Orders of the Day — Scotland (Devolution)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th November 1949.

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Photo of Mr John McGovern Mr John McGovern , Glasgow Shettleston 12:00 am, 16th November 1949

I could, but I do not want to be pulled up before I go very far. I could say this—there is a general belief in Scotland that there is no economic crisis there, and that it can be attributed more to England than to Scotland. These people believe that some of the proposals for solving the economic crisis in Scotland could be more adequately met if we had some form of national rule. At the same time, I could remind the right hon. Gentleman that many hon. Members who today are condemning this movement previously put their names to Motions on the subject in this House. One former Secretary of State had as a strong point before he got into office this idea of some form of Home Rule. I do not, however, intend to go further into that, which is exactly what the Secretary of State asked me to do.

Undoubtedly there is this growing opinion. In all seriousness I would say to the Secretary of State that he is not going to damp down the national feeling that is evolving in Scotland by speeches of the kind that he has made tonight. Indeed, he is going to kindle the flame which is burning there. Measures have been taken to deal with many of the problems and injustices of the past. I do not say this as a narrow nationalist, because one of my great difficulties is knowing exactly what is my real nationality. With an Irish father and a Scottish mother, I become a sort of Welshman. I have no narrow feelings on the subject. I am prepared to accept both the co-operation and the citizenship of all these nations, and to combine with the best of them and work for the best that we can get out of life.

Whether it comes from the Duke of Montrose or from the members of some form of party in Scotland advocating constitutional methods to solve our problems, I certainly am prepared to work with them. A large number of the people who are in this movement are sincere people as anxious for the welfare of Scotland as is the right hon. Gentleman. When the issue is raised in this House of having some form of extension of Home Rule, the argument cannot be met by making our blood boil with some of the things that have been said by certain individuals. We cannot meet the arguments put forward with the kind of remarks made in the latter part of the speech by my right hon. Friend.