Independent Scots 'won't be British,' warns Ed Miliband


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Indy Politics

People in Scotland are being offered a "false choice" between Scottish and British identity, the Labour leader Ed Miliband said yesterday, as he dismissed Scottish independence as bad news for UK prosperity.

The Labour leader also said he hoped Scottish fans could support the English football team in the European Championships but added they weren't "un-British" for refusing.

In a wide-ranging speech on patriotism in Britain, Mr Miliband levelled many of his comments at Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond. "We prosper and suffer together," he said. "Economic progress is not going to be achieved through Scotland leaving the United Kingdom and simply being part of Europe. It's going to be achieved with Scotland [as] part of the United Kingdom. Our identities, our economies, are too intertwined to believe anything else."

In a Channel 4 interview following his speech at London's Royal Festival Hall, Mr Miliband said he thinks of himself as from Britain but "English as well". He said he had "certain English qualities. Like stoicism".

Asked if stoicism was in fact a quintessentially "British" quality, Mr Miliband said: "I particularly associate it with England – I saw it in my constituency in the floods... I consider that a particularly English quality. 'Mustn't grumble' is a very English phase. I'm not saying the Scots always grumble... but I think that's a very English sensibility.

"There is a view of Englishness which is let's get rid of the Scots, lets be hostile to outsiders, our best days lie behind us. Let's get out of Europe, presumably.

"That's not my view of Englishness – and that's why I think it's important we join this debate because we've got to make a different argument."