"What are the benefits of the Union", you ask? You want us to "Name 3 Positive Benefits of the UK"? How about we name at least 50! You want us to "Name 3 things which Scotland can do in the UK, but could not do if it were independent"? That's the same question, so no problemo. Here you go!
One of the things the Scottish Nationalists love to do is to ask unionists to "Name 3 Benefits of the Union".
Please note, this is never asked in a genuine spirit of enquiry. Indeed, many ScotNats are possessed by a destructive spirit.
Rather, they are working to a script.
They are trying to draw you into debate and then try to prove you wrong.
If you do mention 3 things, they will either try to dismantle them, or they will say that such things will "always exist" even if Scotland is independent, or they'll ask you to name another 3 things.
A variation of the "Name 3 Benefits" is "Name 3 things which Scotland can do in the UK, but could not do if it were independent."
Again, if you name 3 things, they will try to tell you that Scotland could still do them even if it were independent. Or if they can't answer, they will ask you for another 3, and so on.
It is just a way of trying to draw you into their little web. It is just a way that they try to control the debate; to try to get you to fluster and scramble for answers.
How to respond?
Generally, we don't respond!
We don't play that little game. We're not interested in debating whether the UK should be broken up or not!
We don't 'argue' the point. We state our position. Other people can figure out whether they agree or not.
In these matters, we prefer to turn it back on them.
Why don't you, "Name 3 benefits of separation! You name 3 'positive' reasons to break up the United Kingdom!"
Why don't you, "Name 3 things that can only be achieved in an independent Scotland, that cannot be achieved in the UK right now?"
See! Everyone can play these word games.
In any case, it is often pointless because we are operating from a different political point of view, anyway.
For example, an independent Scotland might be able to remove Trident; but that is something that many of us do not want to see happen!
An independent Scotland may indeed be able to have its own immigration policy – but allowing Holyrood to open Scotland's borders is definitely not something that many of us want either!
For us, those are not advantages of separation. Those are serious disadvantages.
Nevertheless, we thought it worthwhile to begin a list of stuff.
Here are considerably more than "3 Benefits of the Union".
Here are considerably more than "3 Things which Scotland can, and will, do in the UK, but could not do if it were independent".
Here are 57 points, so far. If you have any other points, please contact the page and we'll consider adding them.
1. We can pool and share British-wide resources. This means Scotland can help pay for the rest of the UK's needs, and the rest of the UK can help Scotland, when and where necessary to the tune of millions and billions.
2. We can redistribute wealth, via the British-wide tax system. This helps to safeguard welfare benefits, the state pension, and protect us from fluctuating oil revenues. For example, our state pensions are safer with 30 million British taxpayers paying into the kitty, rather than only 2.5 million in Scotland.
3. We can continue to receive higher public spending per head of the population, than in other parts of the UK. For example, in 2017/18 public spending per person in the UK as a whole was £9,350. This compares with £10,881 in Scotland (16% above the UK average. This means that our schools and hospitals are better protected within the UK.
4. We can remain part of the overall UK domestic market with no internal tariffs. Firms in Scotland sell twice as much to the rest of the UK as we do to the rest of the world combined.
5. We can have uninhibited access to the entire British labour market, to seek employment and to seek employees, and without the need for papers or passports.
6. Consequently, we can enjoy the benefits of association, and the economies of scale, which enable us to do more and to do it better, than if we were apart.
7. We can be guaranteed continued use of the Pound Sterling, rather than have to set up a separate and unproven currency, or even join the Euro!
8. We can ensure no currency transaction costs, because we have one single currency.
9. We can benefit from the UK bilateral-trade agreements which will be a consequence of Brexit.
10. The Scottish private banks can be supported by the nationalised British Central Bank – the Lender of Last Resort – thereby helping to stabilise the economy if the private banks default.
11. We can ensure Royal Navy ships will continue to be built in Scotland.
12. We can continue to enjoy funding for industries, universities and research in Scotland, which has been provided at the British government level.
13. We can maintain our successful tourist industry. Since Queen Victoria popularised the romance of Scotland, it has been a much-loved holiday destination for people from England. To what extent would Scottish separation harm the appeal of our country? There will certainly be people in England who would no longer wish to come to a country which appeared to have "rejected" them!
14. We can safeguard our jobs which depend upon a unique "Scottish brand" selling to customers in the rest of the UK. For example, if Scotland were to separate, then it is possible that traditional "Scottish" products (Aberdeen Angus Beef, Whisky, Shortbread, Haggis, Salmon etc) could suffer a hit in the English marketplace, as a consequence of English customers feeling slighted "by the Scots". This would be a natural reaction!
15. We can safeguard our jobs in the Scottish financial services industry, which employs around 200 thousand people directly and indirectly. 90% of the customers are based in the rest of the UK. Therefore, separation would see many of these companies leaving Scotland.
1. We can have lower fuel bills. This is because the cost of generating energy is shared across the fuel bills of all British households, and not only those in Scotland. These fuel payments from all the households in the UK also help to subsidise green jobs and energy in Scotland. Without them, the cost of green energy in Scotland would rise and the green industry might collapse.
2. We can have cost-free, hassle-free access to lifesaving specialist treatment in hospitals anywhere in the UK.
3. We can ensure standard and universal postal charges across the UK, compared to, for example, very expensive postage to the Republic of Ireland.
4. We can keep supermarket food prices the same and lower throughout the UK, even though Scotland is a more costly country in which to run a supermarket business. If Scotland were separated, then food prices would rise, due to things like more expensive transport costs. We know this because an identical basket of food in Scotland is cheaper than in the Republic of Ireland where supermarkets must factor in these different costs.
