Thursday, 24 November 2011

Hoots man - who do you think you are?

Which MP is this? His mother was from Glasgow and his grandmother worked as a GP in the Gorbals in the hungry 1930s.

His grand-uncle was the chairman of Fairfields shipyard on the Clyde and was knighted for the company's manufacturing efforts in WWI.

His grand-aunt was a chandler in Oban, her surname was Goodwin and she was probably the only female chandler on the west coast.

Another grand-uncle, whose birthday fell on August 12th, was the one-time chairman of a Highland Distilleries, the manufacturers of Famous Grouse.

His great-grandfather was a Church of Scotland Minister in Avoch on the Black Isle, and he still has his bible (there's a clue to his identity).

He also owns a kilt, once played the bagpipes and went to school in Stirling for a while.

That would be enough burnishing of Scottish credentials for any politician, but there's more. He was also able to pronounce my name correctly first time, because he had an uncle from Skye called Torquil MacLeod.

But it was when he said another relative swam ashore from the Iolaire with the rope that saved over 30 souls from the infamous Lewis shipwreck I thought this MP was pushing it too far.

But as it was a MacLeod, John F MacLeod from Ness, that came ashore with the rope, and given that this politician has MacLeod relatives, the claim is not that fanciful.

So, who is he? Step forward Chris Bryant, Labour MP for Rhondda and scourge of News International.

Bryant, former Europe Minister, and a former Anglican priest, was born in Cardiff to a Scottish mother and a Welsh father but has kept the Scottish antecedents hidden under, er, a kilt until now.

Unfortunately, because of his gaydar profile pics from some years back we all know what he's likely to wear under a kilt - but we can look forward to the pictures nonetheless.

Surely he should make more of his background and have a voice in the debate on the Scottish referendum? Just as soon as he's dispensed with the Murdoch empire.

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