SUMMING UP BY ANDREW KERR
AUTHOR OF "ANTHONY J.C. KERR – A MAN OF LETTERS".
His political beliefs
were very much mirrored in his personal life. That is how I would sum up
my father. Everything that he did followed hand in hand with what he
sought for Scotland, namely that of independence. His vehicles, he said
enabled him to control his destiny just as he sought the right for Scots
to have full control over their own affairs.
As a self-employed,
translator and author, he knew the risks involved. There could be times
when work was sparse. But he never complained, he was always very
philosophical about life in general. "Work attracts work" he
always used to say when he was in the middle of a heavy load of
translations and conferences.
He always used his
experiences of travel to effect when he was writing on matters affecting
the national question. He sought to bring his own experiences to bear in
the quest for self-government. I would suggest that he was a man who
sought to make the most of the talents available to him. Everything he
did, he put in one hundred percent effort. In this, he lived a full and
active life. These were the words that I chose for inscription on the
tombstone. It is how he should be remembered. It is an example that
others would do well to follow in pursuit of their goals in life.
On behalf of the family,
I have chosen heavy emphasis on his political activity in summing up.
This is because as I said at the beginning, his political beliefs
mirrored his own personal life, and the way he chose to lead it. For
him, the two went hand in hand. He saw life as a freedom of expression
in thought, word and deed in order to make the most of the resources
available to him.
ANDREW J.T. KERR
on behalf of the family.
23rd January 1985 – BBC
Interview by: Colin Bell
of Anthony J.C. Kerr & John Wares
"Now in the letters column of the
Glasgow Herald the other day, I came across the following ‘little gem’,
"Sir, As a small scale would-be
investor, I should be glad of the following information:
a. Are Anthony J.C. Kerr a limited
b. Do they make a public issue of
That was signed by Crombie Saunders of
Now anyone who habitually
reads the letters' columns of the Herald or the Scotsman will
immediately share Mr. Saunders's private joke, because of course, it's a
rare week when Mr. Kerr's name, and his Jedburgh address are not
appended to some letter or other. On anything from the Old Testament,
Greek Mythology, Common Market to, really very often, every aspect of
Mr. Kerr is an absolutely
indefatigable correspondent. So I thought we would ask him why? What
good does he think all that epistolary effort does. And just to check
his answers, I have also invited John Wares, the lucky man who actually
chooses the letters that get printed in the Glasgow Herald."
"Anthony why do you
write so many letters?"
"I enjoy writing
them, and I feel I have something useful to contribute."
"But do you think it
does any good?"
"Can I just refer
that very quickly to John Wares, who after all sits in judgement on your
"John do you think
that reader's letters actually sway other reader's opinions?"
"Yes, I think they
sometimes can. They often put forward a point of view that they hadn't
realised, or an argument they may not have appreciated. I think that
they can alter people's opinions."
Anthony you must believe that you can sway people's opinions or you
wouldn't do it?"
"Well I do think
occasionally I convince a few people. Or at least I start them thinking,
and they take things from there."
"Well how many
letters do you write in an average year?"
"I would say I write
something over 100, and I get between 70 and 100 published. It's hard to
calculate. I don't actually count them as I send them off. "
"Is this mainly to
the Glasgow Herald and the Scotsman, or do other people enjoy the
benefits of your correspondence?"
"Mainly the Glasgow
Herald, the Scotsman and local papers in the Borders. Very seldom
English papers, occasionally periodicals."
"Well one thing that
does occur to me is that if you are going to be writing to papers, in
order to check what the subjects that they are discussing are and
whether anyone replies to your letters, you must take all the
"I take the
Scotsman, the Herald and two or three papers in the Borders. I buy some
of the others occasionally, or read them in the public library."
Back to you John. Anthony
is obviously not a regular correspondent as he says, but possibly the
most regular in Scotland. Do you like or dislike regular writers?"
