I was a great admirer of Dennis Canavan years ago when he fought on the left of the Labour Party for the causes which meant so much to us both. I also think that the party made a big mistake when they refused to endorse his candidature for Holyrood. That as we now know set in train a series of events which saw him make an equally bad mistake by leaving the Labour Party, thus beginning his sad descent and bringing him to the sad place he is now, ensconced as he is now with egomaniacs, political shysters and hidebound single issue zealots in the reactionary cause of nationalism. From Socialism to nationalism for a potentially great left wing crusader is a tragic journey, very very poignant. He gave his enemies what they wanted, his resignation, if ever there was a man whom I thought would stand and fight and never give in for what he believed in it was Dennis. I could never however be unkind to him though because he gave so much and suffered so much as well in other ways.
I was watching home made films and photos of the independence rally and saw Dennis speaking, the picture was taken from behind and to the side of him. There in much profusion in front of him were the vivid flying colours of various organisations waving in their enthusiasm; he can still move a crowd can former Labour MP Dennis Canavan.
My heart went out to him though when I saw with horror that he surely could not avoid seeing the bright yellow banners of the Flemish Nazis who had come to show their support for the snp, no surprise of course when you consider the snp's history but, Denis Canavan! being cheered on by Scottish Nationalists and Flemish Nazis and fascists, Dennis Canavan!
OK lets be generous; it was after all an old and much loved comrade I was watching, did he see them? I'm afraid so, did he know who they were? I don't know but their presence was well trailed, did he mention them? I don't know. If he saw them; knew who they were and did not mention them what then? I will out of respect for what he once was reserve my judgement but in all my time in politics it is one of the saddest sights I have ever witnessed. I want so much to see him beaten in this struggle and beaten heavily and I never thought I would ever hear myself say that about Dennis Canavan and that made it a very sad day for me.