Wayfarer Column- The MP who won an election spending only £54

On searching for entertaining tales or unusual facts, there is one that is pertinent to the fact that we have just passed Friday 13th February which is a number considered with superstition by many.

Well did you know that Princess Margaret was born in Glamis Castle on 21st August 1930, but the registration of her birth was delayed so that her number on the register would not be the considered unlucky number thirteen.

On another tact are you aware that in Scotland the minimum legal age for marriage was 12 for a girl and 14 for a boy until it was raised to 16 in 1929. Parental consent for marriage in England and Wales was needed up to the age of 18, but in Scotland no parental consent is required over the age of 16. These old facts come back to haunt us at times, and many a Member of Parliament will blush at the fact that in the General election of 1935 Glasgow Bridgeton MP James Maxton set the record when he retained his seat spending only £54 in election expenses.

This should be brought very convincingly to the attention of Westminster MPs and also the MSPs at Holyrood.

The mistaken prudence of local councils was brought to light back in1829 when Glasgow merchant William MacLean advised the Glasgow City Council to purchase the Plantation Estate on the outskirts of the city which was at that time farmland. He felt that it could provide additional land when needed for the expansion of the City.. However the Council ignored his advice, so he purchased the land himself for the sum of £15,000 and almost immediately sold a portion of it to a railway company for £30,000. MacLean had no need of the land and only used it for investment so when he was again approached for a strip of land adjoining the Clyde he gladly sold it for a similar amount. This went on until all the land was sold to provide for an expanding City of Glasgow and all to the benefit of William Marshall’s family wealth. So you see even back in those times councils were manned by people with little forward vision, their only concern being in keeping current expenditure down.

Life is full of interesting and surprising facts and there is a thought that whilst history is all in the past and should perhaps be forgotten, there is also the thought that it is a learning platform and can provide guidelines for the future.

So there we are another week passed look forward to seeing you next week.