Our great country is in grave peril. The SNP are in good spirits that their raison d’être is soon about to be realised – the total and complete destruction of the United Kingdom. Their divisive politics has poisoned Scotland for just over 13 years, and we must do everything that we can as Unionists to remove them from government in Edinburgh writes Huw Davies.
Recently the Conservative MP for Moray, Douglas Ross, exposed the nationalist rhetoric that the UK Parliament is attempting a ‘power grab’ from the devolved administrations. It is indeed nonsense for a party to moan about losing powers when they themselves can’t name a single power that the Scottish Parliament would lose! And even then, in their utopian vision of the world, they would hand those powers back to Brussels. Regardless, it was refreshing to see a Member of Parliament not pander to the SNP, which has sadly been the mainstream unionist thought for over two decades.
This must continue, as capitulation simply doesn’t work. You cannot reason with Scottish or Welsh nationalism, they are absolutist creeds. They aren’t interested in compromise nor can we fool ourselves that they can be bought off by unionists promising ‘more powers’. They are just getting what they want, weakening the bonds of our nation, at a slower pace.
Our party is doing everything we can to remove nationalism from government in Scotland, and we must also ensure it doesn’t enter government in Wales too. We cannot give them any kind of legitimacy. We must stand united in our opposition to the nationalists in Scotland and Wales, anything else would undermine our resolute unionist position.
The nationalist parties are not like other parties. We may disagree with the socialism of Labour or the social democracy of the Lib Dems, but the likes of Plaid Cymru and the SNP want to tear up our Union, to divide our communities where there is simply no need for it. We must not be ashamed to criticise nationalism head on, to stand up for those uniquely British institutions which we as one nation have built together; perhaps the most prominent example being the much loved National Health Service. It would be dereliction of duty not to do so.
The Labour Party tried and failed to tackle nationalism with policies of capitulation, as we can now see in Scotland, that strategy has been disastrous for our country. We as Conservatives and Unionists must not fall into this trap. When the nationalists say that we are too focused at ‘copying England’ we must reject this notion. We are focused on the fact that every Briton receives the necessary advice and support applicable to them. It is because of the Welsh Government’s adversity to follow the lead of the British Government that the Debenhams store in Newport almost closed. It is essential that businesses within the British internal market work on a level playing field, allowing businesses to operate freely across our country. Further to this, we must not be ashamed at advocating UK-wide policies in other areas. As Paul Davies has said, difference for difference sake is petty and unnecessary. If we are to save the Union, it’s benefits must be shown to all and why it is necessary in the modern age.
But our arguments simply can’t just be economic, it has to be a deeper, much more impassioned plea of what it means to be British, that it can be a shared identity for all who live in these islands. That must include espousing our cultural connections, as well as showing that we may have had a great past but we also can have a great future. We are unlike any other Union in the world, one whose formation had been long in the making, even before the formal creation of the nation we know today. Centuries of conflict on this island of ours was replaced with a new sense of camaraderie, because we aren’t as different from each other as the nationalists like to make out in their divisive politics.
The United Kingdom is now at a crossroads. It is essential that all our minds are totally focused on preserving it for generations to come. The nationalists have chipped away at the Union for decades and now we must reverse this trend, and offer a new united future. Let us move forward as one party committed to our belief that our people, the British people, work best when we work together as one nation. We must reject Labour’s calls for more divisive constitutional tinkering, which only aids the nationalists in their cause. The Prime Minister’s levelling-up agenda can be the way for us to spread opportunity and prosperity across our country to reknit the bonds of union which have been so strained of late. The time is now to save the country that we love before it is too late.
Huw Davies is the Deputy Chairman of the Newport West Conservative Association