Due a bizarre set of circumstances I am a member of a Scottish Clan, the Macphersons. I have no Scottish blood but have greatly enjoyed the experience. The Clan’s annual gathering in Newtonmore and the London Ball are fine occasions; all those involved are most welcoming.
The circumstances of my admission to the Clan are follows. For over a decade much of work took me to Glasgow or Edinburgh. One of my professional colleagues was Chairman of the Clan Association and she invited me to join her and her husband at Clan events. Eventually the Clan Chief, the immensely impressive Sir William Macpherson, wrote to me formally to say that I could become a Clan member, providing ‘I would swear allegiance to his Clan and no other’ and that I ‘would be ready to answer any call to arms’.
He stressed that the likelihood of such a call was slight. This is a relief since I am not skilled in the use of a claymore – but mine is metaphorically buried in readiness and I therefore satisfied the entry requirements.
I have also buried my metaphorical Labour Party claymore. Here however I stand ready, at a moment’s notice, to answer any call to arms. The local meetings of the North Norfolk Labour Party have become increasingly like evangelical rallies in support of Jeremy Corbyn with daft resolutions from ex-Greens and little action. It grieves me to see this happen and, if I go to the meetings, I am in danger of losing my short temper. However as soon as the more sensible elements in the Parliamentary Labour Party (Alan Johnson? Yvette Cooper?, Chuka Umunna?) signal that it is time to regroup to save the Party from political irrelevance I will answer their call. I hope that they do not leave it too long.