Poet and Weaver
dullness stands for modest merit,
And impudence for manly spirit;
To ken what worth each does inherit,
Just to try the bottle;
Send round the glass, and dinna spare it,
Ye’ll see their mettle.
the gods but grant my wish,
My constant prayer would be for this:
That love sincere, with health and peace,
My lot they’d clink in,
With now and then the social joys
O’ friendly drinkin’.
Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher: English Politician, Prime Minister
pride of the Scottish office – whose very structure added a layer of
bureaucracy, standing in the way of the very reforms which were paying
such dividends in England – was that public expenditure per head in
Scotland was far higher than in England… If it [the Conservative Party]
sometimes seems English to some Scots that is because the Union is
dominated by England by reason of its greater population.
Downing Street Years 1993)
practice the left, not the right, had held on to the levers of power. It
had its arguments voiced by both Catholic and Protestant churches and
parroted in the media – hardly any Scottish newspapers supported us and
the electronic media were largely hostile.
(The Downing Street Years 1996)
(Sandi) Thom: Singer and Songwriter
are a lot of parts of Scotland still largely untouched and not ruined by
industrialism. Parts of the country retain their beauty but, at the same
time, the cities are brimming with culture. Edinburgh’s a fantastic
city, as are Glasgow and Aberdeen.
Thomson (BV) (1834 - 1882): Poet
Give a man a pipe he can smoke
Give a man a book he can read;
And his home is bright with a calm delight,
Though the rooms be poor indeed.
(Sunday Up The River)
life is but a dream whose shapes return,
Some frequently, some seldom, some by night
And some by day, some night and day: we learn,
The while all change and many vanish quite,
In their recurrence with recurrent changes
A certain seeming order; where this ranges
We count things real; such is memory’s night.
of Dreadful Night, Canto 1)
English Award Winning Writer and Journalist
extraordinary ramifications [of the Declaration of Scottish
Independence, Arbroath 6 April 1320] had been felt down the centuries,
inspiring other great political milestones such as the American
Declaration of Independence. For in asserting the right to remove their
monarch if he sold them out, the Scots were effectively the first in
European history formally to question the divine right of kings – and,
by implication, the ‘divine right’ of anyone else to use God as an
excuse to violate their freedom. It was a blow against fundamentalism
centuries before the Enlightenment.
Caledonia – Boat-hitching for the Unenlightened 2006)
not a dress rehearsal. Enjoy it [life].
Author and Historian
There is a
great danger of people taking their history from the media.
Traynor: Journalist and Broadcaster
to be Scottish.
after Scotland’s 3-1 victory over Ukraine (Euro 2008 qualifying game) Radio
Scotland 13 October 2007)
a terrific little country, it really is. But you know something, it
would be 100 times better if there weren’t so many depressing Holy
Willies in the place. Scotland is overrun by people who live to revel in
the demise and misery of others.
Record 10 March 2008)
American Businessman, Television Personality and Author
this land is special. I think that Scotland is special.
mother’s former home at Tung on Lewis 9 June 2008)
Scotland has an in-built sound system that never stops thumping. Music
runs deep and I like to think of all the great songs and voices that
have come out of the country, and all the music that is yet to come.
John Hoyer Updike (1932 - 2009): American
Novelist, Short Story Writer and Poet
Scotland seemed at a glance
ancient, raw, grimy, lush, mysterious and mannerly…Lost causes abounded.
(Bech is Back 1983)
Rock Musician and Songwriter
school. I got distracted too easily.
Alexander Ustinov (1921-2004): English Actor, Writer and Dramatist
Edinburgh to me always seems like a Scandinavian Capital. It’s very
different from England and very refreshing.
Jack Vettriano (born Jack Hogan): Artist
myself because I am available and I am the cheapest model I know.
Victoria (1819-1901): English Queen (1837-1901)
The solitude, the romance and wild
loveliness of everything here [The Trossachs], the absence of hotels and
beggars, the independent simple people, who all speak Gaelic here, all
make beloved Scotland the proudest, finest country in the world. Then
there is that beautiful heather, which you do not see elsewhere. I
prefer it greatly to Switzerland, magnificent and glorious as the
scenery of that country is.
(Highland Journal 2 September
We were always
in the habit of conversing with the Highlanders… The Prince highly
appreciated the good-breeding, simplicity, and intelligence which make
it so pleasant, and even instructive to talk to them.
of Edinburgh from the road before you enter Leith is quite enchanting;
it is, as Albert said, “Fairy-like”.
Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet)
(1694-1778): French Writer and Philosopher
We look to Scotland for all our
ideas of civilisation.
William Wallace (c1270 - 1305): Guardian of Scotland
was a lad in charge of my uncle the Priest of Dunipace one proverb
more precious than all the riches of the world he taught me which
has ever lived in my memory :-
Dico tibi verum; Libertas optima rerum
Nunquam servili sub nesu, vivito fili!
My son, I tell thee soothfastlie
No gift is like to liberty.