"Well, I welcome
letters of the calibre of Anthony J.C., because his letters are always
good, they are always cogent, they are always saying something
worthwhile. Whether it is always wise for us to publish them of course,
is a different matter. Because they are so frequent that they do incur
certain hostility in other readers who don't write so intelligently and
yet think that they have just as much right of publication."
"Anthony, how do you
afford to take all these papers and spend all this money on
"Well. First of all,
buying two papers a day is not unusual. There are plenty of other people
who do that. And for instance I don't probably buy an evening paper. I
only buy the two morning papers as a rule. Now secondly, I may spend a
little less on other things. I don't have to pay a rent on my little
flat. I bought it many years ago. I just manage to survive
"You've done it
again. Very beautifully evaded, you have told me all the ways in which
you economise, and none of the ways in which the income arrives that you
"Ah, well the income
arises from things like translations, a bit of interpreting here and
there. Occasionally I write a book and earn royalties from it."
"When you say
translations and interpreting, which languages do you speak?"
"French and English
as native languages, and I have also got German, Italian and Spanish and
then a few other languages that I don't use for my work."
"Heavens above. And
how did you acquire all those?"
"I have always had
French, I've always had English. I learnt German by the horizontal
method many years ago, and I picked up some other languages."
"What is the
horizontal method? Is the horizontal method something I shouldn't
enquire into too closely?"
"I think most men
know it and some women."
"I see we are in
fact into Cora Pearl and 'La Grande Horizontale' are we?"
"I see, thanks very
"I'm sure it is.
Although perhaps the vocabulary is not as wide as you would need for
"Well that depends
on the other person concerned, doesn't it? If you chose your partner,
teacher or whatever intelligently, it's a very effective method."
"I'm sure it is
January 1987 – The Southern Reporter
‘TRUE BLUE’ DISCIPLINE –
EX-TORY REMEMBERS THE GOOD OLD DAYS.
Squair and Turnbull are providing some welcome and reasonable light
relief from the grim earnest of "Realpolitick,’ but I am not sure
it is doing much for their party.
If they can’t stand
together on convivial occasions, and cover up for one another's alleged
minor departures from true-blue discipline, how can they expect to be
taken seriously when the chips are down and the polling places are open?
If I have correctly
understood Councillor Squair, he took the view that the builders'
reception was too lavish, and might perhaps be interpreted as an attempt
to win further contracts (though he did not say so in as many words),
but since it was taking place anyway, he might as well stay on and enjoy
Councillor Hamilton seems
to have adopted a similar line, while Councillor Turnbull felt it was
essential to uphold the honour of the local authority by demanding an
investigation - though it is not clear into what, and he has not
indicated what should happen once a report is available.
Had they belonged to
different parties, I could have understood this as an attempt to gain
some sort of electoral advantage.
Since, however, two of
them are professed Tories, while the third has recently joined the
Unionist Club, it shows a remarkable lack of solidarity. Could it have
anything to do with earlier disagreements regarding the choice of a
prospective candidate? If so, it bodes ill for their election campaign.
Or is it symptomatic of a
general decline in Tory morale? As an ex-Tory - though I have long since
given my allegiance to Scotland, and therefore also to the Scottish
National party - I think this is indeed possible, not to say likely.
The Conservative party of
Churchill, Eden and Macmillan was still a great party, and on the whole
a responsible and cohesive one - and in particular I remember Lord
Stockton's Premiership as a good time to be alive and a young man.
There were problems, but
those who had money and power were generally less arrogant about it, and
more compassionate towards those who did not, knowing that their good
fortune was just that, and did not necessarily imply any special virtue
or moral superiority.
There was also more
awareness of being part of a team with a great tradition and a
worthwhile purpose - the defence of a way of life.
While that spirit
prevailed, I do not think Tory Councillors would have called for an
investigation into one another's conduct at a private function. They
would have maintained a sense of due proportion, and would have kept the
whole thing 'in-house'.
