"Scots Like to Live in Flats!"
By PETER F. ANSON Since my last letter we have been given a new Secretary of State for Scotland—Mr.
Walter Elliot having been replaced by Colonel John Colville (or Mr. Colville as he now prefers to be called). The new Secretary will have to reorganise the Scottish Office according to the major recommendations of the Gilmour Committee.
A Scottish Home Office is likely to be set up. The new government buildings which are being erected in Edinburgh on the site of the old Calton Prison, are nearing completion, and will probably be opened next summer. The Home Office is to control the police and prisons, also the fisheries of Scotland. Certain other branches connected with local government, now controlled from London, will also be diverted to Edinburgh.
The Secretary of State, the Permanent Under Secretary; the Political Under Secretaries, and the representatives of the above departments will, however, still be left in London.
Actually, it would seem that the new Scottish Office will be little more than a liason department between London and Edinburgh, and will have practically no legislative powers.
So there are not lacking critics who ask what will be gained in the long run by the setting up of this expensive bureaucratic machinery in Edinburgh!
Crofters' Union One of the most encouraging results of the battle over the rating of crofts between the crofters and the Assessor has been the formation of a Crofters' Union in the Highlands.
Here are the crofters taking the law into their own hands, doing all they can to protect their own rights, and what is more, demanding rights which have never been granted them in the past—increased marketing facilities, new and better roads, the development and protection of fisheries. A writer in the June number of The Scots Magazine is of the opinion that "The Highlands quite definitely refuse to be saved; but given such treatment as that recently meted out to them, the Highland crofters can and will save themselves." He is probably correct.
Housing Schemes The Garden Cities and Town Planning Association have made a tour of the chief cities and towns of Scotland to study civic planning.
The delegates as a whole seem to have been disappointed al what they saw. But one got the impression that this was largely due to the failure to realise how different is the Scottish character to the English, and that there are certain long-established traditions affecting ways of living, which, if unlike those in England, are not necessarily bad.
Among these is the tenement house which the secretary of the association condemned as a "deplorable expedient!"
Unlike the average Englishman, the average Scot has not the same passionate desire to own his own house and possess a piece of ground. Or to be more exact, if he lives in a town he prefers a flat, such as his ancestors for countless generations have been accustomed to dwell in, to one of the little jerry-built bungalows or semidetached villas which have become such an eyesore everywhere in England, and which unfortunately are now becoming more and more common in the suburbs of Scottish towns.
Neither does every Scotsman feel that either Letchworth or Welwyn are altogether worth emulating in this country. His ideal of modern housing would seem rather to be what exists on the continent of Europe. If one wishes to see what has been achieved in the way of a model village in Scotland, Westquarter in Stirlingshire is a good example.
Experiment in lona
The scheme to found a Presbyterian Brotherhood on lona which was suggested by Dr. George .MacLeod, of Govan, has won the approval of the leading members of the Established Church of Scotland, and sooner or later the " twentieth century Culdees " will be living together in community, preparing for their work in the field of Church extension in the industrial districts of the I..owlands. Their rule of life, so Dr. MacLeod tells us, will be not unlike that of St. Columba and his monks, for it will be spent in prayer, reading, writing or manual labour. "They will experience that fellowship and community worship which our Halls are largely helpless to provide . .
" But, each October, the members will down pick and trowel and go forth two by two . . ."
We shall follow the "Iona Experiment " with keen interest and sympathy.