Nicola Sturgeon’s family roots are in Sunderland
Nicola Sturgeon’s family has roots in the North East of England, highlighting the close-knit relationship the area has with its neighbours north of the border. But will the region benefit from the rise of Scotland’s first minister and the SNP or will it be overshadowed?
Arthur Street, Ryhope, Sunderland, was once home to Sturgeon’s great-grandfather, shipwright Joseph Mills. His daughter Margaret married Robert Sturgeon, a gardener from Ayr, in 1943. She went on to become the grandmother of the SNP leader and the family eventually moved back to the south west of Scotland, where the now-first minister was born in 1970.
Sunderland, like many parts of Scotland, is steeped in industrial heritage, and Nicola Sturgeon’s family roots in the north east of England simply reinforces the idea that these two parts of the UK share many cultural and historical ties.
But the rise of the Scottish National Party north of the border has left many in the North East and Cumbria questioning the region’s future relationship with Scotland. “The North East shares a lot in common with Scotland and there’s a common cause to be made with our neighbours,” says Jonathan Blackie, a visiting professor at Northumberland University. “But given the current political situation it’s difficult to see how we can thrive by working together, when there are so many things pulling us apart.” The new political situation that he refers to is to the SNP now having 56 MPs at Westminster.
David Cameron has also said he will devolve more powers to the Scottish Parliament as recommended by the Smith Commission, which makes those living on the border nervous. “Nicola Sturgeon has played a blinder, she’s put Scotland in a position where it can’t get loose,” says Rob Johnston, the chief executive of the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce. “It’s not the number of SNP MPs, it’s the fact that Scotland is now speaking with one voice. “They can attract money and investment north of the border and that presents a real challenge for Cumbria.”
In the Scottish Independence referendum 67% of people in the Scottish Borders constituency voted to maintain the Union, making it an area that many thought the SNP would find hard to break through in at the general election.
The Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk constituency MSP, which sits North of Northumberland said: “I actually think there are many parallels between what I want for the South of Scotland to what people in the North of England want. They want their voices to be heard and they want powers to make a difference to their region. If I can build a distinctive voice for the South of Scotland, people in the North of England should support that, and in fact work with me because they will also feel the benefits.”
To the south of Calum Kerr’s constituency sits Northumberland, the English county with the highest number of castles, a lasting testament to the fractious historical relationship that the north of England has had with its Scottish neighbours. The differences on the border are no longer territorial, but the rise of the SNP is certainly creating new political and economic tensions. (BBC 2015)
Comment: Innuendo appears innocuous and the underlying intent needs only to be implied to be effective but for the life of me I cannot fathom the purpose of the article. Perhaps others can.