A FRENCHMAN once said, “The English are only free for one day in about every five years, when they are electing a new Government.” Scotland isn’t so free as that. She has only 71 [now 59] M.P.’s at Westminster in a total of 630 [now 650]. Thus Scotland is outnumbered by 8 to 1 [now closer to 11 to 1]. Scottish affairs and proposals for Scots Self-Government are jeered at, especially by the North British Tories and other Quislings.
Scotsmen should take intelligent direct steps to increase our economic security and pave the way for complete Self-Government.
We should buy Scottish-made Goods of which there is an immense variety.
This would ensure employment for Scots workers and remove one cause of excessive emigration.
Most Scots say they but Scottish; but often we have insufficient knowledge. Few of us know enough about Scottish makes and Scottish trade-marks.
Scottish Nationalists should try to see that Scots manufactures are marked “Made in Scotland.”
Pressure must be brought to bear on shareholders who deliberately sell Scottish businesses to predominantly English firms.
A bad example was the sale of the weekly newspaper “Forward.” So-called Scots responsible for this included ex-Provost Dr. James Welsh, Rt. Hon. Thomas Johnston, and Mr. Harry Greenhill. Its printing and publishing were removed to England in September, 1956.
Scotland is over-taxed by England. A large proportion of Scotland’s total revenue of about £1000 million a year, which should be spent in Scotland, is retained and spent in England. Accordingly, Scots should try to reduce the amount paid.
A refusal to contribute to the £600 million of direct taxation can be a valuable gesture as in the case of the Misses McIntosh.
It should be even easier to cut down the sum raised in Scotland as indirect taxation, in the shape of customs, excise, tobacco tax, purchase tax, etc., which falls specially heavily on the poor. On a packet of cigarettes about four-fifths of the price goes straight to the English Exchequer. The same kind of taxation applies to other forms of tobacco and to drink. As in Biblical times, “publican,” still means “tax-gatherer.”
Individual tastes must be respected, but Self-Government can be obtained more quickly if we smoke and drink less. Enormous, gratuitous contributions to the English Government must be stopped. This will help to prevent their interference “east of Suez.”
If half of the unnecessary expenditure on liquor and tobacco were instead laid out on Scots-made furniture and clothes and on Scots-grown food, it would add to our welfare, go far towards providing jobs for the Scottish unemployed, and would save about £100 million at present sent to the English Exchequer every year.
Opposition to Conscription under EEC or NATO is another form of Direct Action, which may be needed. Young Scots will be legally entitled to be registered as objectors either to all military service or to combatant service. In war, States are unwilling to imprison able-bodied citizens who are ready to do First-Aid, or agricultural and other work. Scottish Nationalist objectors should, however, show that they are genuine by keeping out of armaments and atomic factories and, if possible, by training for suitable service in Scotland in a purely Scottish body such as the Saint Andrew’s Ambulance Association, 108 North Street [now St. Andrew’s House 48 Milton Street], Glasgow, or 17 Great Stuart Street [now 12 Dock Place], Edinburgh.
JOIN SCOTTISH SOCIETIES
All Scots should join Scottish Societies and keep them under Scottish control by electing trustworthy Scots to the committees. People originating outside Scotland should only be elected when it is clearly known that they will put Scottish interests first.
Scottish Co-operative Societies are important, since too many managers bring in English-made goods even when Scottish C.W.S. articles are cheaper.
Scottish Co-operators should buy the many products from the S.C.W.S. factories at Shieldhall, Grangemouth and Leith.
Sir Miles Thomas in the Scotsman (29-9-55) says that about £300 million per annum is being spent on advertising English commodities. We should, therefore, do something, however small, for Scotland by exhibiting “Buy Scottish” stickers and Scottish Nationalist literature, and leaflets, wherever we can.
Tin propaganda plaques can easily be made from old cans for nailing to trees or hoardings.
Each member of the Scottish National Congress should have a rubber stamp, and pad with indelible ink, so that Scots Self-Government slogans can be applied to envelopes and other suitable articles.
There should be active opposition to the taking over of Scottish agricultural land for army training and alien rocket and atomic installations.
Following the example of Gandhi and Nehru in the Indian fight for freedom, Welsh Nationalists have lain down in front of War Department vehicles at sites taken over by the military. Similar protests would be valuable in Scotland, but success depends upon maintaining an attitude of firmness and politeness towards foreign invaders of Scottish rights.
Scots Nationalists should familiarise themselves with the different ways in which the Treaty of Union with England of 1707 has been broken. They should demand a separate Mint, coinage, and postage stamps for Scotland. Insulting “Edinburgh, Great Britain” cancellation marks and all use of the E. II R. Crest must be withdrawn.
Parish Councils and the rights of the small Royal Burghs must be restored as before 1929.
Scottish Nationalists should set up a Shadow Scots Parliament in Edinburgh. this is the final key to Scots Self-Government.
Other types of direct action are picketing of Labour Exchanges, technical Colleges, Edinburgh Festival Concerts, etc., heckling at public meetings, street chalking in good weather, open-air speaking, tuition in public speaking, distribution of hand-bills, written propaganda in newspapers, and so on.
The right to sell and distribute political pamphlets without interference must be maintained. This right was vindicated by Mr. G. R. Paterson, in Edinburgh Burgh Court, on 5th April, 1956.
Scottish Self-Determination can only be obtained by individual methods and small groups. Larger bodies tend to become a happy hunting ground for provocateurs and people with more regard for uniformity than for action.
Individual Scots should think out their own methods. New suggestions for non-violent, nonco-operative action will be welcomed.