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Scotland and the Scots, 1707-2007

Christian Auer

XIII. The road to devolution

84. Freedom for Scotland, 1927

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1Lewis Spence (1874-1955) published more than forty books, mainly in the fields of folklore and anthropology. A nationalist with strong anti-English opinions, Spence was a founder member of the National Party of Scotland (1928) and its first Parliamentary candidate. His pamphlet Freedom for Scotland: the Case for Scottish Self-Government is a seminal work in the growth of the modern Scottish nationalist movement.

2Lewis Spence, Freedom for Scotland: The Case for Scottish Self-government, Edinburgh: 1927, p. 38-39.


And those ignorant of, or contributory to the vast conspiracy that is being launched against Scottish life laugh when men of vision solemnly declare that the end of Scottish history—of Scotland’s very existence is in sight unless a mighty and concerted effort is directed against this monstrous invasion and usurption of an ancient and well-founded national right. Here is the indictment of accusation in detail: (1) Scottish railways and banks, that is our chief commercial and financial resources, have been alienated. (2) The English stream across our borders in countless thousands. The latest statistics show that the English-born persons who have settled in Edinburgh and Glasgow during the past decade outnumber those of Irish birth, and that there are many more Englishmen in Glasgow than Scotsmen in London. (3) English shops and stores have trebled in number since the war ended. Scottish traders are being shouldered out. (4) The Highlands are to remain the preserves of English “sportsmen.” Afforestation, insisted upon by so many commissions, is to be discouraged. (5) By every conceivable artifice the men of the land, both Lowland and Highland, are to be seduced into leaving their native country. To this policy the Secretary for Scotland is a party. Should they take the land they need so sorely, they are imprisoned. (6) Scottish housing is side-tracked as an issue in practical politics. (7) The whole might or the English Parliament is directed against the attainment of Scottish self-government in any shape or form. (8) Scottish education must walk the same cul-de-sac as English “education.” (9) £119,000,000 on the average is to be wrung annually out of the Scottish tax-payer. Of this vast sum ten times the revenue of Denmark, Scotland receives back £33,000,000 “for her own use!” (10) The cream of Scottish food supplies is railed to England. Scottish fish, meat and fruit must be cheap in London, and are consequently dear in Scottish cities. (11) Scottish members of Parliament are bullied into silence, unless, like Sir Henry Craik, they are “inveterately opposed to all measures calculated to divide the two countries”. Scotland, naturally progressive, is utterly powerless in the Councils of Westminster. The results of elections are annulled so far as Scotland is concerned. (12) And lastly, Scottish culture must at all costs be destroyed and smashed. We must be laughed out of our nationality, our national idiosyncrasies must be sneered away, our native art must be quashed or have its neck wrung. Our ancient customs must he discouraged and killed. Our progressive political ambitions must be held in check. Who can deny these charges? Severally they might seem unimportant. Collectively they are damning.

One hope remains to Scotland–her young men and women. But for them our race, and all that it implies of culture and character, must indubitably perish. Let them ponder this awful conclusion to twelve centuries of greatness. […] The conspiracy is unmasked. We look the real enemy in the face, and cry “J’accuse!”

Men and women of Scotland! Children of Caledonia! Arise, let your light shine once more among the nations! Do you wish that the name of Scotland should pass from the roll of the world’s nations and become absorbed in that of your ancient rival? Ireland is represented on the League of Nations, and on the Imperial Council, as are Canada, South Africa, and the other British nations. Then why not Scotland?

“Oh, but” says the Perfect Imperialist, “England and Scotland are now one nation—Great Britain.”

That is false. England will never consent to discard her national name. The term “Great Britain” is only employed in connection with Scottish affairs.

© Presses universitaires de Strasbourg, 2013

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