Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 19 January 2012


Where do you stand on Scottish independence? About 35-40% of Scots support independence, although admittedly that is before the stark facts of economic life on their own have been spelt out to them. I gather 45% of we English want our Northern neighbours to go their own way.

It is not going to happen. We are going to spend two years talking about it, millions of pounds organising a referendum, but in the end I cannot believe the Scots would ever vote for independence. To do so would be to impoverish themselves by cutting off the hand that feeds them, cast themselves adrift in an unstable European Union where they would have to sign up for the euro and hand back to us all of the defence assets placed north of the border and all the economic benefits that flow from them. They might like to have a wee moan, but Mcturkeys do not vote for Christmas.

We can live with the fact that most Scots would automatically support the other team whoever England are playing at any sport, anytime, anywhere in the world. This is a tad irritating given all of the extra spending they receive from the UK government under the Barnett Formula and how over-represented they are at Westminster.  If Scotland were playing France, I would always support Scotland.

I can well remember in the battle of the dockyards back in the 1990's when we were locked in pitched battle with Rosyth Dockyard how nationalistic and aggressive the debate quickly became. We were Edward's marauders on our steel clad chargers come to crush the highlanders all over again.

If all this is true, why not let them go?

Because we are stronger together than apart in an uncertain world at a dangerous time. Because the Union has brought untold benefits to all of us over the centuries.  Because the vast majority of us, including the majority of Scots consider ourselves British and apart from friendly rivalry on sporting occasions recognise that we share a common heritage and future. Because the United Kingdom is strong enough to cope with passionate nationalism from its extremities, and even the odd chip on shoulder. Sometimes you have to pay a premium for the thing you really want: the United Kingdom.

So I will be working to support the Union however possible, and wish we were not having this pointless debate at this time. What do you think?

posted by Gary @ 09:27