Once it was used to keep out the Scots, but now an MP is urging people to hold hands along the length of Hadrian’s Wall to prevent Scotland voting for independence.
Rory Stewart wants 100,000 Britons to form a coast-to-coast human chain along the Roman Wall on July 19 in a gesture of love to Scotland.
The Conservative MP for Penrith claimed Britain will miss Scotland for personal reasons and urged MPs and activists to argue emotionally for the union or Scotland would vote for independence.
Speaking in the House of Commons debate on Scotland’s place in the UK, Mr Stewart said: “It cannot be simply economics.
“If a relationship is going wrong, if a marriage is going wrong, the answer cannot simply be to say ‘you can’t afford to break up because you are going to lose the house’. The answer has to be only one thing, which is ‘I love you’.”
He added: “What we need is the human expression. On 19 July 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.
“Because in the end what matters is not the wall that divides us but the human ties that bind in the name of love.”
Mr Stewart said he understood the appeal to Scottish nationalism when most people feel Westminster politics is broken and out of touch.
But he argued the answer to “bewildering” modern problems was to come together rather than “shut the door”.
He said: “There is of course a great appeal to Scottish nationalism, we all feel it, we all feel it in our gut.
“And we feel it for this reason – the world is bewildering, people are angry, 85% of people in this country feel politics is broken, 87% of people feel society is broken.
“Our voters feel Westminster is out of touch. They feel their lives have never been so complicated. These are real things that we have to acknowledge and accept.
“But the answer to those problems is not to get smaller. When we face in our every day lives complexity, when we face things that are bewildering, when we feel angry, when we feel disappointed, the answer is not to get smaller and shut the door and pretend that we can shut those things out, the answer is to expand.”
Giving his own example, Mr Stewart recalled a canoeing expedition he undertook with the Scottish National Party’s Angus MacNeil. Mr MacNeil responded with a tweet saying: “Happily canoe with @rorystewartuk but we don’t need to share a Prime Minister to do so.”