The timing of this
biography of Robert McIntyre is impeccable. In recent years the Party
has begun rediscovering both its roots and its leading personalities.
Thankfully perhaps because of growing maturity born of self-confidence,
the SNP no longer views itself as a 'doppelganger’ of the Labour
There is an appreciation
that the Party did not emerge fully formed from the womb of Scottish
politics. The SNP did have ‘bravehearts’ as its founders, those who
toiled for Scotland in a wilderness, sacrificing their energies in a
cause which cost them dear.
Of these is Robert
McIntyre who in the Fifties was a strong leader at a time of division
and strife and who by producing stability, laid the ground for the
sudden expansion that was to come. Lesser men would have given up long
before since it is particularly difficult for some-one who has made a
major unprecedented break-through only to have his hopes dashed.
I speak of the Motherwell
By-election in 1945 when Robert McIntyre became our first Member of
Parliament. As a young Nationalist, this victory however short lived,
kept lit a beacon of hope. What could be done once could surely be
Similar leadership was
given through his distinguished service in local government. If it had
not been for the success of Provost Robert and his fellow SNP
Councillors in Stirling Burgh it is unlikely that the Party would have
developed its own philosophy of community development.
But he was always a man
of ideas. He was more than a Party politician: he was a thinker with
something to say - and not always what the SNP wanted to hear.
Despite his advanced
years he has been in fine form. But some of our younger members recently
got a shock. Up got this elderly, somewhat frail man leaning heavily on
a stick. They expected reminiscences of the past. Not a bit of it.
Instead they were treated to a radical and sharp critique of the damage
to society from the doctrines of Tory greed.
They got the message.
Doc. Mc is not interested in the past. He cares about Scotland’s