2007 - 2021

Memo from Margo


As Margot MacDonald’s life was celebrated last week at an emotional farewell in Edinburgh, the message of her dying wish was trenchant and timely. It’s has been quoted widely, but deserves all the attention we can give it. She worried about the corrosive influence of such a bitter campaign ahead of the Referendum; in this of course she was not alone. Her husband Jim Sillars passed on her thoughts:

“The Margo MacDonald way is to recognise that you are dealing with opponents, not enemies. Not with ogres, but with fellow human beings with whom you can disagree, but must do so without malice.

“And where the exercise of mutual respect is a civilised corrective to uncivilised abuse – an abuse which, if unchecked by both sides, can so easily mutate into an irreversible, corrosive, malign influence in the conduct of public life in Scotland.”

Commentators are beginning to look at the sober reality of what lies ahead in the weeks and months after the result of the Referendum is known. There will be, perhaps, exultation for the winners, disappointment for the losers, more debate. It doesn’t seem as though the victory will be any kind of a landslide one for either side.

The Secretary of State has expressed concern about the damage to Scotland’s ‘shared identity’, as if even asking the question is a destructive act, and to be deplored as a form of societal vandalism. He’s right about possible damage, but the destructive element has been the nature of the campaign itself.

The bitterness is unlikely to be forgotten easily. Project FEAR, the ‘too wee, too poor, too stupid’ label was only the start. Lots of threats were ludicrous in their illogicality. And George Robertson’s recent mad rant, that Scotland’s Independence would be cataclysmic for the world and the forces of darkness would rejoice – and moreover that our government’s policies would ruin the prosperity of the Third World. Well I never! Who would have guessed we had this power and effect?

What may actually be cataclysmic is the effect of all this adverse political rhetoric on people in Scotland. Many people now have more than a twinge of fear about relationships after the event. Such disrespect, and bullying doesn’t go away.

Some months ago in Belfast, in the city where I was born – but left to be a student elsewhere, an old friend asked: “Are you worried about potential violence or reprisals after the Referendum? After all, there will be a losing side”.

I immediately denied any such possibility. And then began to think about it. It was a gathering of all the Celtic clichés: I’m from an Ulster Protestant family with a Unionist tendency but an innate antipathy to the Orange Order, my friend has an Ulster Presbyterian Socialist, background, another companion at the table came from a Republican, anti-clerical Dublin family, and beside him were pro-Europeans who had rejected the strictures their Irish Catholic upbringing. My companion from Scotland was born in the Gaelic-speaking Western Isles. The interesting thing was that all of those who were born in either part of Ireland believed Scotland should grab its opportunity for self-determination, especially in the circumstances. The Scottish-born member was more doubtful. But there was a real concern that the bitter aftermath of Ireland’s bloody fight for freedom should not repeat itself in any form.


May we pause for some history, please. As the irrepressible Miss Jean Brodie said:

“For those who like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like…”

If you don’t, skip over this bit.

Britain once had an Empire. How they got it isn’t the issue here. Let’s look at how they lost it. America first, the Boston Tea Party, the War of Independence. The British government thought to put the lid on that break-away notion by imposing economic sanctions, closing the port of Boston. Strong-arm tactics. Instead that acted as a recruiting campaign for the Sons of Liberty and the war was lost.

Mutinies and uprisings took India away from the Empire, terror campaigns took the nations of East Africa, but the significant historical marker has to be Ireland. Britain behaved badly in Ireland, there is no doubt. Thousands of young Irishmen were fighting for the British Army in WW1, when the Easter Rising of 1916 started off a movement which would result in the genesis of the Irish Free State five years and one civil war later. It was a bloody and bitter campaign of death and destruction and the resultant political settlement led to decades more of the same. There was religious bigotry on both sides – De Valera wanted an Irish state ruled by the Catholic Church where Protestants were not valued, and Ulster Unionists wanted a secular, non-Catholic state allied to Britain. The saying goes that Sinn Fein’s political drive for decades was “Vingince, bejaysus!”, and the Ulster Loyalist stuck to “No Surrender”. But it has taken 90 years before State visits and hands of official friendship could be offered.

