Last night I looked in _A Complete Guide to Scottish Country Dancing_ by
Allie Anderson and John M. Duthie, physical education instructors in
Edinburgh in the 1920s.
For Set to and Turn Corners, they suggest skip change of step for the
turns with the following note:
"Note. In some districts turns are danced with Pas de Basque step. As
Pas de Basque should be done on the spot it would seem logical to turn
with progressive step (Skip change of step)."
So their argument seems to have been one of logic rather than of
They also have interesting comments on the quick time poussette.
They describe two methods. The first, "the method generally taught" is
the same as the RSCDS form with the man starting on the left foot and a
half turn on bar 6. The second is a variant they report was danced in
the South-East Border Counties. The man starts on the right foot, bar 6
is a quarter turn, and bar 7 is turn and move back combined.
They make a couple points in favor of the right-foot alternative. "The
use of the Right foot on the strongest rhythmic beat of the bar, the
first, is universal in Scottish Country Dancing, with the exception of
the Slip step. It would seem therefore that the instruction that men
begin with the Left foot is a relic from the intermediate period, when
poussette was done as a Polka or Waltz." They also note that having the
man on the right foot for the turns on the even bars tends toward the
man's turning on the spot and pulling the woman around him, rather than
maintaining a "Hands Round" symmetry.
A commemorative edition of the book was published by TAC in 1990.