Being a politics undergraduate, a unionist campaigner and archetypal Sassenach in Dundee, I have often had cause to reflect on the importance of 'Britishness' and why it is worth preserving, even fighting for, usually amid a derisory backdrop of mockery ranging from coursemates to national politicians in the SNP.
Recently, inspired by my Mum's armchair anecdotes of Falklandish heroism and Argentine aggression, I have been carefully appraising the actions of Margaret Thatcher. Fundamentally, I agree that they were testament to the United Kingdom's support for her diffuse Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, provincial vestiges all, numbering 17 since the handover of Hong Kong in July 1997.
That said, it was a commitment not properly engrained within the national political system nor, crucially, its democratic institutions. With Argentina continuing to sniff around 'Las Malvinas', to the extent where David Cameron had to call a sovereignty referendum in March 2013, one unavoidable truth has surfaced. We failed to seal the deal back in 1982.
I have lately been impressed by Andrew Rosindell, Chairman of British Friends of the Overseas Territories, who has called for Westminster representation to grace shores spanning from Guernsey through to Bermuda. His blueprint stipulates that nine new constituencies would be introduced for the House of Commons, each serving an average population of 56,000. This would be roughly the same as Northern Irish seats and nearly triple the size of the current Western Isles electorate.
It is a concept that Britain has flirted with, but never had the appetite to fully pursue. Malta, then a British colony, held an integrationist referendum in February 1956 to ratify proposals that would have established a three-person delegation to the Commons. Attaining 77% approval, a respectable turnout of 59% was nevertheless deemed insufficient and the result was nullified by Whitehall. Today, the only claim to legislative representation for our protectorates is at the supranational level and soon to be deficient, with the European Parliament's South West England constituency also comprising Gibraltar since 2004.
Whilst devolution is widespread, exercised in miniature assemblies akin to local councils, pivotal matters of "defence, security and safety of the territories and their people", as well as the supreme law under which they reside, remain the near exclusive prerogative of the British state. The issue is not the influence of the external power itself; the guarantee of military protection gives due weight to the territories' diplomatic significance and the enjoyment of our English common law knows no bounds. Moreover, the issue is that swathes of whom these areas profoundly affect have no ballot with which to express their viewpoint. If we are to redress this shortcoming and avoid treating our some 500,000 overseas brethren as quasi-imperial subjects, naive to the issues and idiosyncrasies of dependency life, we must first consider the apparatus of a Scandinavian ally. Before the reader rightfully groans at the overstated characterisation of the Nordic states as "the land of [political] milk and honey", hear me out.
Denmark administrates two overseas territories; Greenland, the world's largest island, and the Faroe Islands, a rugged archipelago situated between Iceland and Scotland. Both retain their own political parties and legislatures but have also enjoyed a generous increase in autonomy since 1979 and 1948 respectively, whereby executive power, particularly in home affairs, has been transferred from the host state to the devolved administrations.
This is perhaps the most comparable arrangements to Britain's. Other continental groupings, such as France's overseas departments and collectivities, or the Dutch Caribbean, emphasise a relationship based on integral partnership rather than that of basic guardianship. Arguably, this serves to undermine a territories' right of self-determination, a framework which is otherwise legally guaranteed by their Northern European counterparts.
What sets the Danes aside, however, is their respect for localism married with a conviction to see their dependencies represented in the national parliament, or Folketing. Greenland and the Faroes send two delegates each, theoretically carrying the same voting power as the other 175 MPs; though they rarely exercise this mandate beyond the scope of fishing and foreign policy.
Not only does this convention adhere to the case for British territories, catering for similar competencies, but it also establishes that overseas politicians abide by a remit to foremostly serve the interests of their respective territories, limiting inexpert influence on Britain's domestic politics. There is no guarantee that this guideline would be followed, although I struggle to imagine the Anguilla United Front, or perhaps the Virgin Islands Party, being elected on any basis other than the advocacy of local interests.
Regardless, dependency politicians are warming increasingly towards representation at Westminster. In the words of Lillian Missick, former Chairman of the Turks and Caicos Islands Consultative Council, speaking in January 2012, "A seat in the UK Parliament ... will also formalise links with British society as a whole that come with the opportunities our people have to live, work and study in the UK".
Theresa May promises to deliver a "global Britain" by 2019, based on industrial innovation and swashbuckling mercantilism. But she must start from home(ish). As it stands, Britain's global possessions will have no "seat at the table" (to coin an irritating Brexit neologism) when it comes to negotiating crucial free-trade agreements in the near future. This is even despite their close geographical and familial proximity to potential customers in Central and Southern Europe, South America, India, the United States as well as dozens more of the world's most opulent markets.
Constitutional alignment through parliamentary representation has the potential to bolster our protectorates' footing in the world, as well as reinforce post-Brexit Britain's status as a modernised arbiter of legislative democracy and steadfast foreign policy. Who knows? It might even get us talking seriously about those dodgy accounts in the Caymans.