I’ve received a seasonal offer from the Conservative Friends of The Union. Apparently they are trying to raise much needed funds for their party campaign agin independence. Bizarrely the letter, offering raffle tickets (first prize £2,000 and a deluxe Xmas hamper!) is addressed to myself and my daughter. The letter begins ‘Dear Supporter’ which came as bit of a shock. I don’t know how they got my name and what I could possibly have done to give them the impression I would wish to support their merry little (very little) band. Just one of life’s little mysteries I guess.
Anyway as Miss Davidson, for it was she the little kick boxing minx, had taken the trouble to write to me and in the spirit of the season, I decided it would be only polite to reply.
Please see below for the full version of Miss Davidson’s letter (I’ve cut out the sales pitch for the raffle tickets) and my reply.
Two years from now Scotland will face a monumental decision; to renew our partnership with England, Wales and Northern Ireland and remain within the United Kingdom, or for Scotland to go it alone as a separate nation. When we vote in the independence referendum we will not just be deciding the standard of living that we enjoy, but the standard of living of our children, our grandchildren and of generations to come.
The Conservative Friends of the Union is a campaigning organisation dedicated to the cause of Scotland within the United Kingdom. We believe that just as the Union has served us well over the last three hundred years, it will continue to serve us best in future.
All the opinion polls show support for Scotland remaining a full partner in the United Kingdom consistently outstripping support for Scotland separating from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but we must take nothing for granted. Day by day, week by week and month by month, the Conservatives Friends of the Union will make the case for Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom.
We will expose the dangers of the SNP’s separatist plans while positively promoting the benefits of Scotland within the United Kingdom; the advantages that come from an integrated economy, the arrangements we make through the welfare state to support those in need, the role we play on the world stage and the security provided by our armed forces.
Scotland is at a crossroads. One turning leads to separation and an uncertain future for our country, but the other is the path to a safer, fairer and more prosperous Scotland within the United Kingdom. Please help up ensure that we stay on the right path and that Scotland continues to remain a full and equal partner in our United Kingdom.
Ruth Davidson MSP
Leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Dear Miss Davidson,
Thank you for your recent letter on behalf of the Conservative Friends of the Union inviting me to purchase raffle tickets in support of your cause. As a lifelong supporter of independence for Scotland I’m sure you will understand if I don’t take up your offer. No doubt you will sell plenty and if not I am sure you have many friends in the south who will be happy to take up the slack with the odd donation. That is before they become foreigners and accepting donations from them would be illegal.
Of course I agree with you when you say, ‘’ When we vote in the independence referendum we will not just be deciding the standard of living that we enjoy, but the standard of living of our children, our grandchildren and of generations to come.’’
We perhaps disagree on which voting outcome will provide the best standard of that living. I am particularly intrigued when you say ‘’ We will expose the dangers of the SNP’s separatist plans while positively promoting the benefits of Scotland within the United Kingdom; the advantages that come from an integrated economy, the arrangements we make through the welfare state to support those in need, the role we play on the world stage and the security provided by our armed forces.’’
Perhaps you could explain just what dangers the SNP’s separatist plans represent. I’ve been waiting in excess of 40 years to hear how Scotland benefits within the United Kingdom. I’m delighted you are in a position to inform me. I await your reply with baited breath.
I will also be intrigued to hear what the advantages are of an integrated economy which is run for the benefit of the City of London and the South East of England whilst the Treasury extracts more income from Scotland than it returns in expenditure.
The Conservative led UK Government is introducing welfare reforms, universally opposed across Scottish political and social society as being contrary to traditional Scottish values, prompting the SCVO to observe ‘on average, 32 people die each week within 3 months of being assessed by the new rules as being fit to work’. Doesn’t sound much like support to me.
Can you also explain how the security of Scotland is enhanced by successive British governments embarking on ill thought out and sometimes illegal foreign adventures whilst simultaneously scrapping our early warning aircraft, relocating our fast interceptor aircraft hundreds of miles south and closing our airbases? Not to mention downgrading the Coastguard and scrapping the Coastguard vessels, a move which if it had happened a little earlier would have left the Royal Navy’s latest submarine stuck on a sandbank off the Isle of Skye. Speaking of the Royal Navy when a Russian carrier battlegroup appeared off the Moray Firth it didn’t exactly inspire confidence when the MOD responded by sending a single destroyer from Portsmouth which took 36 hours to reach the scene. Brave tars our lads beyond a doubt, but the odds seemed a little stacked against them, assuming of course the Russians were still there by the time they arrived.
I look forward to the pleasure of your reply and the opportunity to hear your thoughts on the positive case for the Union.
In the meantime may I wish you a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.