Are our arts institutions and universities ‘colonised’ or is it a case of the ‘cringe’


Dr John Robertson examines the long-running debate about whether our carious governing institutions are ‘colonised’ by outsiders? Should we care?

Can we talk about the people leading Scotland’s institutions and ask why there are so few Scots-born folk among them? First, let me get the data for you

One of my best friends used to know a family who lived in a house formerly occupied by an English family. Well one of them had English parents, so don’t call me a racist!

Dr John Robertson
Dr John Robertson

In the Herald newspaper on 16th May 2016, tucked away at the bottom of page nine in the print version, there’s an awful wee piece titled ‘Arts quango comes under attack from former Makar Lochhead’. In the online version it’s: ‘Former Makar Liz Lochhead launches savage attack on Scots arts world and political establishment’. Both versions have this:

‘…people should be allowed to ask whether enough Scots are working in the National Theatre [of Scotland] without being “accused of being racist”.’

Readers will struggle to find any savagery in the article despite the headline for the online version.

Readers might also remember the much more prominent front page coverage of Alasdair Gray’s equally not-savage attack, in 2012, on arts administrators in Scotland. He referred to them as being mostly ‘colonists’ and ‘settlers’ with little interest in encouraging Scottish culture or staying long for that matter:

‘Alasdair Gray attacks English for ‘colonising’ arts’ (Scotsman, 16th December 2012)

Days later, James Kelman, the only Scot to win the Booker Prize, came in to support Gray, but interpreted helpfully by that well-known pro-Scottish organ, The Daily Telegraph, with:

‘Imperialist English are ‘in control’ of Scottish arts.’ (Daily Telegraph, 23rd December 2012)

Alasdair Gray
Alasdair Gray

Needless to say, both Gray and Kelman had been more nuanced in their arguments than these headlines suggest. Helpfully, the Observer’s Kevin McKenna, appeared in print on the 23rd December, to try to explain and not to shout. His article appeared under this frankly inane headline: ‘Scotland should thank the English settlers’

McKenna’s article bears little resemblance to the sentiments in the headline, thankfully, and is one of the better explanations of the ‘situation’. The reference is below.

There then followed in 2013, a flurry of accusations of racism and, specifically, ‘anti-Englishness’, directed at, in particular, Alasdair Gray. I’ll leave you to find and read this rubbish, if you’re interested.

Of course, all of the above was fuelled by impressions and not by empirical data. I’ve often watched the Scottish news and been struck by the many English accents I hear but I know how impressions can deceive, so empirical data are required if we’re to reveal a problem of any kind, if there is one. To get us started, here are some quite old data about the dominance of the arts, in Scotland, by non-Scots, in one key context. What do you think is the answer to this question?

‘How many of the 67 directors of the Edinburgh International Arts Festival, the biggest arts festival in the world, have been Scots?’ 

Go on. You guess. It’s………………… NONE!  Nearly all have been English, and most of the early ones have been aristocrats. Am I over-reacting here? Can you imagine a major arts festival in Dublin, in Copenhagen, in New York or, indeed in any European city where none of the directors have even been from that country? Here’s the source.

In some ways the presence of non-Scots arts administrators has been aired quite well already and it would seem a bit creepy for me to try to count just how many there are, often in quite low-level roles. So, after a quick look at the top level in the arts, I’m going to widen the debate to other institutions such as leadership of higher education, sport and the police force. I’m going to count how many Scots there are at the top of the key Scottish institutions.

I’ve widened my survey beyond the arts because of my own experiences in higher education, my impressions (only that) when I listen to representatives being interviewed for TV news and because of Gray’s suggestion that the ‘situation’ is more widespread:

‘I think Scottish folk in other professions will know settlers and colonists with similar attitudes.’

Before I present my own data, I thought I should present any prior research, as you do. I could find anything. It’s not surprising. If you want an academic career in a Scottish university (more of this below), an interest in the absence of Scots in Scottish institutions (such as in university management) would mark you out for failure if not speedy removal. Back in 2004, when I wanted to submit for a funding council audit (RAE), a piece of research I’d published in the reputable Edinburgh University journal, Scottish Affairs, my Egyptian-born  Vice-Principal for Research privately told my Dean: ‘John is too Scottish!’ My reaction was deemed ‘not appropriate’ by my Dean.

Let’s try the arts councils and other bodies using public funds to promote the arts, first. We’ll start with Liz Lochhead’s recent targets, the National Theatre of Scotland (NTS) and Creative Scotland.

National Theatre of Scotland:  Two directors since inception, neither Scots

Creative Scotland CE (Chief Executive): not Scots

Edinburgh Festival Fringe CE: not Scots

National Museums Scotland DG (Director General): not Scots

National Galleries Scotland DG: Scots

These facts seemed to matter quite a lot to Alasdair Gray and to Liz Lochead. When you combine them with the complete absence of Scots from the history of the leadership of our biggest arts festival, it does seem anomalous.

Ken MacQuarrie: The Scot at the head of BBC Scotland
Ken MacQuarrie: The Scot at the head of BBC Scotland

Let’s try the mainstream media – Scottish newspaper and TV, chief executives and editors:

BBC Scotland CE: Scots

BBC Scotland Head of Drama: Scots

BBC Scotland Head of News: Scots

STV CE: English-born but Ayrshire from age 6 so Scots?

STV Head of Drama: Scots

STV Head of News: Scots

Daily Record Ed: Scots

Glasgow Herald Ed: not Scots

Scotsman Ed: Scots

Scottish Daily Mail Ed: Scots

Scottish Sun Ed: Scots

Scottish Daily Express Ed: not Scots

So, the top people in Scottish TV and Scottish press are almost entirely Scots-born. Now, taking what might seem quite leap, Police Scotland’s leadership is of interest I think.

Chief Constable: not Scots

Previous Chief Constable: Scots

Coverage of the appointment of a non-Scot at the end of 2015 was accompanied by evidence of something strange in Police Scotland, reported in the Daily Record on 11th December: ‘Police Scotland jobs set to go to English cops due to a shortage of Scottish staff’. The shortage in question was is that of potential applicants who have completed ‘a training course enabling them to step up.’ Given the different legal systems in Scotland and England and the marked geographical differences between Scotland’s more rural area and much of England, it’s puzzling that a training course can trump lack of experience in these, for non-Scots applicants.

