LONDON, United Kingdom – Organised over the course of just a couple of days, a last minute rally at Trafalgar Square brought together thousands of Britons to express their love of the Union of the United Kingdom. Demonstrators invited Scotland to renew the nation’s bonds of citizenship on Thursday.
Even though the event – which was deeply reminiscent of the last-minute Rally for Unity in Canada that helped keep the country from fragmenting in 1980 – was only approved by the Metropolitan Police on Sunday evening, it easily packed the square with people overflowing onto the surrounding roads and terraces.
The crowd was a colourful sea of flags and costumes, with many choosing to don traditional Scottish dress. Union Jacks, Scottish Saltires and the Royal Standard of Scotland were all well represented.
Dan Snow, the television historian who was at the forefront of organising the Let’s Stay Together campaign which staged the rally spoke eloquently about the Union’s shared heritage and the way it has helped its members nation to flourish in science and technology. The campaign has published a ‘letter to Scotland’, signed by a number of prominent public figures and celebrities which Snow referenced in his speech.
Published on their website, it says: “The decision on whether to leave our shared country is, of course, absolutely yours alone. Nevertheless, that decision will have a huge effect on all of us in the rest of the United Kingdom. We want to let you know how very much we value our bonds of citizenship with you, and to express our hope that you will vote to renew them. What unites us is much greater than what divides us”.
Other celebrities including Irish musician Sir Bob Geldof, pub-landlord comedian Al Murray and London mayor hopeful Eddie Izzard also spoke in support of the Union, and the popular poem ‘The Night Mail’, which tells the tale of a train taking post to Scotland, was recited.
More demonstrations of support for the Union are expected on Wednesday, as grassroots organisation Day of Unity encourage street-level gatherings across the Kingdom on the eve of the vote.