It may be that I have no business registering an opinion on the question of Scottish independence. I am, after all, a Canadian.
But I am also a Highland Scot, on both sides of my family as far back as documents record and stories remember.
Mum’s people were Farquhars from Elgin. Dad’s people included Camerons and MacDonalds from Glenn Urquhart and Nigg, MacBains from Moy and MacPhersons from Gairloch.
Most, as far as I can tell, were cleared. They made their way to Nova Scotia in the early 1800s where they could own land and where their future would never again be at the avaricious whim of the Scottish elite.
I love Scotland. I’ve been there three time and last summer my wife and I took our four kids to see the land of their roots.
I wanted them to feel the same pride for it that my parents – two centuries removed – still felt for Scotland and for their Scottish heritage.
But now I am afraid for Scotland.
Its diaspora was so critical to founding the thriving cosmopolitan successes of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and America.
Will it now denigrate itself by taking the path of small-minded, petty parochialism that this country has witnessed in Quebec’s sovereigntists, a path that at its raw foundation is simply anti-English?
I have a caution for those who would favour Scottish nationalism.
Your very own history, and that of my family, is a powerful lesson that ethnic nationalism is a hollow foundational principle for any state.
It necessarily extols the historical experience of one collectivity over another. But it was other Scots – the Scottish elite – who cleared my forebears and many, many others from their homes.
Other Scots – not the English – were their very worst enemy.
Alexander MacBain Cameron
Scotsburn, Nova Scotia