"NA MEATHADH NIS AN-DOCHAS
[let not despair now discourage us]
In 1974, the Scottish National Party
forgot that it was a national movement. They failed to do what
they could so easily have done; bring down the Tory government,
take the tide in the affairs of Scotland, return to their
supporters and win a majority of seats. They had won 11 seats at the
election and had come second in 49 of the other 50 seats. They
had been told by Scottish Command that they would get their support.
They had the largest membership of any party in Britain.
Almost a million Scots had voted for them There would then have been
no need to argue over White papers. Instead of taking the
advice of Robert the Bruce to choose the time and the place for battle,
instead of returning to the safety of Scotland surrounded by
their massive support, they went out on a limb in the heart of
English imperialism, outnumbered 60 to one they decided to stay 400
miles away in the South of England and talk. They became just
another Westminster party with a tartan ribbon round it.
In 1979, the Labour party deliberately
sabotaged their own White Paper on devolution. Their
posters in Scotland screamed out that "LABOUR SAYS YES TO HOME
RULE". But 400 miles away in the South of England they played a different
tune. At 11 p. m. one night with only 111 members in the House,
they instituted the 40% rule. The rule that said that at least
40% of the those eligible to vote must vote Yes before the
referendum could succeed. No British political party had ever got into
power under such a rule. . Britannia, in the shape of
a Scotch Labour member called Cunningham, had waived the rules.
Labour had no intention of losing the Scots and Welsh seats so
necessary to their political survival in England. "Who lives if
England dies?" The party which had been promising Home Rule for 100
years and done nothing were handed the White Paper on devolution by
the Tories who were bitterly opposed to it, but they had been
forced to go ahead by Wendy Wood and the Tartan Army.
Before they could do anything the Tories lost an election to Labour who
then found themselves in the embarrassing position of having to
push through a Tory proposal!
The S. N. P. instead of closing ranks and
rallying the people to overcome this trick, split down the
middle. Some said vote Yes and some said vote No. They had forgotten,
if they ever knew, that compromise is the art of politics.
Had they put all their weight behind a Yes vote, it would have been the
beginning of the end of Scotland's "subservience".
Their dismayed support, now leaderless, began to waiver. Sir Alec Douglas Home
would at first urge Tories to vote Yes, but two days before the vote
he told the Scots that he had changed his mind. Like the dog
returning to its vomit he had again stabbed his country in the back.
Like the sheep before the dog on the hill, Scotch Tories
did a massive U-turn and voted NO. Home had done it again. He had, to
quote his own words, "Diverted the cause of Scottish Nationalism to
The Scots voted Yes but 34% of them
stayed indoors. Probably there was something good on the T. V.
that night. They didn't even have the will to put an "X" in
the right place on a piece of paper, never mind die for their country.
Labour's sabotage had worked, the 40% rule voted for by 16% of
the members of Parliament carried the day for England. The Scotch
had done England's dirty work to perfection. The S. N. P.
could only organize a demonstration outside the gates at Calton Hill and girn,
forgetting that it was they themselves who had slammed those
gates. If the enemies and traitors are to blame then the guardians
are equally at fault, says the Gaelic proverb. The fault is in
ourselves dear friends that we are underlings. The S. N. P.
having failed to get what it could so easily have taken, ended up
having to take what it got nothing.
In 1974, the S. N. P. had not done
the right thing at the right time. In 1981, they decided to finally
snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and do the wrong thing at the
wrong time. Continuing in their fervour of elitism, they
joined hands with the Tories and brought down the Labour government. In
the ensuing election the Tories got back in. The Scotch labour
party was delighted. The S. N. P. had committed suicide.
They had proved the old Labour jibe that they were Tartan Tories and twenty
years on the S. N. P. is still trying to live down this taunt.
They got their thoroughly deserved Culloden at the election and
lost 9 of their eleven seats. Their foot soldiers deserted and
the voters turned their backs. In the 50's and 60's, Scotland had
the largest emigration figures in the world. Any Scot who had
any get up and go had got up and gone, but the national resurgence
had brought many of them back. They were now once again at rock
Since then the Scots have virtually
destroyed the Tories in Scotland. The S. N. P. having dealt
itself an almost mortal blow is still in the doldrums. The people are
left with a labour party which has done just what their
predecessors of 1706 did. They have gone to elocution lessons and adopted
English accents, put on the mannerisms, the haughty looks and
supercilious tones of their English betters. This style,
which the English carry as to the manner born, simply looks
ridiculous on the Scotch. They know that the English will never vote for a party
full of front bench Scots accents. The South East of England alone
returns twice as many members to Parliament as the whole of
Scotland. The Union is supposed to be one of two equal nations.
We are told that the Scotch labourites spend a lot of time
wining and dining city of London company directors in a desperate
attempt to prove that they are as good as the Tories. In
1971 Joe Grimond said that the Scots suffered from Toadyism. Labour is
practicing to perfection that which Joe accused them of-Toadyism.
The Scots having got rid of the Scotch Tory Party have replaced
them with the Scotch Toady Party.
These people are again saying, 100 years
after their original promise, that they will give power
to Scotland. But they don't tell this to the English. They would lose
votes. Their talk in England is all about making Britain great
again. Their main planks in the run up to the coming
elections in 1997 does not even mention Home Rule.
James the sixth set out to destroy Scotland's culture with his
statutes of Iona and nearly succeeded in killing off the Gaelic language. To-day the leader of the Labour
party, a Scotsman, says that he now considers himself to be
English. The Labour party spokesman for devolution wants to be
prime minister of Scotland but only with the permission of the prime
minister of England. In the 14th century, a Scot called the Red
Comyn wanted to be king of Scotland but only with the permission of
the king of England. The Norwegian Quisling who was a Member of
the British Empire, MBE, had a similar ambition for Norway. The more
things change the more they remain the same.
An Englishman called George Foulkes, said
at the Labour conference in Ayr, where William Wallace
was born, "Don't let's throw out devolution completely, you
never know when we might need it again". They need it again.
You have been warned. It's 1996.
THA SINN MAR LINN GUN MHATHAIR
[we are like a family without a mother]
This story was completed in 1995.