Friday, 28 November 2008


For immediate release
Monday, November 24, 2008

Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has told housing charity Shelter which song reminds him of home

The Song that he choose was Indiana written by Highland songwriter/musician (and good friend of Rob's) Andy Mitchell.

The song was written by Andy when he was living in Ullapool. It is about the imminent return to Scotland/Ullapool of two friends of Andy who had emigrated to the USA years previously. He wrote a song to see it from their point of view.

Rob said…

"This song is the perfect encapsulation of what home means to me. It talks about people returning home, the pull of home in the face of reasons for staying elsewhere. It is about people wanting to bring up their children in their own land of roots and personal connections as opposed to material riches in a different country. It reminds us that Scotland has plenty of land and too many planning restrictions that stop Scots living in their own country."

Mr Gibson joined other MSP's and over 4,000 people in signing up to the charity’s Hometime Scotland campaign.

Shelter revealed the top song that reminds the public of home at the special handover event outside Parliament. From the 4,000 songs logged by the charity over the summer months, the number one choice was The Proclaimer’s foot stomping ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)’.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, housing and homelessness charity, made the announcement as he handed the thousands of song postcards to Nicola Sturgeon, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing.

The postcards are all in support of the charity’s Hometime Scotland campaign, which was launched in July, to ensure Scotland delivers on the internationally acclaimed 2012 homelessness target (2). Support has also been registered online at

Scottish party political leaders and other MSPs from across Scotland are among those to have told Shelter what song that reminds them of home.

Scottish singer KT Tunstall, rock band Idlewild, and DJ Calvin Harris are also among those to tell the charity what song reminds them of home. Support for the campaign has also come from Scottish folk legend, Dougie MacLean, whose song ‘Caledonia’, was in second place in the Hometime Scotland song poll.

The Proclaimers said: "We'd be the ones who'd walk 500 miles to make sure that everyone in Scotland has a home. Having a house is an inherent right for people and one they shouldn't have to fight for, or fork out more than they can afford. We're delighted to be the top Hometime Scotland song and the one that reminds people of home. It's an honour."

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “In this, the 40th year of Shelter Scotland, the Hometime Scotland campaign underlines the need to provide the unintentionally homeless with settled accommodation, which can be a base for themselves and their family.

“Homelessness is a blight on Scottish society and at odds with our ambition to build a modern, successful economy. This Government’s commitment to the homelessness 2012 target is unwavering, as are our ambitions for housing more generally.”

Shelter director Graeme Brown said: “If the 2012 homelessness target seems like 500 miles away, then we’re about 250 miles towards meeting it right now. But we need to pick up speed to travel the extra distance. Our next hurdle is the 2009/10 budget. We need to see increased cash for housing through that budget to ensure housing for all. We know times are tough just now but a home is a right, not a luxury.”


CONTACT: Christina Cran, Nicola Baxter (shelter) 0844 515 2442 (connects to out of hours)


Lyrics to Indiana
by Andy Mitchell

Fare thee well, now, Indiana, your green land has been good to me.
There I traveled, there I settled, there I raised up my family.
But the cord has never severed, and the longing each day it has grown.
So, tomorrow, I'll be leaving for the land that I call my home.

All my friends say that I'm crazy, going back to such poverty,
America is, so they say now, the land of opportunity.
But the shy hare runs so swiftly and the heron slowly flies.
These are treasures from my homeland that all your money can never buy.

As our ship lies in the harbor, I shall look back on your shore.
And I'll feel sadness that I'm leaving your green land forever more.
But as our ship lies on the ocean and each day we are out on the sea.
All the dreams I've had for years now, drawing nearer reality.

Fare-thee-well, now, Indiana, your green land has been good to me.
There I traveled, there I settled, there I raised up my family.
But the cord has never severed, and the longing each day it has grown.
So, tomorrow, I'll be leaving for the land that I call my home.

List of MSPs by region (R) or constituency (C) who showed their support for the Hometime Scotland campaign and told the charity what song reminds them of home.:

-Bashir Ahmad, SNP, Glasgow (R)
Long Live Pakistan: “When Pakistan came into being when I was aged 7, everyone was singing this song”.

-Claire Baker, Lab, Mid Scotland and Fife (R)
Kelty Clippie: “It reminds me of home because I grew up in Kelty”.

-Richard Baker, Lab, North East Scotland (R)
Alive and Kicking: “Because it’s an upbeat Scottish song that is full of optimism and confidence”.

-Sarah Boyack, Lab, Edinburgh Central (C)
Isn’t it good to be home again: “It reminds me of how nice it is to have a home”.

