Unionists’ struggle for positivity

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by A Reader

Today’s Prime Minister’s Questions saw David Cameron calling upon all of Westminster to unite and make an ‘uplifting and optimistic case’ for the preservation of the United Kingdom.

He said: ‘I don’t believe we will achieve that through threats or by saying that small countries can’t make it. I believe that the way we’ll make that argument is by saying being part of the United Kingdom is good for Scotland.’

Whilst a positive case for the Union might be a welcome change for some, there still remains the question of what an ‘uplifting’ argument may actually contain. Claims that ‘the United Kingdom is good for Scotland’ are technically ‘positive’ statements but they still insinuate, as negatively as ever, that independence would damage Scotland.

Scots are intelligent enough to spot a negative message in disguise, and assuming otherwise will produce results like those seen in last week’s Scottish elections. Commenting on his party’s defeat, Labour MP for Glasgow South Tom Harris said: “Labour deserved to lose. We insulted the intelligence of our voters by peddling a myth.”

The SNP candidates’ slogan of ‘positivity over negativity’ during the victory speeches surely was intended not only to congratulate their own party but also to warn the Unionists of an inevitably negative No Campaign on independence. Despite new promises of that campaign being optimistic it is highly likely that the Unionist stance on independence will remain focused on Scotland as an ‘economic dependency’ in some form or another.

What then will be left to create a positive case for the Union is anyone’s guess. If a message of an inferior Scotland cannot fill us with a sense of overwhelming optimism, what then for the Union?