The Act of Union was passed in 1707 by both the English and Scottish parliaments. Great Britain was officially created on the 1st of May that year. That was the day Great Britain was born, and the union has remained ever since. However, on the 18th of September our 300 years of shared history could come to an end. There are 100 campaigning days before the referendum; Great Britain could cease to exist after one Scottish Thursday not too long away.
Great Britain has achieved so much together. This is either a time to celebrate a golden era before we turn our back on it or it is a time to remember why the union is so important, depending on which side of the debate you stand.
Great Britain was the first industrialized nation. Built on the inventions of Scotsmen and Englishmen alike, Great Britain stepped into the unknown like no other nation. The most powerful and the wealthiest nation on earth, an idea was born in Victorian Britain: the idea that any man from any background could make something of himself and become one of the new industrialist middle class. If this was true or not (and it was certainly a myth for all but a lucky few), this was the first time an idea like this ever really entered the popular consciousness in Europe. Britain led the world, united.
The Liberal Reforms of 1906-1014 came as a result of this industrial revolution. The laissez-faire approach that helped fuel the industrial revolution also led to such exploitation that Karl Marx told us that the British working class would be the first to revolt against the capitalist system. Most British children were provided free school meals, opportunities to go to secondary school and medical checkups and treatment. The elderly were given a state pension. Rescue teams were trained to help mine workers trapped in accidents. Back to back houses were forbidden. Workers were granted some unemployment benefits if they worked seasonal jobs and low paid workers were granted Health Insurance. Labour exchanges were set up for the first time. Britain became a truly great nation, leading the world in morality.
Then, of course, came the Second World War. Together, the people of the United Kingdom stood against fascism and eventually won. People from the whole of Great Britain (and much of the rest of the world) fought in defense of the freedom they believed Britain to stand for. In one of our countries greatest ever moments, Great Britain stood united in its defense and won. Of course, we all know the importance of the Second World War.
The victory against evil pushed Britain to strive for greater moral heights. 1948 saw the creation of the NHS, and Britain finally reaching the moral high-ground of the world. Healthcare free at the point of use for all. That was the dream of many, and a dream that even most of the world's more developed nations haven't yet achieved. Even though Scottish healthcare is slightly different, this major groundbreaking development was Britain wide. These dizzying heights of morality were achieved together, and the institution we hold deer was created by all of us for all of us.
If Scotland votes to break up the union, even the most nationalist in Scotland should feel a tinge of sadness on the 19th of September. This golden age will be over. If Scotland votes no, the United Kingdom must once more become a global trailblazer: together we have the potential to once more reach the moral high-ground of the world.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS