Page 4, 18th May 1945

18th May 1945
Page 4
Page 4, 18th May 1945 — COLM BROGAN

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Organisations: Glasgow University
Locations: Glasgow


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cOLM Brogan is about five feet eight inches in height. His features are sharp and so is his

voice. The latter emerges in the clearcut, dominant tones of the educated Scot, He cultivates a short hair-cutwhen his wife reminds him to visit the barber—and has long given up a losing struggle with a rebellous lock of hair which lies. characteristically contemptuous, over, occasionally, brooding temples. By profession he is a school master; by inclination a writer.

Torn Ilarrisson once described him as a High Tory Trotskyite. in that nest of conversational adders, the West of Scotland. he ha-s the most searing tongue. But like most of the men of the West he knows where to aim his spleen; it is nevel directed at anyone who cannot spit back.


nearer the truth in his description of Brogan than perhaps he knew. Trotsky was exiled front Russia because the expression of Marxism as Stalin woule mould it cent:Hetet withthe philosophy as Trotsky knew it. Brogan is a Tory, but whenever the " Party Line " conflicts with his conception of Christian justice he unloads himself from the band wagon, with the incisive truculence of a tenton bomb, and, in the chastest prose since Swift, hoots for a vote " agin the Government."

But in their approach to party disagreements emerges the major difference between Brogan and Trotsky. Loon was exiled by the Communists; Cohn is more likely to exile the Conservatives. He will retreat behind his beer mug, but no farther, cast his eye along the bar as if contemplating the wake that streams behind the ship of state and hold forth. His comments are those of a potential underground leader.

HE really knows the people. He has tatight their children. His own father was a tailor, one of the pioneer Irish who fought for social justice for Catholics in the. Glasgow area. He was educated in perhaes the most democratic schools of the worhl ; everyone in Scotland goes to a school which numbers among its pupils children drawn from all classes of the community.

Brogan lives close to the working men of the West. Like most Catholic intellectuals. in Scotland he numbers among his school friends and former pupils coal-heavers, commercial travellers and university professors. He is not above calling at the local grocer's for the family provisions. He keeps, when he can, one servant in his house and one of her main jobs seems to be to discuss politics with him. He values the opinions he deduces from her conversation more thanhe does those of his political allies and enemies.

English blood infiltrated his system front his mother's side of the family. But it is tenacious blood. His wide, Bishop Tonncr, of Galloway, is at nearly ninety years of age the oldest bishop in Britain.

At Glasgow University, where took an M.A., and wrote rat raucous poetry for the van magazine, he is registered as a yea woman. This perhaps because commenced his education at a cony school. Presumably on the revels records of that ancient institution bears some such name as Miss Colu bine Brogan; which is enough to int a cat laugh if any cat has been unf. tunate enough to come near hint. reaction to Anglo-Saxon cat and d fetishism he has elected to hate animals which are not edible.

THAT is his main characteristic. hates fetishes. He is not, like t many, a Catholic Conservative; is a Conserrati Catholic. He brir his Catholic mi to the teaching history. He uses text-book and I own very dc knowledge. He 11 never ceased fir study. The te. book is handy as guide.

No child has et left Brogan's ch with a false noti. of the persons w) made history. I Rives then] the e story, even unto I last sin. He tells a senior class's action to his col meat on a certain personage. "1 life was so bad I cannot dwell on it.'' " Oh, Mr. Broken. Pullease tell us

" Righto," replied their venerat mentor. "Come closer."

So it goes on. He has written sot of the best journalism to appear the Scottish press. He has written couple of novels which. are not half bad as those who have not read the confidently assert. But his mind is anxious for controversy to accept ti limits of the novel. He is probably t best pamphleteer since' Swift shatter. society with rays from a pen avid, combined the lethal virtues of a rapi and the illuminatory of a star. believes in God, Man—as Man, not a dehydrated Taxpayer—good conve sation, good whisky and in himself. I has two daughters, one quiet and oi a tomboy. He thinks the tomboy like her mother and that is peihaps h only serious illusion. He may be ses often. with these young ladies in Glasgow park. They probably fcedh the ducks and he reading Burke. imagine sonie day he'll stand for Pa (lament. If he does in a Glasgow cot stauency he will probably he returno He is the most honest man I know.

(THE CATHOLIC HERALD Win coi/Side publication of Catholic profiles sui mined by readers. Ali profiles will anonyntous and the secret of out ho, ship jealously guarded.—E,DiroR, CH

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