Football is a major element in Scottish working-class culture. Are the top football administrators and managers Scots? See this:

Scotland Manager: Scots

Scottish Football Association Chief Executive: not Scots

Scottish Professional Football League Chief Executive: not Scots

Celtic: not Scots

Rangers: not Scots

Hibs: not Scots

Aberdeen: Scots

Hearts: Scots

The top five here are the biggest in terms of support and wealth. Given the lack of an English presence at the top of the game there, with no English managers at all among the top eight in the Premier League and only four in the whole league of 20 teams, the lack of Scottish managers in our top five is probably not that significant. The chief executives of both the English Football League and the English Football Association are however both English.

What about the other big sports in Scotland?

Scottish Athletics Chief Executive: not Scots

Scottish Swimming CE: Scots

Scottish Golf CE: Scots

Scottish Rugby Union CE: not Scots

Notably, SRU Chief Executive, Mark Dodson has described himself as a ‘pure-bred Englishman!’  We’ll need that quality to succeed, I’m sure.

On to the Scottish university principals, now:

Edinburgh: not Scots

Aberdeen: not Scots

Dundee: not Scots

Heriot-Watt: not Scots

St Andrews: not Scots

Stirling: not Scots

Napier: not Scots

Queen Margaret: not Scots

Robert Gordon: not Scots

West of Scotland: Glasgow: not Scots

Glasgow: Italian-born but in Glasgow from childhood, so Scots?

Strathclyde: Scots

Abertay: Scots

Caledonian: Scots

So that’s eleven or twelve out of the fourteen who are not Scots. Is that unusual? Let’s look at Denmark with its comparable population, equally big neighbour with a very similar language, Germany. Denmark has eight degree-awarding institutions with rectors who are:

Aarhus Rector: Danish

Aalborg Rector: Danish

Copenhagen Rector: Danish

Southern Denmark Rector: Danish

Roskilde Rector: Danish

Technical University Rector: Danish

Copenhagen Business School Rector: Danish

IT University Rector: Danish

That was a fascinating exercise. Place of birth was never listed but all were clearly products of the Danish (not even Scandinavian) education system. That none listed their place of birth tells us that they see it as either not a relevant factor or, perhaps, that they take for granted that rectors of a Danish university are normally products of that system. Promotion from within is clearly the norm in Denmark and rectors seem to be far more collegiate, less careerist, figures than Scottish principals. None of the Danish rectors are products of the neighbouring, enormous and linguistically familial, German system. Two of the Scots principals are Germans. I suppose it has only been quite a short time since Germany last invaded Denmark. What about the USA? Here are the nationalities of the presidents of the top twelve universities:

Harvard: US

Stanford: US

California Berkeley: US

Princeton: US

Columbia: US


Yale: US

Caltech: US

Cornell: US

John Hopkins: US

Chicago: US

MIT: not US (Venezuelan)

Despite the deep integration of the US system with other parts of the globe through global corporations, research projects, student exchanges and….oh, yes….invasion, US-born academics dominate almost completely at that level. Hmm….let’s go back to small again? First Ireland then Belgium will be enough for our purposes. Here are the nationalities of the seven Irish university provosts or presidents:

Trinity College Dublin: Irish

Dublin City: Irish

Maynooth: Irish

National Galway: Irish

University College Cork: Irish

University of Limerick: Irish

University College Dublin: not Irish (Australian)

Like the universities of Denmark and the US, home-grown talent seems to be the thing for the Irish universities. Unlike in the Scottish universities there’s a notable lack of English talent. You do have to wonder how they cope.

Here are Belgium’s top nine universities and the nationalities of their rectors. I’m sure there must be some French or Dutch talent, crossing over easily, in what is the heart of the EU. At least some of these are elected rectors. Now there’s an idea that would be popular among Scottish university staff!

Leuven: Belgian

Ghent: Belgian

Free University of Brussels: Belgian

Antwerp: Belgian

Vrije Universiteit Brussel: Belgian

Louvain: Belgian

Liege: Belgian

Vlerick Business School: Belgian

Saint Louis, Brussels: Belgian

All nine of these rectors were born in Belgium and, perhaps of greater interest, all of them are the products of the Belgian education system. I could go on but I think the pattern is clear. Scotland’s universities and probably those of Wales and Northern Ireland are almost certainly unique in being repositories of, as Alasdair Gray put it, ‘settlers and colonists.’

What about the business and employment world in Scotland? Do we even have a word for entrepreneur? I tried an on-line, English-to-Scots, dictionary and got this: ‘Sorry no translation for entrepreneur. Try Again!’ It sounds like we need help. Let’s see how just much help we need.

Scottish CBI Director: Scots

Scottish Enterprise CE: Scots

Scottish Chambers of Commerce CE: Scots

Edinburgh Chambers of Commerce CE: Scots

Glasgow Chambers of Commerce CE: Scots

STUC General Secretary: Scots

Oh no! Boy, are we in trouble. No need for the very best ‘foreign talent’ in the world of business then, you think? That’s the one area where I could be persuaded that the opposite was true.

Liz Lochhead
Liz Lochhead

Overall, this looks like quite a varied picture with only some sectors dominated by those born outside of Scotland. As identified by Liz Lochhead, at the beginning of this piece, the arts in Scotland do seem to be disproportionately managed by non-Scots. The same can be said of the police force and, to a lesser extent, sport. Leadership in the Scottish media (press and TV), seems to be dominated by Scots and the same is true in business organisations.

By far the most striking case of a form of colonialism in Scottish institutions is in our universities. In no other country in my sample, is there such evidence of domination by a larger neighbouring country or even of a presence in a large one (USA) of openness to foreign talent. It either means that Scottish applicants for senior posts are consistently inferior to their mostly English competitors or that there is a discriminatory process deeply embedded in the system. The evident failure of English academics to penetrate other European and North American higher education sectors tells us all we need to know.

So, in the arts and in the universities, in Scotland, is this evidence of the survival of the so-called ‘Scottish Cringe’ where interview panel members have an unconscious sense of inferiority to the sound of an English voice and feel the need to submit to it by appointing the confident user of it? Does this, in turn, lead to a lack of Scots on the selection panels themselves, with all-too-predictable outcomes.

Research into the effect of accents on success in getting jobs across the UK does not seem to suggest that a Scots accent is a problem in any general sense but can actually be an advantage. Research by the Aziz Corporation in 2012, put a Scots accent in third place only after ‘Home Counties’ and ‘American’ with most English accents well below the rating for Scots. Perhaps this explains the presence of non-Scots in senior positions in Scottish universities and in the arts as the result not of a cringe regarding Scots but rather of a kind of class-based preference for the perceived authoritative tones of the ‘Home Counties’ accent? After generations, such a process will, of course, become self-perpetuating and embedded as those on the panels with that accent unconsciously recognise and approve of new applicants using the same voice. The presence of one the allegedly less attractive English regional accents (Essex?) among senior managers in Scottish sport, is another matter, beyond my explanation here. Ear, wotyu getting at mite?

