HAVING read the latest contribution of Lord Reid to the independence debate (News, 8 June) I must say I am left somewhat confused, bewildered and disappointed. As someone who attended St Patrick’s High School, Coatbridge, at the same time as Reid in the early Sixties, I was never left in any doubt about his commitment to the cause of nationalism. That nationalism was, of course, of the Irish variety and not particularly Scottish.
Like Reid and a great many others at our school, I was the progeny of economic migrants who came to work in the Lanarkshire coal mines in the 19th and early 20th century. Like Reid, we were all versed in the history of the struggle to achieve an independent Irish state and the bloody events which led to the creation of that country.
Even as a young man, Ian (that was his name then) showed remarkable ability in leadership, and in reminding us all of our background and the associated heroes who he was quite capable of immortalising in song and word.
It is shortly after this that it would seem our paths diverged politically. I used the background we both came from to work for the establishment of an independent Scotland based purely on democracy and the wishes of the Scottish people. We now stand at the edge of achieving that ambition. Ian, it seems, changed not only his name but equally the values which he held in such high regard as a young man. In the parlance of the day, it would seem that taking the “Queen’s shilling” would not be an unfair label to attribute to the man.
The good book tells us: “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world etc etc.” I am unsure if ten cabinet posts in the government of Mr Blair comes anywhere near the “whole world”. Alongside nationalism, our heritage in Coatbridge was equally a commitment to the cause of socialism and fairness. It is a sad fact that ten cabinet posts working for Mr Blair who did so much to destroy both socialism and fairness, shows Lord Reid didn’t just sell out on one of his basic principles.
There is still 100 days for Lord Reid and others to examine their basic beliefs and to realise that these can only be achieved through the creation of an independent Scotland. There is still time for Lord Reid to relieve the disappointment of an old school friend.
Councillor George Kay, Burntisland, Kinghorn and Western Kirkcaldy