The man who many believe is destined to be the next president of the United States of America is half Scottish. Who would ever have believed it? The figure who could become the most powerful person in the world is the son of a woman from the Outer Hebrides. It’s the sort of tale that would normally have Scottish hearts bursting with pride. When it comes to achievement, rarely is a Scottish connection too tenuous to celebrate. And with Donald John Trump, there is no digging to prove his Scottish credentials, because he is bona fide – the son of a Scottish immigrant who spent the formative first 18 years of her life in her native land.
But strangely, for one brought up in a part of the world where exploring and embracing your Scottish heritage is an obsession, Trump appears to have little interest in where he came from. For once, we should be glad.
Even in the Western Isles, where – like any ancestral home – we might naturally expect blood to be thicker than water, no-one wants to talk about “Donald John” running for the White House. The local population can be forgiven for being heartily sick of the entire affair, because Trump’s conduct during this presidential election campaign has frequently been a disgrace.
It’s true that Scots do not always live up to the image they like to portray of being compassionate, fair, modest and welcoming, and there are times when we let ourselves down. It’s natural: we’re only human. But few would recognise the behaviour or the values demonstrated by Trump over the past year, as he has spared no foe from the offensive blast of his noxious rhetoric.
And of course, his attack on migrants is rich, coming from the son of a family founded on those very circumstances.
If Trump does become president, it would represent arguably the most extraordinary story in the history of Scottish migration. But who would want to tell this story? Precious few, even in his mother’s homeland. If Trump has no great sense of affection for Scotland, the feeling appears to be mutual.