29th July 1987
CONTRIBUTION BY ALASDAIR HUTTON, MBE, TD, MEP
TRIBUTE TO ANTHONY J.C. KERR
Anthony J.C. Kerr could
never mingle with a crowd; he was far too distinctive a character for
He was an outstanding
eccentric. He continued to travel the Border roads on a motor scooter
long after they went out of fashion. He was completely unabashed by his
unkempt appearance, indeed I think he was quite unaware of it.
Anthony always seemed to
me to be a dreadfully shy man. Locally he was known by everybody and
they all appeared to rather like him, but it was difficult to get any
clear evidence that he knew the people who lived around him. His shyness
seemed to make it very difficult for him to have that relaxed
conviviality which is so evident when Borderers gather together. But in
spite of that I never knew anybody who disliked Anthony and he was
He was, of course, most
widely known for his letters to the papers and the sheer knowledge which
Although he espoused the
political cause of Scottish nationalism, I do not know anybody who found
him intolerant or abrasive as so many political enthusiasts can be. You
felt that somebody else's politics were no barrier at all to him
engaging in contact with them without the prejudice which many lesser
political activists simply cannot do without.
This was very well
illustrated to me when he asked me, a Scottish Conservative, to help,
twice, with the revision of his excellent book "The Common Market
and How it Works". I was very happy to join him in this work and I
thought it was typically generous of him to share the acknowledgement of
the work publicly and without prejudice.
Whether it was sitting
under a night sky in the Borders, or driving him as a passenger to some
rendezvous when his motor scooter was out of commission, he was
fascinating to listen to on Scottish politics or Border history.
He was one of the first
people to make an effort to introduce me to the Border Common Ridings
and took me to my first "Redeswire", the gathering up by the
Carter Bar which commemorates the Raid of the Redeswire in 1575 when a
silly quarrel between the English Warden of the Middle Marches, Sir John
Forster, and the Keeper of Liddesdale, Sir John Carmichael, could so
easily have burst into war between Scotland and England, but has instead
provided a good opportunity to commemorate the valour of the men of
Jethart ever since.
When we went to Redeswire
together he was more than generous in his hospitality to myself and my
elder son, Tom, who was then only 3 years old. He made us feel
wonderfully at home amidst the untidy muddle in which he and his son
Anthony Kerr probably
knew as much about that incident as anybody and it is one of the great
regrets of my life that I should have been asked to deliver the Oration
at the Redeswire Stane only after Anthony's death. It would have been
the perfect opportunity to draw on his abundant knowledge of the history
of the area to authenticate my remarks and, with his role in awakening
my interest in the history of the area, it was a real sadness that he
could not share my pleasure at the way in which his enthusiasm had borne
fruit for me.
6th January 1977 – The
The decision to hold a
referendum on devolution is obviously right; indeed I am surprised that
the possibility of not having one was even considered. On the other hand
there is room for argument about the questions and the timing.
In my view there should
be two questions, whose precise wording must be left to an impartial
body such as the Electoral Reform Society or the Human Rights Commission
of the Council of Europe. First, "Do you wish some form of
self-government?" Second "If so, how much?"
The first question calls
for a straight yes or no, and is in the present circumstances the more
important of the two. The second should involve a choice of three or
four opinions, roughly corresponding to the Tory, Labour, Liberal and
S.N.P. proposals. It would save time and money to add a third question
on the fate of the regional authorities; if the people want them away,
they might as well be discarded as part of the devolution package,
making their present staff available to the new national authorities.
With this possibility in
mind, and in order to save parliamentary time, I believe the referendum
should be held as soon as possible after the new electoral register
comes into force. If the Welsh don't want devolution anyway there is no
point in debating at length the clauses which refer to Wales. If the
Scots, by a large majority, want at least as much as the Government now
offer, Tory delaying tactics and "watering down" amendments
are useless. Instead of discussing them, Parliament should consider
genuine and preferable agreed improvements to the Bill.
ANTHONY J.C. KERR
1st April 1977 – The
I would not like to stake my reputation
as an election forecaster (seldom wrong where Scottish results are
involved) on an English contest; nevertheless I am not impressed by
William Russell’s piece on Tuesday.
He has overlooked two
important elements; first the automatic third party vote which has
generally gone to the Liberals because they were neither Labour nor
Tory, but may be captured by the National Front as a result of the
Lab/Lib alliance and secondly the hardline Left wing vote, some of which
may go to Mr Paul Foot as a result of this same alliance, the more so as
he is an interesting person in his own right.