ANTHONY J.C. KERR
January 1987 – The Southern Reporter
Letter to the Editor
The closure of Hawick
Co-Op is a great loss to the town and to the Borders, but I do not find
Mr Luckhurst’s explanation "a direct result of unfettered
free-market dogma" altogether convincing.
It would be more accurate
to describe it as a consequence of the disastrous mergers between the
Scottish and English Co-ops some years ago.
Until then, those who
regularly shopped at the Co-Op felt it was their thing. They felt some
commitment towards it as shareholders and as local people, and
shareholders' meetings were well attended. The merger took
decision-making further away and destroyed this sense of involvement:
the Co-Op became in effect just another supermarket, which differed from
the free enterprise chains only in giving some money to the Labour party
(though not, I think, a great deal) and in refusing to sell South
It did not affect my own
shopping habits since I have always preferred to buy groceries from a
grocer, meat from a butcher, bread from a baker, etc., only going into a
supermarket ("capitalist" or Co-Operative) for a few items
which could not be obtained elsewhere: but I think many of the regular
customers drifted away.
Had Scottish and local
control been retained, customer loyalty would also have been kept up:
additionally, it would have been easier for the management to adapt to
changing tastes, which have been given by the Hawick manager as one of
the main reasons why the store was no longer viable. He did not
incidentally specify just how these tastes had changed and why nothing
could be done to meet the customers half-way. I cannot believe the mere
fact of being in the High Street and therefore at some distance from
convenient parking was the reason. Whenever I am in Hawick, I see large
numbers of people walking in and out of the shops, and arriving in the
central area or leaving it by bus - moreover there are car parks no more
than three minutes' walk from the High Street. If they prefer to shop
elsewhere they must have other motives.
ANTHONY J.C. KERR
January 1987 – The Southern Reporter
Letter to the Editor
Dr Liam Fox cannot be
allowed to get away with his attempts to make political capital out of
the Wapping riots and recent security leaks.
In the first place, they
are not relevant here because the overall issue of who governs Britain -
for those who regard it as the major consideration - will be decided
elsewhere, in the Tory-Labour and Labour-Tory marginals.
Secondly, and this is too
often ignored, the present Government have brought these and similar
problems upon themselves. Their strategy has been to write off a whole
section of the community in order to spread maximum benefits among their
own natural supporters. They have calculated that if they consistently
have enough people on their side in the right places, they can retain
power more or less indefinitely by democratic means.
calculation may well be correct, provided they know when to give way on
issues that matter to some of their own voters, for instance student
grants. It is however morally wrong and politically dangerous. The
danger is that a proportion of those who have been written off will not
be reconciled to their fate, and to their inability to obtain redress
through the ballot box. They will then try other means, and this has
been happening in England.
policies have to be implemented, and to some extent worked out, by Civil
Servants who are supposed to be equally loyal to whoever holds office at
any given time. In the past, this was not too difficult because the
Tories were not very right-wing, Labour were not very left-wing, and
there was extensive common ground between them. Today the common ground
has been eroded away and the gulf has widened. The policies therefore
have to be applied, and the secrets kept, by men and women who are
increasingly disillusioned with the job they have to do, and sooner or
later the ties of loyalty and contractual obligation will snap for some
of them. Whether they are right or wrong is open to debate, but largely
immaterial; what counts is that it happens, and it happens because the
Government are pushing their luck too far. The problem is aggravated by
the fact that the present Government apparently have more secrets to
hide, or at least are more sensitive about any that escape.
The reason is not far to
seek. If you pursue a policy of deliberately spreading the butter among
your own people, you have to make some very finely-tuned adjustments. If
you spread the butter among 40% of the population, there will be more
for those who receive it than if you spread it among 50%, but less than
if only 38% get the goodies. On the other hand, with 50% you should
certainly win, if you make them happy enough and you don't get some
cussed individuals voting on moral issues instead; with 40% you will
probably win if the oppositions cancel out in your marginal seats; with
38% it's getting dodgy and with 35% you will probably lose. It follows
that anything which causes political embarrassment can be a very serious
matter, much more so that it would have been a generation ago.
