Cameron Speech: First Draft

Ladies and gentlemen, people of Britain, English, Irish, Welsh and Scots, and every colour and culture in between who have come from all corners of the earth to make your lives here in our United Kingdom, I extend the hand of friendship – no, the hand of kinship – to you all, everyone. I may be called Cameron, I may be the elected leader, Prime among equals, but more than that, I am one of you. Whatever our name, whatever our nationality we are together on these islands today not just as a nation, not just as a society…but as a family. Our family name is Britain. The British family.

You often hear people say of their family that if only they had talked, or tried a little harder, if only they had listened, a rift would never have occurred. People spend their entire adult lives regretting one incident that broke them apart and it can resound down the generations. Let us not make that mistake in these critical times. Let us ensure that when there is unhappiness at home, we talk, we listen and we understand – because we care.

As part of that process, I need to be open and honest in a way that, frankly I have not been before and nor, I should add, have the leaders of governments in Britain before me. It has taken me some time but I now realise that a major part of the problem this country faces is that we have not been listening. For many years now there has been unrest in Scotland, not just from nationalists but from British-minded Scots of all political colours who have become exasperated that government hasn’t worked for them. It hasn’t respected their differences, paid attention to their needs, nor, I’m ashamed to say, shared their dreams. We in government have been distant, aloof and dismissive cocooned in London and expecting others with different backgrounds and attitudes to accept our views. Worse, at times, and as history shows, we have deliberately misled the Scots to bend them to our will.

It is true. It is a chastening experience to stand before you today and admit that successive British governments put greed for oil revenues before the interests of the Scots. We allowed the machinery of government to underestimate and undersell the value of our North Sea hydrocarbon bonanza. We even tried to pretend it wasn’t Scotland’s oil by creating a new economic region – Extra Regio – to which the oil could be ascribed. If there is mitigation it is that we looked to a wider British national interest but that should not be allowed to obscure the fact your government bent the truth. We should have told the truth – that if the Scots voted, as was their right, in the early seventies for their independence, they would have been in the words of an official report “as rich as Switzerland”. We, the rest of the UK would have been negotiating loan deals from Edinburgh, striking cheap energy arrangements and looking enviously on as the Scots built up massive sovereign funds to underpin what would have been the most generous pensions in Europe and riding downturns and recessions with barely a ripple. The truth can now be told, that £300billion of revenues have flowed to London from the Scottish oil fields and it has underpinned our policies even today is keeping our currency, the pound sterling, from declining in value by boosting our balance of payments. Friends, the other sad reality is that none of those billions has been saved. None. We poured into our current account and wrote cheque after cheque to pay for goods and services as if we were spendthrift lottery winners. Today I am redressing that situation. My government is setting up with immediate effect a sovereign oil fund which will channel a proportion of revenues to Edinburgh for unrestricted use by the Scottish government. The details of the fund will be agreed between Mr Salmond and myself. If you think that is a gesture instead of an apology. It isn’t. I also say today to the people of Scotland – to our British family in Scotland – I am sorry. Sorry that you were denied the transformational benefits of the oil, sorry that the British government – your government – misled you and on behalf of the rest of us in these islands, I also say a heartfelt Thank you. Thank you, Scotland for sticking with your family and sharing your windfall and helping to create a wealthier Britain.

I know that is one reason why so many of you are ready now to break up our family but before you do, here is another admission. I have been guilty of orchestrating a programme of misinformation in my desire to keep you in this family. Its message was that you would be poorer on your own. It has implied, and sometimes, stated that Britain subsidises Scotland, that money flows north without which Scotland would  struggle. It is not true.

In fact all the government accounts shows the opposite to be the case, that, if anything Scotland hands a subsidy to Britain, equal on some estimates to £100 a week for every family in Scotland. I cannot undo what is done but it makes me realise how little we have truly appreciated Scotland’s contribution. Two things will now happen. No Tory minister will ever gain claim Scotland is a net recipient and no minister will bully or threaten Scotland or claim we won’t cooperate if there is a Yes vote. And on Monday I will fly to Edinburgh for a summit with the First Minister in which we will discuss the tax powers he desires to improve Scotland’s competitive economy. I realise I should have done this before we became engaged in this referendum campaign but better late than never. I have a slate of powers ready to be handed to Edinburgh, more I may say, than has ever been imagined before now.

