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The Tartan Army

[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 futility". 

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 bottom. 

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. 

[we are like a family without a mother]

This story was completed in 1995.

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