One interesting point, though: the British let that Free State, founded in a bloodbath, keep the pound for over 40 years. It also let Australia become an independent state, and keep the pound.

We do have a precedent. The Edinburgh Agreement of 2012 signed by Alex Salmond and David Cameron dealt only with the conduct of the Referendum. How we go on beyond it may seem like crossing the Dark River. However The Statute of Westminster of 1931 set out a framework under which relationships with former dominions were established. History shows that there are ways to cope with a partner’s wish for self-determination. Scotland has only been enclosed with England for a little over 300 years of its long history, and it has always been a little different.

Looking to the future now – everyone back in the room? – why risk bitterness or even reprisal through such a vituperative campaign?

In Belfast I told my friends that for me, the best outcome would be independence on a friendly and agreed basis. For others, who fear independence, a good outcome might be a recognition of Scotland’s aspirations and the society it wants to build, and efforts could be made to provide a framework for this to happen.

But you know what, neither of these mild and practical solutions is likely to come easily. Margot MacDonald’s message must be echoed around the country. This whole movement is about permitting aspiration and we must take a care for that. The media has not served this time well – It will be seen as a shaming era. Nor have Westminster politicians, just at a time when their reputations are low. So to them I’d say, bear in mind that the future will contain a lot of young people with long memories.

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  1. jimnarlene says:

    The future will contain a lot of not so young people, with a longer memory. I hope that we; the peoples of Scotland are mature enough not to to repeat the mistakes of the past. That’s just it though, “the peoples of Scotland”. Think about that, the ” peoples of Scotland”, what a future, a bright one; we could shine a light on the world, show the way and humbly join the nations of the world once more.

  2. Capella says:

    I would love to see a bronze statue of Margo, sitting in her wheelchair, welcoming everyone into the Scottish Parliament.

    1. Flower of Scotland says:

      What a great idea!

    2. That is an idea worthy of support!

  3. Dave Coull says:

    While I have considerable respect for Margo, and can understand her dying wish, I can also recognise the blatant fact that some dishonest politicians are already using her dying wish for their own ends.

    Consider Ian Davidson MP, Chairman of the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee. His helpful contribution to post referendum harmony was to advocate “bayoneting the wounded”. That was when he thought his side was certain to win. Now some doubt about that has crept in, we will be hearing dishonest appeals from Unionist politicians to tone down the language.

    “The Secretary of State has expressed concern about the damage to Scotland’s ‘shared identity’, as if even asking the question is a destructive act, and to be deplored as a form of societal vandalism.”

    Alastair Carmichael is one of them dishonest politicians to whom I was referring. He was brought in as a replacement, as Secretary of State, for a somewhat more honest man. Michael Moore said, many months ago, that he would campaign for a NO vote, but he acknowledged, many months ago, the possibility that YES could win. He said that, if that did happen, then, as an MP representing a Scottish constituency, he would have to back the Scottish side in the negotiations, and he would have to seek the best possible deal for independent Scotland, and, therefore, for his constituents. He also said that all other Scottish MPs would, if they were honest, be in the same position. That was a simple acknowledgement of reality, but neither David Cameron nor Nick Clegg liked it. That was why they sacked him, and replaced him with a less honest man.

    The truth is, these Westminster politicians are fighting for their jobs, and they are fighting dirty.

    Unlike you, Lorraine Fannin, I do think there could be a landslide. I think there is going to be a very high turnout for the referendum, with nearly a million folk who did not vote at the last election turning out, and I don’t think previous non-voters will be turning out to vote for more of the things that put them off voting in the first place. I think there will be a decisive YES.

    In the immediate aftermath of that Yes vote, a lot of things the politicians had been saying will rapidly be proved to have been mere campaign rhetoric. It will soon become obvious even to most of those who had voted ‘No’ that they were lied to, that they were duped. And, when they realise that, they are not likely to be very forgiving with those who had duped them.

