The case for
a United Kingdom
Leader of the
Better Together campaign
The University of Glasgow, July 2013
We Belong Together: The
case for a United Kingdom
In just over a year’s time the Scottish people will make a
momentous choice. Do we stay in the United Kingdom,
and remain partners with the countries we have been joined
with for centuries, or do we leave and become a separate,
Just over a year ago I launched Better Together making a
positive case while asking tough questions about independence.
As I said at our launch – there is much in Scotland and the
UK today that needs to change. We need more growth, more
jobs and a more prosperous Scotland. To argue, as I do, that
Scotland is better within the UK is not to deny that change
needs to happen. Rather, our argument is that we will have
better choices open to us to make the changes we need as
a strong part of the UK.
In my view, the onus is on those who want to break up the
union to explain why, and why going-it-alone would be better
for Scotland. But there is also an obligation on those of us
who support the UK to explain the positive, principled case
for staying together, because we want Scots to make a positive
choice to remain part of the UK, and not merely to reject the
risks and uncertainties of independence.
It is that side of the debate I want to concentrate on today.
So I will not speak today about the weaknesses of the
Instead I’m going to make a case for a strong Scotland in
the UK. It will first be a hard-headed case. If you like, it will be
a calculation of where Scotland’s interests lie. Issues like jobs
and security, economics and defence, or public services and
pensions are critical to everyone’s future. The arguments for
staying in the United Kingdom to protect and secure these
interests are compelling.
But important though those practical economic arguments
are, they do not make the whole case. A