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Dr Robert D McIntyre
Chapter 14 - General Election 1945


Parliament met for the last time on 15th June, 1945 with polling day scheduled for 5th July and a delay in the announcement of the result until 26th July 1945 in order to ensure time for the service vote to be collected from the distant parts of the globe.

Churchill, the war leader, expected to win and his reception during the campaign was tumultuous. He campaigned in Glasgow and in Edinburgh in late June and received a warm welcome, and concluded that no one who had seen the crowds during his visit could have any doubts about the eventual result. He fully expected to see the Conservatives win on the strength of his name and record, like a presidential candidate. Even Attlee, the Labour leader, expected that the best result for Labour would be that the Tories’ majority would be down to about forty seats.

The result was a Labour landslide achieving 12 million votes and 393 seats - a majority overall of 146 and that over the Conservatives alone of 180. After fourteen years in opposition, Labour was now truly in power and it surely would be possible to implement their election promises.

With such a surge of support, it would have been more than a minor miracle if the SNP Member for Motherwell and Wishaw held his seat against the tide.

The fight was as vigorous as in the by-election but, on this occasion, it was a three-cornered baffle, with the Tories puffing up a Major in the Coldstream Guards, John d’Henin Hamilton - a nephew of Lord Hamilton of Dalzell. His policy was quite simply that he stood on full support for Churchill continuing as leader, particularly as the war with Japan bad still to be won. Labour continued with their by-election candidate, Alex Anderson, who also made the defeat with Japan an important issue - but the creation of a Scottish Parliament came next in line of priorities.

Dr McIntyre put his main question as the future of Scotland. "It is now quite clear that only through a parliament in Scotland responsible to the Scottish people for all Scottish affairs can we have any progress whatsoever.

That is the democratic right which Scots have fought and died for, for other countries.

But one of the issues which his opponents brought up during the campaign was the situation surrounding his eventual taking of the oath. They implied that McIntyre’s stance was one of disloyalty to the Crown, whereas, it was one of loyalty to the Scottish people.

This issue did not fade away at the general election and opponents continued to distort the position in elections well into the 1950s.

When the result was announced at mid-day on 26th July 1945, Labour was the clear winner by 7,809 votes, with the SNP in second place. A wave of euphoria swept over the population and expectations were extremely high. When parliament reassembled in August, the Tories sang on Churchill’s entry, "He’s a jolly good fellow" and Labour responded with, "The Red Flag". Labour had triumphed and "socialism" would be put into practice.

In personal terms, McIntyre had to get back into practice himself and try to resume his medical career, having relinquished his position in Glasgow.


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