What do you do if you are
faced with such a situation? More or less what the Tories are doing now.
First you decide on your target figure for recipients of the spread - in
this particular case a little over 40%. Next you ensure that those who
benefit from your policies don't turn against you for other reasons - so
you try to stop them finding out anything they shouldn't know. Thirdly,
since a few of them will perversely vote against their immediate
material interests, no matter what is done to convince them or keep them
in ignorance, you have to get some votes out of those who stand to lose
by voting for you. This means trailing appropriate red herrings before
their eyes - the "wider issues", the interests of
"Britain-as-a-whole" (= England south of the M62), Liverpool
and Lambeth councillors, or anything else that comes to hand. You also
try and educate them to accept unemployment as a "fact of
life" due to structural and unalterable causes.
But we don't have to fall
for that - not in Scotland anyway. For us there is another option - to
stand on our own feet as a nation and take our own decisions here, on
our own soil, through our own authorities, for our own reasons and using
our own resources, which are more than adequate once we regain control
over them. It is because we have this Scottish alternative that social
and political tensions in this country are not yet as severe as in the
most deprived areas of England. This may not last very long, however -
if we remain thirled to Westminster much longer, these tensions and
their consequences will inevitably spillover into Scotland. We had
better get off the Titanic before she sinks.
Dr Fox may think there
are other issues more important than Scotland. I don't. This country and
its future are our overriding priority.
ANTHONY J.C. KERR
Constituency Press Officer, Roxburgh & Berwickshire SNP.
February 1987 – The Glasgow Herald
Anthony’s final letter to the Editor
Mrs Ewing is, of course,
entirely right. The Wilson-Gallaghan administration of 1974-79 never
were serious about devolution, and this is proved by their manifest
First they brought out a
White Paper, wholly redundant as the Kilbrandon Report was itself an
adequate basis for discussion. This was followed by a "dummy
Bill," which was never intended to become legislation. These
preliminaries took up nearly two years - roughly the time Labour still
had a theoretical overall majority (though highly vulnerable to
accidents, illness, and extreme dissatisfaction on the part of
individual MPs). The combined Scotland and Wales Bill was then produced,
with many inbuilt defects calculated to ensure its failure. It was
allowed to fall through the defeat of the guillotine motion, which the
Government did not choose to make an issue of confidence.
Only then did separate
Bills for Scotland and Wales appear on the table - Bills which would
have been brought out in 1975 if their authors had genuinely intended to
set up Scottish and Welsh Assemblies. They were deliberately sabotaged
by the Labour anti-devolutionists, notably through the Cunningham
Amendment, whose defeat, like the success of the guillotine, was not
made an issue of confidence by Callaghan. This shows he and his
colleagues were not really committed - a further proof being the fact
that none of the saboteurs were disciplined, and one of them is now the
The right time to bring
down the Government would probably have been immediately after the
Cunningham Clause was added to the Scotland Bill. The difficulty was -
so far as I recall - that some Liberals either voted for it or abstained
on it, and that a General Election did not suit them at the time, due to
the Thorpe affair. Furthermore, they enjoyed occasional support from an
Irish Independent, who abstained (though present in the House) on the
night they were finally defeated.
His reason was, I think,
a personal slight from a senior Labour MP. Had he voted with the
Government on that occasion, as he originally intended, the division
would have ended in a tie, and Callaghan could have soldiered on a few
weeks or months longer.
ANTHONY J.C. KERR
5th February 1987 – The
Anthony’s final letter to the Editor
PARTY SYSTEM SEE-SAW ‘IRRELEVANT’ TO
Robin Cook, for Labour,
and Mrs Shirley Finlay-Maxwell, for the Tories, have made remarkably
converging statements (Southern Reporter, January 22). Both assert, in
effect, that their two parties are the only valid alternatives to each
other and that only a single-party majority Government can work.
