22nd June 1987
PERSONAL CONTRIBUTION BY DR DAVID STEVENSON
In 1962, a mission doctor
in Malawi, Central Africa, I had been learning the Norwegian language
and had decided to write and publish a 'Scots-Norwegian Wordlist' with
words in Scots and their Norwegian equivalents, emphasising but not
confining myself to words which are the same, or nearly so, in the two
languages. In May 1962 I had a letter from Anthony Kerr about this, in
response to an advert which I had placed in the 'Scots Independent'.
This is the first contact
which I can trace of many which I had with Anthony related to Scotland
and its place in the world and, later, to other topics and to personal
Returning to Scotland in
1966, I bought a house in Scotland, and married, in 1967. Anthony
sometimes occupied the spare bedroom in our basement, on his way to and
from S.N.P. meetings in Stirling and elsewhere, At other times he would
drop in for a meal to break his journey, or park his motorcycle with us
if a lift was available between Edinburgh and Stirling.
He was a frequent writer
of letters published in the correspondence columns of The Scotsman'
and elsewhere. Many writers of such letters, myself included, feel that
we increase our chances of publication by typing our letters in neat
double spacing. I remember seeing Anthony pacing the floor of our
basement, while talking with me, writing a letter by hand, diagonally,
across a small pad of notepaper. It still got published. His views were
not always agreed with but they were well argued and well expressed.
His unusual manner and
appearance put off many in the S.N.P. initially, but his perseverance,
hard work, intelligence, and persistence in seeking to work with those
who might have rebuffed him, for the common aim of a free and
self-governing Scotland, eventually won him respect and friendship both
within and outwith the S.N.P, and a place among its leadership.
His early death was a
loss to Scotland and to the S.N.P. but his ideas, expressed in his
writings, at meetings and in conversations, live on. So does his example
of perseverance in hard work, against many difficulties and despite
little immediate reward, for the ideal of national identity,
self-expression and self-respect, in an international context.
Anthony shamed many of us
who failed to get to meetings, though much closer to them and with much
readier access to comfortable transport than him. He was there as a
door-to-door canvasser at every by-election and general election, and
many local elections.
If every Scot who wishes
to free and better Scotland would give to that ideal one tenth of the
energy that Anthony gave we would have a self-governing, well educated,
well housed, culturally and economically prosperous Scotland,
contributing constructively to international affairs, within a very few
years. It is a pity that he did not see it in his lifetime but he
contributed his share towards it. It would be tragic if we failed to add
our contributions to his to reach that goal.
Anthony did not believe
that a person's physical death ends his or her existence or possible
contribution to the future. An active member of the Roman Catholic
Church, he accepted the teachings of that Church but applied his
intelligence and experience to their interpretation. Without postulating
a precise mechanism, he referred to himself and others as having a 'back
head', a memory or knowledge, often subconscious but occasionally
conscious, of personalities, events and emotions from the past. He had
some such memories himself, possibly from ancient Greece, though he
rarely talked of them; and I remember him asserting of a particular tune
which someone had remembered, and got him to play on the piano in my
home, that this was the first time it had been played in Scotland for
over 400 years.
Anthony cared about the
past, present and future of Scotland. Let his example inspire those who
knew him, and who come after him, to ensure that the old song of
Scotland continues into the future to contribute its melody to the
harmony of the universe.
1966-67 Anthony J.C. Kerr Publication
Summary of his work
Scottish Opinion Survey
It has been apparent to
many Nationalists for some time that the S.N.P., although it has the
right ideas, is not putting them across as effectively as it should.
What has been wrong with its approach was less clear, and the main
purpose of the Scottish Opinion Survey was to find out.
The Survey consisted of
two parts. In the first I posted out 1500 forms, mainly to people in
various middle-class occupations, inviting them to choose between the
present system, a federal relationship with the rest of Britain, and
national independence, and to give reasons for their choice on the back
of their form, left blank for this purpose. 415 replied, of whom over
160 gave reasons; there were 158 for the present system, 151 for the
federal system, 97 for independence now or later, and a few votes for
self-government unspecified and void votes.
