Getting to Know You - Miles Briggs
Scottish Conservative MSP Miles Briggs tells Liam Kirkaldy about time travel, his earliest memories and the greatest pain he has ever experienced
Image credit: Holyrood
What’s your earliest memory?
It’s probably a Christmas memory. I have quite a big family and every Christmas we would get together – my earliest memories are of it being hectic at my grandparents’ house. One tradition we had was making a giant cracker for the kids to all stand under.
What was in the cracker?
I don’t remember but my sister says it was little Wade animals. Apparently back in the day they were quite fashionable. You would get a Christmas cracker with a little Wade dog, or penguin, or whatever. That was standard – it wasn’t the rubbish you get today, which people bin. Apparently they’re collectable now.
But would they pull it and everything would come out?
Yeah, but there would be around nine of us underneath, all of different ages. To be honest that may not be my earliest memory but it’s all I can think of. I’d have been around four, maybe. You know when people say they can remember stuff from when they’re really young? I don’t really. I think you maybe block out stuff.
Can you remember what you were like at school?
I would say fun but focused.
That’s a politician’s answer.
[laughs] Yes, that totally is a politician’s answer. You would probably have to ask people I was at school with. I knew how to have fun but I was also trying to get through school. I still have a lot of school friends though…
What would they say?
Well we had a yearbook and I hadn’t remembered this but I actually met up with someone over Christmas and they told me we did this ‘most likely to be’ thing. I was named most likely to be a politician and also most likely to be a prostitute after leaving school. Read into that what you like.
How many options did they have to choose from?
There were lots of options. Everyone had to be something, the school voted on it, and for some reason I was labelled with those two. Luckily the first one has been the road I have pursued in life.
What was their reasoning?
We all had to vote on where people would be in the future – there was about 50 things and everyone had to be given something. I was interested in politics so I got labelled with that. God knows why the others… Other people were things like sportsmen.
Maybe it’s just because the two ‘P’s were next to each other
Maybe it’s how people view the world of politics.
It is the oldest profession isn’t it?
Politics and prostitution.
Could we move on? This isn’t really meant to be an interview on politics and prostitution. Who would you have at your dream dinner party?
I’d have David Attenborough, though I think everyone would have David Attenborough. Then Emma Thompson was one that I think would be really nice to have dinner with, she’s always seemed like a really interesting lady, so she would be on my alive list of guests.
In terms of dead people, I would have Elvis.
What age of Elvis?
A young Elvis I think, or before he was at his peak anyway. Then JFK would be my political one.
Do you think they would all get on?
They would be four interesting people, with different backgrounds. You could go right back and say Julius Caesar but I am not sure he would totally get what David Attenborough’s been doing.
What’s your most treasured possession?
I would say photos. They’re quite important to me and I have a load of them [gestures around room]. For my sisters too, our mum died of cancer when I was seven, and so those photos especially are important to me. I’d say that if my house was on fire I would grab those first.
That should be everyone’s New Year’s resolution actually – to make more copies of photos, off their phone in case something happens and they’re lost somewhere.
What do you dislike most about your appearance?
My ears, but it’s a real family trait – Big ears. It’s a Briggs thing, which I get from my dad’s side, it doesn’t breed out for some reason.
There’s nothing wrong with your ears.
Well no one’s ever said I should pin them back or anything, but someone told me that as you get older your ears and nose keep growing. But I don’t get too self-conscious about these things.
If you could go back in time where and when would you go?
I would say Roman times. I went to Rome in the summer and to go back to when it was at its height – when the colosseum was actually being used – I would want to go to Roman times.
How do you think you would fare in Roman times?
I’m not quite sure… I met someone at a Conservative function who said that Briggs must have been Brigantian, which is a Roman soldier. I haven’t actually researched it since that drinks thing but I thought I must have ancient Roman [roots]. So hopefully I would get on ok.
You don’t have concerns about ending up in the Colosseum?
The training and educational stuff was more what I had in mind, rather than lion fighting. I am not sure the lion fighting would go well.
It’s good that you recognise that.
But I was thinking it would be amazing to see the aqueducts and all that stuff operational. Also Scotland has lots of interesting Roman parts.
You should have invited Julius Caesar to your dinner party.
He wasn’t on my list and I think I would rather have Elvis. I’m not that historical.
No. What’s the worst pain you’ve ever experienced?
We were at my grandparents having lunch as kids and I think we were playing chase, and one of my cousins chased me and I ran into a greenhouse.
You ran through a pane of glass?
Yeah, I have a Harry Potter scar here [points at forehead] from a piece of glass and a weird bit on my nose where a bit of metal chipped the bone. All the adults were having lunch and I wandered in – I had been wearing a yellow t-shirt and some shorts – dripping blood, like there’d been some sort of massacre.
Was there a young Miles Briggs-shaped hole in the glass?
The whole pane smashed. I don’t think my grandad ever replaced that glass. He was probably worried I’d come back and do it again. I don’t remember it being particularly painful though, I more remember walking in, dripping with blood, into the dining room. I was probably four or five.
What book did you last read?
To be completely honest it was the Minecraft annual.
Miles that’s not a book.
It was the last one I read, with my nephews. It was just what was to hand. My last book was ‘This is Going to Hurt’ by Adam Kay – the diary of a junior doctor. It was really good.
Did you read that because you have the health brief?
A bit of both – it was in the bestsellers list and I thought it would be good. It was a real eye-opener. That was the last book I read before the Minecraft annual.
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