Over to you dear reader.


Alasdair Gray attacks English for ‘colonising’ arts, at:

Former Makar Liz Lochhead launches savage attack on Scots arts world and political establishment at:

‘Scotland should thank the English settlers’ at:


  1. John, you mirror my own findings which rather upset the chap with the name politicians oft quote yet badly mispronounce and other similar vested interests within Scotland’s university heirarchy –

    My published article on this very matter in Scottish Review, which also referred heavily to Gray’s paper, has sadly disappeared – hence you could not find it. On its publication I was sternly told by our Univ Director of Personnel never to publish such articles again. I did, and now no longer work in the profession – make of that what you will. You are right though – academic freedom does not exist in this matter of blatant institutionalised Scots suppression, and Scots are most definitely disriminated against in their own nation (or rather colony).

    Solution? We need to make the ability to speak (and eventually to write) the Scots language (as well as English) a condition of employment at highest levels in our institutions. That would bring us into line with the Danes etc, but we need a Scots Language (Scotland) Act to deal with this anomaly. How can we expect the leaders of Scots institutions to function effectively if they cannot first understand the people they are supposed to serve? You will find that Danes, Norwegians, Swedish, Flemish, French, Italian academics must be able to speak the indigenous language as well as English, and this despite the fact many courses are delivered in English throughout Europe today.

  2. John,

    I found this to be a very thought provoking article and I thank you for that.

    My main concern is where you cite that the Scottish Media is run by people of scots descent. I would hazard a guess that the reason for this is because they have strong ties with the Union as is evident by the majority of stories, opinion pieces and other articles which are shoved down our collective throats on a daily basis.
    I’ll put my tin hat on now.

    • Yes, fair point. Difficult to evidence empirically in a short piece. There is of course evidence out there in studies of Scottish media coverage of politics, some mine.

  3. “He referred to them as being mostly ‘colonists’ and ‘settlers’ with little interest in encouraging Scottish culture or staying long for that matter” – this doesn’t even make sense; both ‘colonists’ and ‘settlers’ denote an intention to stay for the long term.

    I think a more appropriate word for these types would be ‘tourists’.

  4. Ah, pedantry, I know it so well and love doing it! But…you’re spot on. Tourist would be more accurate. When FOI requests reveal their travel costs you see just how true that is. Off to the Seychelles to recruit students to live in our Neilston accommodation!

    Let’s start a war on academic tourism?

  5. This is one of these themes where those who oppose your thesis, shake their heads (more in sadness than in opposition, they imply – invertedly!) and say ‘What is wanted is the best person for the job.” QED. The same response comes when demands are made for greater and more proportionate representation by women, people with disabilities, people from ethnic groups, people from areas of multiple deprivation, etc on to boards, into representative bodies, on to quangos, into HE, etc.

    My daughter, who had attained an A at Advanced Higher Grade in French was placed AT GLASGOW UNIVERSITY in the ‘beginners section’ at undergraduate year 1, with all the other students who had Advanced Higher and Higher Grade passes. The ‘accelerated’ section comprised entirely those with A Level awards, of whatever level. When the Scottish based students asked why they were told by the Department, “We don’t know anything about the standard of those kinds of things. (i.e awards by the SEB)”! Fortunately, the students were made of sterner stuff and their arguments prevailed. (Paternal boast – she gained a First and was the top student of the cohort.)

    • During 1st year maths the lecturer apologised to Scots with 6th yr studies for going over dork we had already done…. As those with A Levels hadn’t covered it. Many moons ago….. Nay Decades…… All change

    • Ultimately, the best person for the job may not be the ‘best person for the job’.

      Take for instance you have a CEO position that needs to be filled for a multi-national whom will have to deal with a number of different cultures and religions to ensure that company keeps moving forward.
      Now for me the best person for the job is the one with the most qualifications and experience but say for instance the candidate is openly gay.

      That may not sit very well with certain communities, etc.
      It is a sad indictment of where we are in the world that this sort of thing is still an issue but who am I to tell a group of individuals how to perceive their common man.

      I only used openly gay as an example, I could have said the candidate was a woman, it could be anything.

      It’s wrong but what can you do.

  6. Scottish Tourism. As someone who works in this English environment the oft quoted phrase used is. Did you enjoy your English experience. The national trust for Scotland and Visit Scotland, BnB,s hotels, are riddled with people with total contempt for the organisation and country the purport to represent.
    A quote from French visitors I overheard recently ( Where are the Scottish people ). I kid you not it is horrific.

  7. Not an easy subject to discuss John. The Irish used to and perhaps still require a level of proficiency in Gaelic language for almost all public employment. Croatian friends suggested that Serbians were similarly positioned, prior to their independence. I think that we are a colony, albeit we are uppity from time to time. I wonder if we should parallel the Irish and require a foundation qualification in Scottish Heritage? Something that is in the core curriculum? Perhaps all appointments might require that individuals are supported to acquire within 2 years? You mention the new Police Scotland Chief………. my understanding is that to be a Chief Constable in Scotland requires a qualification only available from Hendon or somewhere.
    You’ve opened a can of worms methinks. All contributors should be aware of how the establishment reacts to these very legitimate concerns.

      • Because being from the core country of an Empire means you must be better than anybody you colonised. Otherwise they wouldn’t have allowed you to colonise them in the first place.

          • Yes John I think so. I’ve heard folk blame John Knox! Many of us feel “not good enough” to step forward. I think it is more to do with self belief and self confidence as individuals and as a country.
            I’ve heard foreign P-G students discuss how “quiet” students from Scotland are in tutorial sessions alongside their “foreign” peers. They tend not to be the first to question or to debate issues?
            A friend was Head of a large Secondary School English department – and the spoken assessments – often bring the “non-indigenous Scots” up the rankings. Curious???
            All anecdotal, circumstantial – but, just because we are a bit paranoid …
            BTW – is that the correct phrase? Should it be “Indigenous” or “First nation people”??
            Your desk-top study probably requires a PhD student to assist you!

  8. I try very hard not to use the e word. Because to do so apparently implies racism – this has been the case for over 20 year.

    You may however use the s word, and add as many derogatory remarks as you wish, with impunity. Our Scottish predecessors did exactly the same with other races/foreigners in the past*, and some still do, but that doesn’t make it any more acceptable or justifiable.

    What makes it worse is that we have Scots who, for their own reasons, are willing to excuse, even encourage, such discrimination.

    I believe in a good leavening of new blood in any society. It’s generally not wise to disappear up you own introspection. Our problem is cultural dominance with our leavening coming mostly from one place. If we had, say, 40% of students and academics in Scottish universities being a mix from around the world – their would be no problem. But that’s not how it is, or even was, in terms of students at certain universities, as far back as the sixties.

