Less than three months ago the people of Scotland voted to keep the UK together, and I was just one of the millions of people who were relieved, proud and delighted that Scotland decided to stay. There was one big message at the heart of our campaign: We can have a strong UK and a strong Scotland – with its own identity and achievements to celebrate. That’s what St Andrew’s day is all about.
As we celebrate St Andrew’s Day, we celebrate Scotland, this great nation of culture and enterprise, of pride and passion, whose countrymen and women gave the world the steam engine, the television, penicillin, James Bond, Harry Potter – even the Higgs Boson. Today, Scotland’s national day, the world shows its admiration for those achievements, and the bagpipes will ring out from the islands of Argyll to the streets of New York.
Everywhere you look around the globe, people want a bit of Scotland: in Australia, where tartan is proudly worn; in the Bahamas and Canada, where haggis is eaten; and in France, where they drink more Scotch in a month than they do Cognac in a year.
This St Andrew’s Day, we will be celebrating that huge global reach, flying the flag for Scotland at our UK embassies and high commissions. And when I think of the Saltire, set against the sun in Dar es Salaam, billowing in the Ottawa wind, I think of all the incredible things that we are doing, together, as a United Kingdom, whether it is our aid workers in West Africa saving people from the deadly Ebola virus, our security forces keeping us all safe from the threat of ISIL or our businesses taking on the world – and winning.
The key to a successful future is working, as one, for the good of us all. That is why all of us – in every corner of our country – will be celebrating St Andrew’s Day and why nowhere will the Saltire be flown more proudly than here, above 10 Downing Street.