    In such circumstances, I think we can safely say that the careers of many Westminster politicians really will be over. Their chances of being elected to the Scottish Parliament, or even getting a seat on a toon cooncil, will effectively be zero. And, to be perfectly honest, where some of them are concerned, the Job Centre is going to have a hard time trying to figure out what other job (if any) they might be capable of performing.

    So, what I would say is, by all means, ordinary working class folk on both sides of the referendum should let bygones be bygones. But, somehow, I don’t think that mood of reconciliation amongst ordinary people is likely to extend to letting lying politicians get into any position of public trust ever again.

    1. joseph O Luain says:

      Lying politicians and lying hacks, Mr Coull. How did we allow ourselves to arrive at a situation whereby footage of Russian military hardware in action is sound-tracked with reportage of the Scottish FM’s thoroughly innocuous opinions on Putin? BBC Scotland used this self-same piece of footage earlier in the month to carry its report of Lord Robertson of the North Atlantic’s intervention too. Shame, you might think, would stop its further use. Wouldn’t you … ?

    2. fehvepehs says:

      On the jobs front for the losing NO side big players, eh can see the old windbag Alastair Carmichael on campsites around our country blowing up inflatable mattress for people who have lost their foot pumps and then Johann Lamont would be a handy barometer of vinegar strength testing or possibly how much lime to put in the green Opal Fruits. Jim Murphy would make an ideal children’s entertainer with his “happy – go – lucky” demeanour. Doogie Alexander and Alistair Darling would make an ideal pair demonstrating how oily, greasy and crusty and dry can bind together, possibly in a bakery or late night cafe. See … they need not disappear into the wilderness.

    3. Couldn’t have put it better Dave.

    4. Flower of Scotland says:

      I agree with you. I hope that also includes the media especially the BBC! I will never forgive them for their unrelenting bias against Independence for Scotland, especially when it’s our money via the TV license that pays for it!

  4. Alex Buchan says:

    Alan Trench of ‘devolution matters’ has accurately described the UK governments strategy as that of the ‘excluded middle’. From the start the aim has been to polarise the debate in an effort to isolate and stigmatise the SNP and Alex Salmond in particular. What has happened has not been due to people not being thoughtful, but has been a deliberate policy decision. Sections of the press have seen it as their job to play a supporting role in this. If it is a no vote followed quickly by the UK general election then Scotland will be ignored and forgotten by those same newspapers, except perhaps that they will intensify their efforts to capitalise on a no vote by trying to smear the SNP in any way that comes to hand. I can’t see any move towards more powers from Westminster in the near future, the struggle would have to go on. Margo was right but there is a lot of cant and disingenuousness around this.

  5. Clydebuilt says:

    Strongly agree with Dave Coull on 2 points
    1. Yes will win by a good margin.
    2. After the referendum it will become obvious to all those duped by Project Fear that they were lied to. Tensions will dissapate rapidly.

  6. yerkitbreeks says:

    “The Edinburgh Agreement of 2012 signed by Alex Salmond and David Cameron dealt only with the conduct of the Referendum. ”

    Not so, it also indicated that all parties should honour the decision of the Scottish people.

  7. I wonder if, after the YES vote carries, and even if, unlikely as it is, the NO vote carries, there could be something like a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, such as was put in place in South Africa. For reconciliation we must have truth. Otherwise we will simply put an Elastoplast on a melanoma, and bitterness will carry on for decades. The Church of Scotland is The Church by Law Established. It could give some leadership in involving other Christian denominations, and other religions, including Hebrew congregations, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Humanists and Secularists etc., in preparing a plan and strategy for something like this after the Referendum, and in carrying out the task of reconciliation.

    I wonder if the Christian Churches could have a day of prayer and fasting, for justice and peace on the 17th? Other religious bodies could do the same according to their own traditions. Perhaps Humanists and Secularists could join in the fast, and send positive thoughts to all the voters.

