In 1950 I foresaw that civil war was inevitable unless
some concessions were made to the suppressed minority in the North-East of
Ireland. So I accepted an invitation to stand for Greenock as Irish
Anti-Partition Candidate having two essential negative qualifications - I
was neither RC or Irish. The press seized on my candidature with joy. What
a good joke!
The SNP disowned me twice with increasing enthusiasm.
The only opponent I had - and a virulent one at that! - was Father Daniels
- the local priest - who was a stalwart Labourite. Finally my keenest
supporters presented me with an ultimatum - either I must support the
English RC schools or else - I refused to budge and found myself like
Edward Bruce, - the Scot who also took up Ireland’s cause -
excommunicated and deserted.
Honesty is a luxury which no professional politician
can afford. Let us enjoy it!
I got 700 votes. My comment was: "I appealed to
the intelligent section of the electorate and the result shows that I
received their unanimous support.
My triumphant opponent - one of the most friendly
personalities I have known - died shortly after. He had attended a
cocktail party on the Queen Mary.
The greatest advantage that Ireland has derived from
self-government is that an ambitious Irish politician does not need to
base his career on the betrayal of his country. No more Castlereaghs!
This is the centenary year of James Connolly who was
shot by the British of 1916, sitting in a chair because he was already
badly wounded. He died praying for his executioners.
When the captured Irish were taken through the city
after their hopeless fight for their country’s freedom they had to be
protected by the British from the fury of their fellow countrymen. We have
never fallen so low!
Connolly is the only man of political distinction that
Edinburgh has produced in a century.
Under threat of pitiless war the Irish were compelled
to accept the Oath of Allegiance and to join the Commonwealth (defined as
"a free association of free peoples".) These paper restrictions
were treated by the Irish Government as so much worthless paper.
The British have learned nothing from their ridiculous
In the course of Tory party propaganda which I attended
at Glasgow University and which was called "History" I learned
that the Irish died in 1848 because of the failure of the potato crop. I
was not told that the same country had bumper crops in every other form of
agriculture and that grain ships left a starving country to feed the
inhabitants of London.
The English used to laugh at the Irishmen who was asked
by the USA immigration officials
"What are your politics?"
"I have none!"
"Everybody has politics."
"Well, is there a Government?"
"Yes! Well I’m agin it!"
This was intended to prove that the Irish were
ungovernable. Actually it proved that the Irishman associated the word
GOVERNMENT with the English — therefore
an enemy institution. The English, with the simplicity they attribute to
the Irish but which is their innate characteristic were telling
a story against themselves. Now the Irish have the most stable constitution
in Europe except where the English rule in their N.E. corner.
General Maxwell, Commander of the English Army of
Occupation in Ireland, declared after quelling the Rising in 1916: "I
am glad to record my opinion that the feeling of the bulk of the citizens,
being against Sinn Fein, materially influenced the collapse of the
Actually the leaders of Sinn Fein heard of the Rising
in the morning’s papers. That shows how little Maxwell knew of the
situation. The Irish Times was full of praise for the victors (28/4
1916): "gallant soldiers, including two battalions of famous Irish
In 1926, when there were machine guns trained on George Square,
Glasgow, from the roof of the GPO, the Scottish regiments were transferred
to England and replaced by English ones. There are depths to which we have