The political see-saw of
Government and Opposition is an English concept, irrelevant to a small
country such as Scotland. It is also years if not generations out of
date, harking back to a time when people thought of politics - and of
life itself - in terms of the eternal struggle between good and evil,
with the angels' side, of course, as their own.
In fact politics is
seldom a matter of straight choices between right and wrong. Decisions
which involve such a choice are extremely rare: I can only think of
three or four which have been taken by British Governments since 1938.
Normally one has to weigh
up costs and benefits, practicalities and problems, and finally settle
for something that will work after a fashion. Most of the smaller
European countries - and Scotland is one of them, though not at present
independent - are therefore governed, all or most of the time, by two or
three compatible parties, possibly four, which fight each other when a
General Election comes round, and then share out the Cabinet seats in
rough proportion to their parliamentary strength. The system works very
well in Switzerland, though less well in Belgium where parties may be
able to co-operate on social and economic issues and then fallout on
cultural issues (e.g. the official language in a small group of
On the whole, however,
this arrangement makes better use of the available political talent and
skills than the English see-saw, which requires a large pool of ability
on both sides, and a good deal of common ground between them, if it is
to function at all.
This common ground no
longer exists. On the one side we have the protagonists of take-over
mania and those who use employment as a social discipline to keep the
workers (what's left of them), under control, while on the other side
are those who boast that the police "got a bloody good hiding"
when a constable is cut to pieces with machetes and knives. But although
computers can only answer "yes" or "no" (but can do
so at dazzling speed) people are not so restricted, and we do not have
to let ourselves be programmed by Thatcher and Kinnock and their
There is a better way, which starts by
telling the whole lot to get lost because we are going to run our own
show here in Scotland. We can then take stock of the situation and work
out our own priorities and our own answers.
At this stage we will also have the use
of our own resources to finance those answers. Instead of paying for
Trident and carrying all of England’s unemployed on our backs with the
£10, 000,000 or more of oil revenues which are stolen from us every
ANTHONY J.C. KERR
16th February 1987 – The
THE VIRTUE OF POLITICAL COURTESY
CONTRIBUTION FROM GAVIN
I was in Singapore last
week and was most shocked to receive on my return news of the death of
Anthony Kerr, a long-time comrade and friend in the nationalist
movement. It was only a few weeks ago at my New Year's party that we
were deep in conversation on the prospects for a revival of the Scottish
dimension in the next Parliament.
commitment never allowed him to slide into bigotry, nor did he treat
with anything but respect anybody with whom he conversed or, indeed,
debated with in your columns over the years. That he could irritate some
of those who regarded themselves as more suited (destined?) for the
glittering prizes of office than he aspired to, was evidenced on many
occasions by myself in the lengths they went to avoid listening to or
reading what he had to say. They would have gained from being less
He had an intellect and
unashamedly used it. This alone distinguished him from that breed of
political aspirant who breathes slogans and shouts down opposition. Some
otherwise brilliant political minds affect to hide their intelligence in
case they awe what they dismissively call "the punters"
(though their ideology proclaims them to be the inheritors of the
earth). Anthony was incapable of making a point that was not based on
the use of rational argument.
He did not use his many
gifts to cut, trim or pose in the conventional sense, and he had a
closer understanding of what was practical and what was fanciful than
many of our "smarter" politicians (of all parties). In our
last conversation (as in our first, and most of those in between) he
always spoke of "when" rather than "if" Scotland
became independent. He always spoke without malice to those who
disregarded with him, and with a great patience for those who affected
(none too discreetly) not to take him seriously.