Then never live in slaverie.
attributed to Sir William Wallace – John of Fordun)
I have brought you to the ring and now you must
(To the Scottish army after the Battle of Falkirk 22
To Edward, King of England, I
cannot be a traitor. I owe him no allegiance; he is not my
sovereign; he never received my homage; and, whilst life is in his
persecuted body, he never shall receive it.
(speech at his Mock Trial in London,
(Horace) Walpole, 4th Earl of Oxford (1717-1797): English
Politician, Writer and Architectural Innovator
[HRH William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland], who had conquered the Scotch
like an able general, who had punished them like an offended prince, and
whose resentments were not softened by the implacability of their hatred
to him, was not a little disgusted at seeing measures of favour to them
(Opposition to the Annexing Bill 1752)
Walpole, like the ‘Butcher’ was opposed to the Annexing Bill which aimed to
effect ‘promoting amongst [Highlanders] the protestant religion, good
government, industry and manufacturers, and principles of duty and loyalty
to his majesty [King George II], his heirs and successors’. The Duke of
Cumberland thought the measures smacked of molly coddling rebels.
Nora Townsend Warner (1893-1978): English Novelist and Poet
often I did it (I have not done it often enough) I could never lose the
excitement of seeing SCOTLAND declaimed on the road-sign, and the little
white line, no wider than a hair-ribbon, painted across the road. It is
an astonishing frontier, for, as Valentine [Ackland] said, it is not
only the frontier between England and Scotland but the frontier between
England and a province of France.
Marchette Clune 9 October 1953)
George Washington (1732-1799):
American Farmer, Soldier, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army,
Politician and 1st President of the United states of America
all else fails, I will retreat up the Valley of the Virginia, plant my
flag on the Blue Ridge, rally around the Scots and Irish of that region,
and make my last stand for liberty amongst a people who will never
submit to British tyranny whilst there is a man left to draw a trigger.
Watson: Historian, Author and Broadcaster
Scottish history won’t be a separate Higher. It’s important that it’s seen
as part of the rest of history and that other important aspects are given
their due place. But making sure that every Scottish school pupil gets some
Scottish History will help us develop a sense of realism about our past and
ourselves without developing a “little Scotlander” mentality. Scottish
history has perhaps suffered from being the preserve of nationalists – but
if everyone is taught some at school, then it will belong to us all.
Post 25 November 2007)
(Kirstie) Watt, ‘Piper’s Kitta’ (1833-1923): Fishwife and Servant
As a subjugated
Scot I could sympathise, for a handful of greedy blockhead peers should
never have had the power to vote to sell an independent minded nation
for English gold.
Watt Papers – David Fraser 1988)
Folksinger and Songwriter
a Kelty clippie, she’ll no tak’ nae advice
It’s, Ach drap deid or Ah’ll bile yer heid or Ah’ll punch yer ticket
Her faither’s jist a waster, her mither’s oan the game
She’s just a Kelty clippie but I love her just the same.
(The Kelty Clippie)
Politician, Teacher, Oil Industry Personnel Manager, Scottish Parliament
Minister for Schools and Skills
don’t teach all our young people properly about the history and current
context of their country and society, the vacuum will be filled instead
with the often misguided imagery of Hollywood.
(30 January 2008)
(Molly) Weir (1910-2004): Actress and Author
was a wee girl [in Glasgow] if you said that something looked
‘hand-made’ it was the greatest insult you could hurl at the disparaged
article. To be exactly the same as everyone else was the look that was
coveted, and great was the anguish suffered by children whose mothers
had to make do and mend from anything which came to hand.
For Sunday 1970)
mere whisper of ‘fever’, that infant scourge, sent our mothers sick with
dread. With twelve families to a close, infection could spread like
wildfire, and the sight of the fever van struck a chill into our hearts.
But curiosity among us children was always stronger than fear and we
would gather on the pavement to catch a glimpse of a swathed figure on
its way through the close to the ambulance, and shudder with relief that
it wasn’t one of us on the stretcher.
for Sunday 1970)
(Tom) Weir (1914-2006): Climber, Explorer, Naturalist, Author and
had the good fortune to have spent decades travelling the Borders,
Highlands and Islands at all heights and seasons, I am in the position,
I think, to make comparisons with other countries. The only thing I am
disappointed in is that we don’t run our own affairs as does Norway. We
have the resources, and history shows we have the people. England has
its own problems for its fifty million or so to contend with. With only
five million Scots we can manage ours, and I think the same goes for
Wales. I hope I shall live long enough to see it happen, and another age
of enlightenment dawn.
World – An Autobiography of Sorts 1994)
Climbing can never be a safe activity, for the more proficient you are,
the harder you climb, trying to find your limit. Without the danger
element that brings out your best, there is not the same exhilaration,
and that is the drug factor in what is too dangerous a sport to exercise
World – An Autobiography of Sorts 1994)
of long life is always be doing something you enjoy.
