David Cameron: “We do not want this family of nations to be ripped apart”

The Prime Minister’s last-minute plea to Scotland.

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

David Cameron has written an emotional piece in the Daily Mail calling for Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom. Its headline is: “Our Union is precious. Don't tear it apart”.

Here are some extracts:

It’s difficult to put into words what our United Kingdom represents. This is the group of small islands in the North Atlantic that have punched above our weight for centuries – and we’ve done so together.

When the world wanted representation, we gave them democracy. When they wanted progress, we had the Scottish enlightenment and the industrial revolution.

When slavery bound innocent people, we abolished it; when fascism threatened freedom, we defeated it. A hundred years ago, our boys went off to war together – and they did so as comrades, united by purpose and hope for a better world.

As individuals and as nations, we have done extraordinary things. This is the special alchemy of the UK – you mix together Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland and together we smash expectations.

. . .

This week, the No campaign set out more detail on this. Power for Scotland over how much money it borrows, what taxes it raises, how it spends that money – all agreed by November, all put into draft legislation by January. This is the package that Gordon Brown outlined on Monday. It is one I wholeheartedly support. Because we know that brighter future for Scotland rests not only on staying in the UK, but also on having significant new powers.

. . .

The United Kingdom is a precious and special country. That is what is at stake. So let no one in Scotland be in any doubt: we desperately want you to stay; we do not want this family of nations to be ripped apart. Across England, Northern Ireland and Wales, our fear over what we stand to lose is matched only by our passion for what can be achieved if we stay together.

It is a clear, impassioned article – qualities the Better Together campaign had been missing until the former PM Gordon Brown embarked on his tour to save the Union this week.

It comes as Westminster’s three main party leaders are abandoning their parliamentary duties today, in order to prioritise the fight against Scottish independence. Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg are all going on a No vote trip to Scotland, in a last-minute attempt to persuade Scotland to stay. So far, all three leaders have kept a relatively low profile in the campaign, which is why I wrote yesterday that this show of their nerves today is a bad idea.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.