Episode 3 of 5
Flower of Scotland
"It was a sect.it was curiously like Trotskyism actually, and it was something that at that time was a blind alley." The intellectual Tom Nairn on Scottish nationalism in the early 1960's.
Nationalist activists describe how they were regarded as disloyal in a very unionist society and treated with a mixture of contempt and disdain and sometimes outright hostility - one man Gordon Caseley recalls his father's horror when his friend in the Special Branch told him that his schoolboy son had joined the SNP! Billy also traces the rise of Scottish cultural nationalism and the effect of the folk revival that swept Scotland and produced songs like the Corries' anthem "Flower of Scotland" We hear from Mary McCabe and former SNP leader Gordon Wilson of a nationalist pirate radio station called Radio Free Scotland and the SNP's struggle to get recognition for the nationalist movement on radio and television.
We detail the gradual transformation of the SNP from a small, marginalised "sect" to an organised political machine capable of achieving sporadic but spectacular successes such as Winnie Ewing's victory in the Hamilton by election of 1967. Winnie herself describes the
personal abuse she endured at Westminster until Harold Wilson and Emrys Hughes put a stop to it. Profesor James Mitchell of Strathclyde University traces the hostility between Labour and the SNP to this period when Labour was challenged in its former heartland.
The victory though began a seismic shift in Scottish politics which had long lasting effects, bringing thousands into the nationalist camp and dramatically improving the image and profile of the SNP..."a wee nudge of the earth, a wee earthquake" as Jimmy Halliday describes it.