I WAS pleased to see the letter from Clare Adamson MSP relating to the Motherwell and Wishaw Branch Dinner in honour of Dr Robert McIntyre.

As a young boy I was a patient of Dr Mac at Stirling Royal as a suspect TB case (eventually cleared). At the time my mother, herself a keen dancer, had enrolled me at a local Highland dance school and asked Dr Mac whether she should withdraw me because of my possible condition. His recommendation was to encourage me to keep dancing and get out in the fresh air dancing at the many Highland Games in the area.

Little did he know then that some years later that young lad became Adult World Highland Dancing Champion at Cowal Gathering, performed in theatres, on television and in stage shows and cabarets around the world, and many years later was Highland Dance Director of the famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo for over 20 years.

My favourite story of Dr Mac was his reply to a proposal that the SNP should make available a lifetime membership. He said simply that members should have to renew their loyalty to the cause and the current SNP policies on an annual basis with the appropriate subscription, and that was not something which could be done on a lifetime membership.

Although he died back in 1998 it was only relatively recently that his ever present wife, Leila, passed away without fanfare or ceremony.

I have many memories of Dr Mac and Leila with the very strong Stirling branch team of councillors and volunteers at meetings, campaign sessions and ceilidhs in the Stirling SNP HQ upstairs in Orchard Place, long before the new Thistle Centre was built. Visitors to the “Top of the Town” area of Stirling will be unaware that most of the traditional-style rebuilding and renovations in that area were as a result of Dr Mac and his Stirling Council SNP colleagues.

I can claim to have been an SNP member since way back in the 1950s but due to extensive travelling around the UK and overseas, sorry Dr Mac, I don’t think I managed to pay my subscription EVERY year.

Billy Forsyth
Bridge of Allan

I WAS interested to read Clare Adamson’s letter in Monday’s edition about Dr Robert McIntyre.

The Motherwell seat won by McIntyre in 1945 was once held by Rev James Barr (Independent Labour Party), who was my great great grandfather and was one of the earliest campaigners for Scottish Home Rule. In 1927 Barr attempted to pass a Scottish Home Rule bill through the House of Commons, the failure of which led to a change of mood in Scotland and the early formation of the SNP. Later Rev James Barr left Motherwell and became the MP for Coatbridge. It was during this time Dr Robert McIntyre was elected to the Motherwell seat, becoming Scotland’s first SNP MP.

Upon arriving at the House of Commons McIntyre refused the traditional sponsorship which allowed new MPs to take their seats. He was asked to go away and think things over, and the next day he accepted, under protest, the sponsorship of Rev James Barr. I imagine there must have been a deal of sympathy between them, not only because of the Motherwell connection but because they were the two most prominent advocates of Scottish self-government in the House of Commons at that time.

At one stage Rev James Barr was asked to join the National Party but refused, believing he was on the cusp of delivering Scottish Home Rule with the help of his party. Sadly his Labour colleagues proved uninterested, and a Scottish Parliament was only delivered 50 years after his death.

Andrew Barr

I VERY much enjoyed the letter by Clare Adamson MSP. I knew Robert McIntyre quite well, in the sixties, as at that time the SNP was very much smaller than it is now, and I recall one tale he told me about the Motherwell by-election. At one of the public meeting he was asked by a heckler: “Will the candidate get peyed?” He explained that he would not – he was a doctor – to which the response was “Weel, hoo can we expect the candidate tae look efter oor affairs when he clearly canna look efter his ain?”

Robert would be very proud of where the SNP is today – not yet independent but not far off.

Jim Lynch

HURRAH for Carolyn Leckie for reminding us that Marx’s class analysis is very much relevant in the era of neoliberalism and government-enforced austerity economics (If the class war is over, it’s because the rich won, May 14).

The connection between class and inequality was further highlighted this week by reports that a decade after the capitalist class caused the global financial crisis, the wages of the working class are worth £24 a week less than in 2008. Frontline British workers are suffering the worst pay squeeze since 1818 – coincidently the year of Karl Marx’s birth.

John Bratton