Calling UK a ‘union’ encourages nationalists, Conservative think tank founded by Thatcher says
A British nationalist think tank has said that Conservatives should stop referring to the UK as a ‘union’ because it encourages nationalists who want to break it up.
The Bruges Group, whose founding president was former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, said that it was committed to putting forward the ‘intellectual’ case for the UK severing ties with the European Union.
But calling the UK a ‘union’ could itself encourage nationalists in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to break away, they said.
“It is unhelpful to normalise separatist terminology,” they said. “If we accept their premise that the United Kingdom is a union, the implication is that it can be dissolved.
“The United Kingdom is a country, whole and entire.
“Separatists aren’t engaged in some noble quest – they’re fighting to break our country apart.”
‘Act of union’
Their statement came at a moment of peril for the United Kingdom. Sinn Féin won the most seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly for the first time earlier this month.
In Scotland, the SNP had their best ever local elections and the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reaffirmed her commitment to an independence referendum within that parliamentary term.
In Wales, Welsh Labour outperformed the party in England by appealing to a distinct sense of Welsh identity, and have signed a cooperation agreement with the pro-independence Plaid Cymru.
The Bruges Group’s decleration that the United Kingdom isn’t an union was however greeted with a mixed reaction on social media.
“It’s literally called United Kingdom, and was created by an act of union,” one user pointed out.
“You can’t hold the UK together if people don’t want to be in the UK,” Rebecca Barr said. “At the brexit referendum both the wishes of the majority of Scotland and NI were totally ignored.”
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