I am more confident than most that the arrestingly beautiful country that sits at the head of the United Kingdom will vote with their heads and reject independence next week; however, the current levels of animosity and cynicism to the notion of a prosperous union of four great peoples leaves me wondering if our proud nation has forgotten what makes Britain “Great”.
The 307 year English-Scottish Union has presided over some of the most significant and impactful developments in the history of mankind, economically, scientifically and politically. The British Empire, perhaps the greatest empire to ever rule the world, has spread the concepts of globalised trade, freedom of speech and public education which have undoubtedly made the world a better place.
This grand union that served as the birthplace of modern economics and the Industrial revolution has always punched above its weight in terms of innovation and performance. Today we continue to influence global culture with our literature (from John Stuart Mill to J.K. Rowling), our music (from The Beatles to Adele), our scientific breakthroughs (from the splitting of the atom to the discovery of Graphene) and through the globally revered media outlet that is the BBC. I would consider many of our social policies to be morally courageous, as do many nations to whom Great Britain is a role model: the notion that every citizen deserves a right to healthcare access, regardless of their background; our commitment to foreign aid even in tough times, acting as a stabilizer for countries and people whose tough times are often much worse than those in the UK; our willingness to pursue controversial but often life-changing medical policies such as In-Vitro Fertilization.
This moral leadership is necessary in today’s uncertain world, and I think on these questions the citizens of the United Kingdom are truly in unison. We have much to be proud about our defining characteristics, and it would be a travesty if we let politics divide us and break up the world’s oldest continuous democracy.
I have problems with the British government, and don’t feel that my vote necessarily allows for representation of my views in parliament: I detest the euro-skepticsm of the Conservatives, the Union affiliation of Labor, the proposed financial regulation of the Green Party, the handouts of the Lib Dems and everything about UKIP. But it doesn’t detract from our shared characteristics that have remained a beacon of light to people in developing countries, from China to Rwanda.
Scotland, don’t let politics destroy this truly remarkable Kingdom. We truly are #BetterTogether.