Ruth Davidson MSP, Leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, delivered the final speech of our series with the title, “A Union Revived”. Ms Davidson used her lecture to argue that the referendum debate provided an opportunity for Scots, and also those living elsewhere in these islands, to look again at what Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom gain from their 300-year old partnership.
Ms Davidson opened her speech by reflecting that David Hume’s call for scepticism and empiricism struck a chord with Conservative beliefs, but that they contrasted with the ‘razzle dazzle’ of the nationalist cause. This, she suggested, was a contrast all the stronger with the United Kingdom often unwilling to wear its patriotism on its sleeve.
However she maintained that, although it was perhaps more challenging to make the case for continuity as opposed to radical change, the Union was a magnificent thing.
To begin its defence, she tackled what she said were some of the myths that have been allowed to grow up around the Union, beginning with the caricature that suggests that to be in favour of a Union is to be somehow less than truly Scottish. There was no conflict, she suggested, in holding a loyalty to both Scotland and the UK as a whole, and in fact this dual identity allowed many Scots to celebrate the best of both worlds.
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