Renaissance men

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Can I assure Maria Fyfe (Letters, 1 July) that in my defence of the late Dr Robert McIntyre’s seminal role as the first SNP MP in the political history of modern Scotland (Letters, 29 June) I in no way wished to demean the contribution of Enlightenment luminaries such as David Hume and Adam Smith to our nation’s intellectual and cultural history.

I should have thought, nevertheless, that as a retired politician herself she might be prepared to concede that a country’s political history provides a context in which its intellectual and cultural pursuits can flourish – or not, as the case might be.

In this respect it is no accident that the pre-Second World 
War emergence of a political National Movement in Scotland coincided with the modern 
Scottish literary renaissance, featuring writers and poets such as Hugh MacDiarmid, Compton Mackenzie, RB Cunninghame Graham and Neil Gunn – the 
latter a novelist much admired, incidentally, by Dr McIntyre 

After all, if it hadn’t been for a political decision taken by the “parcel o’ rogues” in the old 
undemocratic Scots parliament three centuries ago, when 
they sold out their country’s
heritage for “English gold”, there wouldn’t have been any need 
for the foundation of the SNP in the mid-20th century, and a 
social democratic Scotland on
the Scandinavian pattern 
could by now have been long


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