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Brexit & the Scots This is not who we are

Scottish mercenaries fought on both sides during the Polish–Swedish Wars of the 17th century.

LAST YEAR I was asked by the Courier newspaper in Dundee what my hopes were for 2018. Before moving on to personal wishes involving the promotion of my fitba team Dundee United, I made this statement

“For Scotland’s people to see that Brexit goes against a thousand years of our history and join the majority of Dundonians in realising that Independence is the only answer.” Dundee of course was Scotland’s Yes City in the 2014 Indyref, and I am sure would still return a sizeable majority for Scottish independence. As a global port trading with Scandinavia and the Baltic for centuries too, perhaps like me, being part of a wider European identity is part of the city’s DNA. Being a Scot and a European is certainly an intrinsic part of my own identity, and the predominantly little Englander-fuelled tragedy of Brexit being imposed on me against my will gars me grue – makes me sick – more than any political event I have experienced in my lifetime, apart from the failure to gain Independence in that 2014 Referendum.

The predominantly little Englanderfuelled tragedy of Brexit being imposed on me against my will gars me grue

The scunner I feel is personal and familial. Being brought up bi-lingual in Scots and English gave me a linguistic facility which led to me hitch-hiking to France and Germany when I was 15, and being able to communicate fluently in both languages. I added Russian to my linguistic repertoire at Kilmarnock Academy and Portuguese was absorbed by osmosis after my marriage to Maria João de Almeida da Cruz Diniz in 1979. Our three children speak a spectrum of European languages including, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and Russian. Catriona works in the wine trade in London, Joanna is an anti trust lawyer in Brussels and Euan works for FIFA in Zurich. All of them voted in 2014 to be Scottish citizens in the European union, and like their parents hope to have the opportunity to do so again in the near future. In the meantime though, in order to continue working in the EU, they are pursuing their right to Portuguese citizenship, gained through their Portuguese mother. There have been hints that I should follow suit…but I am thrawn and stubborn and will hold out for my Scottish passport for as long as it takes!

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