    It’s not good for us, and it’s not good for students coming from elsewhere to study at a Scottish university. Unless, of course, you like to be able to watch your local football and read the daily Express while on holiday in Greece – in which case, you’re quids in.

    * And we should teach this to our bairns (possibly even Waynes) together with Wallace, how we were really nice people sometimes, and the sun used to never set.

  9. 19 higher education institutions in Scotland is crazy and unnecessary leading to course and departmental duplication etc also giving rise to an enormous level of bureacracy with thousands of mostly imported ‘top academic leaders’ on £100K/yr and much more (100+ at Glasgow Uni alone). I favour a single ‘National University’ for Scotland based on the successful UHI model. This could help get rid of the worst instances of commercialisation, the blatant focus on high fee international and English students, the elitism and snobbery, and marginalisation of Scots students in many courses. So let the elite uni’s go private if they wish to, which is more of less what they are. But make sure their current ‘public assets’ including art treasures are paid for first! I would also urge more public funding of actual Scottish PhD students – folk with PhD’s are our future academics and at the moment our PhD students are 90%+ non-Scots – which implies in future that 90%+ of our academics might also be non-Scots. (Nothing like keeping yer ane folk doon, eh!)

    One area you miss out John is the UK ‘Home’ Civil Service who spend the SNP Gov budget on our behalf, including higher education. The ‘Scottish’ (sic) civil service heirarchy is stuffed full of Whitehall folk, intentionally sent north to run the show, and no doubt to put a continual damper on the natives aspirations irrespective what happens at Holyrood. This reality alone marks Scotland out as a mere colony.

    • Thanks Alf. Agree too many – Denmark only 8. Did actually look at civil service in Scotland . Mainly Scots and N Ireland at top level

  10. Regarding arts/tourism/heritage quangos, who is it that makes these appointments in the first place ?
    If the majority of the board is English to begin with, then perhaps there is a degree of prejudice in appointing successors ?

    It’s a hard subject to discuss, but looking at the numbers there does seem be an anti-Scottish problem rather than anti-English. That a fringe director has never been Scottish is shocking.
    I think there is definitely an element of cringe involved. Whether it is accents, or a desire to be seen as non-parochial to the extent of actively discriminating against Scots.

  11. They’ve never printed anything I’ve sent them. Nor has the S Herald. The late author and I disagreed on BBC bias in 2014.

    • Late author ….or last editor? …. Current ed. of SH has said in past he’s against Independence, at least 3 of the top contributors are pro Labour. Latest edition told readers they had shopped Kenny MacAskills book to the FCO. Re disclosure of a uk gov. Report…. , it’s as if they are trying to get the pro Indy readership to stop reading it…..
      The National…. My take on it’s purpose is the paper is to be a relieve valve for Yessers. Never intended to appeal to people who don’t take their politics seriously… Which rules out weak NO’s, …. The paper says it supports Indy, but is of very limited use in growing the vote.

  12. The Academic Colonisation process:
    1. a ‘top’ academic is recruited from outside Scotland and brought in to head up a faculty, dept or research centre
    2. soon, former colleagues of said ‘top’ academic start appearing to work at the institution (e.g.
    3. they are then followed by former research/PhD students of said ‘top’ academic and colleagues
    4. ‘top’ academics from outside Scotland are blaise about recruiting/developing Scots academics, seeing it as not important/parochial
    5. the prevailing academic/research emphasis naturally shifts (away from Scotland) to more ‘generic’ worldly matters, in line with the fact most of the recruited academics have relatively little knowledge of Scotland anyway(e.g. ‘Glasgow effect’)
    Conclusion: not only does this academic colonisation practice effectively close the door on the number of future Scots academics being developed and nurtured, it moves much of the research emphasis away from Scotland. i.e. Scotland is the big loser.

    • Naw ….. Really sorry about this ….dragging things down….. Obviously it’s reminding us all of Killie….. Their new manager…. A Geordie….had just dumped a lot of the team out….so we’re waiting to hear that he’ll be bringing in a load of replacements from further afield …. Probably a southerly direction….. Close to Alf’s outline of the colonisation process…. .

      Am I correct in thinking that it didn’t used to be thus in Academia.

      There’s been a succession of shows on BBC 2 showing life in rural Scotland. The latest is narrated by Ewing McGregor…. They are basically advertising an idyllic lifestyle available without having to leave the UK, invariably the Suns out

  13. Don’t say Killie! I’m a Bairn. I suppose the flood of half-decent English players into Scotland is a consequence of the flood of better players into England from elsewhere.

  14. Alf, above, shared the link to his German principal’s blog post, stressing the value of cultural exchange for Scottish unis. So, I thought I’d have a not so quick look at German unis to see how many non-German presidents or rectors they have. Accepting, then checking all of Google’s list of ‘all top German universities’, I got these 50:

    Heidelberg: German
    Technical University of Munich: German
    Free University of Berlin: German
    Ludwig Maximilian: German
    Humboldt: German
    RWTH Aachen: German
    Göttingen: German
    Bonn: German
    Tübingen: German
    Freiburg: German
    Technical Berlin: German
    Karlsruhe: German
    Dresden: German
    Cologne: German
    Nuremberg: German
    Darmstadt: German
    Hamburg: German
    Frankfurt: German
    Bochum: German
    Mainz: German
    Bremen: German
    Münster: German
    Kiel: German
    Hanover: German
    Mannheim: German
    Stuttgart: German
    Konstanz: German
    Marburg: German
    Halle-Wittenburg: German
    Würzburg: German
    Duisburg-Essen: German
    Technical Cologne: German
    Jena: German
    Giessen: Joybrato Mukherjee…German
    Bauhaus Weimar: German
    Freiburg Mining: German
    The Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin: German
    Wuppertal: German
    Augsburg: German
    HTW Berlin: German
    Leipzig: German
    Jacobs Bremen: German
    Witten/Herdecke: German
    Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg: German
    Potsdam: German
    Ulm: German
    Ilmenau University of Technology; German
    Saarland: German
    Chemnitz: South African!
    Bundeswehr München: German
    Passau: German

    49 Germans and one South African with a Dutch-sounding name. No English? How do they expect to get a comparable culture and quality of life if they won’t take advice from their betters and twice victors? Mind you, Göttingen was founded by George II of Great Britain! He was German too?