-Rhona Brankin, Lab, Midlothian (C)
Homeward Bound by Simon and Garfunkel: “It reminds me of being at home when my children were young.”

-Malcolm Chisholm, Lab, Edinburgh North and Leith (C)
Green green grass of home: “It’s a sad song and a bit sentimental.”

-Angela Constance, SNP, Livingston (C)
Wild Mountain Thyme: “It was the song I walked down the aisle to”.

-Rob Gibson, SNP, Highlands and Islands (R)
Indiana by Andy Mitchell (a friend of his): “It’s about people coming back home to Scotland, to where they were from, to bring up their children”.

-Karen Gillon, Lab, Clydesdale (C)
Going Home by Runrig: ”When I am away it reminds me of home, wherever that is.”

-Marlyn Glen, Lab, North East Scotland (R)
Over the Rainbow: “It reminds me of my parents.”

-Iain Gray, Lab, East Lothian (C)
“My family all originate from Leith, and Easter Road is a second home to
me, wherever I am living. So it has to be Sunshine on Leith by the Proclaimers.”

-Robin Harper, Green, Lothians (R).
Octopusses Garden in the Shade, Beatles: Possibly because it is happy (Home always was. And bright too).

-Christopher Harvie, SNP, Mid Scotland and Fife (R)
My choice would be 'The Master's song' by Robert Louis Stevenson, from 'The Master of Ballantrae', beautifully set by Vaughan Williams:

Home, home no more to me!
Whither must I wander?
Hunger my driver, I go where I must.
Rough blows the winter wind
O'er the barren moorland,
Thick drives the rain,
And my roof is in the dark.

-Patrick Harvie, Green, Glasgow (R)
Dr Who theme tune: It reminds me of home because I watch it all the time.

-Jamie Hepburn, SNP, Central Scotland (R)
Firhill for Thrills: “I support Partick Thistle Football Club.”

-Cathy Jamieson, Lab, Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley (C)
Ye banks and braes and bonnie doon: “Because it’s so near to my home.”

-James Kelly, Lab, Glasgow Rutherglen (C)
500 Miles, The Proclaimers: “It’s my kids favourite song so it reminds me of them.”

-Johann Lamont, Lab, Glasgow Pollok (C)
Sailing By: “My family are from Tiree, and when we all lived in Glasgow we would listen to this song on the radio together and it reminded us of Tiree.”

-Margo MacDonald, Ind, Lothians (R)
'My choice is John Denver's Grandma's Feather Bed. I never had a grandma with a feather bed. However, my family experienced homelessness at a time when that song was getting a lot of radio plays, and it gave me a warm, homey impression. It probably meant more to me than most because of our situation.'

-Tricia Marwick, SNP, Central Fife (C)
Our House: “Love the song, love the group.”

-Nanette Milne, Con, North East Scotland (R)
The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen: “I was born and bred there and have never got away”.

-John Park, Lab, Mid Scotland and Fife (R)
Into the Valley: “The band who sing it are from Dunfermline, and I’m from Dunfermline.”

-Alex Salmond, SNP, Gordon.
Caledonia by Dougie Maclean. “It’s the complete modern anthem of home and homecoming.”

-Tavish Scott, LD, Shetland (C)
The Norseman’s Home: “The song that reminds me of Shetland, my home. This is one of the songs sung at the Up Helly Aa fire festival held in Lerwick every January and at the smaller versions of the festival held elsewhere around Shetland. The Norseman's Home is the Viking funeral hymn sung by the guisers as they stand round the galley after they have set it alight with their flaming torches.”

-Shirley-Anne Somerville, SNP, Lothians (R)
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: “Because this song is on my baby’s mobile”.

-Jamie Stone, LD, Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (C)
Leaving Stoer: “It’s a very sad song about depopulation and eviction from the crofts and highlands.” Jamie said he will email us reason.

-Nicola Sturgeon, SNP, Glasgow Govan (C)
These Streets by Paolo Nutini: “It’s a song about homesickness”

-Jim Tolson, LD, Dunfermline West (C)
Mull of Kintyre: “The openness and beauty of Scotland”.

-Maureen Watt, SNP, North East Scotland (R)
A Cornkister, Nicky Tams (trad.): “The only song my father could sing at ceilidhs, a great North East bothy ballad”.

-David Whitton, Lab, Strathkelvin and Bearsden (C)
Scotland the Brave: “The lyrics remind me of home.”

-John Wilson, SNP, Central Scotland (R)
Flower of Scotland: “A traditional song that is sung at rugby matches and is part of the national identity.”

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