Alex Salmond and David Cameron both used St Andrew's Day to be
upbeat about Scotland
Scottish News: St Andrew’s day - Salmond and Cameron upbeat about Scotland
Scotland’s first minister and the prime minister of the United Kingdom have both issued contrasting celebratory St Andrew’s day messages.
Mr Salmond pointed to Scotland's cultural distinctiveness referring to the fact that while higher education is costly for students in England it is free in Scotland. He argued that free education is one of Scotland’s many assets, describing them as “deep-seated characteristics of our nation" and adding that they are “as essential to our future success as they have been to our historic achievements.”
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Vising a Scottish primary school, Mr Salmond alluded to Scotland's innovative past, saying : "Scotland is proud of its history of invention and discovery. We actually invented quite a bit of the modern world, from the telephone, to television, to penicillin, to beta blockers.
"However, perhaps - actually certainly - our greatest invention of all, the one that made all of the others possible, was the invention of universal free education."
David Cameron ordered the Saltire to fly next to the Union flag above Number 10 Downing Street in recognition of St Andrews Day, lauded Scotland's “international outlook”, using the occasion to remind Scots that they are critical to the UK’s international competitiveness and so how valuable the Scots' contribution to the Union is.
He said: "Scots and Scotland have done so much to shape our modern world. So this is a day for everyone to celebrate our shared history and look forward to our future prosperity together."
In building a case for Scotland remaining within the Union, Mr Cameron has made a wise start by lauding Scotland's contribution to Britain. He must give leadership to fellow Unionists in Scotland and in other parts of the UK and direct them to be more positive.
What Mr Cameron must change is a culture within Unionism which aims to portray Scots as economically dependent upon England to survive. The fundamental premise on which this argument is based is that Scots are intrinsically incapable of being as competitive as other nationalities - a premise which is effectively racist and when voiced by fellow Scots creates an image of a 'colonised mind-set'.
Aside from the assumptions, as a political strategy it is also absurd. Can Unionists expect to be successful if their core argument against independence is that Scots have an under-performing economy, are dependent on subsidies to survive and therefore must remain in a permanent state of begging for hand-outs?
The premise, message and conclusion of this Unionist strategy is morally and politically repellent. By leading the way in pointing to Scotland's strengths and contribution, Mr Cameron can revolutionise the Unionist strategy and in so doing take much of the poison out of the referendum debate.
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