I READ with great interest Professor Joseph Farrell’s Essay on the influence of Scotland on the English writer GK Chesterton in which he argues – correctly in my view – that GKC, though he could be classed as an “English nationalist”, nevertheless simultaneously respected “the reality of the independent nationalities under the British Crown” (A Fine Romance, July 9).

I also agree with the professor’s view that Chesterton’s allegorical novel, The Napoleon of Notting Hill “can be read as a parable, however quixotic, of the value of small nations”, though I would add “as of their democratic rights”.

As additional evidence I would cite Chesterton’s albeit peripheral role in the 1931 Glasgow University rectorial election. He himself had been asked to stand as a candidate by the Glasgow University Distributist Club – founded circa 1930 largely by my own father, the late John Bayne, as it happens.

But on hearing that the also recently founded GU Scottish Nationalist Association (GUSNA) (1927) had already nominated his fellow writer, fellow alumnus of St Paul’s School, Westminster and fellow Roman Catholic “convert” Compton MacKenzie for the post, Chesterton immediately declined the Distributist invitation and went on to recommend at a well-attended public meeting in the Glasgow University Union that his supporters should instead vote for MacKenzie – who was subsequently elected as the first Scottish nationalist rector of any Scottish university with the Tory, Liberal, Labour, and New Party (Sir Oswald Mosley) candidates all trailing in that order.

Mosley, who later founded the British Union of Fascists, only attracted a derisory 21 votes.

A footnote to the 1931 rectorial election campaign occurred in 1950 when the student nationalist leader in 1931, none other than “King” John MacCormick (a founder member of both the National Party of Scotland (1928) and the SNP (1934) and in the post-war years of the cross-party home rule pressure group the Scottish Covenant Association) was himself elected rector as GUSNA’S candidate – with the support also, I understand, of the GU Distributist Club.

A decade or so later during my own student days in 1962, the GU Distributist Club of which I was by then an office-bearer supported the albeit less successful candidacy of Dr Robert MacIntyre, who back in 1945 had been the first SNP MP to be elected to Westminster. He nevertheless took a perfectly respectable second place behind the African Nationalist candidate ex-Chief Albert Lutuli, sponsored by the Liberal and Labour Clubs and well ahead of the Tory candidate and future Prime Minister Edward Heath, who came bottom of the poll.

Ian O Bayne

MORE than 30 people from all over Scotland met in Edinburgh on a sunny Tuesday evening to listen to Madeleine, a young student from Nicaragua, introduced by local film script writer Paul Laverty.

After hearing Paul, who had worked in the 1980s as human rights observer for Scottish Medical Aid for Nicaragua, describe the important gains of the early Sandinista revolution such as literacy and free elections in 1984, they heard Madeleine described the details of the murderous Daniel Ortega regime since April 18. The Orteguista national police, helped openly by hooded, motorised paramilitary death squads, have killed 300-400 mostly young Nicaraguan people.

When answering some questions Madeleine pointed out that most of the victims had been the children and grandchildren of Sandinista veterans and their demands now were for the president to stop the mass murder, and to step down immediately allowing an interim government to oversee immediate elections.

She brought the audience up-to-date with more than 30 killings two days ago in Carazo near the capital Managua.

There will be a practical solidarity meeting at 7pm on Thursday, July 19 in rooms at St Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh.

Norman Lockhart

WEE Ginger Dug provides an excellent summation of the problems that face the citizens of Scotland every year (End the annual shame of Orange Order marches, July 11).

As much as the Orange Order have human rights, so do the ordinary people of Scotland.

I will be honest, up until Saturday I gave them the benefit of doubt, but not any more.

Their behaviour has gone way over the top and was an utter disgrace, but instead of condemnation the Orange Order came away with their “it wisny us,the Canon shudny huv come oot and antagonised us poor wee souls.” Utter tripe in my opinion.

If these bigots wish to be civilised then they can play to their hearts’ content just as long as they are miles away from any city.

Their times is up, and good riddance to bad news.

Tony Hendrix
via thenational.scot