The Declaration of Arbroath, and the Way Forward Now 196

This is my first ever attempt at a podcast. The family think it is hilariously boring, like a TV lecture from the 1950’s. I try to persuade them that being hilariously inept is vital to my charm, but that makes them laugh even more.

It is a day late due to technical incompetence on my part. There are a couple of weird cuts where the kittens knocked the camera over. Consensus here is that next time I should just film the kittens. Nadira has offered to help with my next effort, so maybe things will look up.


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196 thoughts on “The Declaration of Arbroath, and the Way Forward Now

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  • Fleur

    Thanks very much. As a non-Scots person, I learned about a piece of Scots (and world) history I had never heard of before. And as a world citizen I was very interested in your discussion re international law relating to declarations of independence. Maybe you should have that part translated and sent to Catalonia – they don’t seem to have considered the option you are recommending.

    As to your presentation skills – I do like a story simply told. People have become very sucked into “the medium as message” – instead of listening to the message itself. So long as a presenter doesn’t do things that are a total turnoff (like insulting me as viewer, or wasting my time with egotistical posturing or content that is garbage) I am quite relaxed about presentation style. Others may be too.

  • Brian Doonthetoon

    Hi Craig.

    Apologies for straying on/off topic.


    A pal of mine was phoned by Alex Salmond a wee while ago. She phoned me to post info here. (Dundee Annie.)

    The topic of the Alex Salmond Show on RT tomorrow is the Declaration of Arbroath. His guests will include Billy Kay and Sheena Wellington.

    Spread the word!

  • Jon

    Some good thoughts here Craig, I hope the video is spread far and wide. I have a suggestion for a question/discussion you might consider if you do some more.

    I’m certainly interested in UDI as an option. Of course it is going to be hard to get the SNP to go for that, but perhaps the revelations that Salmond has up his sleeve might shake things up a bit, especially if the SNP hierarchy can get some new blood.

    If the SNP can be persuaded to move on UDI, there is the thorny question of persuading the Scottish electorate that radicalism is worth a go. It may be rather too “do or die” for some tastes, and certainly it would set back the cause of independence if UDI were to fail in some fashion. The big question for me is which international states would recognise an independent Scotland, given that the UK has a powerful establishment. For example, would the European Union support it? They are well minded to poke Westminster in the eye at present, but given their support of the repression in Catalonia, I am sure which side of the fence they would fall.

    Furthermore, would international states be generally willing to give their backing publicly, given that this would be likely be met with retaliatory action behind the scenes? How could the Scottish government respond if international states gave their backing privately prior to a UDI and then failed to support it after the declaration?

    • Cubby


      Using the term UDI is both incorrect and downplays Scotlands status as a partner in a bi partite union. Ending the Treaty of Union 1707 is the correct description. Scotland is a sovereign nation that signed the Treaty it is not a region. It is not Catalonia no matter how much Britnats and their Britnat media may like to pretend it is.

      • Jon

        Good thoughts Cubby, for which thanks. I tend to use “UDI” just in the sense that it is recognised in the Scottish Independence movement, rather than specifically wanting to support those who regard Scotland as merely a region. But yes, perhaps I need to take more care over my language.

        For what it is worth, I support(ed) independence for the Catalan region too, though I did have an interesting ponderance today, which was about what should be a general criteria for supporting a secession movement?

        I think it is (1) an ability to be economically self-sufficient, and (2) a reasonable claim to a culture or customs that is distinct from the parent state. I don’t know the Catalan situation in detail but I assume it meets those criteria. But there was an interesting critique from the Spanish unionists at the time of their referendum, which was that Catalonia had become particularly economically successful, and did not wish to share the fruits of its success with wider Spain. I don’t know how true that was, but I am moderately minded to think of that as a poor reason for wanting to secede (both for Catalonia and in the general case).

        Of course, I suppose that where a parent state opposes the secession – and they nearly always do – the unionists will want it both ways. The region’s proposed secession is motivated by selfishness and wanting to keep its wealth for itself, but if it were to become a nation, it would not survive economically on its own!

