On Saturday 1st May 2021, A Force For Good held its "1st May, Great British Union Day" celebration in George Square, Glasgow. We were celebrating the 314th Birthday of the United Kingdom. On the other side of the Square, a Scottish nationalist group were agitating to destroy it! AFFG Founder, Alistair McConnachie gave two Speeches. The first one summarised why the Union of 1707 came about. The second one, based on the following text, described some benefits of Union today and looked with enthusiasm to the opportunity that our shared future will bring.
Folks, I'm going to say it again: we're Scottish and we're British. We love the UK, and we will Stay Together!
In the next 15 minutes, I'm going to give you a positive message about the United Kingdom, about our Nation of Unions through time, which has created today our Nation of Families.
You know, some of the people on the other side of the Square will ask "What is the point of the Union?"
Well, I'll tell them.
The purpose of the Union – the purpose of any Union – is to make it possible to enjoy the benefits which come from working together.
What are some of those benefits today which the Union enables us to enjoy?
Well, they are economic, social, cultural, political.
Economically, the point of the Union is to pool and share our resources to help our closest neighbours and family members when they are in need; and to be helped by them, when we are in need!
We don't mind sharing. We are all about giving, not getting.
Sometimes we give more than we get back. Sometimes we get back more than we give. That's the nature of living in a Union.
But we know this: We know that Scotland is big enough, and rich enough, and clever enough to share its resources and its wealth with its family members throughout these Islands. Indeed, it is a source of great pride to us that we do so!
It is obvious that Scotland is better protected economically as part of a larger monetary Union. It was true in 1707 and it is true today.
We only need look at the billions of pounds which have come to Scotland from the British Treasury to help with the Covid crisis. Almost 10 billion pounds have come to Scotland for Covid reasons during the year 2020-21.
Almost 10 billion pounds!
Any call for separation can only be made by completely ignoring this economic reality; an economic reality which proves that, in times of crisis, we are stronger together.
In times of crisis, the Union is truly the best insurance policy ever devised.
You know, it is important to emphasise the clear economic benefits, and the absolute danger of mega-levels of austerity which would occur under a separated Scotland.
But of course, the Union is much more than economic!
OUR DUAL IDENTITY – Scottish and British
I spoke earlier about how the Union created a new Nation in addition to Scotland and England – a new Nation called Great Britain – which allowed us to claim all parts of this Island as our own.
And as such, the Union enables us to enjoy the benefits of a dual identity; being both Scottish and British without having to choose between one or the other!
And that freedom – to be both Scottish and British – is another positive benefit of the Union of the United Kingdom.
It's a very valuable social and cultural element that enables us to be part of the wider community of these Islands, to fit in, and to enjoy the benefits which come from that shared identity.
It means that, for example, we can look upon Northern Ireland, Wales and England, as our countries too.
And people from Northern Ireland, Wales and England can look upon Scotland as part of their country too – all of us united by our British identity, in one Kingdom, which belongs to us all.
You know, Scottish nationalists want to narrow our sense of identity to "Scottish only". They want us to choose between being one or the other. And they would if they could!
But the Union – 314 years old today – has ensured that we don't have to choose. We can be both Scottish and British.
What a wonderful fact.
As pro-UK people, we are about encouraging everyone to enjoy that shared sense of identity.