  15. Thank god someone has done the research on this. I was begining to think I was the only one who thought that every time that BBC Scotland got a researcher or head of depertment on the program they had an English accent and the arts were also taken over by English people. I thought that the BBC were not very representative of our %10 English population or our 85% Scots and where are the Scottish researchers and comentators? Does no-one in Scotland comment on terrorism, foreign affairs or commercial plane accidents? Do we not have any experts from Scotland? Radio Scotland is becoming more just a parochial Radio4.

    • There are days when I think that RS just get told who Radio 4 have available to talk about international issues and what line to take.

  16. Excellent Report. It’s a wonder you haven’t been persecuted by the “Scottish” media and its fellow travellers for being racist.

  17. As Dr John notes above, other countries simply don’t allow their own public institutions (academic or in other areas) and their own people to be ignored, disregarded and doon hauden (i.e. discriminated against) as is evidently the case here in Scotland. For a number of years I was a ‘visiting’ professor in Norway, and there as in most European states almost all of the permanent contract academics I encountered were indigenous folk and rightly so. If they wanted specific expertise in some lectures they simply approinted a visiting lecturer/professor; in other words there is no need to constantly make new permanent appointments of people from outside the country which in time has merely ensured that ‘Scottish’ institutions have become dominated with imported academics resulting in a lack of academic opportunity for and discrimination against the indigenous population. As others have noted here this ongoing colonisation process explains why virtually all the academic ‘experts’ wheeled into Scottish TV studios and Holyrood committees etc are not Scots, and also why ‘our’ universities are mostly run by folk from elsewhere. Robust ‘reforms’ would be needed to address what appears to be entrenched and long-standing institutionalised discrimination.

  18. It’s a kind of “cultural imperialism”. Same with “top” professions (law, politics, journalism etc) and business often being filled by public school/oxbridge types. They come with the cultural baggage, assumptions, attitudes, beliefs, preferences…..of their class/nationality and either deliberately or unconsciously impose these on the natives and the natives seeing what kind of people are “successful”, what kind of culture is the norm begin to think that’s how it is.

    Same with our History as someone was arguing a few days ago.

  19. I am taking a guess but the Historic Scotland visitor centre at Urquhart Castle is, on my reckoning, majority staffed by incomers all clad in tartan trews and kilts and having poor appreciation of local history.

  20. John does this have a lot to do with how roles must be advertised as well. As Scotland is not independent we have to advertise arts and university jobs in the national press I.E English newspapers. So for every qualified Scot there are 10 English applicants. The system is weighted in favour of the English applicants due to numbers.

    When I was at uni I thought it was disgraceful that I got taught by 90 % English professors. Then the above was explained to me by a Scottish lecturer. He had to be over qualified to get any job.

    The other aspect is the institutions are in effect English cliques. In other words the posh English elite make sure another posh Englishman or woman get the jobs. So it’s a bit like the ship of Theseus. Gradually all the parts are replaced until none of the original parts remain. It’s no longer what it was and neither are these institutions.

    The benefit of the Union is that Scotland’s institutions are run by the bigger country. It’s cultural imperialism!

  21. True…everything has to go in Times Higher. I still wonder at the mentality of applicants who have no sense that they might not be well-prepared to grasp local factors.

  22. I think the First Division of the Civil Service must play a great part in this injustice. It would be of interest to know the nationalities of these ppl although I doubt if they would reach the level of Permanent Secretary if WM wasn’t sure of their loyalty. We really need a Civil Service we can trust.

      • John, as a member of the Ministers ‘Expert Ferry Group’ (until now probably!) I notice Transport Scotland has had a number of pesonnel changes over recent years with heid bummers parachuted in from elsewhere in UK:

        This is the ‘high level’, but some similar changes exist just below this too. They seem to have more understanding of the London Underground than the intricacies of an isles ferry, or rural roads, and think fowk should use buses and trains, less cars – i.e. the usual London-centric mentality which does not fit well with Scotland’s needs.

  23. This seems to be pretty unique to Scotland. All our big important cultural institutions are run by English elite. As soon as we bring this up we are described as small minded and parochial. I mean the very idea that Scots should want a Scot running the Edinburgh festival!

    This to me is a deliberate act to control the way our nation views itself and to keep us in our place. Our culture is actually nothing like England’s. We come from totally different spectrums. We have more in common with Ireland than anywhere else in Europe, but our arts don’t reflect that. We have this English /British alien identity rammed down our throats all the time. Worst of all is that a lot of Scots accept British/English culture as their own (Systemic Brainwashing).

  24. Language (and hence culture) is critically important in this context and the key differentiating factor between all nations. We need therefore to ask why there has been no bringing forward of a Scots Language (Scotland) Act? There is a ‘Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005′. But enshrining and teaching the Scots language, which is our main indigenous language, in our schools was considered by our colonial masters to be a risk too far; a typical colonizer tactic.

    Aa fowk appointet tae public posts here shud hae an unnerstannen o’ at least yin o’ Scotland’s two indigenous languages, as well as English, the latter now a common ‘administrative’ language across the globe; that wid pit the kybosh on current practice. By continuing to suppress our main indigenous language, we suppress our culture, and hold back our nation, leaving ourselves wide open to continued colonization (unlike the Danes, Norwegians, French, Italians, Dutch etc etc).

  25. Alf- Correct.

    How many of us had our Scots words drilled out of us at School. We were taught not to shorten words not to use Scots words and ape the English. It was at home that we kept the Scots words like glaikit , Stank, aye, burn and crabbit alive. Sadly although we were taught Burns it tended to be once or twice a year and skirting with the language.

    Like all languages Scots in not static and some new words can be described as Scots. I am always delighted when I hear young Scots kids using Scots words like Midden or phrases like:” Shut yer Geggie “. These were brilliant words and phrases and came naturally to most Scots in the payground. Some of the words can describe things that English just can’t. One of my favourites is :” Ya big tumshie”.

  26. Reading Jock and Alf, but busy getting truth of the story about English disadvantaged more likely to be applying to unis than Scots disadvantaged. Lies again based on incomplete stats

  27. Must be about 30 years ago my wife and I decided to have a Scottish history themed holiday mainly for the kid’s education, staying in the Stirling area but also visiting Edinburgh for the Castle and the National museum.

