Speech by Rt Hon Alistair Carmichael
Secretary of State for Scotland
PLEASE CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Ladies and gentlemen,
I want to talk to you today about an unattractive and divisive habit which is appearing increasingly in today’s Scotland. It is the creeping involvement of politics in our national debate. I know how many of you are fed up with politics and I am too. An honest debate about who should govern Scotland and what the purpose of government should be, is no place for naked politicking. Therefore I am avoiding politics altogether in speaking to you today.
Our opponents, ever opportunistic, keep saying that deciding how the country should be governed is somehow connected to the squalid and self-regarding world of politics. I can assure you, ladies and gentlemen, it isn’t. Not as far as I am concerned. What could be further from politics with its manipulation of power and choices than a discussion about the natural order of Britain, our country? We know that our country is ruled by a hereditary monarch who overseas a parliament run by public schoolboys and supported by an unelected chamber with votes for clergymen, like Iran, and in which we all do as we are told to enhance the standard of living of a self-selecting elite. Is there politics in that? Can you detect any debate worth having about our great country which should include the nefarious and venal business of politics? Of course not.
But listen to the Nationalists and the other Socialists behind them. They want to bring our great British system down to their level with their politics. I will have none of it. When I said the Union won the reprieve of Grangemouth, it wasn’t politics. It was the honest truth. When I said to Portsmouth that they would build warships if the Scots voted yes, that wasn’t politics. That was the unvarnished truth. (Can somebody find the quote from Hammond!!).
Now I hear that if you don’t believe your country is worthy of its independence, you’re somehow less of a Scot. That, ladies and gentlemen, is politics. Count the number of true national heroes in history and ask how many of them wanted their country’s independence. Ghandi. Mandela. Garibaldi. Devolutionists all…they said No to independence and fought, like Castro, for their countries to be run by London or by centres elsewhere where they had but token representation, if any at all. Now that is the mark of greatness – sacrificing your national identity, your history, your own people – on the altar of your own self-interest. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the Lib Dem way…to prattle about democracy, self government and federalism and then, when the time comes, to surrender and grovel for the coveted place on the red leather benches. That is the British way.
I like a dram. Yes, I admit it. That means I am, like Wallace and Katie Morag, a true and proud Scot. I will not be told that I am less than the living embodiment of old Scotia. I have a tartan travelling rug in the boot of the Mondeo. That’s the kind of true Scot I am. But when it comes to standing up for the nation of Scotland or the Nation of Great Britain, then I am a proud Scot who believes in Britain. It couldn’t be clearer. Could it? Scotland First…until up against Britain…then Britain First. Keep the politics out of it. God Save the Queen.