There’s a very few pivotal moments in life where you feel you might have helped to make a little difference; or at least you hope so to do in times still to come.

Today might have been one of those.

I was privileged to meet a family whose ethnicity has been in equal measures a burden and a beacon.

Imagine, if you can, being removed, ripped away from all you’ve known in life, away from friends, family and familiar times and places.

Born into or relocated to a hut in a forest; away from your own clan and unable to socialise with other clans. No kith or kin for you.

And yet. Despite all, you learn, and seek knowledge, become qualified able to teach others as a superlative warrior poet, painter and writer, linguist and communicator. Banned from teaching, silenced, banished, worthless. But when your origins remain unknown your skills are lauded, where prejudice has no locus.

That is Scotland today, 2022. It will not do. 

Scotland’s Nacken and gypsy traveller communities deserve apologies and a recognition that they were victims of a virtual genocide. Their contribution to Scotland, in war and in peace, is immense. It must be recognised and amends have to be made. Our country can neither heal nor prosper in the absence of that honesty.