    Anyway, first on the list was Bannockburn. We attended the production they put on, incidentally feeling a wee bit strange since we could identify no other Scottish families they were nearly all tourists from the States, Canada, Australia, the Continent and of course England. The ‘show’ was of course about Bruce. The character playing Bruce had a ‘fat suit’ on with a large stuffed, artificial paunch. He came bounding on to the stage (he continued to bound. whenever required to move, throughout) and proceeded to bellow loudly with an English accent no attempt at a Scottish accent at all. It was like some grotesque lampoon of Brian Blessed. After my initial shock I looked at the rest of the audience. Many of the tourists, who I presume had expected to see something more dignified and heroic, were literally open mouthed and all had bemused expressions on their face. If it was meant to be funny, nobody was laughing. One american, I think Canadian, I heard enquire of his wife “Why are they doing that?” in an incredulous tone.
    When we came out, I went to buy some juice for the kids at the shop. When I handed a fiver to the shop assistant I remarked that that show was ridiculous. She gave me a sidelong glance as she took the money and then when she was giving me change she leaned over and whispered “We get a lot of complaints”, “Do you?” I whispered back, “Yes”, she said and added in a tone of ‘no more needs to be said’ “The director’s English.”

    Ah well, on to the Castle. There was a costumed vignette for the tourists. It was Mary Queen of Scots. But, for a start she had a VERY thick French accent. Mary did spend 13 years in France from the age of 5 until returning to Scotland at the age of 19, however she took her own court to France, including the well known 4 Mary’s and although she did of course learn French and several other languages and would have had to have spoken French in the French court, there is no reason why she would not have retained Scots throughout by virtue of her own domestic retinue with which she may well have spent the majority of her time, especially in her younger formative years. Later, after returning to Scotland, the English ambassador to Scotland even described her as having ‘pretty, Scots accent’. However it was not so much the ‘ Allo Allo’ accent that rankled, but what she was saying, things like “Oh zi wezzer, zi people, zees contree ees orreebil Ah weesh Ah was bok een Frons.” with the back of her hand held to her forehead in dismay.

    What was planned as an educational holiday for our kids felt more like we had been unwittingly complicit in an agendised brainwashing exercise.

    The only saving grace from that holiday was the Ghost Walk in Edinburgh where we were lucky enough to have had our group lead by a hugely entertaining and soon to become famous, Brian Cox.

  28. The reason why academics from elsewhere feel no need to find out about the country they are moving to, is that they feel they aren’t moving to a different country at all. If there are differences between the periphery and the core in any empire, the periphery is wrongly/faulty, but will sort itself out in time.

  29. Overheard in the lift at Edinburgh university some years ago when two staff members were returning from an appointment board: “He didn’t even go to the likes of Durham. I don’t think we want him here.” Then laughter.

  30. Yes sadly the cultural imperialism is endemic.

    I hide behind the settee when Reporting Scotland speaks to a heid of some or other organisation in Scotland. Invariably it’s a soft southern English droll who is heid of the flaura and fawna spiky haggis society. I take bets with my wife that the high heid yins will be English. I am rarely wrong. It’s actually a novelty and a nice surprise when a Scot is in charge.

    As if we should eb grateful in our own nation for such a thing!

    The other thing they annoy us with is constantly referring to the royal :”we” in Sotland. As if they speak for us.

  31. I am going to say it is a combination of colonisation and the cringe. I think most of those with ability that don’t want to spend their days cringing and kowtowing leave. I have had a healthy disdain for academia in Scotland since my student days. I suppose it does take something of a backbone though to stand up to the servants of the British State in certain professions especially if the BBC goes on a hunt to get somebody sacked.

    I have nothing against English Professors or Lecturers if they are actually able individuals but I do recall that three of my lecturers were it seemed permanently drunk and thus incoherent most of the time. I think in any other walk of life they would have been sacked.

    There were of course the time serving careerists who are an utter waste of space. Individuals who couldn’t get in the door of any English Educational Establishment. Then there are those of Scottish birth that end up teaching in secondary school because it seems Scottish Universities had no place for them. No less than three of my school teachers had PhDs, I think they were wasted as teachers at secondary school but we all have to make a living somehow. All three incidentally eventually found openings at Universities in Canada and the USA, our loss is their gain.

  32. John, you forget about the Royal Scottish Conservatoire, formerly the RSAMD, which awards degrees and spans both arts and acadaemia. Up to 2014 the Principal was Scots, John Wallace. When he retired he was replaced by an eminently well qualified applicant who just happened to be American though he had taught music in the past in one of England’s top establishment schools.

    I tried to raise this issue at the time but no one seemed interested that one of the premier division conservatoires as judged by international criteria, should not have a Scot at the helm.

  33. What we suffer from is colonial domination pure and simple. If the majority of our academics and Arts leaders were a mixture of nationalities, then it wouldn’t be so concerning. But they’re not….they’re overwhelmingly English.

    Over thirty years ago I attended Glasgow University and majored in politics.Even then the majority of lecturers were English. One taught us about the ‘English Civil War’and with little irony pointed us to the role of the Scottish Presbyterian theorists who along with Scottish armies of invasion kicked off what is now occasionally more accurately described ad the war of the ‘Three kingdoms ‘.

    I also attempted a discussion in social anthropology about the OO as effectively being a cargo cult in the face of British imperialism. This was rejected as incomprehensible by the beaks.

    Interestingly throughout all these years..Glasgow University had a media unit which highlighted anti black, anti Irish and anti women narratives in our mms. To my knowledge, they have never examined Scottish issues in this manner. This department had always had English lecturers, almost exclusively.

    Police Scotland under the previous leader, Stephen House., started the process of bringing English cops up into senior positions. One ludicrous example was the female cop who failed miserably to control the Rangers’disorders in Manchester, but ended up second in command in Tayside. .before being moved on for inappropriate tweets.

    Finally, one last anecdote. ..several years ago my wife and I stopped of in Kirkudbright to look at the wee museum. In vain we searched for any information about Galloway’s proud and stirring history, including it’s kings and relationships with both Scotland and Ireland. Instead…a large Viking ship and a time line which ignored all of the above except for ‘English’settlers who invaded the area (in a period when no Anglo Saxons were in Britain ) and an insulting collection of Victorian photos of ‘local characters ‘. The four part time ‘curators’ were all English.

  34. Unchecked discrimination against any principal widespread indigenous language (and fowk) is akin to the slow death of a nation and its culture. As Big Jock implied, Scots bairns still hiv English garred doon thair thrapples at schuil. As Dr. David Purves once noted, Scotland’s loss of political and economic independence provided the conditions to misrepresent Scots language as no more than an incorrect or corrupt dialect, rather than the distinct language of a whole people with a special character of its own. The BBC and other state institutions still parade this gross untruth. The Scots language needs a lot more than so-called ‘respect’ and annual Burns events. Like Gaelic it needs an Act, and it needs teachers in every school where bairns speak Scots, and like Gaelic it also needs a Scots Language TV station as well. Only then will Scotland and the Scots become a confident (bi-lingual) self-respecting nation.

    Its nae wunner fowk fi ither kintras aften thocht Scots war juist liken tae thon Inglis whan oor fowk ir aa sooth-spoken!

