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The Immigrant

June 22, 2016

I am an immigrant. I was born in New Zealand. My Scottish father Gilbert was an immigrant. He went to New Zealand after serving in the British Navy in World War II. My Irish great grandfather John was an immigrant. He came to Scotland from Ireland during the potato famine around 1850.

People migrate in search of a better life, often to escape persecution or violence.

My great grandfather would have come to Britain to escape hunger and poverty. He would have been been perceived as part of an invading horde. John was a tailor. He settled in Scotland and raised a family.

His son Robert, my grandfather, went back to the land and worked as a farm labourer. He raised thirteen children including my father. The last of the thirteen, my aunt Isobel, died last week. My grandfather considered himself Scottish, as my father and all his siblings did.

I am half Scottish by way of New Zealand, Australia, Japan, France and England.

Immigration is the way of the world. Immigrants settle and within a generation or two, they become British or Australian or American. I detest talk of good and bad immigrants. It is fear-mongering, filthy politics. It is divisive and unhelpful.

My great grandfather would have been considered Irish scum when he came here. It’s a legacy, running through my veins.

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