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Edinburgh Yes Hub

           March 20

 

Declaration 700 Celebration                              Arbroath, April 4

 

The Declaration       April 6 -8

 

Anything to Declare    Arbroath, April 30

 

St Andrew’s Society Banquet 

New York        

                            

Library of Congress  Washington DC

 

 

 

Edinburgh Yes Hub   Lasswade Rd   Edinburgh   Friday, March 20.

 

An Evening with João & Billy Kay

 

João will talk about Scotland and Europe from the perspective of an EU citizen living in Scotland since 1979. Billy will talk about Scottish identity, politics, language & literature as well as the incredible global influence of the Scottish diaspora – subjects covered in his seminal works The Scottish World and Scots The Mither Tongue which will be available on the night.

 

Maria João Kay: Maria João Kay is a retired modern languages teacher who has lived in Scotland since 1979.  She has been involved in bringing attention to the plight of continental EU citizens in the UK since 2017.

 

“2016 brought a rude awakening to EU citizens, like me, who lived in the UK. Since then we have been trying to understand what happened and why we were being told we were not wanted anymore. Nicola Sturgeon’s words on the morning of 23rd of June acted like a balm and provided a glimmer of hope and dignity.  I wasn’t surprised by them, but friends in other parts of the UK were. From that time on I have tried to analyse how Scotland could be a force for good not only toward other countries of the UK, but also toward the rest of Europe. I will be speaking mainly of my experience as a continental EU citizen in Scotland but will also cover the experience of fellow EU citizens in the UK. I will also expand on what I have learned about Scotland and her historic connections with Europe, especially my native Portugal. “

 

Click here to register for the event:

 

https://www.edinburghyeshub.info/events/billy-and-joao-kay

 

 

DECLARATION 700 CELEBRATION   Webster Theatre Arbroath Apri 4.

 

This will be a great night celebrating a greatr event in Scottish history

 

Delighted to join people like: Breabach winners of Scottish Folk Band of the Year and Live Act of the Year. Steve Byrne - 2019 Scots Singer of the Year. Sheena Wellington - Traditional Music Hall of Fame, superb singer fae Dundee. Dr Donald Smith - Director of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival. Edinburgh-based artist Andrew Redmond Barr will introduce his new book, The Illustrated Declaration of Arbroath. The host for the evening will be columnist and broadcaster Alistair Heather, from Newbigging.

 

https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/arbroath/the-webster-memorial-theatre/declaration-700-celebration-music-song-and-stories/e-lrxxga

 

 

The Declaration                                                           April 6 – 8

 

THE DECLARATION  BBC Radio Scotland April 6 – 8 at 13.32.  Then on the iPlayer for 30 days.      

 

For the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, Billy Kay presents a major series on one of the most iconic moments in Scottish and world history, when the nobles, barons, freeholders and the whole community of the realm of Scotland felt compelled to create the document in 1320. Composed originally in elegant Latin prose it is addressed to Pope John XXII in Avignon who is asked by the Scots to support the cause of  their nation’s independence in the face of an overweening, bullying English neighbour. In doing this, it pulls at the heart strings of patriots around the world.

 

“For, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”

 

Even more revolutionary is the Deposition Clause where they state that sovereignty lies with the Scottish people, and they can depose any King who refuses to defend their status as an independent nation. At a time when most believed in the concept of the Divine Right of Kings, this precociously democratic sounding rhetoric is quite remarkable:

 

Yet if he should give up what he has begun, seeking to make us or our kingdom subject to the king of England or the English, we would strive at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own right and ours, and we would make some other man who was able to defend us our king.

 

In the series these famous passages  are read by none other than actor Brian Cox, recent winner of the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Televison Series, and a passionate believer in Scottish independence himself. Brian and Billy met and became friends when they both spoke at an arabs for indy event in a Dundee United supporters club before a match at Tannadice in 2014!

 

The Declaration of Arbroath was one of the first statements in history defining national sovereignty and it has had a profound influence at home and abroad ever since. In his book ‘For Freedom Alone’, Edward J. Cowan describes it as “The first national or governmental expression in all of Europe, of the principle of the contractual theory of monarchy which lies at the root of modern constitutionalism”.

 

The Declaration’s international dimension is celebrated throughout the series, with e.g. Ian Forrester, the UK’s last Judge in the General Court of the EU, talking about it in relation to Scotland’s place in European history. Historian Rebecca Wills tells a remarkable story about hiking with her family in the Caucasus Mountains and  her astonishment on hearing the Declaration declaimed in Russian by a Georgian border guard. The possible influence of the Scottish  Declaration on the American Declaration of  Independence will also be explored with Billy recording the feelings of Scottish Americans on the subject in New York on Tartan Day.  U.S. Senate Resolution 155, of March 20, 1998 states:

 

“April 6 has a special significance for all Americans, and especially those Americans of Scottish descent, because the Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of  Independence, was signed on April 6, 1320 and the American Declaration of Independence was modeled on that inspirational document.”   

