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‘Angry’ Scotland should be more like Wales and accepts its place in the union says Scottish academic

21 Jul 2021 3 minutes Read
Scottish flag by M W from Pixabay. Wales flag by Senedd Cymru.

‘Angry’ Scotland should be more like Wales and accept its place within the union, a British academic and former Conservative Member of the Scottish Parliament has said.

Prof. Adam Tomkins, returning from a holiday in Pembrokeshire, said that Wales felt “much more at ease with itself than Scotland” because it did not have an adversarial relationship with England.

Instead, it demonstrated a “collaborative unionism” that sought to fix the problems of the United Kingdom rather than leaving it.

“Britain would be a happier place if both England and Scotland paid more attention to Wales,” Adam Tomkins said in the Scottish Herald.

“Returning from two weeks’ family holiday in Pembrokeshire, I was struck by how comfortable and confident Wales is at wearing both elements of its identity at once.

“Everywhere you go the Welsh flag and the union flag are flown together. Wales is distinctly not England, but it does not measure its Welshness in units of anti-Britishness.

“Once upon a time, Scotland was much the same. But, unlike Welshness, Scottishness has now become much angrier, asserting itself by reference to what Scots are not (we are Scottish not British) rather than by accommodating and embracing both at the same time.

“In Wales the sense of pride in strong national identity is both palpable and ubiquitous, but it is offered as something to celebrate rather than in any adversarial spirit of us-versus-them.”

‘Snap’

In Scotland, Adam Tomkins said, the Scottish and UK governments were failing to engage with each other because of the demand for independence on the one hand and a refusal to concede any power on the other. “Each position is as thoughtless as the other,” he said.

“It is the Welsh who are leading the thinking on the future relationships our governments will need to have with one another. But their work is like tumbleweed in the corridors of power in both Edinburgh and Westminster.”

He added: “The Welsh know that the future will need more shared governance, not less. Whether we are talking about public health or international trade, this is manifestly true.

“The Welsh also know that the current structure of the UK state is astonishingly poor at managing shared governance in practice. We have a tendency either to devolve and forget, or to over-centralise: it’s either your problem for you alone, or our issue for us alone.

“Yet, as the Welsh Government says, this is the opposite of a strong and durable settlement. It is a weak and brittle way of approaching power and, unless we adapt – unless we become more like the Welsh – it will snap and break.

“A kinder, gentler nationalism, and a more constructive, collaborative unionism. These are the hallmarks of Welsh politics. Both Scotland and England would do well to take heed.”

Adam Tomkins was a was a Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Glasgow region from 2016 until he stood down at the 2021 elections. He is the is the John Millar Professor of Public Law at the University of Glasgow School of Law.

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Chris
Chris
3 days ago

Prof Adam Tomkins holidayed in Little England Beyond Wales and is now an expert on our attitudes to the toxic union? Ahhhh confirmation bias is a terrible thing. I am amazed at the amount of conclusions he drew about national opinions on complex matters, from a week pottering about in Tenby. But then, this might just be the latest in a number of salvos where the Cons lie to try and drive a wedge between us and the Scots. Trying to “divide and conquer” so to speak. Like they did with Brexit. I mean everyone’s getting on well after that… Read more »

Bruce
Bruce
3 days ago
Reply to  Chris

Funnily enough if you drive into Tenby around election time you will see dozens of Plaid Cymru signs so not as ‘little Ingerland’ as everyone likes to think.

CJPh
CJPh
3 days ago
Reply to  Bruce

Yeah I know a few {younger} people from South Pembs who are very pro Cymru. It may be like the resurgence of cornish identity in the wake of mass migration to the area, may be the way things have gone in Wales after devolution. Anyway, very positive that people from South Pembs have begun to realise that they are part of the family too.

Bruce
Bruce
3 days ago
Reply to  CJPh

Agreed, I might add that I know plenty of older people (including relatives of mine) who were previously very hostile to devolution let alone independence yet they now support full independence. Also, if you are ever in Dinbych-y-pysgod take a look at the memorial to Prince Albert – it dates from the mid-nineteenth century yet all of the wording on the memorial is bilingual (with Welsh first). So again, South Pembs is not as ‘Little England’ as many people suppose it is. I’ve always wondered about the use of the term ‘Little England’ when applied to South Pembs, were they… Read more »

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
3 days ago
Reply to  Bruce

It’s from when Henry VIII planted English and Flemish settlers there and banned the Welsh from living there, in order to get a strategic toe-hold, much like Edward I tried to do with towns like Caernarfon. Their descendants still form the majority south of the Landsker Line, so it’s a positive sign that South Pembs is embracing Welshness to the extent that it now is. That claim by Tomkins that Wales is full of butcher’s aprons flying next to Y Ddraig Goch is utter tosh, by the way. Again, wishful thinking. I’ve seen just one in the whole of Wrexham… Read more »

Chris
Chris
3 days ago
Reply to  Bruce

Very pleased to hear that. Will update my perceptions accordngly

Paul
Paul
1 day ago
Reply to  Chris

He’s a regular Tory spouter of nonsense, ignore it.

Quornby
Quornby
3 days ago

“kinder gentler nationalism”????? Give away our resources for nothing and offer no future for our youth unless they go to London? Is that what you had in mind professor? It’s time for Wales to be more like Scotland, not the other way around.

Eifion
Eifion
3 days ago

There would have been more british/English people around Pembrokeshire than Welsh people during the holidays lol. It’s obviously a wind up article by the former English MP.
However, sadly he is right in one respect, the Scots have embraced Nationalism far better than we in Wales. Can’t help but think its down to their education system, where else in the world would teaching of your own countries history not be mandatory in schools. All I learned about was British history which of course didn’t include Wales.