If the National Front
overtake the Liberals which is not unlikely, and the Socialist Workers
run up a four figure vote, which is also on the cards, both will have to
be taken more seriously than hitherto, and the alliance will be in
serious danger. Had I been Mr Russell I would have given these minor
parties a paragraph each to assess their chances of getting that far.
ANTHONY J.C. KERR
Author’s Note: In the by-election the
Liberals were overtaken by the National Front, and the hard left parties
polled nearly a thousand votes between them. The seat was won by the
Tories from Labour.
13th April 1977 – The
I believe a strong currency is something
we can learn to live with, as Switzerland and West Germany have done. It
will, as the S.N.P. points out, reduce the cost of imported raw
materials and help to keep inflation under control: If, as I hope,
independence also leads to improved industrial relations and much
improved communications with the outside World, our export industries
will on the whole be better places than they are now.
I am also reluctant to believe that it is
impossible to reduce the flow of Scottish oil, and with it the rate of
depletion, if our Government decides this is in the national interest.
It may be uneconomic in the short term, but in the long term it will pay
to make our own supplies last while they run out elsewhere.
The comparison with Ireland is largely
invalid, because the Scottish economy is in itself more diversified and
viable than the Irish, and less inherently dependent on England.
One aspect which your contributions have
overlooked is that a free Scotland will probably not be run by any one
party but on a consensus basis by three parties, the S.N.P., the SLP
(absorbing those members of the UK Labour Party who accept independence
when it comes), and the SCP, resulting from a similar split in the Tory
Party, which could occur at any time and is likely to occur after the
next General Election.
ANTHONY J.C. KERR
25th June 1977 – The
WHEN THE NAME’S NOT THE SAME
The short answer to Mr
William P. Scott (or Herr Schott) is that you give a man a different
identity if you "translate" his title, forename or surname.
No such effect is
normally produced by using the traditional English, French, German or
Italian name of a major city, e.g. Algiers, Edimbourg, Venedig (German
for Venezia or Venice), and Stoccarda (Italian for Stuttgart). They
remain the same whatever you call them.
An exception only occurs
when the city's national or cultural identity is in dispute.
The French get rather
sensitive when one uses the traditional English spelling
"Strasburg", and are still more upset by the traditional
German "Strassburg" which they have made illegal for the local
Similarly with Luxemburg.
The French and the English to please them, give it an extra
"o". The Americans stick to the older usage but its
"national" name is actually "Letzeburg".
In Central Europe a large
number of places formerly had German names which were easy to spell and
to pronounce: Karlsbad, Marienbad, Brunn, Laibach, Agam.
All these have been
Slavized to the greater confusion of foreigners. Except for the last of
these (now Zagreb), I find it less bother to use the German names, but
some locals may not like it.
Similarly with South
Tyrol (otherwise Alto Adige) and its towns and villages, all of which
have two officially recognised names. Most foreigners, unless they know
the province, use the Italian names, those who know it decide on the
basis of their personal sympathies and take a chance on alienating the
other ethnic community.
To prove my point I have
Germanised my name and address, and think they look credible enough.
June 1977 – The Scots Independent
THE MONARCHY IN SCOTLAND
The issue of the Monarchy is one which,
like the Common Market, can only be settled once we are independent
since it depends, in part at least, on the Queen’s attitude at the
time; or rather on that of her English advisers.
While I have been in favour of a separate
monarchy rather than a Union of Crowns since first joining the S.N.P. in
1960, I accept the fact that most Scots wish the Queen to remain as head
of the Scottish State and think the Party is right to accept this fact
as well, until events prove such an arrangement to be impracticable.
If Westminster refused to
accept the verdict of the Scottish electorate, and we have to declare
ourselves independent, the Union of Crowns obviously cannot continue,
and we have to choose between separate monarchy (preferably with a
member of our present Royal family as Sovereign of Scots) and a
republic; and I think a monarchy is more Scottish.
If on the other hand we
achieve independence by negotiation (and S.N.P. policy is that it
should, if possible, be achieved in this way) a Union of Crowns is
possible, provided the Queen agrees to reign in this country through
purely Scottish authorities and to be represented here by a
Scottish-based Regent or Guardian and not by a Governor-General sent out
I remain unenthusiastic
about this kind of relationship and think we will be more independent
with a Queen or King of our own, reigning in Scotland and nowhere else;
but we do not have to decide now, or on the basis of outside advice. We
are mature enough to make our own choice when the time comes.
