Gray in attack on English ‘colonists’

Writer and Artist Alasdair Gray. Picture: Robert Perry
Writer and Artist Alasdair Gray. Picture: Robert Perry
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ONE of Scotland’s most respected writers has attacked the appointment of English “colonists” to influential and powerful positions in Scotland.

Alasdair Gray says the influx of new residents into Scotland can be split into either long-term settlers, whom he approves of, or short-term “colonists” who come north 
to advance their career.

Gray’s anger is directed mostly at senior arts administrators, saying that is his area of expertise. But he adds: “I think Scottish folk in other professions will know settlers and colonists with similar attitudes.”

He names Vicky Featherstone, the former artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland, and a number of other senior arts managers, whom he accuses of downplaying Scottish talent. They include Andrew Dixon, who left his post as the inaugural director of Creative Scotland, the arts funding agency, earlier this month.

Gray, 77, who penned works like Lanark and Poor Things, accepts some of his remarks may suggest an “anti-English prejudice”, but adds that it must be remembered that “these colonists were invited here and employed by Scots without confidence in their own land and people”.