  35. Thanks for this thought provoking piece. I don’t have a problem with non Scots in charge anywhere except institutions dealing with Scottish culture, where it is obvious an understanding of the brief is an asset. (Arguably education and law as well as these have unique cultural elements.) But as a general principle surely we should welcome talented immigrants?

    Sadly as your research highlights, the almost completely Scottish TV and newspaper representation shows we are just as capable of hating on Scotland ourselves without having to buy that expertise in. 🙁

  36. Very interesting article. Thank you!

    A very worrying trend, one that I hope will soon be reversed = )

    Also, I think OO means Orange Order.

    I wish I could finish with something clever in Scots or Gaelic but I don’t feel confident about the spelling. Not good.

    But it’s not too late to learn = )

    • Thanks Ghillie but you have a Gaelic moniker! Meaning ‘acolyte?’ I shamelessly google for smart Gaelic phrases. OO Orange Order – of course.

    • Ah, and a cargo cult? Fascinating idea. Got any sources for the idea? Your own? Send to if you have and avoid either of us getting accused of anything… my Orange uncle, for one.

      On a lighter note, I once surpassed my own humour standards by saying to an attractive canteen lady of OO affiliation – Now what do I fancy? Oh, yes I really fancy an Orange Maid!

      She laughed.

  37. Thanks for this piece John and also to your knowledgeable contributors . Where are the voices of the Scottish Government in all these areas , surely it must be in Fiona Hislop’s remit to keep watch on who teaches Scottish Culture in our universities , or has she no say in the matter . I’m sure Englishmen are not best suited to teach Scots about Scottish Culture and History pre 1707 , they are always going to put an English element into it , after all we were colonised . What about Rosanna Cunningham , what kind of role is she playing here . Are these ministers too frightened of the establishment to upset the apple cart ? if they are , then why . Independence comes in many ways , we should be working a lot harder to change these institutions from within .

    • John W, ‘Language’ Meenister Alisdair Allan has let us aw doun sairly in ma mynd ower the past nine year. He wis aa fir thon ‘Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005’, votes galore in W.Isles fir oor Alasdair supportin thon decree.

      Whaur is the ‘Scots Language (Scotland) Act’, Alasdair? An Fiona? Mebbe an ower tribblesome decree for thon Anglicised middle clesses tae apprise? SNP shoud be black affrontit.

    • Thanks John. I do get good contributions don’t I. I’ve said before it’s a public spheroid that great German, Habermas, would delight in.

  38. Great article, and comments.

    I wonder, well, it seems that this is becoming more widespread? It is not racist to question why and how come there are so many people not from Scotland, who land the top jobs. I am a geordie, lived in Scotland half my life, 27 years, and I get fed up of english accents, particularly when watching films on my fave subject at the moment, geology. I watched one recently about a specific site in Scotland, really interesting, and when looking at funding for the film, they commissioned someone from down south to do the research! I just thought, why on earth did they not have someone from Scotland? There are plenty of people with the required skills and knowledge, to do that job.

    In the lead up to the Commonwealth games, I had a friend move up from S.W. england, because his partner landed a high profile job curating some major art projects. He said that his partner was in New Zealand looking for artists to take part. I asked why not look for artists in Scotland? He said, they would not because there work, or they, are ‘too perochial’. So that is the situation we have, and it is a disgrace.

    Friends of mine, one who is Irish, living in NE england, unfortunately, feel serious contempt towards Scotland, (they read the rancid Guardian) and last time I saw them, said, ‘Scotland has no culture or language of its own’. One even said, during arguments with me about indpendence, that ‘you are connected by land to england so…’ I had to point out that quite a few countries are ‘connected by land’ but er, they don’t have their neighbour taking their revenue and resources, who then condescend to throw back a few crumbs.

    I have been watching a few historical films, on the national library of Scotland site. Some fascinating insights into the way Scotland has come to be so colonised in fact. One called ‘prospect of Scotland’, they are in copyright but I am linking to the home page, there are stacks of films, all short, between 5-30 or so minutes, 1930s onwards.

    You should listen to the very english accents, or, english/Scottish accents narrating pretty much every film.

    • PS. I have nothing against english people, of course, and Edinburgh is a very english city, just in case my comment seems anti-english, and I hail from NE england, though never thought of geordie as particularly english. I have however, come across quite a bit of anti-Scottish and anti Scotland, (and especially in the context of the SNP) since the independence referendum, including ridicule, when visiting NE england, sadly.

      People really do believe what they read and hear, in the state run media, scary.

    • Thanks very much for this fascinating detail. People sometimes say Geordies are sort of Scots really but, actually, if you look at the history and the language lowland Scots speak, we’re really kind of Geordies!

      Oh, yes, for a really good geology documentary, narrated by a Scot and produced by a Scot we all kind of know (the editor) see:

      It’s in an area I know so had me well-moved, innit?

  39. Oops, in paragraph 2, it should say their, not there! Something I see all the time, mixing up there and their! Argh!

  40. I wonder how many of England’s art’s institutions and university’s has Scots in the ‘top tier’? A like for like would hammer the point home even more. Not that it needs any further hammering, nonetheless it would be a direct comparator, seeing as it is a specifically English natives in Scotland’s institutions how does that compare with Scottish natives in England’s institutions…pooling and sharing ye ken?

    Ye could begin tae feel affy pissed aff wi this richt enuff!

    The cringe is the by product of colonisation, a kinda reactionary or reflexive stance as a coping mechanism. If yer telt yer shite for long enough ‘it sticks’,. Self deprecating and lack of confidence are often symptoms of low self esteem. But then that just tells you the ‘colonisation’ has worked. How tae keep the natives in check, get them tae internalise thier ‘place’ eh?

    • Good point. I could have a look at English arts organisations and unis. Might do. Get back to you. Hae ma doots!

  41. As suggested by K1

    Top English Universities: principals, provosts, directors
    University College London: English
    Oxford: Irish
    Imperial College London: Northern Irish
    Kings College London: English
    LSE: USA
    Cambridge: Welsh
    Bristol: Irish
    Manchester: English
    Durham: English
    Warwick: English
    Surrey: Australian
    Exeter: English
    Bath: English
    Birmingham: English
    Loughborough: English
    Royal Holloway: English
    Queen Mary, London: English
    Leeds: Scots
    Middlesex: English
    Southampton: English
    Nottingham: English
    Sussex: English
    York: Belgian
    Brunel: English
    Leicester: English
    East Anglia: English
    Hertfordshire: Scots
    City U London: English
    Chester: English
    Lancaster: English
    London: English
    West London: English
    Northampton: English
    Newcastle: South Africa
    Oxford-Brookes: English
    Kent: English
    Sheffield: Welsh
    Birmingham City: English
    Southampton Solent: English
    East London: English
    Central Lancashire: English
    Huddersfield: English
    Liverpool hope: South African
    MMU: English
    44 institutions, 32 English principals, so…..?

