Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Scottish Connection

In an op ed in the Boston Globe about Scottish Separatism, H.D.S Greeway says:

Scots often ran England, too. Half of the last 20 British prime
ministers have either represented Scottish constituencies at one time
or another, or were Scots themselves. Gordon Brown, almost certain to
be the next prime minister, is a Scot.

Ten out of twenty seemed a little high to me, so I checked it out.

Tony Blair
Born in Edinburgh. His father was of English ancestry although he grew up in Glasgow. His was of Scotch-Irish descent. After living in Scotland and Australia, his family moved to Durham where he went to school. Sat for Sedgefield in Durham.

John Major
Born in Carshalton, part of a London borough. Sat for Hutingdonshire and Hutingdon.

Margaret Thatcher Born in Grantham, Lincolnshire. Sat for Finchley, part of London

James Callaghan Born in Portsmouth. His father was of Irish ancestry. Sat for Cardiff South and subsequent reconfigurations.

Harold Wilson Born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire. Sat for Ormskirk and Huyton, both in Lancashire.

Edward Heath Born in Broadstairs, Kent. Sat for Bexley, Sidcup and Old Bexley and Sidcup, all part of London.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home Finally, a real Scotsman. Although he was born in the Mayfair section of London, his father's family is of ancient Scottish lineage. He eventually succeeded to the Scottish Earldom of Home, but disclaimed it when he became Prime Minister. He was recognized as chief of Clan Home (purists will say you can't be a clan chief and have a double barrelled surname). Sat for Lanark and for Kinross and Western Perthshire.

Harold Macmillan Born in the Brixton, part of London. His grandfather was Scottish. Sat for Stockton-on-Tees (in northern England) and Bromley in England

Anthony Eden Born in West Auckland in Durham. Sat for Warwick and Leamington in central England.

Winston Churchill
Born at his grandfather the Duke of Marlborough's country house Blenheim Palace (in Oxfordshire). In his long parliamentary career, he sat for a number of constituencies including Dundee in Scotland.

Clement Atlee Born in Putney, part of London. Sat for Limehouse and Walthamstow West, both parts of London.

Neville Chamberlain Born in Birmignham. Sat for two different seats in irmingham.

Stanley Baldwin Born in Bewdley in Worcesershire. Sat for Bewdley.

Ramsay MacDonald Another real Scotsman. Born in Morrayshire in northeast Scotland. Sat for Leisceter, Aberavon (Wales), Seagan (England) and Combined Scottish Universities.

Andrew Bonar Law Born in New Brunswick, Canada. His family had Scottish and Scots-Irish backgrounds. He went to live in Glasgow in his youth. He sat for a number of constituencies including ones in Glasgow.

David Lloyd George Born in Manchester, but of Welsh ancestry. His family moved back to Wales shortly after he was born. Only Welshman to be PM. Sat for Caernarvon Boroughs.

H. H. Asquith
Born in West Yorkshire. Sat for East Fife and Paisley, both in Scotland.

Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Born in Glasgow. Sat for Stirling in Scotland.

Arthur Balfour Born in Whittingehame, East Lothian, Scotland. His mother was the daughter of the Marquess of Salisbury. Sat for Hertford, Manchester
East and City of London.

Marquess of Salisbury
Born in Hertfordshire, England. Sat for Stamford in Lincolnshire before succeeding the marquisate.

Earl of Rosebery
Born in Berkeley Square, London. Never sat in the Commons. The title is a Scottish one created in 1703.

Of the last 20 prime minister, I count the following
English: 14 (Blair, Major, Thatcher, Callaghan, Wilson, Heath, Macmillan, Eden, Churchill, Atlee, Chamberlain, Baldwin, Balfour, Salisbury)
Scottish: 6 (Douglas-Home, MacDonald, Bonar Law, Campbell-Bannerman, Balfour, Rosebery)
Welsh: 1 (Lloyd George)

So that's 6 of 20. Add in Churchill and Asquith, who sat for Scottish constituencies, and Blair, who was born in Scotland, that makes it 9 out 20. Almost half.

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