The Oban Times, 19 November, 1910
The Scottish Pipers’ Union
Sir,–I notice in your issue of 5th inst. a letter on the above subject signed “Loch Sloy.” The correspondent begins by saying that my letter in a former issue of yours will not materially assist the idea. Now, in the first place, my letter was intended to show those “few pipers and others” some of the mistakes and pitfalls into which existing societies had fallen, and to warn them against making the same mistakes.
I am quite prepared to admit that the “Society that will be nameless” does a certain amount of good, and that all the piping world are much obliged to them for what they do, but in my opinion they are trying too much. When they take to instructing performers who know more than anyone of them, it is quite time that such proceedings should be noticed. I know they have a hard task, but I don’t think they have gone about it in the most judicious manner.
“Loch Sloy” is good enough to say that I have attacked and run down the “Society that will be nameless” in a most unsportsmanlike manner, but I think he shows himself very much less of a sportsman when he tries to belittle a Society not yet in existence. If “Loch Sloy” will only have a little patience and wait till he sees of whom the “few pipers and others consist,” it will be quite time for him then to criticise them. He also says he sees no chaos existing in piping and dancing, but I would remind him of an old proverb which says there are none so “blind as those who will not see.” If he attends many of our Highland gatherings, he cannot fail to notice decisions given quite against what is fair. I myself this season saw, or rather heard, a decision so completely absurd that everybody round the ring was disgusted; and allow me to tell “Loch Sloy” that at most Highland gatherings there are as competent judges of dancing and playing round the ring as those gentlemen in the judging seat. One of the best judged meetings held this season, or rather last season, was where professional pipers were asked to judge, and one of the worst was where gentlemen were judging. Good luck and long life to the Pipers Union! My sincere wish is that it may have a good send-off.–I am, etc.,
Fair Play to All.