  42. My last dig leads to this:

    National Theatre London CE: English
    National Theatre Scotland CE: English
    National Theatre Wales: English
    Lyric Theatre, Belfast CE: N Irish

    Arts Council England CE: English
    Arts Council Wales CE: English
    Creative Scotland CE: English
    Arts Council N Ireland CE: N Irish

    English National Ballet CE: English
    Scottish Ballet CE: English
    National Dance Company Wales CE: English
    Arts council Northern Ireland Dance ADO: N Irish

    Why don’t they want jobs in Northern Ireland? Scared?

  43. Well it does make the point John, we are indeed colonised, It’s not some ‘lack’ inherent in our population ‘because’ we are Scots. It’s very apparent from those lists that Scotland is uniquely saddled by our neighbours ‘oversight’ at the top tier of our cultural and educational levels. this is irrefutable evidence that supports our former Makar’s observations.

    Thanks so much for this article and the follow up John.

  44. As in most other self-respecting nations, all Scotland needs to do is make it a condition of recruitment for any heid bummer public posts in Scotland that successful applicants must be fluent speakers in one of the twa indigenous languages, as well as fluent in English (maist Scots are a’ready bilingual). This wid immediately pit an end tae aw thon heid bummer jaobs gaein tae ‘the usual suspects’. We already have one of the twa indigenous languages enshrined in law (Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005), but we now need the same consideration given to the second and main language (i.e. Scots Language (Scotland) Act 2017?) asap.

    A winna haud ma braith tho!

      • The prevailing (cultural) discrimination here is clearly against Scots fowk, e.g. through our ruling classes (incl SNP Gov) ignoring the necessary requirement for public sector job candidates to speak and understand the indigenous tongue.

        There are many countries, including throughout the EU, where it is a requirement to be fluent in the relevant indigenous language and also fluent in English. This is also a standard requirement to be able to work in the European commission itself. The issue here is: fowk appointet tae heid bummer joabs in Scotland shuid aw be able tae speak an unnerstand oor indigenous Scots leid and scots fowk. Maist dinna huv oor leid, hence the indigenous Scots speikers ir discriminatet agin and doon-hauden.

        • That would narrow the field to a handful and how would you judge “fluent”. What about us Scots who speak only Scottish English? Scots, whatever language they speak, seem to be discriminated against, so by introducing a requirement to be fluent in Scots, while it would tend to keep out those from beyond our shores who, in general, don’t speak it, would continue to discriminate against Scots who didn’t have the tongue.

          Beyond that, while I certainly want Scottish Culture (including languages, dialects) to be encouraged as an intrinsic part of our national identity I fear that minority languages are ultimately headed for extinction, whatever is done. It’s part of the evolution of language, as they change naturally over time, or are swamped by a dominant culture (will we all speak US English in a few hundred years), and/or they lose transactional relevance.

          I suggest we need to be more assertive about a Scottish Culture, History and so on as distinct from the culture of the dominant paradigm of south east England.

          • With respect, you contradict yourself: we cannot possibly be “more assertive about a Scottish Culture” when at the same time, as you appear to suggest, we simply continue to disregard, ignore and disrespect the Scots language. The Scots language is the very basis of Scottish culture and without the Scots language we are left inevitably with merely a distorted Anglicised culture, not an authentic Scottish culture.

            One of the number of quotes on the language/culture connect I gave above in response to Chic was: “Language is more than just a means of communication. It influences our culture and even our thought processes.” (

            Similarly, as John has highlighted in his article here, strictly speaking we do not in fact offer a ‘Scottish’ university education if Scots academics are in the minority in their ‘own’ nation, and Scots do not lead ‘our’ institutions. ‘Our’ elite academic ‘enterprises’ in particular are merely using (or abusing?) Scotland’s name and heritage to sell their wares, mostly it seems to the children of the global elite. Yer ‘ordinary’ Scot hisna a lookin eether wey.

            Reclaiming our language is a necessary first step to reclaiming our nation. That is precisely why we have not yet seen a ‘Scots Langauge (Scotland) Act’ ! The more Anglicised Scotland becomes, the less chance there is of ever achieving independence. Langauge is our fundamental difference, and advantage. Note the great popularity of Gaelic medium schools; the popularity of Scots medium schools would be enormous by comparison given much of the nation now think of themselves as Scots and Scots speakers.

    • Nae probs John, edukashin is Nicla’s numero uno priority efter a’. Maist Scots fowk can speik Scots fine, we juist need tae lairn aw thon braw wuirds richt. It disnae huiv tae be awfu braid, juist naitural, ken. Wi dinna want tae scunner folk – apairt mibbe fi thon haley Anglicised middle clesses an preevat schuil kynd – thon voted naw onywey.

      5,000 Scots language teachers wid be a guid stairt tae pit Scots oan the curriculum an Scots Language TV an aw (plenty joabs for Scots actors/performers/filmmakers etc), etc, (juist like Gaelic), efter passin o’ a Scots Language (Scotland) Act.

      • Re your comment above. I agree to a greater or lesser extent to most of what you say, except that Scottish Culture is only authentic if it’s expressed in Scots. Are you saying, for example, that those who wrote predominantly in English are not representative of Scottish Culture? Adam Smith, Stevenson, et al. Even Burns wrote some of his work in English.

        • Culture, of course, is a great deal more than the written word. Inevitably Scottish (or any) culture will be diminished to some extent when a text is presented in another language. However, distinct cultural aspects may still be discernable:

          “The Sapir–Whorf hypothesis stated that the way we think and view the world is determined by our language (Anderson & Lightfoot, 2002; Crystal, 1987; Hayes, Ornstein, & Gage, 1987). Culture and language are undeniably intertwined. (

          e’en a bawheid like me coud unnerstaund Scots nae bather. Scots isna ower pernicketie an maist fowk a’ready speik it anaw.

  45. London sucks in top talent from the four corners of the globe, this results in a second tier looking round for a home, Scotland obliges.

    But, the real culprits of Scotland’s predicament aren’t second raters displaced from London, it’s our own people who believe being second rate under british rule is preferable to being whatever our own vision and abilities would enable us to achieve.

    • Remember those who move out of London rarely return, one they discover here is a standard of overall life style London can’t match. Two they can afford a home that they couldn’t iafford in London. Three they can nver return to London as house prices over time move out of their budget.

      Overall the process benefits London to the detriment of elsewhere.


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