ANTHONY J.C. KERR
CONTRIBUTION FROM COUNCILLOR JOHN ROSS SCOTT
Anthony J.C. Kerr
Scotland lost one of her
most colourful political characters through the death of Anthony J.C.
A big-hearted humble man,
keenly interested in what others had to say, Anthony (although
unquestionably dedicated to the cause of the S.N.P.) treated those of
other political affiliations with true respect.
He enjoyed life and
gained a great deal of satisfaction and fun out of politics.
His regular phone calls
or visits to the "Jedburgh Gazette" office always began with
the piercing question: "How are things?" His distinct English
accent beckoning a reply on the latest revelations in local affairs.
A man of great integrity
he chatted with Lords yet still held the common touch, his trademark
throughout the Borders being his Lambretta scooter, which he even - on
occasions - rode to Brussels.
Of his letter writing he
once said to me: "I feel I have something to say. It is, in a
sense, my art form. Just as others write poems or short stories, I write
letters to the papers."
In 1982 he wrote so often
to the "Glasgow Herald", they sent a reporter to the Borders
to check he was a genuine person and not a syndicate.
In all I admired him most
for the way he always - sometimes against all the odds - did what he
felt was right, even to the extent of losing his top English teaching
job for competing in and winning top prize in Hughie Green's
"Double your Money", and being expelled from his Party for
eight years for standing as an unofficial S.N.P. candidate in the
Borders in 1965.
When there was a
principle at stake, Anthony would fight his ground. I miss him as a
JOHN ROSS SCOTT
(Journalist and SDP/Liberal
Alliance Regional Councillor)
February 1978 – The Scots
HOW SHOULD S.N.P. FIGHT THE REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN?
SHARE A PLATFORM says Anthony Kerr
As the Devolution Bill
moves through its Committee stage, the time has come to consider very
seriously how we shall fight the referendum campaign, if there is one.
This is uncertain as yet: the Bill could fail in the Lords or, more
probably, it could be sent back to square one by a general election.
What happens thereafter would then depend on how many seats S.N.P. can
take and whether the new Government can survive without our support.
Two main issues arise.
The first is what we should do about the question on independence if
there is one, and the second is whether we should campaign on our own or
coalesce for this occasion with the Liberals, the SLP, the devolutionist
majority in the UKLP and the large devolutionist minority among the
On balance I do not
expect a question on independence, because of the political risk
involved. If it is fairly worded, there may be more support for
independence than there is supposed to be for the S.N.P. If it is loaded
the outcome is meaningless and there is a definite possibility,
especially if the bias is too obvious, of a heavy protest vote on a
relatively low poll. The Unionists could then lose and this would be
very embarrassing for Mr Callaghan.
government may still take that chance, and if they do the question will
probably be biased. We shall be invited to vote for separation,
secession, disruption, withdrawal from the United Kingdom or something
along those lines. In my view the S.N .P. should campaign for
independence regardless of the name the other side choose to give it,
though of course protesting against the unfair wording of the question.
This is what I shall do in any event, no matter what the Party decides
(the only realistic alternatives are to campaign for independence
regardless of its name, or leave the matter to the individual judgment
of members, if they do not like the idea of voting against the Queen; to
campaign against "withdrawal" or "separation" is
politically not on, and would probably break the Party into "Redmondite"
and "Sinn Fein" factions).
On the second and in my
view the more relevant issue at this stage (since there will certainly
be a question on devolution even if there is none on independence by
whatever name), there is absolutely no doubt that we ought to coalesce
with other pro-Scottish persons and bodies, presenting a united front
against all those who are afraid or ashamed to be Scots, and do not
trust in their ability to take Scottish decisions on Scottish soil for
Scottish reasons. The contest must appear as one between Scotland
regardless of party and relying on her own resources on the one side,
and on the other side all the cowards, traitors and hirelings, backed by
English finance, English-controlled firms and London-based scribblers
and broadcasters, and relying heavily on imported speakers.
The existence of an
effective "Scotland is Scottish" organisation, taking in the
whole of three parties and substantial sections of two others, should in
itself be enough to prove that Scotland can be run as a country and that
there are people here, of all five parties, who add up to a credible
potential Scottish Government, and are in fact prepared to work together
for a common purpose. It is therefore necessary to create this
We should bear in mind
that, while the other side have more money, what really counts is
man-power (and woman-power) together with effective leadership.
