Tag Archives: roxburgh

Peter Preston reminisces about David Steel’s by-election victory half a century ago

Former Guardian editor Peter Preston has been reminiscing about the Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles by-election 50 years ago which was won by a young David Steel. He’s been to the opening of a new exhibition celebrating the by-election and muses on the difference between politics then and now.

First, he sets the scene:

Fifty years ago, as a neophyte Guardian reporter, I covered the Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles byelection that catapulted David Steel into parliament. Now I’m back in Selkirk to open an exhibition celebrating his victory: a kind of still living artefact in a mini-museum full of faded speeches, posters and promises. Ah yes, I remember it well. The eerily youthful “boy David” who went on to lead the Liberals through that pact; wildly enthusiastic meetings, 300 or more strong, greeting big hitters – George Brown, Lord Hailsham, Jo Grimond – up from the smoke; an enthusiasm and a turnout (81.5%) with referendum intensity.But the past is not an island – even in a chilly mansion-cum-embryo-arts-centre perched by a loch. For the clan gathering to congratulate the old boy (aka Lord Steel of Aikwood) is large and intriguing. Here’s George Reid, the early SNP warrior who succeeded Steel as presiding officer in the Edinburgh parliament. Here’s Tam Dalyell of the Binns, Labour’s superlative stoker of backbench trouble through four decades. Here (well, at least expected soon) is Ronald King Murray, 92, who lost his Labour deposit but went on to win laurels as lord advocate. Here are canvassers who tramped the streets of Galashiels, folk with a memory leaning on a stick.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Raynes 18th Jul - 9:19pm
    The argument about legalisation of Cannabis, in the UK anyway, has been overtaken by events. Apart from the mental ill health it causes, it is...
  • User AvatarMichael 1 18th Jul - 9:14pm
    @katharine Pindar I was not making light of poverty. Indeed I have consistently said that I support more generous benefits etc. I *was* quoting Paul...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 18th Jul - 9:05pm
    @ Michael BG, "Do you think the supermarkets would accept lots of local currencies?" Say my local council imposed a poll tax of say 20...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 18th Jul - 8:44pm
    @ Michael BG, If you could imagine yourself as the Supremo of an island economy you'd want the residents of the island to work for...
  • User Avatarexpats 18th Jul - 5:44pm
    Michael 1 17th Jul '19 - 9:55pm.............The 50p highest rate of tax was – wait for it – effective for one whole month of Labour’s...
  • User AvatarBernard Aris 18th Jul - 5:40pm
    Aboud British Science, R&D and Innovation being badly hit , structurally starved of new migrant EU scientists, by a "Bad or No Deal Brexit", and...