    1. Iain says:

      Nice idea but a pity to have religions given any leading role in a civil and national debate given their increasingly marginalised and fringe role in society. I would certainly support their inclusion but only as one group among many interest groups representing the population.

      1. jimnarlene says:

        I too would only afford religious groups, the same rights as any other groups in a democratic Scotland.

    2. YESGUY says:

      No keep religion out all together. Its these “personal ” beliefs that splits us into the for and against camps. Religion has no place in politics whatsoever . And have a good look at the churches up and down the country , empty and out of touch with the communities they are supposed to serve. They have little to contribute , and please spare me the ” church has done good too ” rubbish . Look to Africa and the Middle East where religion is destroying the regions. (Politics too I admit)
      As for Margo, its a shame she will not be here to share in the independence party after a MASSIVE YES vote. Scotland has lost a fearless wee woman who made the men look like jessies campaigning for social reform. R.I.P Margo we will finish what you started.
      And finally to all readers , THANK you for dispelling the myths and lies of “our” (ha ha…. OMS ) MSM. Giving us an understanding of whats going on out there .
      I was pro union now i am pro-independence . There is no way back after the lies and scares throwing up by MSM and BBC . And i believe there will be a huge majority for yes . Go out and take a look …. people are talking , debating and deciding …….. Most see yes as a new beginning and the S.N.P are the only vehical to get us there . GO SCOTLAND YES WE CAN

      First time poster long time lurker thank you all again

      p.s Nice 1 lorrain

  8. Like Gandhi with his nation, I might just muster a degree of graciousness to the departing backs of those who control Scotland and its people. However, to be duped by them for so long, and to watch them leave with the loot they have amassed, tends not engender a great deal of sympathy.

  9. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

    “De Valera wanted an Irish state ruled by the Catholic church where Protestants were not valued”. Where is your evidence for that statement? Orange on the republic’s flag represents what then? Growing rather sick of oblique anti-Catholicism masquerading as liberal and progressive secularism. The only good Catholic is one who apostacizes it seems. I believe in a truly secular Scottish state cleansed of the false historical preconceptions and prejudices of the past. That will mean all of us readjusting our perspectives. Closeted, enclosed and stuffy Scotland has a long history of anti-Catholicism breathed in the very air of the place. In the new Scotland the windows must be opened very wide. Let all make their contribution without atavistic prejudice in an atmosphere fresh with hope. Rest in eternal peace, Margot.

    1. Lorraine Fannin says:

      As this is a debate about the potential lasting effect of a bitter referendum campaign, I hesitate to focus further on the comparison with Irish politics. My point was that there was bitter polarising on both sides which led to all the issues we now recognise, and I would hope that Scotland could avoid this.
      The remark about De Valera was simply factual: he made a speech in The Dail in 1931 which spoke of a ‘Catholic State for Catholic people’ and cited his preference for choosing to fill jobs with Catholics. A few days later James Craig made a similar speech about Northern Ireland and Protestants. It was ultimately bad for the people all round.
      I agree with you that the ‘windows must be opened very wide’. On all matters. People get entrenched in a narrow view.

      1. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

        Irish politics is Irish politics so its history and models are out there for study and illumination only. We are the product of a different historical experience and will have to deal with the good and the bad in that. However, regarding the “Dev era” he did encourage the Protestant and Gaelic scholar Douglas Hyde to come out of retirement and accept the post of president of the new republic. The religious background of the republic, as opposed to the island of Ireland, was overwhelmingly Catholic and that would have, by deafult, informed the spirit of the constitution. The republic was nevertheless not a confessional state in the way franquist Spain was. The rôle of non-Catholics in the foundation of Irish nationalism and Gaelic revival was something the new state could not ignore. There was nothing essentially Catholic about either however much fundamentalist elements on opposite sides of the ideological border might contend.

