While browsing the Herald archive.

A short guest post from Matt Vallance.

WHILE doing some rugby research this morning, I chanced upon an item in the Glasgow Herald, of 7 January, 1957. This was a review of the Winter issue of The Saltire Review, which cost the princely sum of 2 shillings and 6 pence (half a crown in old money, 13p in new money). The subject of the issue was the state of Scotland as the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Union – which passed on 16 January, 1957, approached.

In his preparatory remarks, Saltire Review Editor JM Reid nailed his colours to the mast, stating that, in signing the Treaty in 1707: Scotland signed her death warrant as a state.”

He continued that since the 200th anniversary, in 1907, Scottish voices, Scottish architecture (even if only in tenements and neo-baronial mansions, Scottish newspapers and Scottish businesses were still distinctive – in contrast he implied, to the state of Scotland in 1957.

Even then, he saw Scotland increasingly dominated by “BBC speech, a class pattern of education and economic control from the South.”

Mr Reid suggested: “In our day, the Union is to become final and total; and Scotland as anything more than a geophysical term is going to slide out of existence for ever.” This view was put forward, it should be remembered, a mere ten years before Winnie Ewing won the Hamilton By-Election.

Colin Clark, an Australian-Scottish economist of the time was also fairly downbeat. While he conceded the Union brought Scotland greater prosperity, he believed this: “could and should have been done without such close political union.”

The Herald of the time, however, pours water on this theory, wondering quite how the American or Australian form of federalism Mr Clark favoured could have been achieved in 1707.

In another article Headmaster and future President of the Robert Burns World Federation Dr James Anderson Russell, looking at Scottish education, suggested that while the Education Act of 1947 had brought about: “an excellent educational system,” he doubted whether Scotland: “strangled by the bureaucracy of Whitehall or our too-compliant Department at St Andrew’s House, is able to reap the benefits.”

This magazine, it should be remembered, appeared at the high water mark of Unionism in Scotland. Between them the Unionist Party (30 seats) and the National Liberal and Conservative Party (6 seats) had delivered 50.1% of the popular vote and 36 of the 71 Scottish seats to parties taking the Conservative whip at Westminster. 

Labour took first place in Scotland at the 1959 General Election, holding that lead until the SNP landslide of 2015.

When that edition of the Saltire Review came out, the SNP was very-much a fringe party. In the 1955 General Election, they had put-up only two candidates and amassed a total of 12,112 votes.

It is certainly interesting, from today’s Scotland, to look back at how we saw ourselves a mere 64 years ago. The political landscape may be different, but, many of the same problems still bedevil Scotland. I wonder too, what the Herald of 2021’s view would be, should someone (such as a Scottish former UK Prime Minister) put forward an argument for federalism as an alternative to independence. I doubt if they would dismiss it as arbitrarily as back in 1957.

That said, I cannot see the 2021 Herald running the same story as they did back in 1957, JM Reid’s take on the Union would, I fancy, not go down well with today’s high heid yins in that paper.


31 thoughts on “While browsing the Herald archive.

  1. You reminded me that..

    Every silver lining has a cloud.
    When one door shuts, another one slams in your face

    I wonder when and if our Nation will ever recover from the enforced decline. IF being a very serious concern of late.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. If only ‘our’ education system, along with our justice system and media, had not become co-opted into the British nationalist project to re-imagine Scotland out of global history. Which would be a crime against humanity, not just Scotland.

    How does Dialogical Self
    Theory appear in the light of
    Cognitive Analytic Therapy?
    Two approaches to the self

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Does the overall tone of this suggest that we are being too negative and that Scotland’s demise in being utterly absorbed into this union, Greater England if you like, is that we the indy faithful are being far to presumptuous that the end of Scotland as we know it is nigh.

    Has the end of Scotland been called incorrectly on several occasions over the last 314 years of this union, are we just adding to this, or do we this generation here and now have a legitimate concern that the end of Scotland or its ability to break free from this union more like closer than ever.

    They say history repeats itself, however I’ve no wish to be repeating this in say ten years time, I hope we are independent by then, what I wonder will the Herald say about that.

