It is ... I mean, it’s difficult ... if you compare the situation with Ireland at that particular time where you got the seizure of creameries in County Cork forming soviets which I don’t think anybody would think, if they’d been to County Cork, that this was something that you would ever have seen there. Obviously the response to very, very specific things in the locality, but if you have a wider movement, views can get lifted and begin to connect their experience with wider ones. If that doesn’t happen then it’s going to fall back. I suspect that is what happened in Lewis and in some ways I suspect ... I mean, I’ve not done enough detailed stuff about the specific views in Lewis. I know that there was opposition as well but Maclean always felt that it was most comfortable, and the Clydeside area, there was plenty going on there and not making a great deal of headway at that particular point. But what was interesting is he starts ... this is when he starts rethinking his view of Scottish history, making links ... I’ve forgotten the name of the Gaelic ... there’s a Gaelic historian (Alexander Carmichael) and this is when he starts coming up with the views of primitive communism and making these links so he’s primarily an activist. Maclean’s never made any big long books, it’s a short thing, and I think being primarily an activist with what was happening in the mining areas of Lanarkshire and what was happening ... Once it wasn’t making big headway, it was back to these areas.

  • Allan Armstrong
Tuesday 25th May 2010