 

While there is no direct evidence of this being the case, Billy will outline  substantial circumstantial evidence which suggests that the two documents were connected through the influence there of the Scottish Enlightenment. James Boswell e.g.  quoted from it in his writing about the Corsican freedom fighter, Pasquale Paoli – a book which enjoyed great acclaim in the colonies before the American War of Independence. Boswell was fascinated by the Declaration. In the university library in Leipzig during the Grand Tour, he comes across a copy of the Declaration and regales astonished scholars: 

 

“They were struck with the noble sentiments, at the liberty of the old Scots and they expressed their regret at the shameful Union. I felt too, patriot sorrow -  o infamous rascals who sold the honour of your country to a nation against which our ancestors supported themselves  with so much glory! But I say no more but only,  alas, poor Scotland! “                

 

This is surprising, as Boswell is often regarded as an arch Unionist and Anglophile  in 18th century Scotland, but like many Scots of the period he was obviously conflicted in his dual identity! There will be other surprises in the series! What is the tie e.g. that links Hugh MacDiarmid, the Declaration of Arbroath and the African American leader Malcolm X? Tune in to programme 3, The Abbey of Arbroath, to find out. There we will also meet the bairns of Hayshead Primary School in Arbroath who are asked to create their own version of the Declaration by none other than King Robert the Bruce himself.

 

For the series, Billy spoke to Jim Lynch, the former editor of the Scots Independent and recorded his memories of the 650th Anniversary celebrations in Arbroath, where an SNP march to the Abbey was heckled by a small but vocal gathering organised by the ultra  loyalist and unionist, Pastor Jack Glass! It was presumably the fact that the Declaration was addressed to the Pope that riled the good Pastor’s protestant boys, for they chanted “No Popery, No Popery” as the Nationalists passed!  An element of déja vu there perhaps!

 

 Interviewing major historians and cultural commentators today, Kay will examine the role of  the Declaration in the creation of a modern Scottish identity, which today is often polarised into Nationalist and Unionist camps.The hope is that as far as the Declaration is concerned, the admiration and love for it can extend to every Scot. In the words of the writer, Alexander McCall Smith “I don’t think recognising the Declaration of Arbroath for what it is, as  this great heart felt plea, doesn’t necessarily mean that one goes down any particular political road – obviously it is a very very powerful Declaration in that sense, but it’s a declaration for all people.” Two academics from Glasgow University however sum up beautifully the relevance of the Declaration present and past:

 

Murray Pittock:  It’s championed by people who want to see an independent Scotland and it’s rubbished or minimised by people who don’t! So I think the Declaration suffers today, I think it’s got a high profile, because it seems to be a pro Independence document – and I think frankly it is a pro Independence document, very hard to see it’s anything else - but at the same time it suffers because there is this huge division in today’s Scotland along the lines of Nationalism and Unionism.

 

Dauvit Broun:  “It is a political document, and it should remind people of what can not be denied, which is that Scotland was an independent kingdom and there was a moment in its history where that had to be asserted. It’s about Scotland as an independent kingdom in a Europe of independent kingdoms – that is what it’s all about. As a powerful statement with eventually a European reputation of a kingdom’s independence within a Europe of kingdoms, you don’t need much imagination to see how that resonates today.

 


Anything to Declare?

The meaning and Legacy of the Declaration of Arbroath    

Webster Memorial Theatre, Arbroath Thursday 30th April 2020 at 7:30PM

 

I will be discussing the Declaration of Arbroath in the company of author Sara Sheridan and Professor Hector MacQueen of Edinburgh University.

 

This is a free event organised by Historical Environment Scotland. To register click here:

 

https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/64-high-street/the-webster-memorial-theatre/anything-to-declare-the-meaning-and-legacy-of-the-declaration-of-arbroath/e-bmabqe

 

 

St ANDREW’S SOCIETY OF NEW YORK  ANNUAL BANQUET

The Universities Club Manhattan   November 22, 2019    

 

It was a privilege and a pleasure to address such a prestigious Society. Here is an article about what was a very special occasion for the Kay family.

 

https://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/in-living-color/

 

Mike Alexander did this fine piece about it in the Dundee Courier:

https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/dundee/1008544/newports-billy-kay-touched-and-honoured-to-receive-prestigious-scottish-american-cultural-award-in-new-york/

 

 

 

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS  Washington DC February 21st  JAMES HOGG SYMPOSIUM

 

I was  delighted to contribute to the James Hogg Symposium in Washington DC along with Valentina Bold, Sheena Wellington and Adrian Hunter from Scotland and Nancy Groce from the American Folklife Centre – a great promoter of Scotish culture in America.

 

https://www.loc.gov/folklife/Symposia/hogg/schedule.html

 

THE DECLARATION  BBC Radio Scotland April 6 – 8 at 13.32.  Then on the iPlayer for 30 days.      

 

For the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, Billy Kay presents a major series on one of the most iconic moments in Scottish and world history, when the nobles, barons, freeholders and the whole community of the realm of Scotland felt compelled to create the document in 1320. Composed originally in elegant Latin prose it is addressed to Pope John XXII in Avignon who is asked by the Scots to support the cause of  their nation’s independence in the face of an overweening, bullying English neighbour. In doing this, it pulls at the heart strings of patriots around the world.