A wide and interesting
assortment of reasons were given, especially against independence. They
point to an unsatisfactory public relations apparatus in the S.N.P.,
especially in its dealings with the educated minority. In addition it
seems clear that an efficient research department must be set up without
delay and that the S.N.P. should take a more visible and articulate
interest in matters outwith Scotland.
Another 800 forms were
distributed in the street and in bars, mainly though not exclusively to
working-class people. 90 returned, of which 65 for independence and only
10 for the present system. Mull and the Hillfoots area of
Clackmannanshire were virtually solid for independence.
The second part of the
Survey involved sending out 1,000 more forms, mainly to the same sort of
people who had received the first part forms, but also to 50 peers and
50 M.P.s. These were questionnaires covering some fifteen issues likely
to arise when Scotland becomes independent or shortly after, but they
were also asked what they thought of the S.N.P. as a potential
alternative government for Scotland.
Among the other issues
were - monarchy or republic? One House of Parliament or two? Methods of
election, function of the two houses if two were preferred (as turned
out to be the case); what basic rights should be guaranteed under the
Constitution; whether National Service should be restored, and if so at
what age and for how long; the broad lines of Scottish foreign policy;
how to halt and reverse the "brain drain" and, most important
of all, how to tide Scotland over the difficult period which might
follow a unilateral declaration of independence if we should have to
retrieve our freedom in this way rather than by an agreed Treaty of
The best reply overall
was received from Lord Belhaven & Stenton, but there were other
interesting replies from Lords Balfour, Boyd Orr, Cromartie, Mar &
Kellie (who does not wish to be quoted by name) and Stonehaven; from Sir
Philip Christison and several Tory and Liberal M.P.s, from the Provosts
of Galashiels and Prestwick and from many others with various
The S.N.P. did not come
out too well on the final question, and this again appeared to be mainly
due to the absence of a research department and the inadequacy of the
public relations side, since the Party is in fact much better than it is
widely believed to be.
1967 The Glasgow Herald
I hope the S.N.P.'s
highly successful conference - their largest so far - will not blind
Nationalists to several grave defects in the party organisation.
There is no research
department. Hence the S.N.P. do not have adequate facts and figures to
back up their ideas and make little impact on people who know about
money, production, and trade.
The publicity department
is grossly inadequate and cannot put the party's case to educated and
responsible Scots. Nor does it have authority to put minor spokesmen
firmly in their place when they make irrelevant and offensive remarks
anent "Anglo-Scots," "Eng1ish-type schools", and
"the Establishment." As a result the S.N.P. alienate many
people who could be a great asset to them.
branch-controlled structure encourages men with small but busy minds and
holds back those with something worthwhile to say but only a limited
amount of time available for political activity. It also makes the
National Council a cumbersome and unwieldy body.
Too little interest is
shown in matters outwith Scotland and too little effort is made to build
up useful contacts abroad.
I end on a note of
warning. The S.N.P. cannot get much more support on the basis of protest
alone - probably only just enough to elect an M.P. or two. Thereafter
they must show that they have what it takes not merely to gain but to
sustain our freedom.
ANTHONY J.C. KERR
1967 The Scots Independent
Two Danish girls came
into the Post Office here to-day asking for Scottish ninepenny stamps to
write home. None were available, so they settled for Scottish sixpennies
and threepennies. They also wanted Scottish fivepenny stamps for
postcards to Denmark, as none exist they bought fourpenny and penny
stamps in the national colours. Finally they asked how much it was for a
postcard to England apparently thinking they would have to pay the
foreign rate again.
Their determination to
buy distinctive Scottish stamps nearly made me miss a bus, but it was
worth it to see our country recognised for what it is - a separate and
distinct nation. I wonder how many Scots would have been as insistent.
