Senior Tory MP backed paper calling for UK intervention to remove ‘Scottish nationalist bias’ from classrooms

Politicians have called for Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross to disassociate himself and his party from a paper published by a think-tank that calls for the UK Government to remove ‘Scottish nationalist bias’ from Scotland’s classrooms.

The paper, by the Council on Geostrategy, has been endorsed by Andrew Bowie, a Scottish Conservatives MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine and a vice-chair of the UK Conservatives who wrote a foreword for the publication.

The paper – titled ‘How ‘progressive’ anti-imperialism threatens the United Kingdom’ – urges the UK Government to “provision an entity within civil society to conduct a review of the way in which history of Britain is actually taught in Scottish school classrooms, with a view to maintain political neutrality, exposing any undue Scottish nationalist bias”.

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Written by academics Doug Stokes, professor of international security at Exeter University, and Nigel Biggar, regius professor of moral and pastoral theology at Oxford University, it adds that many Scottish nationalists “equate Britain with empire, and empire with evil, seeing Scotland’s possible independence as part of the progressive arc of history”.

Andrew Bowie, right, with former Prime Minister Theresa May.Andrew Bowie, right, with former Prime Minister Theresa May.
Andrew Bowie, right, with former Prime Minister Theresa May.

In his foreword, Mr Bowie said the consistent support for independence, despite a weaker economic case than in 2014, meant pro-Union parties needed to “seek to understand why the nationalist message appeals to large numbers of Scottish voters”, especially young people.

He said: “The paper sets out a series of feasible policy recommendations that can foster an environment supportive of a unionist fightback. I heartily recommend that anyone passionate about not only preserving, but strengthening, the British union read this paper and consider the messages within.”

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MSP Rona Mackay said: "This paper is so spectacularly ill-informed about the historical, political and democratic case for independence, it is hard to know where to begin. But the fact that senior Scottish Tories are actively encouraging the suggestion that Boris Johnson should start meddling in Scotland’s schools by forcing teachers to deliver a Tory-led version of history almost beggars belief.”

Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer said: “This ludicrous paper seems to have based its research on tabloid scare stories rather than any real knowledge of what children are taught.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “Scottish education is devolved. These are Andrew’s personal views and do not reflect party policy.”

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