 

“For, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”

 

Even more revolutionary is the Deposition Clause where they state that sovereignty lies with the Scottish people, and they can depose any King who refuses to defend their status as an independent nation. At a time when most believed in the concept of the Divine Right of Kings, this precociously democratic sounding rhetoric is quite remarkable:

 

Yet if he should give up what he has begun, seeking to make us or our kingdom subject to the king of England or the English, we would strive at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own right and ours, and we would make some other man who was able to defend us our king.

 

In the series these famous passages  are read by none other than actor Brian Cox, recent winner of the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Televison Series, and a passionate believer in Scottish independence himself. Brian and Billy met and became friends when they both spoke at an arabs for indy event in a Dundee United supporters club before a match at Tannadice in 2014!

 

The Declaration of Arbroath was one of the first statements in history defining national sovereignty and it has had a profound influence at home and abroad ever since. In his book ‘For Freedom Alone’, Edward J. Cowan describes it as “The first national or governmental expression in all of Europe, of the principle of the contractual theory of monarchy which lies at the root of modern constitutionalism”.

 

The Declaration’s international dimension is celebrated throughout the series, with e.g. Ian Forrester, the UK’s last Judge in the General Court of the EU, talking about it in relation to Scotland’s place in European history. Historian Rebecca Wills tells a remarkable story about hiking with her family in the Caucasus Mountains and  her astonishment on hearing the Declaration declaimed in Russian by a Georgian border guard. The possible influence of the Scottish  Declaration on the American Declaration of  Independence will also be explored with Billy recording the feelings of Scottish Americans on the subject in New York on Tartan Day.  U.S. Senate Resolution 155, of March 20, 1998 states:

 

“April 6 has a special significance for all Americans, and especially those Americans of Scottish descent, because the Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of  Independence, was signed on April 6, 1320 and the American Declaration of Independence was modeled on that inspirational document.”   

 

While there is no direct evidence of this being the case, Billy will outline  substantial circumstantial evidence which suggests that the two documents were connected through the influence there of the Scottish Enlightenment. James Boswell e.g.  quoted from it in his writing about the Corsican freedom fighter, Pasquale Paoli – a book which enjoyed great acclaim in the colonies before the American War of Independence. Boswell was fascinated by the Declaration. In the university library in Leipzig during the Grand Tour, he comes across a copy of the Declaration and regales astonished scholars: 

 

“They were struck with the noble sentiments, at the liberty of the old Scots and they expressed their regret at the shameful Union. I felt too, patriot sorrow -  o infamous rascals who sold the honour of your country to a nation against which our ancestors supported themselves  with so much glory! But I say no more but only,  alas, poor Scotland! “                

 

This is surprising, as Boswell is often regarded as an arch Unionist and Anglophile  in 18th century Scotland, but like many Scots of the period he was obviously conflicted in his dual identity! There will be other surprises in the series! What is the tie e.g. that links Hugh MacDiarmid, the Declaration of Arbroath and the African American leader Malcolm X? Tune in to programme 3, The Abbey of Arbroath, to find out. There we will also meet the bairns of Hayshead Primary School in Arbroath who are asked to create their own version of the Declaration by none other than King Robert the Bruce himself.

 

For the series, Billy spoke to Jim Lynch, the former editor of the Scots Independent and recorded his memories of the 650th Anniversary celebrations in Arbroath, where an SNP march to the Abbey was heckled by a small but vocal gathering organised by the ultra  loyalist and unionist, Pastor Jack Glass! It was presumably the fact that the Declaration was addressed to the Pope that riled the good Pastor’s protestant boys, for they chanted “No Popery, No Popery” as the Nationalists passed!  An element of déja vu there perhaps!

 

 Interviewing major historians and cultural commentators today, Kay will examine the role of  the Declaration in the creation of a modern Scottish identity, which today is often polarised into Nationalist and Unionist camps.The hope is that as far as the Declaration is concerned, the admiration and love for it can extend to every Scot. In the words of the writer, Alexander McCall Smith “I don’t think recognising the Declaration of Arbroath for what it is, as  this great heart felt plea, doesn’t necessarily mean that one goes down any particular political road – obviously it is a very very powerful Declaration in that sense, but it’s a declaration for all people.” Two academics from Glasgow University however sum up beautifully the relevance of the Declaration present and past:

 

Murray Pittock:  It’s championed by people who want to see an independent Scotland and it’s rubbished or minimised by people who don’t! So I think the Declaration suffers today, I think it’s got a high profile, because it seems to be a pro Independence document – and I think frankly it is a pro Independence document, very hard to see it’s anything else - but at the same time it suffers because there is this huge division in today’s Scotland along the lines of Nationalism and Unionism.

 

Dauvit Broun:  “It is a political document, and it should remind people of what can not be denied, which is that Scotland was an independent kingdom and there was a moment in its history where that had to be asserted. It’s about Scotland as an independent kingdom in a Europe of independent kingdoms – that is what it’s all about. As a powerful statement with eventually a European reputation of a kingdom’s independence within a Europe of kingdoms, you don’t need much imagination to see how that resonates today.