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Rosemary Hayes-Milligan: I am British with Scots, Irish, English and Welsh forebears

This contribution is from Rosemary Hayes-Milligan: I am British with Scots, Irish, English and Welsh forebears.

During the 2014 Referendum, I was very frustrated with the campaign. It seemed to me to be altogether too sensible, too cerebral, too unemotional and too much about economics and why we are better off in the UK.  I do not disagree with any of the economic arguments but, for me, it was a very emotional campaign. I grew up the daughter of a naval officer who served the United Kingdom from Lossiemouth to Yeovilton and, beyond its borders, from the United States to Turkey. I spent much of my childhood in England but we were proud of our descent from Highland Jacobites. We are British. Similarly, my husband is descended from Scottish lowlanders who went south about a century ago. 

We came to live in Edinburgh sixteen years ago and have been happy here, except for when we have heard booing of the English at Murrayfield and the Edinburgh Tattoo, and when our son was bullied at school for supporting England in the football World Cup. As an historian, I am very aware that St Margaret was an English princess who married the king of Scotland and that, far from England conquering Scotland, it was a Scottish king, James VI, who went south and took over the English crown.

I am also very fed up with the rhetoric that claims the Scots have had no influence in Westminster. Who, after all, were Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Robin Cook, John Reid, Alistair Darling, to name just the most influential of the many Scots who dominated the UK government 1997-2010? People seem to have very short memories. I am British with Scots, Irish, English and Welsh forebears. If Scotland splits from the UK, I do not know what I will be or where I will live.

With all good wishes

Rosemary Hayes-Milligan


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