Emma Raducanu and Marcus Rashford can stop Welsh and Scottish independence says Gordon Brown
Sportswomen and men like Emma Raducanu and Marcus Rashford can stop Welsh and Scottish independence by showing that British nationalism can be based on inclusion and diversity, Gordon Brown has said.
According to the former Prime Minister, the multicultural diversity represented by the two sports stars challenges the “muscular unionism” of Boris Johnson that attempts to “subsume Englishness, Scottishness, and Welshness in an all-consuming Britishness”.
He said that “unity does not require uniformity and solidarity does not demand the elimination of regional and national differences”.
“To be British does not mean having one identity. Citizens can be comfortably Muslim, English and British,” he added.
“Only a minority now believe that the main characteristic of being British is that you were born in Britain. It is possible to be born in Canada of Romanian and Chinese parents and be, like Emma Raducanu, a new British sporting icon.
“It will be a Britain whose unity evolves out of our diversity and is built on a shared belief in equal rights guaranteed to all, with personal responsibility the duty of all.”
This was in contrast with the form of Britishness now being promoted by the Conservative party, he said.
“That is why Boris Johnson’s ‘muscular unionism’ simply plays into the hands of Nicola Sturgeon and her plans to provoke a constitutional crisis next year,” he said.
“Describing the UK as ‘one nation’, he is abandoning the bigger idea – and better reality – that we are a ‘family of nations’. He wants to badge new Scottish roads and bridges as British, as if hoisting more Union Jacks will make people decide they are only British and not also Scottish or Welsh.
“Once the champion of more powers for London, he now sees devolution outside London as ‘a disaster’ and – ironically for an avowedly small-state Conservative Party – its Internal Market Act and Shared Prosperity Fund override devolution in favour of bolstering a centralised unitary state run out of London SW1.”