    Liked by 8 people

  4. Just shows you that Scottish culture has been under influence from England since – well, forever.

    MacDiarmid and the Scottish literary renaissance were concerned about it in the 1930s, in the mid 19th century the National Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights complained of Scottish taxation flowing south, 18th century enlightenment Scots were busy trying to eradicate their speech of Scotticisms, after the Reformation the Scots language came under attack through the use of English language bibles, even in the 11th century Queen Margaret brought English refugees from the Norman conquest and refused to speak Gaelic.

    And yet! Despite all that, there is still a Scottish culture (unless you are Lord George Robertson, who obviously believes his knighthood of the thistle was pulled out an Englishman’s arse https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSFqaEoYLNg).

    I wonder by contrast, just how long a sense of Britishness will last post-independence. Scottish culture has shown its resilience. Britishness may die with the likes of Robertson.

    Liked by 7 people

  5. The absorption of Scotland into the British state has been ongoing for some time, a state that is distinctly English in character and no longer capable of claiming to be diological in nature. Which is enabled by Westminster’s hostility to international law, as it poses a direct threat to the assumed legal supremacy of the Crown in Parliament. However, Brexit indicates the Crown in Parliament is no longer pretending that Scots as have a legal right to legal rights, so I think it’s our generation that needs to take the responsibility so far shirked by our legal and political Establishment.


    Liked by 5 people

  6. The thing that worries me at the moment is the increasing number of English accents I hear now in my area. Incomers are welcome, but there comes a point when it’s just too much to be comfortable.

    Liked by 12 people

    1. Same here John. As I have remarked before, here in Dumfries and Galloway, the indigenous Scot is becoming a rare breed.

      It’s also noticeable when you hear some interviews on the TV or the radio, man in the street from somewhere in Scotland, very seldom the native breed. It’s as if we are unable to speak for ourselves, or more likely they don’t actually wish to hear the point of view of the native Scot as they wouldn’t like what most of us think.

      Anyway, that’s my tuppence worth,

      By the way Iain, anyway word on how Roddy is doing, he seems to be having a rough time of things. Hope he gets well soon.

      Liked by 14 people

      1. Carol, one of the most worrying example is the fact that Greyfriars Kirk in Dumfries was sold by the C. of S. and is now ‘St. Brides Anglican Church’. Although the church is not built exactly on the original Greyfriars’ site of one of the most iconic episodes in Scottish history and one that involved Robert the Bruce’s genesis into liberator of Scotland in 1306. It is still on the site of the original Dumfries Castle, and it is very significant what this change in ownership signifies.

        The blurb by the ‘congregation’ on their website says it all:

        ‘The worshipping congregation at St Bride’s was first gathered for public worship in 2008 on Advent Sunday. This was in response to the pastoral and spiritual need for there to be a place of worship for Anglicans who held to tradition and scripture in the face of the Revisionism that is rife in the Scottish Episcopal Church. Our attempts to be established as a private chapel in the diocese of Glasgow & Galloway were rejected in 2009 by Idris Jones. We therefore had no choice but to seek Episcopal care outwith Scotland. It is our hope that the creation of the Scottish Anglican Network in 2017 will soon result in the provision of Episcopal care from a Bishop in the United Kingdom. ‘

        The colonisation of a fiercely proud Scottish toon by these clerical cuckoos made me sad. They’re rejection of the native church in favour of the supremacy by a ‘uk’ bishop is , I believe , deliberate.
        I have no religious belief or affiliation, but I see this as a slow and deliberate acculturation of the toon into a Saxon foothold. Similarly, with average prices for house in Scotland at £177.000, many houses in Dfs are going for £250,00-£300,00 in a town of low wages and high unemployment.

        To quote Bruce’s accomplice in seeing off the traitorous Comyn, Roger de Kirkpatrick ,whae wull ‘mak siccar’ that we may find a way to halt the flood of rich colonialists into our dear land?

        Liked by 12 people

    2. I’m very alarmed at the growing number of English accents I’m hearing around my ain wee toon.
      A new “estate” is currently under construction a few hundred metres from my scheme. Houses selling for £330,000 and upwards. It appears to be being populated by incomers from south of the border.
      Another “estate” is underway about half a kilometre away, properties upward of £400,000. No one from the local area could possibly afford such prices. I fear we are being diluted out of existence.