Anthony took his life's
work seriously. We often disagreed. I often teased him (privately and in
print), but I can truly say that, until Scottish politics across the
entire party spectrum has more men and women with Anthony's many
virtues, his courtesy to others of like mind and opposed, and his
clarity of composition in word or in print, we are destined to be in the
"if" rather than "when" dimension of his
March 1987 – The Scots Independent
Written by Peter Wright
"MYND YER FAITHERS AN YER BAIRNS"
Galgach’s spiks afore the Battle o the
Grampians, August 84, near Aiberdeen
Juist afore his untymelie
daith Anthony J .C. Kerr skrievit til me anent Galgach's byordnar spik
afore the Battle o the Grampians in August 84 A.D. he thocht that it wad
luik fair braw in Scots, an sae ettled at me for ti owreset it, an
howpfully hae it prentit i the Scots Independent.
As a linguist Anthony had
a gryt interest in Scots an at monie a Nationalist tryst we wad hae a
crack anent the leid. He aye spiert at me gin thair wisna a buik that
the non-spiker cuid coft ti leir the tung, - efteranawas he pyntit out,
ye cuid fin teach yersel buiks oan maist leids.
Sae I wis at the darg o
owresettin Galgach's spik whan I read, wi mukkil dule, o his daith, an I
can think o nae better tribute ti a Nationalist sic as Anthony J .C.
Kerr bit ti cairry out his wiss, an owreset intil Scots the cry for a
free Scotland frae nineteen hunner yeir syne. For lyke Galgach his-lane,
Anthony J.C. Kerr pit our beloued kintra o Scotland furst an abune aw.
The site o the battle is
unkent, bit I share Anthony J.C. Kerr's view-pynt that it maun hae bin
near haun Aiberdeen, an that the spik colleckit bi Roman officiars frae
prisoners efter the battle gies a fair pictur o whit Galgach said. The
Romans wan the battle bit Galgach achievit his aim - thai didna win
forrit onie faurer.
QUOTES ON HIS POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY AND
1. "I am a Nationalist because I am
a Conservative, and feel that Scotland is worth conserving above all
From an article in "The Scotland We
Seek", edited by David Rollo.
ON THE NEED FOR REALPOLITIK
2. "Finally I think one enemy is
enough. Why give America a vested interest in keeping Scotland
From "The Scotland We Seek",
(commenting on SNP Defence policy altered in 1981)
ADDRESSING THE SCOTTISH PEOPLE
3. "You say you are a Scot*, what
are you doing about it?" *This remark was first attributed to
Donald Stuart-Hamilton a contemporary of my father at Harrow
From "The Scotland We Seek".
ON HIS TRANSLATIONS
4. "You’d be surprised at the
number of Scottish women who marry Frenchmen or Germans and come to
regret it, but all this provides me with work."
From J.R. Scott’s "Spotlight on
Jedburgh’s Man of Letters"
December, 1984. The Southern Reporter.
ON HIS LETTERS
5. "I feel I have got something
useful to say. It is, in a sense, my art form. Just as others write
poems or short stories, I write letters to the papers". The
Southern Reporter, December 1984.
1st February 1987
ADDRESS BY ANTHONY J.C. KERR TO ROXBURGH AND BERWICK CONSTITUENCY
Mr Chairman, friends
I have come as much to
listen and to speak, but it is right to start with some kind of
explanation of why I am here, hoping to stand as the party's candidate
in this Constituency.
I am a Nationalist
because I am a Scotsman. No other reason is required. Scotland is a
country and therefore ought to be free.
self-respect - it "makes man to have liking" as John Barbour
says in the greatest of our poems. It means the right to take our own
decisions and if necessary to make our own mistakes, learn from them and
do better next time, instead of girning about what somebody else is or
should be doing.
It means the power to
rebuild our own economy and stop the steady drain of jobs and of young
people. It means above all the ability to stand up for ourselves and
look the world in the face instead of running away from all the problems
and all the choices that have to be made.
We are entitled to this
because we are a nation.
But I need say no more
about it because it is the faith we all share.
If you select me as your
candidate I will make Scotland's freedom the centre-piece of my appeal
to the voters of this Constituency. However, I think they will also
expect us, as a party, to have something to say about other issues, if
only to show that we are relevant in today's world as well as
I think our message will
come across more convincingly if we concentrate on a small number of
really important points than if we try to sell a political encyclopedia.
