And Finally

Thursday 24 July 2014

Independence split blamed on Romans

Published 25/03/2014|02:02

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Tory MP Rory Stewart said the current constitutional argument has its seeds in the decision to erect Hadrian's Wall across the north of present day England

The debate about Scottish independence and the future of the UK can be blamed on the Romans, according to a Tory MP.

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Rory Stewart said the current constitutional argument has its seeds in the decision to erect Hadrian's Wall across the north of present day England.

"Hadrian literally drew a line on the map - created this pernicious scar across the landscape - and in doing so set up, in a way he could never have imagined, problems that would last 1,600 years," he said in an interview with the Radio Times magazine.

Mr Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border, is already focused on the ancient border as part of a plan to show Scotland some love.

He wants 100,000 people to hold hands along the wall in July to demonstrate the unity between the four nations of the union.

The former Black Watch officer, with links on both sides of the present day border, said he tried to demonstrate common bonds dating back to ancient kingdoms in an attempt to settle the referendum question.

"I thought I could undermine the whole idea of splitting by emphasising these multiple historical identities, resurrecting the old kingdom of Cumbria, or Northumbria, and making people see they have a common heritage," he said.

"What was sad for me was that people didn't feel that common heritage and that Hadrian had done his job too well."

Mr Stewart outlined his plan for Hadrian's Wall in Westminster last month.

"What we need is the human expression. On July 19 this year I'm hoping that 100,000 people will gather along that old, foreign, Roman wall - English, Welsh, Irish, Scots, holding hands, linking arms across that border," he told MPs.

"Because in the end what matters is not the wall that divides us but the human ties that bind in the name of love.''

Press Association

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