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Newsweek Scotland - remembering Donald Dewar

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Derek Bateman Derek Bateman | 16:03 UK time, Friday, 8 October 2010

Donald Dewar © Copyright Richard Slessor

Donald Dewar

One of those weeks... bleary-eyed after sleepless nights with tiny tots...and coincidentally immersion in Labour politics where the new generation seem like little nippers compared to the giants of the past.

At least that's an easy assumption as we see only three Scots returned in the shadow cabinet elections at the very time we remember Donald Dewar ten years on after his death. Not only that but I've been looking through the BBC archive at the origins of Labour... Keir Hardie, Cunninghame Graham, Jimmy Maxton and on through Ramsay MacDonald, the first Labour Prime Minister to Willie Ross. I watched a speech he made at the height of his powers - all sound and fury - defying anyone to disagree. It makes a contrast with today's performers and their sometimes contrived indignation. Old Willie looked like he really meant it.

Anyway our plan on Newsweek is to have a discussion about Dewar, one of the real characters of Labour, a sometimes infuriating man whom I found it impossible to dislike. (There is a clip of him in the archive from the Garscadden by-election in 1978 berating the nationalists and saying:"Do you think the wogs start at Calais?" Interesting how the terms of debate change!) We'll have his former minder Dave Whitton and Denis Canavan with whom he didn't always see eye to eye.

We want to discuss his legacy and what he would make of Holyrood, Scotland and, indeed the SNP.

We're also asking if the government's measures on child benefit and pensions really are fair (there's some special pleading here from the presenter) and we have a fascinting piece on the Indus river which has devastated swathes of Pakistan. Is it global warming? We speak to an expert who has surprising news. Join us Saturday morning from 8 and we'll bring the world to your duvet...


  • Comment number 1.

    My dealings with Donald Dewar.

    Back in the late 1980s, I was living in Glasgow, a Labour Party member, and I saw Donald Dewar at a public rally in George Square and I offered him a leaflet. I had things to tell the Labour establishment even back then. No big deal.

    Then years later, maybe around 1999, long after I had moved to Aberdeen and I had even more to say about the rotten legal and constitutional system of the kingdom which still to this day denies us Scots free speech, imposes defamation laws, court gagging orders, imprisonment for contempt of court and we are not treated as citizens with rights but abused as subjects of the crown whenever the Queen's officers and judges feel like it.

    So I leafleted a public Labour party meeting in Aberdeen which Dewar was attending.

    This new leaflet which Dewar's audience got offered to them on the way in, published my complaints about the professional lawyers in politics, like Dewar and Wallace, then running Scotland, still pretty much the same old ruling class along with their brother Scottish judges who were content with the devolution settlement they had set up which did nothing much to defend the rights of Scots to speak out in our own country.

    Admittedly, it was a very strongly worded leaflet, with "profanity filter Donald Dewar" on it or some such.

    Anyway the police were called and that was the first time I was handcuffed using rigid handcuffs and shocked and surprised with being arrested practically under the nose of the Queen's First Minister Donald Dewar for the non-crime of giving out a political leaflet, and the vice-like biting grip on my wrists of the rigid handcuffs. I struggled and received a very painful and traumatic wrist injury, amounting to torture.

    These rigid handcuffs were brought in by Thatcher so the police could torture and control picketing miners and New Labour never thought to ban those instruments of torture - after all new Labour hated Scargill as much as Thatcher did, maybe more, and why should new Labour, or indeed any royalist party such as Lib Dems, SNP or Tories care if the citizens got injured by the police?

    "Serves us right?" for dissenting from their rule, I suppose is why police torture can still be done to this day to any Scot who is arrested.

    After all, to the royalist political parties we defiant Scots have all the rights of lumps of meat when in opposition to officers of the crown, that union of the crowns that Salmond wants Scots to vote to keep in his "independence" referendum plan.

    Yes I supported establishing a Scottish parliament where before there was none but it is not enough.

    Dewar's devolution settlement and Salmond's independence referendum plan have the same deep flaw - the monarchy supported by a long established legal and constitutional royalist ruling elite, organised around the Privy Council.

    Without the republican right of citizens to elect a president as head of state, the state is left in charge of the people, not the other way around. We have no real rights to express our anger, to carry our flags, to shout and to swear. Like children, we are to be seen and not heard other than when we are spoken to and invited to give a polite reply.

    Yes we get to vote and be polite and let the likes of Dewar's successors rule us.

    So the 10th anniversary of Donald Dewar's death is not an occasion for broadcasters to wallow in the memory of a so-called "much loved Father of the Scottish nation" though that is the story we were brainwashed to believe. Even I who had been tortured by police almost under Dewar's nose felt moved to show my respect for his death at the time, such is the power of the media to stir up undeserved sentiment. 10 years on and the lives of many Scots ruined we can see Dewar's true legacy.

    If it was not for the BBC and other royalist broadcasters and press brainwashing the Scots night and day few would back any of these royalist politicians or their rotten Queen.

    So oh no kingdom propagandists, it is really a time to remember with hatred a man, Dewar, who did so much to betray the Scots by keeping faith with a rotten kingdom which can never meet the modern needs of Scots, a man who never gave Scots our freedom, a man who hated expressions of freedom which he was content to use the police to crush without mercy using instruments of torture.

    So I am for republican revolution and for melting Dewar's statue down to make casings for bullets to fight to win our freedom from the royal family and the Queen's judges and officers who Dewar left very much to subjugate Scots to this day.

    I say to any fighters who are interested in the fate of Scotland - "pick your side - the Scots or the Queen?" - and let us see who wins. I will back patriotic Scots in any fight for our freedom against the union crown monarch.

    (From the For Freedom Forums https://scot.tk/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1909 )

    Scottish republican socialist Peter Dow, author and protester (video)

    Peter Dow's Scottish National Standard Bearer website -

    The For Freedom Forums, Forums for robust political debate -

  • Comment number 2.

    A Scottish republican socialist waving the Queen's Lion Rampant flag.

    Don'tcha just love it?


  • Comment number 3.

    What a pity you soured your programme on Saturday with your cheap remark re J K Rowling`s possible next book. You are obviously a man of little imagination and boring with it! The sports female reporter who sounds like an escapee from Sky waa just as rude.


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