The balance of political
ability in this country is overwhelmingly in favour of devolution, or
something better. Even among the Tories, who divide about 60/40 against
it, those in favour have a far greater combined weight of administrative
experience and sound judgment. They include Home*, Lothian, Cromarty,
Dundee, Perth, Buchanan-Smith, Monro and almost everybody else who has a
bit of back-ground, against the likes of Taylor and Sproat. Some go
further than others, but they all agree on the general principle of an
Assembly with some power to legislate. Those in the Tory and Labour
parties who oppose devolution would, with few exceptions if any, be
quite incapable of running this country as a country, and cannot believe
that others are more competent than themselves, because it is an
unpleasant fact to acknowledge; so they prefer to think it cannot be
done and should not be attempted.
There are times when even
Nationalists must put country before party, and I am certain this is one
such occasion. We may achieve more for the S.N.P. by campaigning on our
own, but Scotland is more important, and we can do more for Scotland by
working with others. The time for politicking is over: the time for
statesmanship is now.
*This article was written
a year before the referendum
took place. It did not take into account Lord Home's unexpected
intervention in the campaign, advising people to vote NO
in order to get a better deal from an incoming Tory Government.
My father's criticism of Lord Home later was not that Lord Home might
have changed his mind - witness lain Lawson - it was the self-deception
of electors that a Tory Government might put forward a stronger Assembly
Bill - when it was quite evident to most people that Mrs Thatcher
had no intention of setting up an
Monday 3rd April 1978
– The Scotsman
SCOTLAND’S SENSE OF NATIONAL IDENTITY
There is a strange and
undefinable quality about nationhood and culture, which makes it
difficult to answer Sir Andrew Gilchrist. We are another people in
another land, and we know it, but how and why this is so is something
one can only begin to explain. Language is only part of the difference;
Scotland has three languages and three literatures; England has only the
As a semi-professional
writer, I would suggest that when we use English, as most of us do, we
tend to use it in another way, requiring less emotional content and
involvement. Recognisably Scottish authors, as distinct from exiles
completely steeped in the metropolitan culture, generally specialise in
factual writing or in historical fiction. Few of us go in for the other
and more usual kinds of fiction - romantic, "psychological",
crime - and when we do, it probably does not compare with the best from
England or America.
Similar differences exist
in other fields, especially architecture. Anybody who survived a
parachute drop into the centre of Jedburgh or Carnwath would know at
once that he was in Scotland and not in England, and this even without
looking at the names of the banks. Kelso looks Flemish rather than
Scottish, but again it could not be English, any more than Peterhead or
The Bay City Rollers, as
Sir Andrew says, do not produce a distinctly Scottish sound. But Paul
McCartney and the Campbeltown Pipe Band have between them supplied an
expression of the Scottish territorial instinct which I regard as rather
more credible than "Scotland the Brave". Cliff Hanley's words,
though written by a native Scot, give the impression of an Englishman's
rendering of what he thinks we ought to feel: McCartney, though an
incomer, has instantly absorbed the mist, the heather and the waves, and
his "Mull of Kintyre" is unquestionably the genuine article -
as much so as "Flower of Scotland" (officially by Roy
Williamson but, according to persistent rumours, really by Willie Wolfe)
or, in other languages, Muller-Gutenbrunn's "Banater Schwabenlied"
or Dalcroze's "Mon Hameau".
As for our history, that
is different too. The essential differences are that the Romans crushed
Boadicea at King's Cross while Galgach held them to a standstill near
Aberdeen, and that the Anglo-Saxons were overwhelmed at Hastings while
we swept the Anglo-Normans away at Banockburn.
As a result, the Scottish
ethnic and political mixture was built up more gradually than the
English one: its various components were absorbed in acceptable doses
one after the other - often consisting of people who, at different
times, had opted for freedom: the common soldiers of the Ninth Legion,
who massacred their overbearing tribunes and centurions somewhere west
of Galashiels; the harassed Yorkshiremen and Northumbrians who joined
their kinsfolk in the Lothians rather than become villains, cottars or
landless slaves under the Conqueror's yoke.
Sir Andrew's suggestion
of a cultural conference at Aviemore is perhaps worth taking up. As it
happens, the S.N.P. is holding its National Conference there next year:
perhaps he should join us (I think he rather likes to be on the winning
side), help to form a branch of Hazelbank and appear as its delegate, to
propose a suitable resolution.