I might add that Jedburgh
G.P.O. always has Scottish stamps - or has done so up till now - even
when other Post Offices are trying to foist various commemorative and
pictorial issues on the public. The Scottish fourpennies on the other
hand are already out of stock in Glasgow and Motherwell and I believe
they are no longer being produced. Have they been withdrawn because they
are a constant reminder that Scotland is different.
ANTHONY J.C. KERR
August 1970 The Scots Independent
CONFIDENCE IN THE OLD GUARD
Though I have at times
been at loggerheads with most of the S.N.P.s Old Guard, they still
inspire me with greater confidence than do some who have not been
Nationalists for quite as long.
They inspire me with
greater confidence for two reasons: firstly because they have a sound
grasp of essentials and a solid sense of priorities, and secondly
because they kept the faith in times immeasurably more difficult than
the present, when to be a Nationalist meant constant exposure to
ridicule and a serious handicap in one's career.
I believe with them that
the S.N .P. cannot go far wrong if it sticks to the centre track.
It cannot function at all
as a spare Tory Party, and is unlikely to try. It may be tempted to
behave like an alternative Labour Party, but must also resist this
If it is seen to be doing
appreciably more damage to Labour than to the Tories - and I got that
impression in 1967-69 - left wing voters who are Scottish in their
sympathies, but not committed Nationalists, will be afraid of letting
the Tories win by default and will therefore go on voting Labour. This
indeed is what generally happened in June.
There is in fact little
wrong with the existing policy except the failure to distinguish between
what is absolutely basic - national independence and a democratic form
of government - and the rest, which is secondary and may have to be
reviewed in the light of circumstances at the time when we recover our
For this failure, I think
that relatively new Nationalists are mainly to blame; they have carried
over into the S.N.P. the attitudes which they developed in other parties
which did not happen to have an essential and identifiable purpose -
other than that of retaining or retrieving office.
Older Nationalists - and
after ten years in the Movement (though at present outwith the Party) I
think I can count myself among them are much more aware of the
What of the future? I
believe the S.N .P. must answer two questions to the voters'
satisfaction if it is to get anywhere.
(1) Can Scotland survive
as an independent State?
(2) Do we have the men
and women who are competent to run this country?
If we can give a
convincing answer on both counts, nobody is going to worry a great deal
about details of policy, since it is generally known that no party ever
fulfills the whole of its mandate, or confines itself to doing what it
has said it will do.
If we can't we cannot
expect to make any further progress. What the people are looking for is
a credible country and at least the nucleus of a credible government.
In all honesty I am
adequately convinced on the first point, but I would like to see more
evidence on the second.
ANTHONY J .C. KERR
1971 The Scotsman
I write in support of
Provost Murray's excellent letter today. Local Government must be kept
local and there are many purposes - e.g., the allocation of council
houses for which some of our existing units are already too large.
The demand for bigger
units, which does not come from people nor, in general from their
elected representatives, is linked with an erroneous doctrine of
economic viability. Administration is not a business; it is a service,
which should be provided economically and efficiently but is not
expected to make money.
In some cases the best
solution can be for most finance to be provided nationally and for most
decisions to be taken locally. Since national and local authorities are
ultimately elected and paid for by the same people - ourselves - there
is nothing wrong in this.
I might add that a
considerable number of studies have been carried out mainly in the
United States on the relationship between size and efficiency, not in
administration but in various types of industry. They have shown
conclusively that growth beyond a certain point, which depends on the
nature of the business, is not an advantage. The decision-makers become
isolated in a world of their own, the spirit of initiative and personal
commitment to the firm is lost and flexibility is sacrificed.
Furthermore, many of the economies of scale achieved by larger firms can
also be made by smaller ones through the use of service bureaux,
research organizations, time-shared access to computers etc.
This may well apply to
local government also, and perhaps some independent body could
investigate the comparative efficiency of various existing units in
Scotland to establish whether this is indeed the case.