      Liked by 9 people

      1. Same. problem in most Highland communities. Is this what Sturgeon is waiting for? ie An English boost to another referendum? No wonder our independence bloggers don’t want one!. The Alba route is the obvious way forward.

        Liked by 9 people

    3. We are all seeing the same thing! I live in a remote location and Scots are now the minority. The local pub doesn’t even have whisky on display now. The demand is Gin and Tonics. The “migration” has become quite dramatic in the last 10 years.

      We cannae awe be wrang!

      Liked by 13 people

  7. neilanderson3

    Now we know why Sturgeon is so keen on house building. English building companies seem to be everywhere. One had its planning application rejected just last week in my area.

    However, I have no doubt that they will apply again, and get a sympathetic hearing from ‘our’ Scottish government.

    Liked by 8 people

  8. I used to think Sturgeon didn’t want a referendum. Now I think she’s waiting until she is sure it will be lost.

    Liked by 8 people

  9. Further to my comment about the house builder. The house builder has a right of appeal to the Scottish government about being refused planning permission, but the local people have no such right.

    Going by their track record so far, I don’t feel optimistic about the government’s reaction.

    Liked by 6 people

  10. A powerful reminder of just how dumbed-down public life and debate in Scotland has become in the intervening years. Well done, Matt Vallance. Over to you, Alba. Raising the level of public awareness and debate, by forcefully and unapologetically forcing your way into the news rooms, both here and abroad, is absolutely essential. it’s hardly the case that you don’t have a powerful message to push, on numerous levels and with endless evidence,

    Liked by 5 people

  11. As Scotland improves the Welfare system it becomes more attractive to those retiring from the South of England buying a larger cheaper property and putting cash into the bank. They do not work so have little interest in the economics of the area they move to.
    I also know of two cases in which a retired couple have encouraged their grandchildren to use their address as residence in order to obtain a free University place.

    The financial burden of healthcare increases. The education budget is abused and the young working population (tax payers) continues to decline.

    The demise of our cultural background is damaged further and the support for the Union is secure preventing and hope of winning a “fair” Referendum..

    I see more and more UJs being displayed on flagpoles in remote Scottish villages. To discus the protection of our language and culture is to be accused of being a “blood and soil” nationalist in the meantime my Nation turns into Scotlandshire, an English retirement county.

    The Barnett Formula is corrected by the transfer of the welfare cost of English pensioners to the Scottish budget.

    Well over half a million “British NOT Scottish” votes added to the electoral role in the last 10 years.

    Look to Wales, Northern Ireland OR Tibet to see the impact of long term settlement on the ability of the original inhabitants to ever recover true Independence. Compare this to Australia, America, New Zealand, Canada etc when migrants embraced the Nation they moved to and called it home.

    Sturgeon just wants us – to be Nice! If we are nice they may permit a vote when the numbers are acceptable and at time when support for Independence is low. Sturgeon is doing her best to make the SNP fail at some point soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. The comments here on the accelerating Anglicisation of Scotland echo my own on a previous post by Iain .

    Ironically , in the past I used to ask people who complained about * incomers * buying properties locally who it was that was selling the property to the highest bidder – at that point , maybe 25/30 years ago almost always other locals ie native Scots – and why they didn’t accept a lower price affordable to other locals – I know of only one case where someone actually did this .

    There was usually no convincing answer to this : the harsh reality being most people will want the highest price they can get for their property , considerations of the effects on the community of the influx of non-Scots and the flight of born and bred locals were/are secondary to the desire for maximum profit : in a situation where the choice is between accepting a lower price from a local and a higher from a non-local how many of us can say with certainty we would opt for the former ?

    One obvious problem of course is if a person is selling and moving to another home/location they themselves will face the same problem of ever-escalating house prices , ergo , will require as much as they can get in order to buy the new property – a truly vicious circle .

    The root cause of all this is the abandonment of house-building by successive Governments , this fundamental necessity being almost 100% taken-over by the private sector , whose primary concern is profit and who have zero interest in the social and environmental effects of * developments .

    The difference between then and now is the scale of South to North immigration , how that will effect our aspiration and , the most pressing question of all …….what are our elected – alleged Independence-seeking – representatives doing about it ?

