Stanley’s commitment to the European Community was genuine and deeply felt. He had a powerful ally in Sir James Marjoribanks, the distinguished Scottish diplomat, who as ambassador to the EC had helped to negotiate British entry, which formally took place on January 1, 1973.
Sir James had retired to Edinburgh and in 1975, the year in which Stanley returned to Scotland, entry was endorsed in a referendum, but the battle for the commitment of the Scottish people to the European ideal was far from over.
Stanley, like Sir James, was of that generation of European officials very much inspired by the vision of Jean Monnet, the French statesman who was a principal architect of the community after the disasters of the Second World War.
In a previous incarnation in Asia, Stanley once told me, he had been involved in ”black propaganda,” but there was nothing devious about his efforts to promote and defend the cause of Europe.
The first years of Stanley’s time in the European office coincided with the intensifying debate on devolution, culminating in the indecisive referendum of 1979.
In those days consular diplomatic activity was heightened and it was possible to gain an idea of what Scotland might have been like if Home Rule had been achieved and Edinburgh had acquired a higher status as a diplomatic city.
Even after devolution failed, Stanley, urbane, well-informed and sociable, continued to perform his duties with ambassadorial flair, and did much to explain European policies to a sometimes sceptical Scottish public.