Last edited 3 days ago by Eifion
Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
3 days ago
Reply to  Eifion

Correct about the teaching of Scottish history. I asked a Scot who now lives in NE Wales what do they teach in history in Scottish schools. He answered “Bannockburn, Bannockburn, Bannockburn”. In Wales, Kirsty Williams has given us “local history”, with no Welsh national focus.

Bob Pollock
Bob Pollock
2 days ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

When I was at high school in Scotland I knew more about the corn laws and the Magna Carta than the Enlightenment and the declaration of Arbroath. The teaching of history has improved in Scotland and is definitely not all about Bannockburn. He sounds like an embittered unionist

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
2 days ago
Reply to  Bob Pollock

He said it in a neutral way. He was telling us that Scotland now teaches Scottish history to its schoolchildren.

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
3 days ago

The odd thing is that I see very little anger in the Scottish independence movement. Just joy and excitement at the possibilities that independence offers. And a genuine celebration of the richness, diversity and potential of Scottish society.

Unionism on the other hand seems to be infused with bitterness, anger and obsessions with some of the most unpleasant aspects of the recent past. Empire, militarism and warfare. And of course negative attitudes towards “foreigners” and immigrants.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
3 days ago

Wales is a liberal, open minded, progressive country so I’m not surprised it is trying to find some sort of compromise for the Union but it’s too late and neither Scotland or England want it for different reasons. Wales is now better off assessing its strengths and capabilities and how they will contribute to making independence a success.

CJPh
CJPh
3 days ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

I often like your comments Steve, even when I disagree. Wales is, for the most part, a liberal country. We could become an open minded and progressive nation alongside retaining our liberalism, but I see no evidence to suggest that we are either one of those adjectives now, or ever have been. Are there open-minded people here? Sure, you certainly seem to be a good exemplar of that. Are there progressive values on display in Wales? Depends on what that annoyingly fluid term means, but certainly (to varying degrees depending on the definition). Do we have our fair share of… Read more »

Last edited 3 days ago by CJPh
Bruce
Bruce
3 days ago

Well thank you Professor Adam Tomkins for the nice little pat on the head (not).

Perhaps he should have added ‘now be good-little subservient Celts, know your place and do as your English masters tell you’.

Patronising little s**t.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
3 days ago

This is nothing more than an exercise in wishful thinking. There are examples of what he states all over Cymru, but it is by no means an accurate blanket description of the whole country’s attitude towards the union. He could have drawn a line through his own patronising comments and simply said “The general mood in Wales is for greater devolution, with an increasing number favouring independence, whereas the mood in Scotland is for independence, by a fluctuating margin”.

Welsh_Sion
Welsh_Sion
3 days ago

Upon reading this article, Scots have asked me, “What is the Cymraeg for ‘patronising numpty’?”

Happy to oblige: T-O-M-P-C-Y-N-S

Mark
Mark
3 days ago

the former conservative member appears to have a very blinkered view.

Derek
Derek
21 hours ago
Reply to  Mark

It’s fair to say that he has something of a track record…!

Robert G
Robert G
3 days ago

Spent 2 weeks on in a holiday cottage now an expert on Welsh attitudes to the toxic “union” that’s made Wales poorer and invisible in the world. Do us a favour.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
2 days ago

I challenge Prof. Tomkins to stand in a busy Glasgow, Edinburgh or Dundee bar and tell the Scots to ‘accept their place.’

CJPh
CJPh
2 days ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

I challenge him to ask some Welsh folk in Splott, Morriston or Merthyr too…

Richard Y Cymro
Richard Y Cymro
2 days ago

This ignorant Scottish Tory and alleged academic should go back to school. He says, “angry Scotland should follow Wales by accepting its place within this Union.” Patronising little Englander. He forgets this fact. Wales was never given a choice to be part of any Union. We had a knife to our throats. We were invaded in 1277 by an occupying force, and the knife was viciously turned in 1535 & 1542 when we were annexed by England. Which meant our native Welsh Laws were dissolved, a law codified in the 9th century, older than England itself, was removed by force.… Read more »

Last edited 2 days ago by Richard Y Cymro
Andrew
Andrew
2 days ago

This has got to be up there with one of the worst articles I’ve ever read. I didnt think I’d find someone less in tune than JRM with what the people of Scotland think about the constitution, then this ‘academic’ came along

Davy
Davy
1 day ago

Tomkins was a Tory list MSP in Holyrood for 5 years. Well known for his staunch support of the union, he has never let facts interfere with his anti Scottish (and now Welsh narrative).

Stephen Quinn
Stephen Quinn
1 day ago

I feel sorry for Wales, having to host Adam Tomkins and show him a good time on holiday, only for him to be unkind to Wales.This is another attempt by a Tory to promulgate the myth that Scotland hates England. It is nonsense. Of course, club rivalry at football, like any derby game. Scotland objects to Westminster rule, in the main, and particularly to Tories, who are rarer and rarer in Scottish politics. yet, we are subjected to our democracy being altered by a Tory government in another country. I am sure Wales feels the same. This constant slight of… Read more »

Paolo Callierno
Paolo Callierno
1 day ago

what a unionist trumpet

Last edited 1 day ago by Paolo Callierno
Jan
Jan
5 hours ago

Not very good at reading the room the Prof is he 🤣👌🏻

HYUFD
HYUFD
19 minutes ago

Tomkins is spot on. Wales voted for Brexit unlike Scotland and there are far more Welsh Tory MPs than Scottish Tory MPs. Plaid are a poor third in Wales, nowhere near the strength of the SNP.

Scotland is split on independence, Wales backs devolution but is overwhelmingly anti independence and wants to stay in the UK

Last edited 18 minutes ago by HYUFD

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