Alex Massie Alex Massie

A Vanished Scotland

Speaking of a Scotland that is no more (or largely no more), here’s video of the Reverend Dr Donald McDonald addressing the crowd at the disbandment of the Cameronians in 1968.

You don’t see stuff like this very often these days and I’m enough of a Tory to recognise that whle improvements bring many blessings they come at a price that’s paid in poignancy too.

Perhaps one should not be too sentimental about these things, though the crowds who flocked to the National Theatre of Scotland’s production of Black Watch will recognise the pathos of these video clips. Nevertheless, the style or temper on magnificent display here has largely vanished. It spoke of a country with a secure idea of itself that paid little heed to passing political institutions (nor defined itself in those terms) and of a time when the Kirk was still just about clinging on to its role as the most important cultural force in the land.

Though churchmen would play a role in the campaign for Home Rule, one wonders if the Kirk’s gradual decline was one of the forces creating room for an argument about temporal politics and devolution and that the Kirk’s long recessional was, in fact, necessary to the process too.

Anyway, here’s the second part of Dr McDonald’s address:

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