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Emrys's Journal
Emrys's Journal
May 22, 2016

A couple of articles in a Scottish newspaper reveal how Trump's mother emigrated to the USA.

The mysterious Mary Trump: The full untold story of how a young Scotswoman escaped to New York and raised a US presidential candidate

SHE was the mother of a potential future president of the United States, yet Mary Trump’s early life and particularly how she came to America is shrouded in mystery.

It has long been maintained that Trump’s Scottish mother Mary Anne Macleod met the Republican candidate-elect’s father Fred on a holiday or trip to New York in 1930. She was apparently introduced to him at a party by her sister, Catherine.

It is a tale that has been told so often, apparently never corrected by the Trump family, that it is accepted as the truth by most of the media – the BBC recently sent a reporter to her native village on the Isle of Lewis to investigate Mrs Trump’s roots and he faithfully repeated that “holiday” version.


Today The National provides proof that far from being on holiday, Mary Anne Macleod Trump was a poor immigrant who arrived in New York with just $50 in her purse and worked as a domestic servant in the city for at least four years.


An inconvenient truth? Donald Trump's Scottish mother was a low-earning migrant

SHE was one of the poor, the huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, who became a multi-millionaire philanthropist and mother of an almost certain Presidential candidate. The question is, why has Donald Trump never put anyone right about the true story of his mother’s immigration?

Perhaps he didn’t know. On the face of it, the tale of a poor Scottish girl making it rich in the USA and giving birth to a possible president should be a great backstory for any candidate yet, given his views on poor immigrants, maybe “the Donald” wishes to downplay Mary Anne Macleod Trump’s early status – though as The National has shown, she was never an illegal immigrant.

Perhaps it may have something to do with this position statement on immigration, taken from the Trump campaign website: “The influx of foreign workers holds down salaries, keeps unemployment high, and makes it difficult for poor and working-class Americans – including immigrants themselves and their children – to earn a middle-class wage. Nearly half of all immigrants and their US-born children currently live in or near poverty, including more than 60 per cent of Hispanic immigrants.


How inconvenient for the would-be president that "low-earning worker" was exactly the status of Mary Anne Macleod when she emigrated from Scotland to the USA in 1930.

May 9, 2016

I saw it expressed by someone in Labour

as not so much the Tories overtaking Labour (the Tories actually polled quite poorly overall, but picked off a few surprise constituency seats, probably partly as a result of vote-splitting and tactical voting, and were rewarded with a relatively large number of list seats for their turnout), but Labour undertaking the Tories.

Dugdale is a switherer. She's not solely to blame for this, as the remnants of Scottish Labour are fragmented, demoralized and directionless, having just come through a period where their main contribution to Holyrood as the main opposition party has been to try to score cheap points weekly at First Minister's Questions (FMQs) and grab at any developments as sticks with which to beat the SNP (many of which - like the kerfuffle over the Forth Bridge repairs - blew up in their face despite the media giving Labour an easy ride and being eager to latch onto anything that might take the SNP down a peg or two).

Scottish Labour assumed the SNP were a flash in the pan, and would peak and subside if they just bided their time - the media have been salivating at this prospect for years, and I could link you to any number of articles over the past decade sounding the SNP's death knell, proclaiming that THIS, finally was the beginning of the end - leaving them to reap the spoils.

We don't have an official Opposition here as exists in Westminster. Ruth Davidson acts as if the Tories have pulled off some sort of grand coup by coming second, and have a mandate that overrides the majority winning party's. The leader of the largest party that isn't in government gets to ask the first question at FMQs - that's it. No Short money or the sort of civil service infrastructure afforded the UK Parliament's opposition.

This means Scottish Labour's going to need to tread a fine line between trying to stay relevant at Holyrood as one of the opposition parties, and being seen to side with the Tories again - which played no small role in muddying Labour's reputation during the referendum. Immediately after the election, Davidson tried "reaching out" to Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens to present a united front against the SNP - no takers so far!

There are some issues on which the opposition may be able to score easy early wins - their moves to abandon the much-maligned and much-misrepresented Named Person scheme to consolidate social care for children, and to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, for instance - these will be interesting tests.

May 9, 2016

I don't know how much I'd claim to be "on the ground",

and have any special insight. I'm immersed in all this, like anyone else who lives in Scotland and pays any attention, of course.

I've posted at some length on why I myself became disillusioned with Labour (quite early on compared to many), and after a long period have ended up an SNP voter, so I won't tax people's patience and repeat all that now. Here are some of the posts where I've addressed what you ask:




There have been some decent recent articles trying to dissect it all. None of them will have all the answers. Here are a couple:

Ron McKay: How Labour died here in the Scottish heartland: http://www.glasgowlive.co.uk/news/glasgow-news/ron-mckay-how-labour-died-11297371

Inside the Scottish Labour campaign: no focus, no money, no hope: http://m.heraldscotland.com/news/14478227.Inside_the_Scottish_Labour_campaign__no_focus__no_money__no_hope/

May 6, 2016

Scottish results are in.

The 2011 results are in brackets.

SNP - 63 (69)
Conservative - 31 (15)
Labour - 24 (37)
Greens - 6 (2)
Liberal Democrats - 5 (5)
Independent - 0 (1)

Of the SNP's total of 63 seats, 59 were won at constituency level (out of a total of 73 constituencies). The previous record was 53 constituency seats, won by Labour in 1999 and matched by the SNP in 2011. The SNP won the largest ever popular vote in the history of the Scottish Parliament at 1,059,897, 156,000 votes more than in the last Holyrood election. They polled more than Labour and the Tories' combined total of 1,016,105 votes.

The SNP needed 65 seats for an outright majority, so the full results show the balancing - and highly unpredictable - effect of the D'Hondt system. Although they retain power, an accommodation of some sort with other parties will be necessary - not for the first time, and the way the parliament was originally intended to function. The obvious informal partnership would be with the Greens, but the SNP has governed in the past by seeking support on a case-by-case basis from various parties, including the Tories.

Labour had an atrocious night. Kezia Dugdale was the only party leader other than the Greens' Co-convenor Patrick Harvie to fail to win a constituency seat. Both Dugdale and Harvie won list seats. Combined with having been overtaken resoundingly by the Tories and beaten into third place with a historically poor set of results, Dugdale's hat must be on a shoogly peg at this stage.

Ruth Davidson's Tories had an unarguably good night. There may be some buyers' remorse in coming months as the reality of the sort of party people have voted in as an opposition to the SNP dawns.

The Lib Dems had mixed results. Leader Willie Rennie unexpectedly won a constituency seat, but they didn't increase their number of MSPs, and their constituency vote was the lowest since devolution.

The Greens fared well, solely on regional list seats. Ross Greer, who I expressed my distaste for above, got in on the West of Scotland list. Ho hum. On the brighter side, dogged land reform campaigner Andy Wightman enters Holyrood, where he's likely to be quite an asset.

UKIP didn't win a Highlands & Islands list seat after all, so there must be some shreds of sanity left up there.

At local level, Jackie Baillie squeaked in with a greatly reduced majority of just over a hundred over her SNP challenger. She'd have gotten in on the list if she'd lost her seat anyway, which takes the sting away a little.

So there you have it. A by-election or two could make things even more interesting in due course.

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