Following a hugely successful Armed Forces Day in Stirling, and with HMS Queen Elizabeth launched this Friday at Rosyth, may I indulge in a little public pride in the disproportionate part Scotland has played in these achievements?
These represent the huge regard in which we Scots are held worldwide. While serving in the Royal Navy, I had regular privilege to witness this while supporting the UK’s vast diplomatic effort in my many ships; but equal recognition internationally is granted to our English, Welsh and Northern Irish partners.
At sea everyone, whatever their background or origin, must bring something positive and the whole is always far greater than the sum of its parts. A microcosm indeed, of why our country will prosper so much better through working together with, rather than beside, our neighbours.
We are all Jock Tamson’s bairns and I fail to see how division can make us better able to address our challenges. We are fortunate having the best of both worlds – a devolved parliament with growing powers and security as part of the sixth largest (and growing) economy on earth. All this as well as a comprehensive foreign service that brings much trade to Scotland, which – along with our Armed Forces – creates a real influence for good.
Our country is not perfect, but we are choosing our own path (in a referendum that shows we already have “self-determination”) and we debate freely in a press able to comment without fear. These are the democratic principles, in fact, that UK servicemen and women gave their lives for, not only in two world wars but in several conflicts since 1945.
These recent events illustrate the vast riches we enjoy as part of this successful Union, but perhaps take for granted. I will thus be proud to say “No, thanks” come September.
Lt Cdr RN (Retd)
Edward Drive, Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire
On ARMED Forces Day in Stirling, Alex Salmond was interviewed for the television news and he opined that only a Yes vote would ensure Scotland’s place in Europe.
Of course, this was in response to David Cameron’s defeat in the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker, the arch-federalist who wishes to make the European Union “ever closer”.
The comments by Mr Salmond were a rather unfortunate faux-pas on his part and one which will, no doubt, see some swift rewriting by the SNP spin-meisters.
Mr Cameron was, of course, ensuring that the nation states of the EU should regain powers and that the EU does not become a United States of Europe, as Mr Juncker’s fellow Luxembourger and unelected EU commissioner, Viviane Reding, wishes. Mr Salmond, curiously, supports a policy of Scottish “independence in Europe”, which is, of course, an oxymoron. However, it would have been rather less of one if Mr Cameron had won.
This wandering off message by Mr Salmond merely serves to confirm that the SNP does not want Scotland to be independent. If it did, it would have supported Mr Cameron. Instead, it confirmed what many of us have known all along: the SNP wants Scotland to disappear into a huge, undemocratic superstate.
It is asking Scots to vote for absorption into a USE – and the irony of it all is that they would have to apply to the EU to extinguish the Scottish nation. National suicide by request.
Andrew HN Gray