There is not many issues I consider more important than unionism. I know, I'm not as vocal about it as I used to be. I felt it was the one thing the Tories could be relied upon to defend. They might spend most of their time supporting their rich, business buddies and policing the sexual mores of the population but when it came to the Union, the Tories would be there come what may. Alas...
It has becoming increasingly obvious, in the years since 1997's decimation of the Tories in Scotland and the introduction of devolution, that the Tories were starting to embrace their inner-Little Englander. But I didn't realise just how far the rot had set in until today's latest instalment in the Peter "Cash for Cameron" Cruddas was revealed.
It would seem the Tories' unionism is somewhat lukewarm now and they are looking forward to a SNP victory in the independence referendum where they can snub their noses at an independent Scotland's demands!
“We, as a party, have to be seen to be fighting to keep the Union together. Even if we don’t agree with it, because at the end of it all, if the Scots say we’re out of here and they want to go independent, we can turn around and say it’s not what we wanted, it’s not what we campaigned for, you can’t have this, you can’t have that, and you can get on with it.”
That is a quote that will play right into the SNP's hands, and one that really shows the lack of principle, belief and passion in the Tories today. That's not just a problem for them, these last two weeks of petrol panics, pasty taxes and other such ridiculous petty little battles show just how devoid of focus and policies mainstream politics is (and George Galloway's victory shows how soft support for the Big Three parties is). But of all issues, the very future of our country is one on which you'd hope the Tories could at least set out a clear position rather than sit on the fence.
It is clear the Liberal Democrats must make the case for unionism in the Coalition. We have a vision of a federal Union, one that enables freedom for our nations and regions whilst keeping our country together. It's a bold, sensible and practical solution to the current constitutional mess left by Labour. We need to be screaming it from the rooftops. It's time for the Lib Dems to replace the cynical, foolish and poorly lead Conservative and Unionist party and become the new party of the Union.
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist