Tuesday 2 December 2008

Calman - factually incorrect

After having given lawyers a dose of gratuitous (but obviously well-deserved) abuse, I have been chided by m'learned friend.

In the midst of such tomfoolery as legal types getting on tall cuddies, m'learned friend points out that the report of the Commission to Repaint Devolution contains factual inaccuracies. I've not had a chance to check his points yet, except this one:
The Labour Party was formally committed to home rule during the 1920s but growing ambivalence in the party led to the formation of a strongly devolutionist Independent Labour Party in 1932 and Scottish National Party (SNP) in 1934.
Well, you'll find that Labour had home rule in its policy platform in the 1880s (delivered nothing in government for over a century, right enough); Keir Hardie stood as an Independent Labour Candidate in March 1888; and the Independent Labour Party was formed in 1893.

None of that matters, of course, when you consider the incredible infamy of the idea that the SNP was formed from disillusion within Labour's ranks. There's only one place I've ever seen such tosh written - the Scottish Labour Party's website. Reliable and impartial research from Calman then.
Here's a more accurate view, filched (with no shame) from the website of Dingwall SNP (fine chaps and chapesses):

The Party's somewhat confusing origins can be traced back to several organisations advocating Home Rule in the 1920s and 30s. In 1928 The Scots National League (formed in 1921) and the Glasgow University Scottish Nationalist Association (formed by John MacCormick in 1927) both combined with poet Lewis Spence's Scottish National Movement to form the National Party of Scotland.

The NPS can be seen as the most direct forerunner of the SNP as it shared the same left of centre, civic outlook as the modern party and the same commitment to independence. Many of its members were also involved in the literary and artistic renaissance that took place in Scotland in the 1920s. The first nationalist to stand for election was Lewis Spence, who contested Midlothian and Peeblesshire Northern in 1929. He won 4.5% of the vote and came fourth.

By 1934 the National Party had amalgamated with the smaller, more right wing Scottish Party to form the Scottish National Party.

Of course, it's not entirely accurate, I prefer to say we took over the Scottish Party and decided to change the name to the Scottish National Party - and a fine party it is, you should all join!

Don't trust the Commission to Repaint Devolution - their trousers are on fire. Mind how you go! (c) the train driver.

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