“Scotland draw your sword—for you’ve drawn the dole long enough!” This cry of the ’thirties echoes again throughout Scotland today. The Scottish people feel that they are getting the rawest of raw deals and that this is due to the incompetence and indifference of Whitehall and Westminster. This explains the large Nationalist vote at West Lothian where the Scottish Nationalist Party candidate came second and caused both the Tories and the Liberals to lose their deposits.

It is no use telling the Scots that their economic problems are similar to those of Lancashire or Durham. They will agree, but will add that if the English can’t run their own affairs properly that is no reason why they should continue to mismanage those of Scotland. They believe that the answer lies, ultimately, in the restoration of a Scottish Parliament. When young Scots are politically enthusiastic today they are to be seen sporting Ban-the-Bomb badges or “Free Scotland” badges, or both at the same time.

Random interviews by Scottish Television have indicated almost unanimous support for the Scottish Plebiscite Committee which is very actively raising cash for an all-Scottish plebiscite on the selfgovernment question.

Socialists should not dismiss this feeling as an amusing piece of quaint, Celtic revivalism. Its economic and psychological roots are deep and its relevance to the problem of democratic government and social planning is immediate and significant.

Since the first World War Scotland has had to bear a disporportionate share of Britain’s unemployment. With 10 per cent of Britain’s population, she usually has 20 per cent of its unemployed workers. This is mainly due to the fact that her traditional industries—coal, steel, shipbuilding and heavy engineering—which once gave her a relative advantage, have been in decline for over 40 years. The planned introduction of new industries and the rationalization, integration, and modernization of existing ones, which could have cured her chronic economic condition, either never took place or if it did was started too late. Even before 1914, the writing was on the wall, for her economy centred more and more on the coal-producing Forth-Clyde Valley and drew her skilled agricultural workers and craftsmen away from the countryside, depopulating the Highlands and Islands in the process, and devitalizing her folk culture. She had her industrial “coffin” before England and is now suffocating from the stench of economic obsolescence. While the Midlands and South-East of England attracted the modern industries—motor-cars, cycles, radios, television, plastics, packaging, tinned foods, etc.—Scotland remained perilously dependent on the older industries, which are now facing acute crisis.