ANTHONY J.C. KERR
22nd June 1971 The
As a conference
interpreter with a side-line in written translations, I am not anxious
that Europe should have a common language. As a convinced European with
fairly extensive knowledge of not only of the six countries and of all
the applicant states, but of several others on both sides of the
Curtain, I believe the present diversity should continue because it
gives Europe her unique character at least among the developed parts of
I do not think it
necessary that everybody should be able to understand everybody else nor
that populations should become intermixed to the point where in any
given area, most of the inhabitants come from another region or country.
If this were to happen, Europe would become an unsatisfactory copy of
the United States and something priceless and irreplaceable would be
The strength of a
language is mainly in those who speak and understand no other, and to a
lesser extent though significant extent in those who have some useful
acquaintance with one or more foreign languages, but only feel really
confident in their own. There have been exceptions Chaucer's Italian was
nearly as good as his English and Goethe's French as good as his German,
but even they opted for their mother tongue in their major works,
although their alternative language was more significant on a European
scale at the time.
If a language loses its
basic pool of monoglots, incomers make no effort to learn it, and the
children of mixed marriages all speak the incoming language. The next
thing that happens is that the local people begin to speak it among
themselves and lose their cultural souls, because things that could only
be thought and said in their mother tongue are no longer thought and
For this reason, I try to
respect the Sprachgebiet - the legitimate territorial area of each
language which does not always coincide with state frontiers - as far as
I am able. Where this is not possible I use the traditional second
language - English in Scandinavia, French (not Spanish!) in Portugal,
German in Hungary. This involves greater effort but earns more goodwill
than trying to impose English or French everywhere.
ANTHONY J.C. KERR
26th July 1971 The
Your leader on the
deplorable occurrence at Benghazi Airport is too submissive and
This sort of thing no
longer happens to the Israelis, because they take hostages or occupy
other people's airports when it does. Israel and Libya together have the
same population as Scotland. Yet the British Government has done no more
than protest. If it had any sort of pride in being British it would have
airlifted a battalion to El Adem and held the place until the aircraft
and everybody in it was allowed on to Khartoum or go back to Rome.
It is largely because
successive Governments showed so little pride in being British that I
decided the only thing that made any sense was to put Scotland first;
specifically, what made up my mind was the disgraceful failure to see
the Suez operation through to a finish.
I suspect the same kind
of thinking underlay many decisions similar to mine, at least on the
right wing of the National Movement, among others who like myself were
The only advantage that I
can see in being a citizen of a large country rather than a small one is
that the Government of the larger state can do more to protect its own
people and anybody else for whom it is temporarily responsible, e.g.,
passengers on the aircraft of its national airline. This advantage is
now shown to be illusory so far as Britain is concerned, and I think
many Scots will draw the obvious lesson.
ANTHONY J.C. KERR
18th August 1971 The
On reading Mr Kenneth
Brown's second letter, I turned to Leviticus 20 and found it to be as I
remembered it, a fairly detailed section of the old Jewish criminal code
dealing with offences against common decency or the integrity of family
It prescribes death for
child sacrifice, "cursing" one's parents, sodomy, bestiality
and the more grossly unnatural forms of incest, and excommunication for
three more tolerable varieties of incest and for intercourse with a
woman during her periods.
Two very marginal
varieties of incest are not to be punished at all, God being left to
deal with them.
I see no possible
comparison between a legal document, even using the rather explicit
language of Leviticus 20 (and some other parts of the Old Law) and hard
core pornography, nor do I see who would be competent to expurgate the
Old Testament, on what basis or criteria or on whose authority.
The Old Testament is part
of our moral background and of our cultural heritage as much as the New.
It helped to shape our nation and inspired some of our greatest men even
if they did not always keep to all the rules. Let it stand as it has
stood for a hundred generations and more and if we must have comment,
criticisms and explanations, the right place for them is in separate
volumes so that we do not have to read them with the sacred text.
