I commend these excerpts from MacDiarmid’s poem to Labour-controlled Glasgow City Council, to the Glasgow Labour Party, to Michael Kelly (for his facile Scotsman article today) and to all those shallow, complacent journalists who could not find the facts other than the ones fed to them by Glasgow City Council’s PR handouts, and who would not have recognised a true human interest story - and tragedy in the making - if it had reared up and bit them.
John Maclean would have recoiled in utter disbelief and revulsion from the thing the Labour Party has become in the country of its birth, Scotland, and notoriously, in the City of Glasgow.
And I pay tribute to those who did recognise the truth and the facts, and who offered objective reporting to the Jaconellis, and their wholehearted support.
(I am indebted to my friend Gordon Cowell, a true Scot living in Spain, for immediately seeing the relevance of the poem and telling me about it. Thanks Gordon!)
JOHN MACLEAN (1879-1923)
All the buildings in Glasgow are grey
With cruelty and meanness of spirit,
But once in a while one greyer than the rest
A song shall merit
Since a miracle of true courage is seen
For a moment its walls between.
Look at it, you fools, with unseeing eyes
And deny it with lying lips!
And ‘justice’ may well do its filthy work
Behind walls as filthy as these
And congratulate itself blindly and never know
The prisoner takes the light with him as he goes below.
Stand close, stand close, and block out the light
As long as you can, you ministers and lawyers,
the light of truth in on the base pretence
Of Justice that sentenced him behind these grey walls.
All law is the contemptible fraud he declared it.
Like a lightning-bolt at last the workers’ wrath falls
On all such castles of cowards whether they be
Uniformed in ermine, or blue, or khaki.
Royal honours for murderers and fools! The ‘fount of honour’
Is poisoned and spreads its corruption all through,
But Scotland will think yet of the broken body
And unbreakable spirit …
Hugh MacDiarmid (1934)
POSTSCRIPT AND CORRECTION
Gordon Cowell - who sent me the poem, offers this valuable correction -
In today’s blog you say:
“Labour - the party of John MacLean and Keir Hardie”
Well, John MacLean never in fact belonged to the Labour Party. He considered it an inadequate vehicle for the profound social change he sought and dedicated his life to (indeed gave his life for).
He was, beyond doubt, one of Scotland’s greats. Here’s Matt McGinn’s tribute to him:
Keir Hardie, as every schoolboy knows (?), was a founder of the Labour Party and he made damn sure that in the first “manifesto” Home Rule for Scotland (and Ireland) was well up on the list of demands (see attached photo of a leaflet where Home Rule takes pride of place – top left-hand corner!).
This demand was, of course, swiftly kicked under the carpet by the trough-swillers who hi-jacked the Party, realising that the pickings would be much grander at Westminster. Scottish Labour should never be allowed to forget this and should be reminded at every opportunity that in this too they are betraying constantly their own roots. For them it is just one more piece of ballast to be jettisoned in order to keep their hot-air balloon wafting above the heads of the people.