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The Flag in the Wind

John MacDonald MacCormick was one of the chief founder members of the National Party of Scotland in 1928,  and of its successor, the Scottish National Party in 1934.

In 1942 he left to form an alternative Home Rule seeking organisation,  the Scottish Convention.   That Convention in due course produced the Scottish Covenant,  whose signatories pledged themselves to put Home Rule above party loyalties in all future elections.   Around two million signatures were gathered in a nationwide campaign between 1948 and 1950.

In 1950 MacCormick's success and fame brought about his nomination and election as Lord Rector of Glasgow University.   His high public profile was maintained in the intense interest in the Home Rule cause which followed the removal of the Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey.   The Covenant Association organised meetings all around the country,  encouraging growing support for its objectives.

At this point MacCormick published "The Flag in the Wind"  which he sub-titled "The Story of the National Movement in Scotland".   Critics were quick to point out that the book was a far from definitive story, but rather a very personal narrative, as in his Preface he himself had indicated.

His choice of title he explained in the final paragraphs of his book; the Scottish St Andrew's Cross being increasingly seen a a symbol of the revival of a people's belief in its own political future.   "It is perhaps in the symbols which men use that their deepest sentiments are most readily expressed....... Flags as well as straws show which way the wind is blowing."

A shrewd and dedicated man, MacCormick was never able to bring the debate about Self Government to the point when some Parliamentary decision could be taken,  and his tragically early death saw his organisation fairly quickly disintegrate, thus making obvious his own vital contribution.

The Scots Independent has long carried the Scottish Saltire Flag at its masthead,  and its use of the title "The Flag in the Wind" is a reminder of John MacCormick and has been approved by his family.

James Halliday.   16 Jun 00



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