A political garden fete organised by the Local executive of the Rutherglen Division of Lanarkshire Unionist Association was hold on Saturday 2nd June 1928 at Greenhall, High Blantyre.
The two speakers were Major Elliot , M . C ., M . P ., Under Secretary of State for Scotland, ” and Mr A .P. Duffes .K.C ., the prospective Unionist candidate for the division.
Delightful weather prevailed that day. Remember, this was a time when Greenhall was private property, a grand estate, not a public park. There was a large and representative attendance. Mr J.S. Paul, owner of Greenhall presided.
Major Elliot mentioned that they were meeting within a few miles of the home of David Livingstone, a Scotsman who had risen above the difficulties of his time to become a famous man. People might talk of the slums and the difficulties he faced , but the difficulties facing Livingstone were noted as being even greater than thoso of that day at Greenhall.
The Major noted that the opportunities which were open to Livingstone were open to everyone “today.” The cry -was frequently heard that there was no opportunity for the small man to climb high in the world, but both in the Unionist and in other parties they had seen men make great ascents, from small beginnings to the mightiest positions in the land.
“Was there” , he asked , “a higher democracy anywhere than that of Great Britain, or was there another place in the world where a man could rise from the bottom of the ladder to the top, provided he had honesty, sincerity, and gave of his best. Work, sincerity, and above all, belief in themselves, would raise them out of their difficulties more effectively than by simply sitting down grousing and waiting for some Government or Local Authority to come along to their assistance .
It was the workers who were going to make and keep the country great. It was not the complainers or those who preached civil war and the gospel of hatred and who believed that nothing good could be done in this country until there had been reproduced the desperate conditions of disease and misery produced in recent years in Russia . No one wished that in this country to-day ; but every true Scotsman rather desired to see a better state of things and a higher standard of living for the people.” (Applause 5) That was the message of the Unionist party.
Major Elliot stated there would be a General Election in about a years time. He hoped lessons had been learned from the terrible miners strike of 1926. Last year fewer working days had been lost through industrial disputes than for a long period before, and he hoped they were now beginning to realise that they were not the only industrial country in the world. They were competing in the world’s markets, and the only way to make , headway was to turn out a better product at a lower price than their competitors could do and stay ahead of other countries.
I wonder what the Major would have made of the political scene in the UK today, with the thought of a major open air Unionist rally in Blantyre perhaps being even more of a real “community splitter” now.
Please keep in mind this article is history and the subject is “Brotherhood, not hatred”. Thanks.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016