Home Rule for Scotland?
‘Scotland for the Scottish and the land for the people!’ is the reported cry from the growing number of meetings being held demanding home rule for Scotland.
Recent months have seen a dramatic escalation in the number of meetings held and in the publication of books and pamphlets demanding Scottish legislative independence.
Scotland has had no parliament since the Scottish Act of Union of 1707 and the current campaign for its restoration is being led by the newly-founded Scottish Home Rule Council. This council is a descendant of the Scottish Home Rule Association which was founded in 1886 – just as the Prime Minister, William Gladstone, was introducing a bill proposing home rule for Ireland at Westminster.
And, just as in Ireland, home rule meetings are dominated by impassioned speeches (sometimes straying into Gaelic) denouncing the malign neglect of Scotland by Westminster, the decline of the economy and the land question.
The decay of the Scottish countryside lies at the heart of this campaign, with accusations that deer have replaced men in the highlands and that grass has replaced agriculture in the lowlands.
Further, it is claimed that policy for Scotland is usually run, not by Parliament, but by officials in London. Amongst the examples given of this is education, where it is argued that the Education Department running Scottish schools is based in London and is ruled by a single permanent official ‘with almost despotic sway.’