The Union could be boosted by England’s participation in the Burns Night celebration – according to a book co-authored by one of the Tory leadership candidates.
Penny Mordaunt, who became the bookmaker’s favorite for taking the keys to number 10 last week, last year penned a book with multi-millionaire PR agency boss Chris Lewis outlining a manifesto to revive Britain after Covid and Brexit.
Although it fails to explicitly discuss the issue of Scottish independence, Greater: Britain After the Storm, raises concerns that the Union cannot be ‘taken for granted’ if it is to survive.
That could happen, he suggests, if more attention is paid to attending different national celebrations across the UK.
“Britain is unique in not having a separate national day of celebrations or events around our major institutions,” the book says.
“The instinct to do it is there. It happened spontaneously during Covid when communities applauded the NHS, so why can’t we officially celebrate our national institutions, or even our devolved nations.
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He continues: “We can do more to celebrate Scottish culture, perhaps as Canada and America do. Most English people would need no excuse to join in the drinking on St. Patrick’s Day or St. David’s Day. As for Burns Night, well, try stopping them.
However, Mordaunt and Lewis acknowledged that Brexit could be the start of the UK’s disintegration.
They wrote: “If Scotland turns its back on England, how long before Cornwall or Yorkshire slips into the same process? Brexit may not be a one-off event. This may just be the start of a process unless we reverse the trend.
“The practical benefits of the Union are well understood, but the Brexit vote made one thing clear: even though people thought they might be worse off later, there were other things that mattered. any further.
“After Brexit, Britain must consider why the union of the four nations matters and how to reverse the drift. If the union matters, it must be clear why. If the United Kingdom is to survive, its existence cannot be taken for granted.
Last week, Mordaunt claimed she had what it took to break down the SNP’s ‘yellow wall’ and help the Tories take power in Scotland.
Delivering her speech to Tory members in Scotland, she said she would dodge any questions about holding another referendum on Scottish independence, saying she was “against playing in the territory of the SNP”.
But in the book, Mordaunt – who was a key face in the Leave campaign – and Lewis stress the importance of democracy when talking about the Brexit vote.
“Whatever side of the argument you were on (and the authors of this book were opposed), in the end, Britons should be left with a residual sense of pride,” he says.
“Not because of the outcome, but because of the democracy that delivered it. When the people choose what they want, all democrats can celebrate. If people are wrong, then they can change it.
He adds: “A functioning democracy, whether you agree with the outcome or not, is no cause for despair. On the contrary, it testifies to the freedom of choice and the strength of democracy by secret ballot.
In response, SNP MP Kirsten Oswald said: ‘Penny Mordant says ‘when the people choose what they want, all Democrats can celebrate’ – but she and all other Tory leadership candidates are determined to deny Scotland a democratic choice over its own future.
“Soon the Tories will have to engage with the substance of the independence debate in Scotland.
“It will be up to them to explain exactly why the UK continues to make decisions that are bad for Scotland – from a failure to invest North Sea oil and gas revenues to a decade of crippling austerity and to a deeply damaging hard Brexit that Scotland overwhelmingly rejected.
“Decisions about Scotland should be made by those who live here. It can’t happen under the control of Westminster – it can only happen with the full powers of independence.