        1. Dave Coull says:

          De Valera claimed to want to “unite” Ireland, yet he sought to make the Republic a specifically Catholic state, thus ensuring continued division. The constitution which got approved talked of the “special position” of the Roman Catholic Church. Yet even this was the very much watered down version of what De Valera had originally wanted. It was only when a member of his own Government told him that, if Dev’s draft got approved, he would not only resign, but leave Ireland, go into exile, and denounce the Republic of Ireland as a sectarian state, that Dev realised he had no choice but to water down his original draft. Nevertheless, it is a matter of fact that he sought to make Ireland a Catholic state.

    2. Dave Coull says:

      In 1937, De Valera drew up a draft constitution for Ireland in conjunction with Dr John Charles McQuaid, who soon afterwards became Archbishop of Dublin. The draft constitution drawn up by De Valera and McQaid stated “The State acknowledges that the true religion is that established by Our Divine Lord Jesus Christ Himself, which he committed to his Church to protect and propagate, as the guardian and interpreter of true morality,”……and “It acknowledges, moreover, that the Church of Christ is the Catholic Church.”

      However, when De Valera showed the draft constitution he had drawn up to his government colleagues, the Minister for Lands, Gerry Boland, was horrified. He said “If this clause gets through as now worded, it would be equivalent to the expulsion from our history of great Irishmen. Protestant patriots like Tone, Emmet, and Parnell, would never have lived in an Ireland with such a sectarian constitution, and what’s more, I wouldn’t live under it either, I would take my wife and children and get out of it”.

      So, De Valera himself was quite happy with the sectarian constitution drafted by himself and McQuaid. He was only forced into thinking again by the realisation that, not only would there be resignations from his government, but at least one of the resignees would become an exile denouncing the sectarian Republic of Ireland.

      The constitution eventually agreed made a nod to the protestant churches as well as the Jewish religion, but it nevertheless recognised “the SPECIAL POSITION of the Roman Catholic Church as the Guardian of the Faith professed by the great majority of citizens”

      Although De Valera’s original, ultra-Catholic, draft of the constitution had to be watered down, because of trenchant opposition from his own colleagues in government, in particular Boland, that “Special Position” clause still effectively ruled out any realistic moves towards re-unification with the North.

      1. setondene says:

        I’m not an expert on De Valera though I admire some of his achievements, but ‘Catholic’ is very different from Roman Catholic. Constitutionally, the Church of Scotland acknowledges the Holy Catholic (i.e. universal) Church and that fact allows that all Christians including RCs are welcome to participate in Church of Scotland worship. I don’t know if this was what Dev meant, but he was, after all, a rather precise man. The quote that Dave Coull uses would have been made before the mass migration of Muslims into Western Europe so he wouldn’t have been trying to explicitly exclude them. Not sure about his attitude to Jews but I am descended from a Dublin Jewish family myself and I know that that community was indeed uneasy about its position in an independent Ireland..

  10. “There was religious bigotry on both sides – De Valera wanted an Irish state ruled by the Catholic Church where Protestants were not valued, and Ulster Unionists wanted a secular, non-Catholic state allied to Britain.”

    Not sure that the second half of that sentence is absolutely right. It’s true that the South had the Magdalene Laundries, the Christian Brothers, a constitutional ban on divorce, the Fethard-on-Sea boycott, bishops blessing Aer Lingus planes at Dublin Airport, etc., but it also had Trinity College seats in the Seanad more or less reserved for the Anglican Ascendancy (the only people who could study there until the 1970s), and it quite deliberately installed Douglas Hyde as President, almost as much because of his Protestantism as because of his work promoting Irish.

    Meanwhile James Craig described the North as a “Protestant State”, one that in practice was founded partly because of anti-Catholicism, with near-universal male Protestant membership of the Orange Order and widespread discrimination in jobs, housing and elections whereby Catholics were more or less excluded from the Civil Service, ward boundaries gerrymandered, and some Protestant company directors had six votes while poorer Catholics may have had none. “Non-Catholic” pan-Protestantism may have been multi-faith, but, by definition, it wasn’t secular.