5. We can ensure every Scottish saver is protected by the British Central Bank, which protects savings of up to £85,000.
1. Our MPs from Scotland will continue to exercise disproportionate power in the British Parliament.
2. Our British Parliament continues to enable Scotland, via our MPs, to exercise a degree of control over England, and to exercise control over the direction of our Islands. Further on that matter on our Legacy Site here.
3. Our British Parliament will continue to represent those Scots, and those issues, which are not represented at Holyrood. For example, Westminster is more representative of Scottish public opinion on Brexit and Trident (both of which many Scots support) than Holyrood!
4. Our British Parliament can over-rule separatist policies in Scotland, in favour of those Scots who are not properly represented on those matters at Holyrood.
5. Scottish MPs can reach high office and influence throughout our Islands, including British Prime Minister.
6. The unique perspective of many Scottish MPs can act as a balance on the wider House of Commons. For example, a degree of Scottish "socialism" can help to moderate some of the English "conservatism", and vice versa – leading to more moderation in British politics.
1. As part of the United Kingdom, we are represented on one of the 15 seats at the UN Security Council, including one of the 5 Permanent seats alongside Russia, China, France and the USA – an extremely powerful and influential global position.
2. We're represented on one of the seats at the G7 (Group of 7 with Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the USA).
3. We're represented on one of the seats at the G8 (Group of 8 – the above, and Russia).
4. We're represented on one of the seats at the G20 (Group of 20).
5. As part of the UK we have continued membership of the Commonwealth, and thereby an ability to help influence it for good.
6. We continue to enjoy the strategic value provided by the 14 British Overseas Territories, which would be lost to an independent Scotland.
7. We can enjoy the safety and security, and the power and prestige, of the British Passport, one of the most respected in the world. Our Passport is our proof of British Citizenship.
8. As British Citizens, we have guaranteed personal access to the UK's Embassies, High Commissions, Consulates and Diplomatic Missions world-wide – the consequences of centuries of international development.
9. Consequently, as individuals, we are able to benefit from Britain's massive Diplomatic Reach worldwide.
10. As part of the UK, the British have one of the world's largest Foreign Aid budgets which can potentially help millions around the world; and it's administered from the Department for International Development at East Kilbride.
11. Staying together enables all the people of the UK to work together, through our shared political institutions, to be a Force for Good in the world; to have a positive impact upon the world in a way which we could never have if we were to be divided and separated. It enables the British to help the rest of humanity.
12. We can share in the vast legacy of Goodwill which has been built by the UK over centuries throughout the World.
13. All of this adds up to Greater Influence when dealing with the large national powers in the world.
14. Ultimately, it helps us maintain an Outward-Looking Global Attitude, rather than obsessing about the Scottish navel, which is what would happen if Scotland separated and the shutters came down – psychologically and physically.
1. We can remain part of the British Armed Forces, and continue to be defended by them, here and overseas.
2. We can continue to enjoy the protection provided by the British Intelligence Services, including MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.
3. We can stay protected by the world's greatest anti-terrorist force – the SAS.
4. We can have guaranteed membership of NATO.
5. We can have guaranteed membership of The Five Eyes (FVEY) intelligence alliance, with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the USA.
6. We can continue to play our part in defending the Free World via the Trident missile system.
1. We can Stay British! Contrary to the claims of the separatists, the British identity depends upon British political structures and is not merely a "geographical" matter.
2. We can keep the Monarchy, which would become a contested issue in a separated Scotland.
3. We can keep flying the Union Jack, which would be taken down in a separated Scotland – although the SNP is already taking it down where it has authority to do so.
4. We can continue to enjoy the fact that the Union gives us one big country to call our own – the United Kingdom – instead of just one part. We can go to any part of the UK and say "This is my country too." It is great that English people can come to Scotland and say "This is my country too." It is great that Scots can go to England and say "This is my country too". That would not be the case if we were politically separated.
1. We can ensure no internal borders, physical or economic. This helps to improve our life opportunities.
2. We can maintain the Social Union. Sharing a unitary political structure tends to smooth social integration, where separately developing and competing structures can hinder integration. (Unfortunately, however, devolution is already compromising that integration; see the outrageous policy where students from the rest of the UK have to pay for university education, while students from Scotland do not!)
3. We can maintain family links throughout the UK, without having to think of our own family as foreigners.
4. Although it may not always seem like it, the United Kingdom reduces internal rivalries. It helps to "keep the peace" between England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Where the peace has not been kept – in Ireland and latterly in Northern Ireland – it has been over the question of membership of the UK. Generally though, it does reduce internal rivalry. It allows us to swim about the big UK pond, and avoid each other if we want. If we take Scotland out that big UK pond, and put it in its own smaller pond, then the fish will be in danger of eating each other!
1. We can stay part of British-wide sporting investment schemes, and activity, including Team GB.
2. We can continue to enjoy British-wide public service broadcasting via the BBC.
1. We can ensure there is no need to "reinvent the wheel", expensively and completely unnecessarily, on all the above points!
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Material linked in the above text includes:
Alistair McConnachie, "Five False Premises of Scottish Separatism: And why they make it Impossible, Impractical, and indeed Immoral for Scotland to Split" Speech in London, 19-6-12.
Graeme Archer, "If Scotland kills off the the Union, I will be an immigrant in my own country" The Daily Telegraph, 7-2-14.
Jenny McCartney, "There's a kind of magic in our United Kingdom" The Sunday Telegraph, 1-12-13.