By The Hon. RUARA1DH ERSKINE OF MARR I suppose that every Christian is agreed that the application of Christian principles to society would bring about the end of war, provided the moral response of the second to the first were sufficient. Small wonder that minds in Scotland to-day are deeply concerned with the war problem; but, turn which way they will, light and relief are denied them.
When I speak of Scotland and war, and the vast social problem which it raises, I have a particular regard to. the Scottish nationalists. What I wish to make plain on this occasion is that there are many nationalists in Scotland who are not outwardly associated with the household of this political faith, but, despite this, arc nationalists right enough.
Let me illustrate. When the late general peace was on the carpet at Versailles it seemed to many at the time ridiculous that Scotland, which had played formerly so great a part in the affairs of the West, and which had sent thousands upon thousands of soldiers to the war. should not be represented at it. Accordingly I drew up a brief of history and protest. which I submitted to the executives of the different trade-unions in Scotland.
Not "Practical Politics" They all subscribed very heartily; and a copy of this brief 1 sent to President Wilson, and another. in French, to the president of that republic.
I know that Wilson received the brief, for it went in the Embassy bag from London. and the Frenchman also got his. for he wrote me thereafter a very kind letter about it. Of course, this was not " practical politics "----I mean the kind that has landed Europe in the present mess—but at least it now serves to illustrate my point. ,
What many of us in Scotland are thinking at the moment is this: that the cause of peace has no reasonable chance to prevail unless the concurrent social cause and grievance are settled simultaneously.
In this view the two causes interact, and to separate them is impossible. One of our political societies fully recognises this; for it is not only pro-peace, but, coupled with it, are proposals to transform the entire economic face of Scotland, How Will Labour Act?
It is anti-imperialist. anti-union, it has a large and ever-growing following. But the immediate question is, how will I..abour in Scotland act at this conjuncture at this great crisis of European affairs? Will it open its eyes and recognise internationalism, according as the older socialists professed and profess it. for the bubble, the snare and delusion it surely is? Will it sec that Bolshevism is a tyranny just as much as the two forms of Mussolinism and armed Capitalism are tyrannies, but that there is yet a fourth, which is the only way to peace on earth and concurrent substantial social reform and economic justice? On the answer to this question depends, humanly speaking. the whole immediate future of national politics in Scotland.
A Too-cosHy Canal
Some talk of making a canal 'twixt Clyde and Forth has reappeared lately.. The same was recommended long ago. The first to moot the project on paper was that Earl of Marr who headed the rising of 1715. In his exile, he laid a plan for improving Edinburgh, in the course of which he counselled that such a canal should be dug.
Ile said that it would help our commerce: hut nowadays it appears that what they who urge it have in mind in so doing is principally a military consideration. Trade, commerce and culture take the back seats these warlike times, the whole front now being scarce space enough for , the sprawling figure of the gigantic god of war.
However. there is but small probability that the canal will be made. It would be very costly to dig, and besides, some who should know hold that any tactical advantage that might be got from it would not be sufficient to justify the expense of the undertaking, conjoined to the cost of its upkeep.