    1. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

      As an addendum to muddy the waters further the two ancient Cathedrals in Dublin are Church of Ireland. The Catholic college at Maynooth was founded by the British government and there was a strong strand in Irish Catholicism that regarded republicanism, with its revolutionary themes, and the Irish language as backward looking. And of course as we all know the defeat of the Catholic James VII was graced with a Te Deum in St Peter’s……history is long but memories are conveniently short.

  11. Flower of Scotland says:

    However it is a good thing to cherish the memory of Margo. She was a great example to us , kind and had friendships with those from other parties. I wish that she had lived to vote on Sept 18th.

  12. Craig M says:

    Re Boston and the Tea party;
    The loss of the American colonies is more complex. The independence movement started as an anti-Establishment movement and not necessarily as an Independence movement. The Establishment in this case being the American gentry and upper parts of society. The British Government were barely involved in the day to day running of the colonies, although they were against further westward expansion and this caused resentment within the colonies as they wanted to expand westwards at the expense of the Native Americans. One example of the rather complex relationship was that the Americans wanted protection from the British but didn’t want to pay for it through taxation.

    The Establishment within the colonies was not initially onside with what was happening further down the scale of society. Interestingly it was when the Establishment recognised that their own positions were under threat that they suddenly became involved with the increasing resentment and directed resentment towards the British. They effectively took over the movement and thus ensured that their place at the top of the social structure was kept intact. They have been there ever since.

    There are parallels with what is going on in Scotland. The Establishment are largely the Labour Party, especially the careerist senior politicians. Closer to the referendum, if they see their positions, power and careers under threat they may follow the course that the American gentry followed and jump aboard the Independence bandwagon. The pragmatic among us would probably welcome this as a means to an end but going forward I do think that serious and hard questions required to be asked of those who have directed Project Fear. They are unpleasant individuals, after all. Should they occupy positions of either power or public representation in a more enlightened future Scotland?

    1. I wish to append my agreement to your remarks in general and to the last in particular.

      The idea that, like Obama employing discredited wealthy financiers to run the US economy, we should welcome the the most brutal unionists to stay in positions of influence is repugnant to me.

    2. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

      Linda Colley in her book Britons suggests the arrival of eager Scots administrators (we were considered rather good at it) in the American colonies may have hastened the break. Out of sympathy with the easy-going mindset of the English colonists Scots sought to establish a more accountable, to the centre, and coherent, imperial?, form of government. The early British imperium was loosely structured and largely a product of trade and conquest of territory by privateering trading companies; buccaneering in effect. It took another “outsider” Benjamin Disraeli to see the grand imperial design shining through the fabric and suggest to Victoria that she might assume the Mughal title of padeshah or emperor thereby formalizing the pax britannica.

      1. You’re making a brave attempt at cod history to persuade unwary readers that all the Scots forced from their homeland in search of work were happy to be as imperialist as their masters, and Franco was nice to kittens. That’ll be the same fascist Spain where great poets are taken out and shot for writing beautiful prose, and the country opened up to ex-pat settlers to bespoil the landscape and coastline with concrete monstrosties called homes. Then you add, Spain had a healthier economy then … did Franco tell you personally?

      2. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

        GrouseBeater, occasionally raw facts get in the way of imagined worlds. The revisionist views of Linda Colley aside, Scots did their fair share of imperialist exploitation. Carribean slave owners: the Scots DNA in Jamaica is a telling legacy, the opium pushing Jardines and Mathesons in China and the tea plantation owners in India and Sri Lanka among many. I am not an apologist for Franco, way before my time anyway, just seeking to divide truth from wishful thinking. The poet Lorca, whose infamous murder occurred at the hands of falangists, was a devout Catholic; ironic. The republic has bloody hands too. Tens of thousands of priests and religious died at the hands of zealots. The bridge at Ronda being a notable place of execution (or martyrdom). No one emerges from that time morally or ethically unsullied. By the way the property boom blight you refer to is mostly a post Franco phenomenon, nearly 40 years having elapsed since his death. The new Scotland should be informed by truth and wisdom, not idealised myth, tribal prejudice or intolerance.