ANTHONY J.C. KERR
December 1984 BBC RADIO TWEED
Anthony Kerr with Colin Wight
"Anthony, you are
perhaps known as an enthusiastic contributor to the letters pages of the
national press and as a supporter of the Scottish National Party, but
you weren't actually born in Scotland were you?"
"No. I was born in
Geneva. My parents happened to be working there at the time."
"Were your parents
"My father was part
English, Scottish and French and my mother was half German and half
"It must have been a
rather confusing childhood for you, was it?"
"Not really, I got
used to the idea that people spoke different languages from the start,
and I found it helpful in learning other languages later. I really
started with French and then gradually picked up English, and when I
started formally learning English I learnt it a lot faster than a
foreigner normally would."
"How long did you
spend in Switzerland?"
" And after
"After that I was in
England most of the time from about 1938-39 until 1960 with fairly
frequent trips abroad. And then I've been in Scotland more or less
continuously since 1960. But again, spending up to periods of weeks or
months at a time on the continent, and in Africa."
"Why did your
parents decide to leave Switzerland?"
"My father was
called up at the start of the war. And my mother returned also to the UK
to work for the BBC."
"So once you came to
England you were aged 9?
"I was 9, yes."
"What happened after
"Well I went to prep
school for some years and then I took a scholarship to Harrow and spent
4 years there. Then I spent a few months touring US and Canada before
being called up. Then did National Service. Then went to Cambridge and
got a First Class Degree in History. Did some more travelling, by land
to Cape Town. Then came back and took on different teaching jobs. Then
got on television and had a row with my headmaster and so moved from an
English school called Millfield to Jedburgh Grammar and have really been
in Jedburgh most of the time since."
"It was after you
were at Cambridge that you decided to go to Cape Town is that
"Yes. I bought a
bicycle and got on it and kept on peddling for 10 months. Got on lorries
when I was feeling tired or lazy, and finished up in Cape Town about 10
"Why did you decide
to go off on a trip like that?"
"Well I felt I had
done enough in the way of studying and I thought this would be my only
opportunity before really settling down. And thought it would be
interesting to do something different."
"Why Cape Town
"Well Europe, one
can always get to. It's not far away. In fact we are in Europe anyway.
But places like Cape Town, particularly by the land route, that sort of
thing is quite an adventure. It does require one to be free for a few
months and to have no family commitments of any kind. And it is the sort
of thing that can be done just after leaving University and normally at
no other time."
"Well you say it
was, could be seen as an adventure, was it?"
"I think so, yes, I
met a couple of hyenas and I took a photograph and found a lion in it
afterwards when it was developed. Met one or two cannibals but they
didn't think I was edible."
"What about the
hyenas, were they, was that particularly memorable?"
"Yes, well one of
the hyenas came into my hut when I was sleeping in it, this was in
French Central Africa. I scared it away with my bicycle pump. The second
hyena was a much more dangerous object, or beast rather. It was the size
of two German Shepherds together and that was on the road out of
Rhodesia close to the South African Border. The thing was about to
attack me, when a 10 ton truck arrived and ran the beast down."
"That was very
fortuitous, very good timing."
"Very fortuitous and
a good thing for the driver too because he was a black man, as most of
the lorry drivers were, who was probably only earning £5 a month. And
he could get another £5 for presenting the hyenas's tail to a District
"So the hyenas were
valuable were they?"
"Well hyenas are a
nuisance to farmers. And therefore there was a bounty for killing them.
And if you presented either the head or the tail to a District
Commissioner you got a fiver. And if we had thought of it we would have
cut off the head and the tail, and presented them to different DCs."
" And you could have
made some money as well!"
"Yes. But we didn't
think of that at the time."
"How did you come
across the cannibals?"
"The cannibals, they
were living in French Central Africa again, and apparently they don't
eat white people, they didn't eat white people. Either because the
French who were still overlords there took reprisals in such cases. Or
because we wear clothes and so we don't have as much vitamin D. And
therefore we are not as interesting to eat."