1978 – The Scotsman
No useful purpose can be
served by continuing sanctions against Rhodesia, or by refusing to
recognise the new transitional government, which appears to command
overwhelming majority support inside the country. Messrs Nkomo and
Mugabe may feel aggrieved, because they have been left out of the deal,
but they opted for supremacy rather than compromise, and they have
backed the wrong horse. This often happens in politics.
If the new set-up is not
recognised the "Patriotic Front" leaders, unable to find the
amount of civilian support they need for a successful guerrilla
campaign, will probably attempt an invasion using Soviet and Cuban
personnel as well as equipment. The transitional government will then
call on such help as they can obtain - essentially mercenaries and South
African volunteers, and Zimbabwe will have to assert its existence by
force as Israel did 30 years ago.
On the other hand, if the
transitional Government gains temporary recognition and a respite from
sanctions, at least until free elections have been held, the outside
leaders will know there is little prospect of bringing it down,
especially as many who would not fight for Rhodesia are prepared to
fight for Zimbabwe. The chances are they will then try to salvage what
they can from the situation by offering a cease-fire.
I might add that I have
very serious reservations about British and American foreign policy in
general. It seems totally lacking in the courage and determination shown
by Israel and Rhodesia - the courage and determination one might also
expect from an independent Scotland. It appears, rightly or wrongly, to
be based on a belief that the Communists are bound to win in the end,
and that one should try to gain time and civilise the barbarians rather
than make any real effort to resist them. How can anyone be expected to
have any pride in being British in the face of such an example?
ANTHONY J.C. KERR
September 1978 – The
DON’T BE AFRAID OF A FRONTIER
There are two possible
answers to the problem of the "separatist" lies mentioned by
Douglas Smart in the July issue of the SI. The first is to renounce
"separatism", as he suggests, by undertaking that there will
never be any alteration in the Union of Crowns, any customs post at the
English border, any restriction on the movement of labour and capital
between Scotland and England or any need for separate passports for
Scots and English. The second is to get the people to accept as much
"separation" as is required in order to safeguard our
The difficulty about Mr
Smart's answer is that we cannot guarantee that the same person will be
prepared to reign over Scotland and England as separate entities, nor
that the English will refrain from setting up customs posts if our VAT
and excise duties happen to be lower than theirs. Furthermore, if we
cannot restrict movements of capital or labour we have no way of
preventing English firms from acquiring Scottish ones to close them
down, or bringing in subsidised English workers to swell the Unionist
vote. If there is to be no need for separate passports (and in fact
Swedes and Norwegians have different passports though they do not
produce them on crossing their common frontier) this means the
passport-issuing authority must be an all-British one, inevitably
located in England; this authority may refuse passports to individual
Scottish citizens for its own political reasons. Lastly, if we renounce
"separation" we must give up our right to opt out of the
Common Market while England stays in, or to stay in if for any reason
she gets out.
In any event the S.N.P.
will not make the renunciation of Scottish sovereignty envisaged by Mr
Smart, and would break up if it did. A more radical Nationalist movement
would then emerge, similar to Sinn Fein in its outlook and methods, and
the consequences are not difficult to imagine.
We must therefore look at
the alternative approach, which is to make "separation"
acceptable, preferably to a majority, and failing this to a minority
large enough to win an election (Labour did it in 1974 with 36 per cent,
and 40 would be almost certainly adequate). Relatively few Scots have
seen a land frontier between two independent States: those of us who
travel abroad mostly go to a single business or holiday destination and
return the way we came, without going through more than one foreign
country (in addition to England) on any one trip. Hence a great deal of
ignorance and prejudice surrounds the entire subject, and this plays
into the hands of our opponents.
The first point to bear
in mind is that out of the European Community's 260 million inhabitants,
no fewer than 10 million live within 10 miles of land frontier (the
distance from Jedburgh to Carter Bar or Annan to Gretna). They include
nearly everybody in Luxembourg State, the entire population of Dunkirk,
Lille and adjacent cities, Saarbrucken and Strasburg, the Volkswagen car
workers, the Trieste dockers and a vast number of farmers and
shopkeepers. It is something one gets used to easily enough, and we need
take little heed of the scare-mongers who rant about divided families
and people cut off from their shops, their markets or their jobs. This
has indeed happened at the Iron Curtain, but nobody expects a similar
relationship, or lack of relationship, between Scotland and England.
