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
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
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
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
16 Jun 00