Ian Blackford with Rose Square

The white rose represents what exactly? Fascism? Scottish exceptionalism? Anglophobia?

THERE ARE TIMES when the behaviour of the Scottish National Party is not recognisable as Scottish. The wearing of the ‘white rose’ at the state opening of parliament last week was one of those times.

At the state opening of our democratic parliament, normally in front of the Queen, the SNP line up in their robotic ranks with white roses in their lapels. Do you think it looks charming? I’m afraid not. The white roses are sinister and an affront to democracy.

The SNP choose to wear the flower as a tribute to Hugh MacDiarmid – in reference to a poem he wrote in 1931 called The Little White Rose. It’s a practice they started at the Scottish Parliament when it first opened and surfaces on similar political occasions.

In 1923 Hugh MacDiarmid wrote “A Plea for a Scottish Fascism” and a “Programme for a Scottish Fascism”.

MacDiarmid was a co-founder of the National Party of Scotland in 1928 – the predecessor of the Scottish National Party.

Given to extremes, MacDiarmid was a Scottish nationalist, but he was also, in his time, a fascist, a Nazi supporter, a communist and a racist. This is not a Scotland many of us know.

In later years he managed to be thrown out of the communist party for being a Scottish nationalist and was thrown out of the Scottish National Party for being a communist.

Correspondence uncovered after his death shows he felt a Nazi invasion of England was “in Scotland’s best interests”.

In the poem, On the imminent destruction of London, in June 1940, MacDiarmid wrote of the anticipated devastation, “that I hardly care”, and that if any place be “burned, and lost, it may as well be London – Nay, London far better than most”.

My mother, my aunt and my grandparents lived in London during the war. My mother rarely mentioned the war but on one occasion she spoke of the deadly V1 bombs, which fell indiscriminately from the sky.

MacDiarmid was openly racist, listing Anglophobia in his Who’s Who entry.

The Queen was born in London, in 1926, six weeks after my mother, and the Queen also lived in London throughout the war, enduring the bombing. And yet, every year, the Scottish National Party chooses to honour the Nazi-supporting, politically extreme, racist MacDiarmid at the state opening of Parliament.


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English Tea Rose (Rosa Oderata)       Wild Scots Rose or Burnet Rose (Rosa Spinosissima)

Editor’s note: MacDiarmid’s poem said, “The rose of all the world is not for me. I want for my part only the little white rose of Scotland, that smells sharp and sweet-and breaks the heart.” Unfortunately for the SNP they repeatedly wear the wrong rose. The one adorning Ian Blackford MP (pictured) is the English Garden or Tea Rose, not the wild rose that MacDiarmid wrote of.


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