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The Dinwoodie Interview

IT SHOULD come as no surprise that Sir Anton Muscatelli is passionate in his opposition to Brexit, given his personal background and the potential dangers of leaving the EU for the university sector of which he is a UK leader.

And although the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow has been involved in Scottish and British politics for two decades as a technical adviser to different shades of political leadership, only now with this issue does he feel himself being drawn directly into politics for the first time, although he stresses it is “political with a very small ‘P’.”

Sir Anton is not your average university principal. Apart from chairing the Russell Group of UK universities, as a leading economist he sits on countless advisory groups, he is overseeing a vast westward expansion of his campus and he visited the picket line of lecturers striking over a pensions dispute because he was sympathetic to their cause, although he admits he failed to master the use of a megaphone. He is said to find time within this crowded schedule for music, literature, strategy games, cookery and, being Italian, football, where his great passion is Inter Milan. An uncle won him over to Internazionale as a boy, he admires the club’s anti-fascist credentials for which they suffered under Mussolini, and he watches their games by satellite when he can.

He is a great defender of the positive benefits of migration. How could it be otherwise? Vito Antonio Muscatelli was born on Ne’erday, 1962 on the Heel of Italy in the city of Bari, a few miles from his family’s hometown of Mola, a fishing and agricultural town on the Adriatic.

His paternal grandfather, faced with the poverty of a family of eight surviving on dwindling subsistence farming, emigrated to the United States and worked as a docker in Chicago and New York to send money back to his wife and children. His grandmother’s side of the family were seafarers and although his father, Ambrogio, wanted to study at university this was never a possibility amid the poverty of post-War Italy. So he became a ship’s officer and rose swiftly through the ranks to become master at 28 before moving ashore in a management capacity, again rising to become head of the company. Then came the family’s travels.

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iScot Magazine May 2018 The one with the Thistle front cover 116 jam packed pages of the best craic in Scotland from the only truly independent pro Scottish magazine.