22 MARCH 1957, Page 8

AT LUNCH the other day I heard Sir David Robertson

giving his reasons for his North of Scotland Development Bill, which was talked out in the Commons last Friday : a few hours later I was listening to some of the crofters of South Uist, brought down to Manchester by Granada to ex- plain to television viewers—and to Sir David— why they want to escape from being developed. Often in such disputes both sides are wrong; in this one it is easy to feel both sides are right. Sir David is certainly justified in saying that it is absurd to prate about preserving ancient Highland culture and tradition when nineteen out of twenty Highland children leave home as soon as they are old enough, to find any kind of work they can— so that he has seen girls who might have been Flora Macdonalds, in their home surroundings, working as skivvies in Glasgow. The only hope for them, he thinks, is to bring into the Highlands every industry that can be induced to come in, hydro-electric, atomic, or even rocket. He regards the opposition to the South Uist rocket station as something trumped up partly by the Catholic influence, partly by the Scottish nationalist move- ment, always ready to blow other people's bag- pipes, to publicise themselves. Why, he asks, if the crofters really feel so strongly, have they not made their opposition felt before?