exists! There would certainly be nobody standing up for it!
"TO GET TO KNOW AND LOVE BRITAIN"
To conclude: One of our AFFG colleagues, Richard Tallach, summarised the importance of all this when he wrote to us (22-9-18):
"'Politics is downstream from culture'. This is an insight which the SNP understands, and is seeking to implement as much as it can. It is something every unionist politician and unionist must understand and do regarding, for example, maintaining the social ties between different parts of the UK; maintaining British alongside Scottish symbolism in Scotland; and maintaining aspects of British culture and history in Scotland.
"It is especially important for children and young people who did not have the chance to get to know and love Britain in the period before the Scottish Nationalists' ascendancy and their assault on the idea of Britain.
"How can you fight something with nothing? How can you fight 11 years so far of SNP cultural and social propaganda for a separate Scotland without cultural and social propaganda for Scotland as an integral part of Britain?
"If the general trajectory of people's hopes and aspirations are deflected from Britain then we still have a movement ultimately towards independence. How many of those who voted 'Yes' have been won back or even rendered neutral? How many are instilling separatism in the hearts of their children?
"How can division in Scotland be healed in favour of Britain? The unionist politicians don't seem to have a clue. Three years after the referendum when the separatists did far better than anyone expected they still seem to think that they can take the UK for granted.
"It is not good enough to hope that the SNP will eventually crash and burn. Nor should they be 'given more rope to hang themselves' because they will surely hang us and the United Kingdom before they ever hang themselves!"
1. If you agree with us, please take a moment to sign this Petition to Parliament "The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Support Ships should be Built in the UK".
2. David Kirkwood MP JP, My Life of Revolt, (London: Harrap and Co, 1935), pp. 251-262 at 262.
3. We, as individuals, can Fly the Flag on Designated Days!
There is also nothing to stop us – as individuals – flying the Union Flag on privately-owned buildings which we may have some kind of control over, or relationship with. For example, on our own homes, draped inside our windows, buildings we work at, in club houses, local halls, schools, hotels with sympathetic owners – or just on our own Facebook and Twitter pages; or wearing Union Jack branded clothing on these days.
Contrary to some rumours, there is no law preventing anyone flying a Union Flag – although there are often understandable rules associated with individuals flying flags outside in Local Authority Housing complexes or on rented property.
Here is a list of the official "Designated Days":
9 January - Birthday of the Duchess of Cambridge (Kate, 1982)
20 January - Birthday of the Countess of Wessex (Sophie, 1965)
6 February - Her Majesty's Accession (1952)
19 February - Birthday of the Duke of York (Andrew, 1960)
10 March - Birthday of the Earl of Wessex (Edward, 1964)
12 March - Commonwealth Day (second Monday in March)
21 April - Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen (1926)
2 June - Coronation Day (1953)
9 June - Official celebration of Her Majesty's birthday (each year, second or third Saturday in June)
10 June - Birthday of the Duke of Edinburgh (1921)
21 June - Birthday of the Duke of Cambridge (William, 1982)
17 July - Birthday of the Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla, 1947)
15 August - Birthday of the Princess Royal (Anne, 1950)
11 November - Remembrance Day. (For now, the SNP is permitting the Union Jack to fly on this day only on its "Scottish Government" and "Agency" buildings.)
14 November - Birthday of the Prince of Wales (Charles, 1948)
20 November - Her Majesty's Wedding Day (1947)
Please note, these "Designated Days" are not exclusive. That is, a Local Authority – or any individual or private business – can fly the Union Flag whenever it wants, including these days and any other days that it chooses.
FURTHER READING from AFFG (The first 4 are on our Legacy Site)
Being British: Some Practical Benefits and Spiritual Elements (Speech, 20-2-14).