The Man from Scaliscro

From the Stornoway Gazette, 29 March 1957. Iain Macleod was born in Skipton, Yorkshire in 1913 and was educated at Fettes and Cambridge. He earned his living from playing bridge for a time, before wartime service. After the war he became a Conservative politician, serving as Colonial Secretary and Party Chairman; a significant legacy was his founding, with William Shearman, of the charity Crisis.  At the time of his death in July 1970, he had just been appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in Ted Heath’s new government.

The man at the centre of the great strike upheaval these days is Labour Minister [ie, Minister of Labour and National Service in the Conservative government] Mr Iain Macleod, whose family home was at Scaliscro, Lewis. Mr Macleod’s father was a doctor and like his mother, was a native of Lewis. He practised in England but his family spent all their holidays at Scaliscro, where the future minister spoke Gaelic with his two brothers and his sister. It was while he was on a fishing holiday at Scaliscro in 1945 that Mr Macleod was precipitated, almost accidentally, into politics.

His father, a staunch Conservative, was so worried about the ‘loss’ of the Western Isles to the Socialists that if Iain had not stood for the constituency, the doctor would have done so himself. The future Cabinet Minister was not elected, but having been launched into politics, he soon afterwards won the seat of Enfield West. Mr Macleod’s son Torquil is at Harrow and his daughter [Diana] attends a convent school although the Macleods are Protestant.

In this connection, a daily newspaper got a significant reply to a question he put to Mrs Macleod last Sunday. The journalist knew that her husband, as well as being an accomplished politician, was one of th emost brillian bridge players in Britain. He asked whether the minister of Labour would be spending part of Sunday quietly over the bridge table.

“Bridge?” replied Mrs Macleod. “Bridge on the Sabbath?” And she added, “We never play cards on Sunday.”