To those who say I go too far, I can only reply that if I don’t there is a serious possibility that we will lose our Scottish friends, our cooperative relationship with them, 10 per cent of our economy, global credibility and the bedrock of our national defence which underpins ties to our greatest ally.

What I offer today is a transformational shift in the governance of Britain. To Scotland I offer an open page so we can start again with the opportunity for Scots to claim everything we can deem workable to be devolved to them without destroying the Union. The West Lothian Question will be answered by a different and reduced representation at Westminster.

To Wales and Northern Ireland I offer open-ended discussions on the powers they desire. And today for the first time I acknowledge the long-ignored mighty regions of England…the Midlands, the North East, the South West where we intend to build the decision-making architecture to produce vibrant economic hubs alive with innovation and manufacturing. I want them not feed off London but to compete with London.

There will be a moratorium on public spending in London. The Assembly will be allowed to raise its own taxes with a consequential loss of central funds. But in addition, major infrastructure spending above an agreed level will require national approval first in parliament and then by referendum. Just as people across the UK should engage with Scotland’s debate, so people across the UK should engage with London as we strive to juggle its success with the imbalances it creates. The new fast rail service HS2 will begin building in Birmingham AND London and as from today its scope is extended to Glasgow. If it is successful I will listen to plans for it to carry on into the Highlands up to Inverness, just as the Victorians did with today’s line. They didn’t hide from ambition, they took it as a dare and so will we.

I understand that we can only be a family if we listen and talk and see how inter-connected we all are. The remainder of my time in office will be dedicated to bringing the people of our island family together and allowing them as much freedom as they desire to run their own affairs and make the best of their lives. These last few years have made us all realise that what has been stirring in Scotland is also alive in the rest of Britain, that our people are desperate for better government, for meaningful representation and a sense of belonging. Scotland has wakened us up. Thank you again, Scotland.

To you I say, go if you must. If that is your destiny, you must pursue it but you will leave behind a saddened and disappointed family still reaching out to you as you go. Let us not suffer generations of regret. Here’s a hand my trusty friend and give me a hand that’s thine…Stay in our family. We can resolve our differences. Please don’t go. Thank you.

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0 thoughts on “Cameron Speech: First Draft

  1. Dare you to come up here and say that David.

    I’ll add a more considered response later.

    • Roibert a Briuis

      Two possibilities
      ONE Call me Dave woke up in a cold sweat……PHEW WHAT A DREAM

      OR there is indeed a parallel universe where different things happen with different outcomes to what we know is real in this world.

      BUT sadly we all are living in the here and now……awesome thoughts about what is possible IF he had the balls……but sermons from Mount Olympus and not willing to debate with our FM….bring ALL of us back to the reality of the situation.

  2. You been on the wacky baccy Derek? (Only kiddin’).

  3. Does he think that because he finally admits to lying and cheating Scotland for centuries that we should now believe that the Westminster tiger can change its spots, very unlikely, the only answer for Scotland is independence.

  4. Just imagine if he had made that speech, it might have actually pulled it off! No danger of it happening though, the Westminster/City gravy nexus would never countenance it.

  5. Oh Derek , If only, if only.
    I can easily imagine Alec Salmond saying the first paragraph with sincerity and conviction but D.C. ?

  6. As Sir Humphrey Appleby might have said “How awfully daring of you, Prime Minister! I have to advise you that it has been said that in Scotland’s case, we have been robbing Peter to pay Paul. As Cabinet Secretary, my advice when we make a decision is to remember that that we are Paul.”