        • Cubby


          A final thought for you. I don’t remember anyone saying the UK was doing a UDI when it chose to leave the EU. Why – because it had signed up to a Treaty and had decided to end the Treaty. The EU is a Union of many members but the UK is a bipartite Union of two equal members. UDI is not an appropriate term for either Scotland or England terminating the UK nor is it an appropriate term for any member state, like the UK, leaving the EU.

          UDI would be appropriate for Catalonia.

          • Jon

            Fair enough, good thoughts. I am not quibbling with your theory, but I wonder how much this makes a difference in practice. Has there been any interpretation elsewhere for the usage of the term “UDI” to be understood as lending support to unionism, in relation to the Scottish case in particular? I’ve never heard of it before.

  • James

    April 8, 2020 at 18:32
    ‘were you normally at the Edinburgh fringe about 30 years ago.’

    Cubby – have we met? Perhaps I didn’t attend many fringe events, but 32 – 35 years ago is exactly when I was at the fringe.

    I was an independence supporter back then.

    But I have now been living abroad in various different countries for the last 30 years – I have seen something of the world – and as a result I am no longer an independence supporter. But clearly you haven’t changed (whoever you are).

  • Lorna Caampbell

    I realize it is not entirely in point, Mr Murray, but I notice that you say on Twitter that you are in favour, broadly, of the GRA. I think most decent people are in broad favour of transpeople being able to be whoever they are and not have to suffer for being who they are. However, might I just point out that, if self-ID goes ahead as being legal without any kind of medical intervention (and I don’t necessarily mean surgery, just some form of medical agreement that the person in question is, in fact trans and genuine) and that the legislation itself excludes those who have not medically transitioned from partaking in women’s sports, etc., from invading hitherto exclusively female spaces) then we are going to be faced with court action after court action because, once you have made it legal for trans women who have adopted self-ID without limit, and made that legal, any attempt to restrict such people would fall foul of the sex discrimination legislation and human rights legislation.

    It could mean that self-ID trans women who have not the slightest intention of using any kind of medical intervention and remain physically male could not be excluded from any area whatsoever that is exclusively or mainly female, and that extends to areas where women have, at the moment, almost exclusive access to children. I have the greatest sympathy with those transpeople who just want to live their lives without hindrance; we all want that. However, there is a vociferous and poisonous section of the trans movement and support that has threatened and terrorised women because of their views, because they see the potential flaws and loopholes in the GRA. No one with sense believes that it would be anything other than a small minority of a small minority that would cause problems, but the way that they have approached women’s genuine concerns has been an indication of how some might react if they are not allowed full access to all and every female space, occupation, sport, etc. In other words, they show every intention of behaving like entitled men – with aggression and anti female language. The legal implications of unlimited and widespread self-ID without any obligation to seek medical advice are massive and we need to sort these out before we charge ahead with this legislation. Otherwise, I agree, broadly, with your stance.

  • Muscleguy

    Excellent Craig and not at all boring. Using the UK govt’s words against them is very good and shames Nicola Lawyer Sturgeon who should damn well know all this. She is selling us snake oil and I am not taken in.

    I hope your hint about standing in the 2021 elections is what I think it is and I look forward very, very much to having a proper choice on the List if nothing else. The SNP need a rocket under them and another proper, dedicated Indy Party is the way to do that.

    I just hope you are well enough funded to gain enough attention from enough people. That will be the hard part because you cannot trust the media, even The National, to give you any help whatsoever. So you will have to buy advertising and mailshots.

  • Daniel

    Personally I love the 1950s-TV-lecture style. The TED Talks look tedious and vacuous (and of course disingenuous) in comparison.

    One aspect I’d like to see you stress more is the argument you made when interviewed by George Galloway recently, that Scotland has had two referendums in 2014 and 2016 with contradictory results, and it’s not possible to honour both. This feels like the strongest line of defence against the tired but superficially persuasive argument: “Scotland had a referendum in 2014 and made its decision. So stop banging on about independence!” Obviously the sneaky tricks of the British establishment in the days running up to the referendum also cast doubt on the fairness of the result, as you mentioned.

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