‘Michael McGrory from West Donegal, You came to Glasgow with nothing at all’.
The opening line of the Proclaimers song Scotland’s Story was probably always going to grab me, given my surname and a family history which stretches back to Ireland. The lyrics are worth listening to though whatever your name. It is a celebration of our national history - as the title suggests - and the way in which for generations the country has been built on the back of immigration.
The song celebrates the same basic values as that great icon of the United States, the Statue of Liberty, which proudly proclaims “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. That’s why I love the song, for the universal values that it articulates beautifully, rather than the coincidence of featuring my Dad’s name.
It seems relevant to talk about the track today because Donald Trump arrives in Scotland. He may talk up his connections to our country, but he has a complete disregard for these values, just as much as he does for the truth and respect of women. I’m a great believer in the importance of extending the famous Scottish hospitality to visitors, but for the current US President I am quite prepared to make an exception.