Another Dodgy Scottish Government Loan


… and former regional organizer for the Muslim Association of Britain, former SNP PPC and former director of a failed quango, Osama Saeed is nowhere in sight.

As Audit Scotland’s investigation into the Scottish Government funding of the Scottish-Islamic Foundation chunters on (subscription only report available from DeHavilland), calls for investigations into another Scottish Government not-so-public loan are being made.

Homecoming Scotland 2009 was touted as celebrating Scottish culture worldwide, or summat like that. A private company, The Gathering Ltd 2009 organized the keystone event, a pseudo Clan Gathering in July (more on my impressions of it in a moment).

In January 2010 it went into administration, despite having received a £300,000 bail-out from the Scottish Government, leaving unpaid fees to dozens of small companies reaching five figures.

All dismal enough, until May when Audit Scotland criticized an additional amount of money from the Scottish Government: this time an interest-free loan of £180,000.

In response, the Scottish government provided the company with a short-term loan of £180,000, to be repaid by 31 August 2009 at the latest.

In September last year, the company told the Scottish government the event had made a significant loss of £516,000 and it was unable to repay the loan. The loan was later written off.

Fish-heid McMoonface Alex Salmond has been deflated of late, but still managed an attempt at bloviating bombast when he refused to “apologize” declared that the wider events had raised £10 millions for the national economy. Maybe, so, Alex, but why do you not tell Neil Robb that the £14,000 losses by his livery design company are subservient to the SNP national interest?

Now onto my impressions of the actual event. One of the most striking sights for me during parades was the absence of non-European faces. Oh, sure I saw some Maoris in their cute ethnic costumes, but where were the… well… Black faces?

Not only did Robert Burns consider finding employment in managing the West Indian sugar plantations, and fellow poet James Grainger wrote The Sugar Cane which showed an intimate knowledge of the industry and Scots involvement there; but thousands of Scots laboured on the plantations before the arrival of West African slaves.

Both managers and labourers then intermarried with the new arrivals, and Scottish place-names and given/surnames abound. Just as there is a Jamaica Street in Glasgow, so there is a Glasgow in Jamaica: Saint Elizabeth district specifically, near Seaforth (another guid Scots name).

I do not know how Dominica-born Baroness Scotland came about her surname, but following the emancipation of US slaves, many adopted as surnames the names of their former owners or estate. Hence a preponderance of surname Glasgow amongst Blacks, which coincides with several placenames in the US South.

(Glasgows in the UK appear to be concentrated in the Unofficial Six County Statelet. Just as placenames such as Paisley were being adopted as surnames during Presbyterian migration to Ireland, so would have Glasgow. And subsequently, many Ulster Scots migrated to the US South.)

Look at the photograph accompanying this blog-post, and in front of the left Saltire is an Asian man reading Burns. But, wait! That is not what the photograph originally showed!

So, whilst it could be argued that the Gathering was primarily for formal Clans around the world (and nothing at all to do with creating an impression that such Clans were representative of Scottish culture), here was a clear insertion of a token non-European face.

Jamaica-born, Geoff Palmer (who has lived in Scotland since 1964, so longer than Sean Connery) writes about the imposition of a narrative that Scotland has been a victim of the English-led British Empire and not an equal partner.

It makes me wonder where the Reverend Murdo Macpherson in Local Hero came from. Hint, it was not Kingussie.