SNP minister compares Brexit to Highland Clearances

Christina McKelvie, the minister for older people and equalities, told SNP activists the comparison struck her after a recent visit to a 'clearance village' in the North-West of Scotland. Pictures: TSPL and Evelyn Simak/Geograph/Creative Commons 2.0
Christina McKelvie, the minister for older people and equalities, told SNP activists the comparison struck her after a recent visit to a 'clearance village' in the North-West of Scotland. Pictures: TSPL and Evelyn Simak/Geograph/Creative Commons 2.0
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Brexit has been compared to the Highland Clearances with a “rich, privileged, entitled” elite again pushing Scots to the cliff edge, a Scottish Government minister has claimed.

Christina McKelvie, the minister for older people and equalities, told SNP activists the comparison struck her after a recent visit to a “clearance village” in the North-West of Scotland.

The Clearances saw generations of Scots shifted from villages and crofts across the Scottish Highlands in the 1700s and 1800s by landlords who wanted to use the land for sheep grazing.

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Mrs McKelvie said leading Tory Brexiteers like Jacob Rees-Mogg were effectively doing a similar thing by taking Scotland out of the EU as she addressed a fringe event at the SNP Autumn conference.

“A few weeks ago I had the real privilege of being up at Helmsdale at the Helmsdale Games and on my adventures up there I passed a place called Badbea.

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“And I stopped and I thought I’ve heard of this place so I went in and it was a clearance village. I thought it was a place where people were cleared from - it turned out it was a village people were cleared to.

“And it was on the cliff edge. And the wee legend said `On the cliff edge - on the edge of Europe.’

“And it made me think of where we are now - on that cliff edge. Rich, privileged, entitled people shifting people to the cliff edge 300 years ago, 200 years ago - now.

“Still doing the same thing - rich privileged Rees Moog telling us what we can and can’t do. Pushing to the cliff edge and that analogy was very, very powerful.”