  7. Nope. Wee are away, for pastures new.

  8. Hi Derek,

    Ha ha ha ha. If he made a speech like that he would contravene the basis on which Westminster governs the whole of the UK – never explain and never, ever apologise. He would also face an immediate vote of “No Confidence” from his own party and the Opposition.

    Nice thought though.


  9. Derek….you wish.
    What do you say to a family member who has been robbing you blind for decades and telling you that you are delusional and lucky to have him/her around to bail you out?
    In my book,this would be an ex family member who would be shown the door and in the words of Groucho Marx told to “never darken my towels again”.
    Cameron continues to demonstrate the gulf between English Tory thinking and Scottish working people.
    What family ?
    Thanks Derek.

  10. You know Derek, that proposal might be work for lots of people who aren’t turned so cynical to accept it on face value again. it will certainly work for the solid NO vote with no guarantees necessary.

    It will work for many swayers and devo-maxers if they are assured by solid agreements betwixt Westminster and Holyrood.

    It will not be accepted in any form by the solid YES support who see a future with their own hands on the tiller and who are very mindful of the 55 million rUK to 5 million Scots; an imbalance that can never be a working proposition.

    Such as where goes Trident, where goes the NHS, who’s dragging us into wars to support our special relationship with the USA, what’s to happen when the £1.5 trillion debt overtakes GDP and we Scots are caught up in the mess of a future with the louts of Westminster and the Lords?

    Sorry Dave – no thanks and on yer bike!

  11. Now that’s what you’d call “Love Bombing” and worthy of a Hollywood Screen writer’s ending, and with just as much likelihood of ever happening in real life.

    Notwithstanding, I reckon we’ll get quite a few similar attempts in coming months as each Unionist party issues Post “No” proposals for increased devolution, but nothing as sincere or committed as your own version. In fact I’d lay money on it that each submission for our consideration will be so woolly, ambiguous and contradictory with every other Union party’s proposals as to leave us totally bemused and confused as to what is really being offered, and a “snowball’s chance in hell” of them ever agreeing on a common course. They’re all so far over their own deadlines for producing these proposals that I wonder if they’ve even started the process in earnest preferring to leave it to the last few months before committing themselves in case they inadvertently offer much more than they need to.

    Nice story Derek, but they’ll be too late to convince me, even if they delivered a proposal word for word as your own. For me it’s now very much a case of Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.

  12. I have to admit that even if he did say all of that I’d be wondering what the catch was!

  13. very good, but too late.

  14. There’d be a dry “Aye (right)” in the house after that sort of speech.

    If it didn’t bring it down altogether, of course.

  15. If Bullingdon Dave had indeed made such a speech, then insisted on shaking your hand afterwards, you’d have been well advised to count your remaining fingers – if you still had any left that is!

  16. Derek, that was great! Swift hasn’t, or wouldn’t have had a look in. Your piece should be framed with a final “OOT” answer at the end. Thanks yet again for brightening the day with laughter.

  17. A great piece of writing. In that alternate world, I might consider becoming a Unionist.

  18. 100 years from now the London and Home Counties English will still believe they subsidised us ungrateful Scots for 300 years. Enough is enough Dave would like to say it was nice doing business with you, but I can’t you just used, abused and treated us with utter contempt. You cannot be trusted. Good by.

  19. Aye sounds like a kept man pleading with his wife not to leave after she realises her money has all been spent on himself and his friends. I love you really underneath it all.They are really getting scared now. So the truth is hitting home with Scots. How do unionists react when the natives find out. They do the only thing they can plead on bended knees not to leave. It’s undignified and shameful.

  20. Concerning the cheating of and withholding from the Scots that this “Cyber Dave” is now owning up to, check out what Jackson Carlaw came out with in Morning Call this morning (65 mins into the programme). He claimed that he knew nothing about McCrone, it was before his time he claimed, even though it was concealed by Westminster for 30 years and didn’t emerge till 2005.