        1. What you mean to say is, your endeavour to taint Scots as leading the slave trade is somehow “a fact,” and as far as Franco’s Spain is concerned fascism ended with his (artificially) prolonged death.

          It came to an end one hour after he was buried with full state honours?

          Everybody sighed and said, (in Spanish and Catalan) “Oh, well, it was good while it lasted. Now we are democrats. Hooray!” You hold a distorted view of realities.

          I notice too, the predicable way you sidestep any discussion that might lead to English imperialism, but paint Scottish ambitions slyly as “idealised myth, tribal, or intolerance.”

          I do understand coded language, hence I find your propaganda repugnant.

          The pomposity of, “the new Scotland should be informed by truth and wisdom” – as if somehow Scotland is not to your way of thinking, now or in the past, is intensified by the hollow sincerity of, “I am just trying to separate truth from wishful thinking,” a statement normally signature of the academic charlatan.

      3. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

        Dear GrouseBeater……repugnant?

  13. joseph O Luain says:

    There can be little doubt that de Valera and others (i.e. Cosgrove et al) opened the door to right-wing Catholicism in the fledgling Irish State. Bear in mind, though, in order to achieve this they had to displace the leftist-progressive tendency in the country; this tendency and its thinking are well encapsulated in the text of the Easter Proclamation which begins: IRISHMEN AND IRISH WOMEN. (The inclusion of ‘WOMEN’ in the text can only be seen as progressive by the universal standards of 1916 and of course preceded female suffrage in Britain by quite some time. I would further add that unlike within the Catholic Church, within Irish leftist-republican thought the Toneian concept of unity between Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter was and remains deeply enshrined.) Reference is made to God on two occasions in the text of the Proclamation but at no point is any reference made to the Catholic Church. My point here is, what occurred with the displacement and suppression of progressive elements in post-revolutionary, post civil war Ireland under the influence of de Valera and others (including the British Government) was a rather predictable rightist counter-revolution.That this counter-revolution contained a religious dimension, I believe, saw the growth and development of that fine country stunted for generations, much in the way that Spain’s development was stunted by Franco and his hand-in-glove relationship with the Catholic Church.
    We here in Scotland are currently engaged in, I would argue, a left-progressive revolution of our own. I would cite our rejection of the Thatcherite/Hobbesian rationale vis-a-vis the social and economic spheres of life as evidence for my argument. We too then, like the Irish leftist- progressives, must expect a counter-revolutionary reaction in the event of a NO vote. I truly doubt we will ever have to face a No vote scenario, but if we have to we must be prepared. This to my my mind will entail the maintenance of our revolutionary arguments, aspirations and determination. No mercy will be given by the rightist counter-revolutionary elements in the media and elsewhere who thus far in the debate have illustrated all too clearly their disproportionate influence and power, not to mention their downright malevolence.
    You may quibble with my Lefty categories but that need not detract from the fact that all things, immaterial of the referendum result, will be forever changed in Scotland on the dawning of September nineteenth.
    Like ‘Flower of Scotland’ and many, many others, I too cherish the memory of the wonderful Margo. We would do well to address her post referendum concerns.

    1. Alex Buchan says:

      I entirely agree with your second paragraph. It would be prudent for us to acknowledge that at this point we can’t know what the result will be. I think that you are right that things will be forever changed and I think that there needs to be a greater awareness of, and thought given to, the struggle that will take place after September 18th, regardless of the result, but especially if there is a no vote.

    2. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

      “Spain’s development was stunted by Franco” at the time when a semblance of democracy was reestablished in Spain under the current monarchy the economy was very strong indeed. A strength that the current government might look back upon with some envy. As for Ireland, I suspect that without the firm hand of De Valera the civil war might have gone on far longer and with psychological consequences too terrible to contemplate. His idea of Ireland was that of a mixed heritage returnee. Did he see clearer than the Irish born what needed to be done? Building a nation from scratch is no job for the sensitive.

  14. braco says:

    Joseph O Luain,
    very wise words and a great post. Thank you very much.

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