A MINISTER FOR THE UNION
The Somerset Guardian, 3rd July 2019
Boris Johnson has declared that if he were to become Prime Minister he would also be the Minister for the Union. This would be both symbolically and practically important.
The symbolism is that it would show how crucial the Union is to a conservative understanding of our nation: the four parts which make one stronger whole. Devolution is a crucial evolution of how power is exercised but it does not undermine or replace the unity of a single country that not only has so much shared history but also current, common interests.
Brexit reinvigorates the need for the United Kingdom. Maintaining an alliance on defence, foreign policy and trade, while having powers over social security, tax and health policy provides both local autonomy and protects global interests. As fishing and agriculture come back from Brussels this relationship will be further enhanced. The Scottish waters are the richest in the United Kingdom but have been pillaged as a so called ‘common resource’ of the European Union. Their return, protected by the Royal Navy, ought to be an economic boost that replaces years of damage. Likewise, it is hard to think of any system that could be worse for farmers’ interests than the Common Agricultural Policy, a domestic approach will help the whole of the United Kingdom.
The purpose of the Union is reinforced by Brexit and clears the waters muddied by the European Union’s longstanding interference. One democratic country in charge of its own affairs, under its own self-control, will be able to face the world economically and diplomatically with renewed confidence.