"I'll bet you were
glad of that. "
"Well, it's a good
idea not to be edible."
"Did you just travel
to Cape Town by the main roads, or did you get off the beaten track
"Well they were main
roads, but in many cases they were really earth roads, rather than
anything we would call a road. The only time I really got off the beaten
track was to go up the mountain from the Uganda side."
"How much of an
education was that trip for you?"
"Well I certainly
understand Africa and Africans rather better than most people do
"It must have been
difficult after such an adventurous trip as that to come back to
civilisation again, as it were, and then start anew, was it?"
"Not really, no. I
had intended to do that all along and I simply looked for the first
available job, which was in a prep school near London."
"This was teaching
French and History?"
"French and History,
"But it was from
that school that you were asked to resign?"
"No. It wasn't from
that school. It was from another school called Millfield, a few years
"And that was
because you won Double Your Money, with Hughie Green?"
"That's right, I was
on Double Your Money in what was actually my free time. But the
Headmaster felt that it was rather demeaning for the school to have it's
staff appearing on these quiz programmes. So he made it obvious that he
would feel happier if I resigned."
"You've been on
quite a number of quiz programmes over the years, haven't you.
Mastermind for example?"
"I've been on
Mastermind, Brain of the Border and Double Your Money. I think that's
"You obviously enjoy
quizzes, is that why you decided to enter Double Your Money or was it
for financial reasons?"
"No I thought it
would be fun to be on. I never thought I was going to win the thousand.
I thought I might get as far as £125 or so."
"So you won the star
"I got the star
"A thousand pounds,
when, in the late 50's must have been."
"It would be
equivalent of about £8,000 now, maybe more."
"What did you do
with the money, did you spend, spend, spend?"
"I spent it, but not
as fast as Mrs Nicholson. I bought a couple of motor bikes. And I toured
the whole of Europe within months, researching for a couple of books I
was writing at the time. Then when that was done, and the money was
spent, I took up the first available job which happened to be at
Jedburgh Grammar School."
"That trip to Europe
was actually to carry out research on books on education in
"I was writing, I
had already written a book called "Schools of Europe" which
described the primary and secondary education systems of all the
European countries. And I was then writing the second and third book of
that series, one of which described the Universities and other higher
education systems and the other described the general way of life of
teenagers throughout Europe."
"How do you find
that Scotland compared with some of the findings on that
educational system at the time was one of the best five or six out of
about twenty-five or thirty systems. It was quite a good system at the
time. It has deteriorated since."
"You went down to
Russia 10 years ago in 1974. Under Brezhnev of course then. Did you
notice any changes during that period?"
"Not a great deal. I
followed different routes so that comparisons would be difficult,
possibly the militia and the KGB were a little more in evidence than
they had been before. But this again could simply have been due to the
route I was following. I may have been through rather a sensitive
military area for instance."
"Your method of
transport was quite unusual as well, wasn't it?"
"Well the first trip
was a very conventional thing, I joined a package deal, tour of
educationalists went by train, and that was in '58. The second time I
went in with a motor bike inside the car. And I'm one of the very few
westerners who has been allowed to ride a motor bike into Russia at
"What was the
difficulty with motor bikes?"
"The difficulty is
that there aren't too many places that can repair them. And therefore
the Russians don't encourage their use."
"There aren't too
many petrol stations either in Russia?"
"They're spaced out
about 70 miles, quite adequate for one's purposes, but the main problem
is maintenance. Particularly of western vehicles. And therefore the
Russians don't normally let westerners in with motor bikes. The third
time I used a little car, a three wheeler."
"And you travelled
to the Crimea?"
"I travelled to the
"Did you find that
people were very interested in this strange westerner on his motor bike,
and later on in his... ?"
"I think they were
especially interested in the vehicle itself. I mean they had seen plenty
of westerners, but they hadn't seen a motor bike and they hadn't seen
the Bond car either."
"What did they think
you were up to?"
