On Scotland and the Union

Scotland and the UnionOn Tuesday, the chamber was a quarter-full. The journalists were in the coffee-shops, gathering gossip on the Prime Minister’s forthcoming speech on Europe. And the television was investigating horsemeat in hamburgers.

No-one it seems was listening to the debate in the main chamber.  But the subject – a referendum for Scottish independence – was the most important political decision of our generation. The reason, I think, why no-one was listening is that they either believed independence was inconceivable, or that it was irrelevant. They were complacent or indifferent. And this suits the Scottish Nationalists.

Show more


Last Saturday – Burns night – trews, kilts, tartan sashes, a haggis, an ode, two pipers struggling to drink their quaichs. 300 heads nodded wisely as someone sung – “Robin Shure in hairst” – and perhaps 10 heads knew what those words meant. Why were we ritually remembering Rabbie Burns? After all, the poet would […]

Thoughts on my father

I have spent a lot of the last four years thinking about my father, and writing about him, and walks through Cumbria, in a book, published last week, called The Marches. I thought – at first – that I could learn more about him by interviewing him. Often, therefore, when we sat down for dinner […]

We’ll Be Stronger Together

First published in Time on 28 August 2014 The Scottish National Party is one of the most attractively crafted nationalist movements in history. It has cloaked itself in progressive liberal language; it claims to be in favor of higher immigration; professes great friendship for neighboring nations; is anti-militarist; and instead of focusing on the past, […]


  Visit the new website: www.handsacrosstheborder.co.uk We’d like to thank all our supporters for what has been an overwhelming response to the “Hands across the Border” initiative. It is amazing that so many people from both sides of the border have committed to creating a visible display of union between our nations. We’ve now decided […]

Preserving the Union

A trainee teacher: “Scotland separating from the United Kingdom? So? Does it matter?” A retired General. “I’m not saying I believe this, but there are some people who think it might be quite good for England. That Scotland is taking advantage of us.” An artist. “I’m not that political. Shouldn’t you be asking a politician?” […]

Scotland and the UK: Standing Together

Something amazing just happened. Yesterday alone another one thousand people signed up to join a human chain to unite Britain. On the evening of 19th July we will link arms in a human chain stretching from coast to coast: thousands of English, Irish, Welsh, and Scots, together. The chain will begin at Gretna and finish […]

Rory speaks on Scotland’s place in the UK

Transcript of House of Commons Backbench Debate – 6th February 2014 Rory Stewart (Penrith and The Border, Conservative) One thousand nine hundred years ago, Rome divided Britain with a wall. Britain is an island whose natural boundaries are the sea, and this wall split families and split tribes. Ever since that moment we have been debating […]