2007 - 2022

The Cause: Independence and Identity

In late 2012, Writer and Broadcaster Billy Kay produced and presented a major series for  BBC Radio Scotland on the history of Scottish nationalism.  It ranged from the identity forged in the Wars of  Independence, through the radicalism of the 19th century, to the dramatic transformation of the SNP from a small, marginalised “sect” to a dynamic political machine capable of  winning two elections and a referendum.

As we approach that momentous decision, Billy talks about his and the country’s national identity, illustrated with oral history, literature and music from his ground breaking series.  The debate so far has been dominated by the economy. This presentation will focus on the role of culture and identity in the way people may vote, the heart rather than the head as expressed in the words of Billy’s fellow Ayrshireman, Robert Burns.

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  1. Alex Buchan says:

    No doubt Shirley Williams would have understood why it so important not to dwell on the bravery of the Bruce women.

  2. Alex Buchan says:

    That was probably the most persuasive video presentation for a yes vote I’ve seen.

  3. Wonderful – many thanks.

  4. smiling vulture says:


  5. Morag says:

    Just spent my lunch hour listening to that. Thank you so much for posting it.

  6. A moving and eloquent treatise on why Scotland should be an independent country!

  7. wanvote says:

    What a great presentation. Fascinating stuff indeed, showing Scottish identity and nationalism in a whole new light (to me anyway) It’s like finding another missing piece of a giant jigsaw. Thanks, Bella !

  8. beirneach says:

    Although I enjoyed this lecture as I took quite a lot from it I was disappointed that after a one hour talk on Scottish identity and independence the speaker did not once mention the other ‘Scottish language’ Gaidhlig. As a visiter to Scotland I spent most of my time in the Highlands and Islands where the culture is quite different to the one Billy describes. I was fascinated with this insight but as I have already stated disappointed that great writers and supporters of independence such as Somhairle Mac Giolla Iain were not included (the one time greatest living poet according to Séamas Heaney).

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