Policy of National Party of Scotland, 1928-34, pp.55-58.

[Scotland’s Scrap Contents]

   H. J. Hanham in “Scottish Nationalism” (Faber & Faber, 1969) quotes various Scots nationalist policy statements, usually with emphasis on lack of intellectual content and deficient consistency. An article by Archie Lamont, Assistant Secretary, N.P. of S., from 1928 to 1934, is reproduced below from the “Scots Observer” (Editor: Wm. Power), 13-10-1932. 

   Among the disunited views of its so-called “moderate” opponents, the policy of the National Party stands out as something clear and straightforward. That policy has been well summed up in the sentences: “The National Party of Scotland stands for the attainment of complete self-government for Scotland within the British group of Nations, and for the reconstruction of every branch of Scottish national life. The National Party of Scotland is entirely independent of the London-controlled parties, and its appeal is to every Scottish citizen, without distinction of class or creed.” 

HOME POLICY 

   In the sphere of home affairs our most important contention is that the restored Scottish Parliament must have complete control over all revenue raised in Scotland. Under the present system Scotland is being swindled by the London Exchequer out of millions of pounds every year. The savings resulting under Self-Government would serve materially to improve Scotland’s economic position. Under a financially independent Scottish Parliament we could, and would, find money for better housing, for the reduction of infant mortality, for land improvement and resettlement both in the Highlands and in the Lowlands. 

   We are prepared to assume our just share of the national debt. estimated on a basis of either population or of national wealth. I would hazard, however, the personal opinion that in the estimation of such a share the amount of money overpaid by Scotland in taxation to the London Exchequer should be considered; and that, if necessary, the whole question should be submitted to an impartial arbiter. It is also to be borne in mind that at the time of the Union of 1707 Scotland had little national debt. 

   The National Party of Scotland views with grave apprehension the control of Scottish banks by English banks. Such control from London is inimical to the interests of Scottish industry and commerce. We make it a matter of principle that in a self-governing Scotland our Parliament should take drastic steps to bring such Scottish banks as are now under London control, under purely Scottish control. 

   It is our policy that Scottish agriculture should receive a fair share of help from the Government. Just now Scottish agriculture is deprived of all but infinitesimal participation in the beet-sugar subsidy, and receives little benefit from the wheat quota. 

   The Scottish fishing industry must receive due consideration. 

   We wish to see Scottish industries organised on a distinct national basis. Our industries must be no mere appanages of larger English concerns and subject to be closed down arbitrarily. Other small countries have been able to protect their industries against rationalisation. So can Scotland wen she has self-government. 

   Our policy is to foster the revival in Scotland of such lost industries as calico-printing, the manufacture of motor cars, and the manufacture of electrical apparatus. We further hope that the market for Scottish goods will be stimulated by the presence of Scottish consuls and trade representatives in foreign capitals. 

   We look forward to seeing the Scottish railways unified under purely Scottish control. Only then can we be certain that railway constructional work will be brought back to Scotland, that railway company contracts for catering, etc., will be placed in Scotland, and that the unemployment, caused by amalgamation with English companies, will be remedied. Adequate transport facilities at reasonable cost must be provided if Scotland is to be properly developed. 

   The aim of the National Party of Scotland is to create a complete national entity in Scotland so that Scottish resources, which are enormously rich, may be utilised for the benefit of Scotsmen. The Scottish people, we feel, will reap the fruits of our natural wealth only when our national interests are protected by an independent government of our own. 

CO-OPERATION WITH ENGLAND 

   On the withdrawal of Scottish representatives from Westminster, certain matters will fall to be adjusted between Scotland and England. The National Party of Scotland is confident that such matters can be amicably settled between the two countries, just as was the case between Norway and Sweden at the time of their separation. 

   We consider that the best method of dealing with questions affecting both countries would be the appointment of a joint commission of which both Scotland and England would be equally represented. The decisions of the commission would be subject to ratification by the Scottish and English Parliaments. 

   Without giving up the right of Scotland to assume control of the military forces, for whose upkeep she is to pay, and without surrendering Scotland’s right to limit her army and armaments as the Scottish people may decide, the National Party would agree that the proposed joint-commission should deal with such factors in defence as many be found to be of common interest to both Scotland and England. 

   The National Party also believes that, as between Norway and Sweden, so between Scotland and England, irksome customs regulations may be avoided. We expect that Scotland will have similar friendly relations with Northern Ireland, the Irish Free State, and the self-governing Wales, which most of us foresee. 

   Scotland has contributed in a degree out of all proportion to her size towards the building of the British Empire. So far as its present territories are concerned, the Empire existed only as Newfoundland and one or two small islands before the Union of 1707. In recent years Scotland has sent out almost as many emigrants as England, though England has eight times our population. 

   In the Empire Scotland is a mother nation of equal importance with England, and the National Party of Scotland insists that the rights and status of a mother nation should be accorded to her. The Church of Scotland, for instance, should have equal status with the English Church in the Dominions and Colonies. 

   The National Party of Scotland does not recognise the Westminster Parliament as in any sense an Imperial Parliament, or its officials as Imperial officials. The National Party would, therefore, welcome a revision of Imperial relations to ensure greater co-operation between Scotland and her people abroad. We feel that there is an almost untapped market for Scottish goods among the Scottish population of the Dominions. 

   Apart from Imperial commitments, Scotland must have complete freedom to make treaties with nations outside the British group. 

   The right to refrain from war, or to make peace, so far as Scotland is concerned, must rest absolutely with the Scottish Parliament. It is fundamental to Scottish Nationalist policy that this right must be vested in no degree whatever outside Scotland.  

   The British commonwealth of nations demands much of our allegiance, but most Scottish Nationalists feel that the League of Nations possesses a still greater ideal. It is the National Party’s policy to make every effort in order that the work and power of the League of Nations may be extended and made more comprehensive. It is one of the National Party’s chief aspirations that Scotland should enter the League of Nations as a full and separate member, to work for the peace of the world. 

POLICY AT WESTMINSTER 

   The sending of representatives to Westminster is a mere side issue in our policy. At Westminster no Nationalist expects to obtain full justice because of the inability of the English majority to deal with Scottish economic and social affairs from the point of view of the Scottish people. At Westminster, however, the Nationalist members will be able to direct some measure of attention to Scottish affairs. They will have this advantage over other Scottish representatives, that they will not owe allegiance to those outworn political parties, the policies of which are dictated by the preponderance of English votes. 

   The National Party of Scotland will make Westminster one of the platforms for the Nationalist case. 

   The chief objective in the Westminster Parliament will, of course, be to pass a Bill repealing the Act of Union of 1707, which has been so repeatedly broken by the Westminster Parliament, and providing for the setting up of a Scottish Constituent Assembly with full powers to frame the future constitution of Scotland. 

   It is a principle of the National Party policy that the constitution of Scotland must be decided in Scotland by the representatives of the Scottish people. It must not be mangled and distorted through submission to the Westminster Parliament. English interference in the framing of the future Scottish constitution would only sow the seeds of such troubles as we see in Ireland to-day. 

   The Scottish people are well able to work out the details of Scotland’s constitution. These details involve such party issues as whether the new Scottish Parliament should have two chambers or only one, as in the old Scottish Estates. It is quite outwith the National Party of Scotland’s policy to take sides on such a question. The National Party appeals to Conservatives, And Socialist and Liberal alike to submerge such differences just now, until we have obtained the first necessity of our national existence, and independent Parliament in Scotland. 

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