In an interview in a new edition of the book The Grudge: Two Nations, One Match, No Holds Barred, the former Scotland coach says: “I think Scotland should stand on its own. I’m not a member of the SNP but this idea that we have to be tied to England is rubbish. We should stand on our own two feet. We can do better.”
A chapter in the book is called “Privilege, I’ve hated it since I was a lad” and Telfer, who famously led Scotland to the 1990 Grand Slam by beating England, reflects on how his upbringing informed his politics.
“I won’t change now. If anything, I’m worse now than I ever was. I’m still a socialist. Britain still harps on about the Empire. Bowing and scraping to royalty and the important people. Why did some people have so much and why were they treated like they were better than everybody else? That’s still in me from my parents’ time. It won’t leave me.”
The 1990 game was played out against a backdrop of rising nationalism in Scotland. Author Tom English asks if Telfer thinks we are back there now. He says, “Aye, it’s getting that way.”