My son sent me this little gem from YouTube – the introduction to the Eurovision Song Contest of 1972 in Edinburgh. introduced by Tom Fleming and Moira Shearer. It accurately reflects the Edinburgh and the Scotland of almost 40 years ago.
Tom Fleming was a fine actor who had a distinguished broadcasting and theatrical career. He died last year. He is remembered with affection and respect, including by me, because his beautiful voice was woven almost subliminally into my life through his broadcasts and commentaries. His contribution to theatre, both in his native city, through the Gateway Theatre, the Royal Lyceum Theatre, the Scottish Theatre company and during his time with The Royal Shakespeare Company was a significant one.
It is fair to say that he was the Scottish voice of the British Empire and the Union that he formed a seamless part of – he played Lord Reith in a BBC production, he was the voice of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo for over 40 years, and was honoured by that Empire with an OBE and as a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order. He epitomised a view of Scotland’s place in these isles - and in the world - that has now gone for ever. Those of my generation who are glad that perception of Scotland has at last dissipated, as the Scottish people look at the unvarnished truth of their long subordination in a corrupt political system, can nonetheless remember Tom Fleming as a good man who loved Scotland, contributed to its cultural life, was a part of our history. He probably wasn’t much interested in politics, but I think be would have been dismayed at the changes in the political scene – but who knows? He was a man of his time, and a voice of his time, a time now past.