Growing up, my close identification with my maternal grandfather meant that I identified strongly with
because he did. At one level, this did not make a lot of sense. Both my paternal grandparents were born in Scotland , my maternal grandmother came from English stock, so the Scottish side through one set of great grandparents made me at best perhaps a quarter Scottish. However, it was a matter of emotional connection. England
The link was emotional, but it was more than that.
I was a reader, and my grandfather used to give me books. One of the first more serious books I read as a child was H E Marshall's Scotland's Story (first published 1905). I read Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), and browsed the books on the clans and tartans of
I had a Drummond tie, while my mother and all my aunts had clan broaches with the Drummond motto Gang Warily. While I was at primary school my grandfather gave me a copy of John MacDonald MacCormick's Flag in the Wind (1955), the story of the Scottish National Movement. This book resonated since I was already a strong New England New Stater, so I became a Scottish nationalist by sympathy. We wanted self-government, so did
As an aside, all this reading had one odd, later, outcome. Many years after this I was at a cocktail party at the British High Commission in
. Some of the younger staff I was talking too were puzzled about the rise of the SNP, Scottish National Party. I realised that they were all southern English and actually had no idea of Scottish history. They saw the SNP as a strange aberration. Canberra
This was well before devolution, the creation of Scottish and Welsh parliaments in 1998. A slightly odd conversation followed, which saw an Australian public servant explaining to British diplomats something of Scottish history and the possible constitutional implications for the