If the Nationalists’ ideas were put into practice it would no doubt help to redress the inequality between the two countries: the unemployed figures in Scotland would probably decrease, and those of England would simultaneously go up; that is, assuming that the present industrial system continued. There would still be a fairly big residue of unemployment; the slums would still exist as they are; the great majority of the people would still be poor; the workman would still live in fear of being thrown out of his job.
In return the population would have the comfort of knowing they were citizens of an independent Scotland, of being poor on Scottish notes and coins instead of on English, of drawing the dole from a Scottish Government instead of the present one, and of being examined on Dunbar and Burns in the schools in place of Shakespeare and Milton. That would no doubt be better than the present state of things, but it does not seem to be an end worth striving very hard for. Nationalists may say that I am misrepresenting them, and that if they succeed in making Scotland a nation they will put an end to unemployment and poverty.
But if that is so, they should say so quite clearly now, so that everybody might know; and they should also say by what means they intend to achieve this. Instead they have decided to widen the basis of their appeal so as to attract people of every shade of political opinion, Conservative, Liberal, Labour, and Socialist. This has put them in the absurd position of being unable to make any pronouncement on the one question which most concerns everybody today not only in Scotland, but in the whole civilised world - the economic question. They dare not make a statement of any colour on it, lest they should scare away prospective Conservative or Labour or Socialist members of the party.
That, even from the Nationalist point of view, is surely a bad policy. A movement does not grow by being generally inoffensive, but by setting before it an aim important and definite enough to attract to it an increasing number of supporters.
… ‘S air sgàth a sheasamh ann an nèamh,
Chaill mallachd uilc a ghreim nam bheath’;
Oir ‘s Leis-san mi, ‘s is leam-sa E,
Reite tro fhuil phriseil Chriosda.
And as he stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost his grip on me;
For I am His, and He is mine,
Bought by the precious blood of Christ.