Dewar accepts Scotland's 'evolutionary nationalism'
Tuesday 01 December 1998
As Scotland marked St Andrew's Day with a flurry of nationalistic self- affirmation - topped by the opening of the Museum of Scotland by the Queen - Mr Dewar was obliged to move with the tide.
Speaking in St Andrews, Fife, he said the devolution settlement, setting up a parliament in Edinburgh after 300 years, was not rigid. "If through experience and by consent, we want to adjust the settlement, the machinery is in place," he said.
Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party, was more direct. "A new Scotland is being born," he said in a message to SNP candidates for next May's elections. "The destination of our national journey is independence - all that is to be decided is the speed of our progress."
The Queen kept her speech for the opening of the pounds 64m Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh short and uncontroversial. Rounding off the 40-year project on the last St Andrew's Day before home rule, she said the museum would be a "fitting home" for all its 10,000 magnificent objects.
She made no mention of the striking block-house architecture of the building on Chambers Street, nor of whether in telling Scotland's story it bolstered the nationalist cause. Some people have complained there is not enough about the independence heroes William (Braveheart) Wallace and Robert the Bruce.
In short, the Queen said nothing to ruffle Scots sensitivities and upset the finding of an opinion poll published yesterday that anti-English racism is confined to a "tiny fraction" of the population. The ICM poll for The Scotsman newspaper found that only 3 per cent of Scots admitted to "disliking the English a lot"; 67 per cent said they either liked their southern neighbours a lot or "at the least a little".
In his message to SNP candidates, Mr Salmond underlined his belief that independence would be achieved in stages rather than by sudden upheaval - a view so prevalent at the party conference that it attracted the jibe: "We're all evolutionary nationalists now."
George Reid, the SNP's constitutional affairs spokesman, welcomed what he called Labour's "U-turn" and Mr Dewar's acceptance that constitutional change was "a dynamic process".
There was already a consensus for the Parliament to have powers not covered in the Scotland Act, he said. "These include broadcasting, Europe and taxation."
Labour's campaign strategy has been thrown into a quandary by the humiliation in last week's North West Scotland European by-election, when the party came third behind the SNP and the Tories. The SNP hailed the result as proof that "Nat bashing" by Labour was counter-productive, a view shared by many Labour activists in Scotland.
Mr Dewar said it would be "absurd" for a government committed to modernisation to pretend it had the last word on every detail of the constitutional settlement.
Hamish McRae, Review, page 5
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Bali Nine executions in Indonesia: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford says she 'just wants to get it over with'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A specialist retail and brand c...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...
£26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Haulage company based on the Thorpe Indu...
£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...