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Dr Robert D McIntyre
Preface: Robert McIntyre

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 Party.

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 achieved again!

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 future.

Gordon Wilson


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