Within Western Europe, three main types of frontier may be seen:
I. Completely open
(within Scandinavia, and between Belgium and her two Benelux partners,
Holland and Luxembourg). Nobody checks your passport or identity card,
whether going in or out, looks at the contents of your car, or makes you
pay duty on anything. All that happens, not necessarily at the border,
is that you may have to change your money, or lose a little in the shops
if you keep on using your national currency; and, if you are entitled to
be in one country but not in the other, you may be caught in a policy
spot-check and sent back - thus some Africans are entitled to be in
Belgium but not Holland, while for Dutch West Indians it's the other way
2. Fairly open. Most
other frontiers within the EEC and those between Switzerland and her
Common Market neighbours, France and West Germany, are of this type. As
a rule nobody is very interesting in who is leaving the country, unless
there is a search on for specific criminals or agitators but you are
controlled when entering. Between Switzerland and the EEC, you may have
to pay customs duties; even within the EEC (e.g. West Germany -Belgium)
you have to pay the difference between the lower and the higher rate of
VAT on furniture, television sets, etc., where these are not the same,
but you do not get a refund in the other direction. As a rule you also
have to change your money, but not at once: marks are readily acceptable
in Strasburg and Basel and French francs in Saarbrucken and Geneva.
There are also whole categories of foreigners, sometimes running to a
million people or more in one State alone (e.g. Turks in West Germany
and North Africans in France) who are allowed in one country but not the
other; but citizens on either side except for a few terrorists and
criminals who are individually excluded, move freely to the other side,
and many working commuters and shoppers cross daily, especially where
the border runs through a built-up area as often happens.
3. Controlled. The
frontiers between Italy and her neighbours are of this type; so was the
French-Spanish frontier until quite recently (it now falls within the
second group). You are only supposed to cross in a few specified places,
though this is not very strictly enforced against locals and mountain
hikers. Passports, and sometimes car documents, are checked going out
and coming in, and luggage is also searched, but only on entry as a
rule. There is a tradition of smuggling and political insecurity in some
areas; nevertheless commuter traffic is quite substantial between Italy
and Switzerland where Canton Ticino juts out into the Lombard plain, and
between Italy and Yugoslavia at Trieste.
In principle S.N.P.
policy favours a completely open frontier (Type I); in practice we shall
probably have to live with Type 2 (fairly open) though I must stress
this is a personal and not a party view. This depends essentially on
England's attitude to a free Scotland; if she accepts us as a fixture on
the map and if we are not faced with a large number of Asians and West
Indians wishing to move from London, the English Midlands and Bradford
into Scotland, we may be able to do without controls altogether.
What we have to remember
is that even a Type 2 frontier (the standard kind in Western Europe) is
quite easy to live with, and causes rather less inconvenience than a set
of urban traffic lights. More often than not, the people on either side
speak the same language and profess the same Religion, so that
intermarriage is quite common; indeed they have more contact with their
neighbours just across the line than with their fellow-countrymen fifty
or a hundred miles away. Inevitably, something is cheaper, better or
more readily available on the other side, so they are constantly going
across, and the customs officials, who do likewise when off duty, get to
know them all and seldom bother them. Long-haul lorries (as distinct
from private cars and local international transport) may have to wait
their turn to have their documents checked, depending on what they are
carrying and where they are going, but the drivers need a rest
occasionally and there are always cafes and shops at the border; they
are there because it is there and people who are going into a new
country often feel they have to eat or drink something to give
themselves time to adjust.
I think we shall also
learn to live with independence itself. It is nothing to be afraid of,
though some people may at first feel slightly worried - essentially
those who expect to be carried by the rest, and find it reassuring to
have 55 million fellow-citizens to fall back on rather than 5 million
(though they forget that there are also a few million people expecting
to be carried in England, and the Scottish State will not have to
provide for them). Others again, especially those who remember Britain
as an Imperial power, may find it hard to accept that they are citizens
of a small country, unable even to keep up the make-believe activities
of Mr Callaghan or Dr Owen on the world stage, let alone aspire to the
real influence of a Churchill or an Eden. But no country that has
experienced freedom has willingly gone back on it. The Irish would not
vote themselves back into the Union, the Icelanders would not ask the
Danes to send them another viceroy; the Norwegians would not opt for the
restoration of Swedish rule and the Finns would most certainly not seek
readmission to the Russian Empire. Once we have reclaimed the right to
take our own decisions, even at the cost of making our own mistakes, it
will seem so natural to us that no one will even think of giving it up.
ANTHONY J.C. KERR