I will take your advice and the advice of all the key people I hope to
visit in the precampaign period: as of now I think these issues could
1) Jobs for our young
people. Our country and our communities have no future if our young
people have no future.
(i) agriculture, and how
it is to be combined with forestry;
(ii) industry - in
particular our traditional industries, but also those which have come in
recently and those we might hope to attract, as well as service
activities such as tourism;
(iii) education and
2) Transport and
communications with the outside world. This of course has a direct
impact on jobs, but it also affects the quality of life for everybody in
3) Local government, and
how to make it more local.
This again has an impact
on jobs - I need only remind you that Starrett's was brought to Jedburgh
by the Town Council, which no longer exists. Under the present system of
local government, nobody would have been motivated enough or have had
the resources to do anything about it.
In each case I will try,
in the election campaign itself, to show how these issues relate to
independence, and how much more we could do with a Government and a
Parliament of our own, working full-time for Scotland instead of
treating this country as an afterthought, but I will also try to put
across a few ideas which are valid here and now. I won't attempt it
tonight, however - time is too short.
Now I will say a little
about how I see our campaign in this Constituency.
In realistic terms -
unless there is a massive national surge of support - it has to be
spread over two General Elections, one to sweep Labour and the Tories
aside and establish ourselves as the main opposition, and a second
election to take the seat. But it may well be these two elections will
not be very far apart.
This campaign will itself
also be a two-stage operation - the pre-campaign from tonight until a
General Election is actually called, and the formal campaign itself,
lasting three or four weeks.
Given the size and shape
of this Constituency, most of the work will have to be done in the
pre-campaign, and most of the votes we win as a Constituency Association
will have to be won during that period: what happens in the last three
weeks will be determined very largely by the Party's national effort and
by the mood of the people at the time. Our job now is to try and get
them into the right mood, as far as we can. This means we have to make
ourselves known, make ourselves visible, and make ourselves relevant.
There is no time to go
into all the details, but I would see it as my task during this period,
if I am selected as your prospective candidate, to do three things
1) Meet as many as
possible of the key people in every community, both in order to win
their goodwill and because there is always something to be learnt from
2) Cover as much as
possible of the landward areas, bearing in mind that we will have to
concentrate on the towns and the larger villages during the General
3) Attend as many as
possible of the social gatherings of all kinds that take place in the
Our activities during the
election campaign itself will have to be planned nearer the time. They
very much depend on the sort of impact we make in the pre-campaign, on
the size of workforce we have recruited and of course on the finance
available. It will be largely a matter of going where the support is and
where the votes are, and of motivating the existing support and bringing
it out on the day. The first thing is to run an effective pre-campaign
and take things from there.
All this of course is
equally relevant whoever is the candidate. What do I specifically have
The main consideration, I
would suggest, is that I am already here. I have already covered quite a
lot of the ground, including most of Roxburgh District, in the course of
past campaigns and constituency activities, and a lot of people can
recognise me even if I can't recognize them all.
of course may be an advantage or a disadvantage - some people prefer the
candidate to be a remote and slightly exalted person who descends on the
constituency like a sort of Greek god out of a machine, but on the whole
it helps, given the size of area we have to cover.
Secondly, I have a
flexible time-table. I am not tied to a particular workplace or to
office hours, and am therefore free to get around and see people during
Thirdly, I have
considerable and varied experience, stretching over 40 years, the last
26 being in or alongside this party. There is something to be said for
youth and something to be said for experience, but in this particular
context, starting from the worst result in Scotland last time, and with
a difficult area to cover, I think it helps to have somebody who knows
the ropes, or at least most of the ropes.
It goes without saying
that I will give my full support and loyalty to either of the other
candidates, if he is selected here. That is the way this party works,
because we all work for Scotland. I hope nevertheless that you will
decide on me as the Party's standard-bearer in this particular field.