"Oh. I don't think
they thought I was up to anything very dangerous. I think they just
thought I was unusual."
"Would you agree
that you are unusual Anthony?"
"Would you say you
were eccentric at all?"
"I don't know about
eccentric, I would say rather unconventional. I don't worry too much
about what people think on me for a start."
"Now your trip to
Russia must have been something of a home-coming for you as well,
because your mother, as you explained earlier was part Russian."
"That's right, yes.
She was the daughter of a businessman in Kharkov, and I actually visited
her birth place and met one or two people who could remember her
"Was that a very
emotional occasion for you?"
"I don't know that
it was very emotional, but it was certainly an experience."
"Anthony, you moved
north of the Border to Jedburgh in 1960. That was a period which also
coincided with your conversion, is that the correct word, to Scottish
"Yes, I had actually
been conscious of being Scottish and basically in full favour of some
form of self government for many years before that. But this was the
point where I decided I ought to be doing something about it."
"And why 1960, was
there anything significant about that period?"
significant about it, first of all, was that I had been on this sort of
research trip for about 6 months and happened to be at a loose end and
looking for something to do. But secondly, from the Nationalist stand
point, it was the time when Nationalism was emerging from the shadows
and ceasing to be just a rather quaint cultural movement, and becoming a
serious political force. I think that people felt we had something new
to offer and for a variety of reasons, people felt more Scottish and
less British than they had done for a while. So there was a considerable
amount of dissatisfaction with the major British parties. And as I say
there was this sort of search for a new solution."
"So was your
decision then to join the SNP, was it a political decision or was it one
of sympathy, wishing to see a revival of the Scottish
"No it was a
political decision. I felt that this is a country and it's time it was
independent like other countries. In the present system, we will always
be a minority and we will always be sacrificed."
" Anthony, chains
and slavery are hardly the words we could use to describe Scotland's
position now. Do you think that that song, 'Scot's Wha Hae', is still
relevant to the Nationalist's cause?"
"It is, and I think
the chains and slavery still exist. The only thing is that we don't see
the chains and we don't realize we are slaves."
"So the position
hasn't changed much at all, as you see it, over the centuries?"
"If anything changed
for the worse. In that say 100 years ago, alright we were in political
subjection to England, but we did live our own lives and think our own
thoughts to a far greater extent."
"You seem to conduct
your Nationalist campaign mainly through the letters pages of some of
our national newspapers. When did that begin?"
"And how many
letters have you written in that, since that time?"
500 and a 1000. Possibly a little over a 1000."
"How well do you
know the letters Editors of The Scotsman and The Glasgow Herald?"
"I haven't actually
met them, I've occasionally spoken to them over the phone. If I'm going
to write a letter of much more than my average length, I might
occasionally phone the Editor first, or the letters' Editor to establish
whether a letter of that sort of length on the subject would be
"They never ring you
up and say "Anthony, it's going to be a quiet day in the letters
pages, can you supply us with something?""
"No that doesn't
happen. Because that's not the way the letters pages work. What
sometimes happens is that they put a letter into cold storage for a
week, two weeks, even longer and then if they are running short of
letters, they suddenly exhume a letter from, for instance Sir Andrew
Gilchrist or Andrew Haddon or myself, and it's produced maybe several
week's after it was written. But I have had a letter in the Hawick News
which was published a year after it was written."
"Do you still get a
thrill from seeing your name in print in newspapers?"
"Well I'm fairly
used to it now. "
"Do you keep all
"Not many, no. Cause
the place would be cluttered up if I did."
"You could almost
publish a book from your letters."
"I have thought of
it occasionally but I haven't got round to it yet."
"Anthony what do you
see as your future now. You've lived in Jedburgh since 1960, but you're
very fond of travelling. Why have you lived in Jedburgh for all that
"It's the home of my
family and it's the place where I feel comfortable. And I dislike moving
anyway. I like to travel, but once I've got a house I like to stay
there. I'm just used to being where I am. I see no cause to live