To Sir With Love

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Young actors in a Scottish Youth Theatre production

I was going to say this to Grouse Beater privately, but circumstances being what they are, I feel I should do it publically.

If you know me, you know I think the world of my mammy. She was, after all, the first Scottish Nationalist I ever met, and I met her before I was born. She supported Scottish independence even before she met my father.

Mammy did a spell in the Scottish Youth Theatre, (SYT), founded and run as the first artistic director by Gareth. Most of her pals at the time were Labour or Liberals depending on their income bracket – but my father’s sister was SNP. She was instrumental in my mammy joining, Gareth was another.

Back then, Scottish independence was a minority movement, a curiosity at best and a menace at worst. So independence supporters then stuck together. And my Mammy often told me about how much support she received from my aunt, and from Gareth himself, while she was at SYT.

My aunt passed away tragically many years ago. Mr McGillivray, who was mam’s link to Inverclyde’s SNP collective, also passed away.

Gareth is one of a small group of folk who brought my mammy into the Scottish Independence Movement – and, by extension, me. So, if nothing else, I want everyone to know that, through a few degrees of separation, Grouse Beater is one of the reasons I’ve dedicated so much of my time, life, and dreaming for Scottish Independence.

For that, I will be grateful forever, and will never forget. We will get there. Not in time to see it for Auntie Susan, nor Mr McGillivray, nor indeed for Grouse Beater – but they laid the bricks we’ll be climbing to that wonderful nation we dream of.

Thank you, Gareth. I hope we do you proud.

Al Harton


During the period the author talks about I was not a member of the SNP or any political party. That came in 2013 and ended in 2017, a year before the SNP began to implode and lose site of its reason for existing. Back in the day, my motivation was a growing understanding that Scotland was a colonised country, it’s progress suppressed and diverted. I tried to make folks see what I saw and experienced.


This entry was posted in Great Scots, Scottish Independence Referendum, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to To Sir With Love

  1. ladylyon says:

    I’m so glad they decided to share this publicly, it’s beautiful

  2. bettyboop says:

    I’m glad Gareth influenced and encouraged good people like you and your lovely mum, Al. We all need people like Grousebeater and yourself to write passionately and sensibly, informing and encouraging us to continue the quest for our statehood and a better, confident, more caring country.

  3. Robert McAllan says:

    Thanks for that insight Al. Thanks too Gareth for the motivating influence inspired in your writing and your observations conveyed through the media platforms which you grace. Your scrieving is set within the bedrock on which the steps to freedom are being built by those who care and believe.

    Whatever may lie ahead of us the Narcissism of Nicola Sturgeon will fail to suppress our Nation’s
    right to self determination and in this scenario good will most certainly overcome evil.

  4. Hugh Wallace says:

    I’m pleased to read this here after I saw it in Twitter. It pleases me greatly that two of my favourite Indy writers are linked by more than a shared vision & way with words.

    Al, I’ll say the same thing to you that I said to Gareth on Twitter yesterday: your words have brought me much pleasure since I discovered your blog in 2014 & my only criticism is that you don’t write nearly enough to satisfy me.

  5. Pingback: Mr Blue Skye | A Wilderness of Peace

  6. Howard Cairns says:

    Such a lovely message from an ardent supporter of Scottish independence. Keep up the good work Al and Gareth. You will succeed!

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