Rows of slums amid towering Victorian buildings: Glasgow lacks the classic beauty of its rival, Edinburgh. But it is a living agglomeration, with a strong working class and protest tradition and the most diverse of the Scottish “nation”. Successive waves of migrants have taken up residence there south of the River Clyde, in the district of Pollokshields, in search of refuge or work in its many factories, now almost all closed: Irish, Italians, Jews fleeing Nazi Germany, Pakistanis from the 1950s, more recently Poles and Romanians…
It is there, between a Sikh temple, a mosque and Asian shops, in this melting pot in the process of gentrification, that grew up Humza Yousaf, 38, appointed at the end of March as leader of the independence party Scottish National Party (SNP ) and Scottish First Minister, replacing Nicola Sturgeon. Of Pakistani origin, this man with the velvet eye and salt-and-pepper beard is also the first Muslim leader of a Western nation. His father arrived very young from Punjab with his parents in the 1960s for economic reasons. His mother, whose family also has origins from Punjab, was born in Kenya and had to flee at the end of the 1960s, like thousands of other Asians confronted with a climate that had become hostile.
“ Even in their wildest dreams, Muhammad Yousaf [son grand-père paternel]who worked at the Singer and Rehmat Ali Bhutta sewing machine factory [son grand-père maternel]who stamped Glasgow Corporation bus tickets would never have imagined their grandson would become Prime Minister”declared Humza Yousaf, moved, on March 27, at the announcement of the result of the vote of the members of the SNP.
The next day, this politician with impeccable suits, follower of tartan ties and fan of Celtic Glasgow, a football club with strong Irish Catholic roots, was confirmed First Minister by a comfortable majority by the members of Holyrood, the Scottish regional parliament. In the stands, his family was complete, radiant: his father, traditional beard collar; his mother, wearing a discreet pale veil; his two sisters; his wife, Nadia El-Nakla, an SNP councilor in Dundee (100 kilometers north of Edinburgh), and their 3-year-old daughter, who was struggling to sit still. All then spent the evening at Bute House, the beautiful Georgian hotel that has become the official residence of Scottish Prime Ministers in Edinburgh, where the family broke their Ramadan fast.
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