    As far as I can see the answer is not – even – ” nothing ” , the answer is – ” facilitating “

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The answer to your question is fiscal control. If you buy a house in many EU countries you pay a significantly higher tax on purchase as a non resident. The equivalent of rates, land tax etc is also much higher. If you take residence then you come under the National tax system BUT you still do not get to vote until you take Citizenship of that Country.

      As a “county” of England we cannot apply such rules that preserve Nationhood and fiscal balance for local in the housing market.

      Those million English retirees in France and Spain may have created their “Chianti-shire” but they cannot vote on the Nations future….unlike Scotland.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Agreed Clootie . Though I doubt higher taxes in themselves will be sufficient to buck the trend as those moving South to North often have the financial means to absorb them – substantial income/pension/savings etc .

        The only real solution is full control of all aspects of what happens in our country , for which we – urgently – require Independence , which in turn requires the ousting of the feeble , compromising/compromised frauds currently masquerading as our liberators


  13. I live in the Highlands and it is the same here -from an area full of Scots within the last four years the demographic has changed and I am one of only two Scots still living in this area all the rest are English incomers. One cannot blame people for wanting a better way of life – most of them come from inner city areas of Manchester and Birmingham – but having talked to them(they are all very friendly people) they all are No voters. They don’t like Nicola Sturgeon (we can agree on that), they don’t like the SNP (now agreed) and importantly they “don’t want to lose Scotland”. I suppose this is the new task we face convincing our English incomers that independence for Scotland will benefit them personally. Its not going to be easy – first task is to educate them that Scotland is not a region but a country.


  14. A constitutional order that privileges man’s will over empirically grounded reason, can not hope to secure justice for all. Brexit indicates this is exactly what we face, as xenophobic right-wing English nationalism obviously holds more sway in Westminster, than common sense and decency. Or international Treaty law. So there’s not much chance for sustainable democracy in Scotland, until we can get ‘our’ legal and political Establishment to respect international law, along with the principle of equality in law.

    The dialectic of democracy: modernization, emancipation and the great regression


  15. So if Scots ever hope to enjoy the benefits of open government and democracy, we’ll need to do a better job at holding Scotland’s legal and political classes to account. As they are Westminster’s principle gatekeepers holding Scotland down, thereby denying us the opportunity to access our human rights.

    Self-Constitution: Action, Identity, and Integrity
    Lecture Six: Integrity and Interaction

    Liked by 1 person

  16. One thing I’m pretty certain of, Scots will never enjoy the benefits of open democracy, if we allow Brexit to stand. So we’ll need to find some competent constitutional lawyers capable of influencing government. As the shower we currently have representing us, couldn’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag.

    Social rights in the age of
    proportionality: Global
    economic crisis and
    constitutional litigation


  17. The British state has control over our land its people and our day to day living, we have the power to stop the British state in its tracks many have spoken about those options before but no country or people can act without its leader taken the lead role. Just remind me what is the purpose of the New SNP or its leader because for the last 7yrs what control we did have the New SNP are happy to give it to the UK and its government.

    Nicola Sturgeon does have an agenda and whatever it is Scotland and its people couldn’t be further from that agenda.

    The new SNP and its leader and her own party are passing more and more of our control to Westminster every single day from social security which they didn’t want, our parliament, the claim of right and the new voice for the union to a four nations approach.

    Mark Drakeford is more a nationalist and does more for Wales and standing up for Wales than Sturgeon has done in the last 7yrs for Scotland.

    It doesn’t take a genius to realize what’s happening in Scotland with both the New SNP and the Tories which one worse, you decided. The UK government doesn’t care about the people in Scotland only its assets and the New SNP more interested in a few hundred trans gender people rights than actually running a country and sorting out people’s day to day problems that is a government responsibility.
    Has anything changed in the last 300yrs? We need someone to directly say on national TV that Scotland isn’t interested in England or the British state and Scotland is leaving with or without the British state approval and if they don’t like it go speak to your therapist because the problems your’s not ours.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Lochside

    You are on a completely wrong track about St Bride’s in Dumfries. They are one of a number of “Piskie” congregations unhappy about the Scottish Episcopal Church’s failure (as they see it) to provide alternative episcopal oversight for congregations unhappy with the official Church position on such matters as women priests, gay ordinations and so forth.

    This is about Church politics. My research reveals that St Bride’s congregation accepts oversight from a Canadian bishop- NOT one from the C of E.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: