Tam Dalyell

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Tam Dalyell in 1991

Sir Thomas Dalyell of the Binns, 11th Baronet (9 August 1932 – 26 January 2017), known as Tam Dalyell, was a Scottish Labour Party politician who was a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons from 1962 to 2005. He represented West Lothian from 1962 to 1983, then Linlithgow from 1983 to 2005. He was known for his formulation of what came to be known as the "West Lothian question", on whether non-English MPs should be able to vote upon English-only matters after political devolution.


  • Under the new Bill, shall I be able to vote on many matters in relation to West Bromwich but not West Lothian?
    • In House of Commons, Hansard (3 November 1977)
  • This is garbage from right-wing think-tanks stuffed with chicken-hawks -- men who have never seen the horror of war but are in love with the idea of war. Men like Cheney, who were draft-dodgers in the Vietnam war. This is a blueprint for US world domination -- a New World Order of their making. These are the thought processes of fantasist Americans who want to control the world. I am appalled that a British Labour Prime Minister should have got into bed with a crew which has this moral standing.
    • Sunday Herald (15 September 2002)
  • [Tony Blair is] being unduly influenced by a cabal of Jewish advisers. [...] I am fully aware that one is treading on cut glass on this issue and no one wants to be accused of anti-Semitism but, if it is a question of launching an assault on Syria or Iran... then one has to be candid. They very much have captured the ear of the President of the United States. I said [to Vanity Fair] I thought that Blair was very sympathetic to them. I cannot understand why.


  • This is how Tam Dalyell is feeling -- about the Belgrano, about Westland, the miners' strike, Libya, GCHQ, Zircon, the Peter Wright affair... this book is really just a cry of rage: "I was right -- surely you can see -- look, here is the evidence -- let's go through it all carefully again -- how can anyone disagree..?" But the thrust of the book, and the detailed evidence assembled, are for the most part familiar. Writing it all up, again, and publishing it in this way, is just one more try at persuading somebody (I don't think Mr Dalyell is quite sure whom) to say: "Yes, Tam, you were right. Off with Maggie's head!" How he loathes Mrs Thatcher. She is variously called pig-headed, a fishwife, and a mass murderess as the story proceeds. This element of personal vendetta seriously weakens his case because -- for all that he rests it upon alleged facts -- his gravest charges rely upon his imputing to her the worst imaginable motives consistent with those facts. One has to say -- without denying that his allegations of facts need answering -- that there is a certain sleight-of-hand here.
    • Matthew Parris (Review of 'MISRULE - How Mrs Thatcher has misled Parliament from the sinking of the Belgrano to the Wright affair' by Tam Dalyell, 1987)

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