    Here’s what Wikipedia says about the McCrone Report:-

    The McCrone report was a UK Government dossier on the economic viability of an independent Scotland, written in 1974 by Professor Gavin McCrone, a leading civil service economist, for the Conservative UK government. By the time it was completed the Labour Party had returned to power. The report predicted that North sea oil revenue would give an independent Scotland a large tax surplus, on such a scale as to be “embarrassing”, making the country “as rich as Switzerland.” It also surmised that this surplus revenue would make the Scottish pound the hardest currency in Europe “with the exception of the Norwegian kronor”. The report went on to advise UK government ministers on the various methods they could use to take “the wind out of the SNP sails”.

    The incoming Labour administration classified the document as secret over fears it could give a further boost to the SNP’s policy of Scottish independence.

    A year after Professor McCrone had submitted his report to the government, civil servants (including McCrone) met again in London to discuss its implications. They concluded that his findings had been accurate, and that the average income in Scotland would increase by up to 30% per head if the country became an independent state. They also concluded that Scotland’s “economic problems would disappear”, and it would become “the Kuwait of the Western world”, though this was balanced somewhat by the opinion that Scotland could risk “disaster” if the oil price collapsed. They summed up by finding that there was a good case for the continuation of the Union. UK oil production peaked in 1999 and had declined 67% by 2012,[6] but petroleum still contributed £35bn to the UK balance of payments in 2011. The UK government took an estimated £6,530m in direct petroleum taxes in 2012-13 plus £6bn in income tax, national insurance and corporation tax from supply companies in 2011-12.[7] As of 2012 around 45% of UK oil & gas employees are in Scotland.

    The dossier came to light in 2005 when the SNP obtained the report under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The full provisions of the Act came into force on 1 January 2005.

    In his evidence to the Lords Committee on the Economic Implications of Scottish Independence in 2012, Professor McCrone stated that Scottish GDP would increase by around 20% if North Sea oil were to be counted as part of it.

    Was Carlaw (Deputy Leader of the Scottish Torags) telling wee porky pies, extremely ill informed or just avoiding answering a straight question? And he got away with it unchallenged.

    If there was ever a debate between Salmond and Cameron would Alex Salmond be allowed to bring up this issue? And that is just one of many issues as you say Derek. Nae wunner Cameron cannae face Salmond. There would be far too many very awkward issues available to Salmond and nae place tae hide fur DC.

    It would be interesting to know what “our family” in the rest of Britain would think when the cheating and lying is laid before them openly.

    • Dunkie,
      It’s a bit like a current German politician saying he wasn’t around during the war,so knows nothing about what happened then.Right!

  21. OMG, Derek, imagine if he had. What would that have done to the don’t knows? Mind you it might have turned them to Yes, after they’d heard an open admission by HMG that, yep, you were royally screwed for years. ‘Course the other consequence would be that Dave wouldn’t last long in his job, with his successor saying, ‘Look Scotland, what Dave meant was…’

  22. The one word missing from Cameron’s speech is ………. “oil”.

    It must be one these “wee things”.

  23. Aye maybe
    if it was signed by the Queen, the pope, the UN , the EU…………….god!

  24. Not earth-shattering, but why was the lectern used by Cameron carrying the name Glasgow Caledonian University? More ill-judged PR by Cameron or GCU? If the latter they should be ashamed of themselves.

  25. When Bo Didley offered his personal view about the Great in Gt Britain I was less convinced about his other statement that Independence would mean double office costs. Whit? BP already has sizeable office space in Aberdeen. It would be in his interests to move his HQ functions to Aberdeen.

  26. Re my earlier post I googled GCU and discovered that on 30th January Alistair Carmichael, S of S, visited the Uni. Gushing words from Pamela Gillies, Principal.
    Surely not………

  27. Thanks Derek. Reads a bit like a John Fowles novel.. what Cameron should have said if he wanted to stem the tide… alas, if he had, he would be out of a job two years early… and what would we get instead? Ed Miliband… Talk of a rock and a hard place.

  28. Just one tiny smidgin of an addition to this great article, could you include we Cornish when you talk about the nations of the UK?

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