Page 8-Friday, June 2, 1978-The Michigan Doily
MacDonald defeated; 'Scot Nat's at ebb
LONDON (AP) - The cause of
Scottish independence was at a low
point today following the defeat of fiery
nationalist leader Margo MacDonald in
a crucial parliamentary election in
Hamilton, her hometown near
Mrs. MacDonald failed to take the
House of Commons seat from the ruling
Labor Party in a special election Wed-
nesday that was widely considered a
make-or-break test for her Scottish
National Party, which seeks to end
more than 270 years of rule from Lon-
Labor candidate George Robertson,.
a union organizer, won with 18,880
votes, nearly 6,500 more than Mrs.
MacDonald. The defeat was a stinging
blow to the party and to her, the best
known politician in Scotland and the
voice of Scottish nationalism. But it was
not expected to endanger her position
as the party's senior vice chairman and
HAMILTON WAS the third defeat in
two months for the "Scots Nats." They
lost another special election in April in
Glasgow's Garscadden district, a
traditional Labor stronghold, and ran
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badly in regional elections last month.
The Financial Times said despite its
defeats, the nationalist party is not
"A party with more active members
than all other political parties in
Scotland combined and which is better
financed and better organized, par-
ticularly at grassroots level, is unlikely
to be buried by a setback at Hamilton or
even the next general election," the
MRS. MacDONALD, a 34-year-old ex-
teacher, vowed the independence cam-
paign will continue.
"Independence will come," she said.
"It'll just take longer than we expected.
The Scottish people want political and
economic control of their own destiny.
The days of the subsidized Scot are en-
Four years ago the SNF was the
fastest growing political party in
Western Europe. It won 11 of the 653
seats in Commons in a surge of
nationalist fervor that jolted Labor and
Britain's other major party, the Con-
servatives. But if the pattern of the
Hamilton vote is extended across
Scotaland in a fall general election, the
party will lose five or six of its seats and
cease to be a major threat to Labor's
traditional control of Scotland. Scotland
has 71 seats in the House, and Labor
holds 41 of them.
Support for the SNP has dwindled
mainly because the canny Scots, suf-
fering a near-catastrophic economic
decline with one worker in 11 jobless,
have had second thoughts about cutting
loose from the British financial lifeline.
They have apparently gone for Prime
Minister James Callaghan's alter-
native-'devolution," or limited
homerule, a legislature in Edinburgh
ard London holding the pursestrings.
Recent polls showed that 72 percent of
the Scots were against independence
but supported partial home rule.
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