(Scots Independent February 2005)
Welsh: Novelist, Playwright and Screenwriter
not a person that is party political. And as somebody who lives outside
Scotland I don’t think it is appropriate to suggest to people who they
should vote for. But I am passionate about my country and am tired of
listening to politicians talking us down. I personally believe that Alex
Salmond is the best person to take Scotland forward.
particular, the arts policies he has put forward are an overdue and
welcome investment in Scotland’s wealth of artistic talent and will make
a real difference to grassroots artists.
Louise Welsh: Author
(The Cutting Room 2002)
French Football Manager
feel sorry for Scotland because they had been a credit to their
country…You need one exceptional player because they have a good
Scotland’s narrow failure to qualify for Euro 2008 following defeat to World
Champions Italy 19 November 2007)
Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (1854-1900):
Irish Playwright, Poet, Novelist and Short Story Writer
I wish you
were in Edinboro’ with me – it is quite lovely – bits of it.
(Letter to E W
Godwin 17 December 1884)
Gordon M Williams: Novelist and Journalist
was the greatest thing he [Dunky] could imagine in the whole world,
being picked against England – he’d die for Scotland.
(From Scenes Like These 1968)
Williamson (1937-1990): Folksinger and Songwriter
of Scotland, when will we see your like again,
That ought and died for, your wee bit hill and glen.
And stood against him, proud Edward’s army
And sent him homewards tae think again
are past now, and in the past they must remain.
But we can still rise now and be the nation again
That stood against him, proud Edward’s army
And sent him homeward tae think again.
(Flower of Scotland)
‘Purlie’ Wilson (1760-1820): Weaver and Radical Activist; Executed for
his part in The 1820 Rising
glad to hear that my countrymen are resolved to act like men. We are
seeking nothing but the rights of our forefathers – liberty is not
worth having, if it is not worth fighting for.
Prince Andrew Albert Christian Edward Windsor, Duke of York, Earl of
Inverness and Baron Killyleagh:
English Royal Navy helicopter Pilot; UK’s Special Representative for
International Trade and Investment
month has seen the 300th anniversary of the union of the
parliaments while at the same time the [Scottish] election [3 May 2007]
has rattled the timbers of the concept of union.
the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 19 May 2007)
Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924):
American, Twenty-Eighth President of the USA
Every line of strength in American
history is a line coloured with Scottish blood.
Frank Wise: English Footballer, Internationalist (21 caps), Manager and
Director of Football (Newcastle)
[Mark Hughes] is Welsh and there is nothing the Welsh, Irish and Scots
like better than to see England beaten at anything.
Wise - the autobiography 1999)
Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (1881-1979): English Humorous Writer
It is never difficult to
distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.
(Blandings Castle and Elsewhere
(born Gwendoline Meacham) (1892-1981): Political Activist, Artist and Writer
nationalism is not going to be enough to express the nation of Scotland
and retain an identity which alone is the raison d’etre of independence…
if we launch… into a form of government that echoes the English party
outlook, we shall only be regional minded even under our own government.
Sincerely for Scotland 1970)
hope, love and lettuce: faith in God, hope of independence, love of
fellow men – and a green salad every day.
of Scotland’s freedom is coming.
Virginia Woolf (1882-1941):
is often raining, but also fine: hardly embodied; semi-transparent;
like living in a jelly fish lit up with green light. Remote as
Samoa; deserted: prehistoric. No room for more.
(Postcard to Duncan Grant 27 June 1938)
We are now
in Oban, which is, as far as I have seen it, the Ramsgate of the
Highlands. Only the Scots having melancholy in their bones… being
entirely without frivolity build even bathing sheds of granite let alone
hotels. The result is grim; and on every lamp post is a notice, Please
do not spit on the pavement.
Vanessa Bell 28 June 1938)
Wordsworth (1771-1855): English Poet, Writer and Diarist
is the country above all others that I have seen, in which a man of
imagination may carve out his own pleasures; there are so many
Breakfasted [at Cairndow, near Glen Kinglas], before our departure, and
ate a herring fresh from the water, at our landlord’s earnest
recommendation – much superior to the herrings we get in the north of
(Journal 30 August 1803)
her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! For the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.
one tell me what she sings?-
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago.
Wordsworth and his sister visited the Highlands in 1803 and Dorothy
reported seeing solitary reapers, According to the poet in 1807, the poem
was inspired by a sentence from Thomas Wilkinson’s manuscript ‘Tours to the
British Mountains’ –
Female who was reaping alone: she sang in Erse as she bended over her
sickle; the sweetest human voice I ever heard: her strains were tenderly
melancholy; and felt delicious, long after they were heard no more.’
Professor Douglas Young (1913-1973): Poet, Translator, Essayist, Author,
Scholar and Political Activist.
Lord’s my herd, I sall nocht want.
Whaur green the gresses grow
Sall be my fauld. He caas me aye
whaur fresh sweet burnies rowe.
my saul be blyth aince mair
That wandert was frae hame,
And leads me on the straucht smaa gait
For sake o His ain name.
(from The Twenty-Third Psalm o King Dauvit, 1942)
Flagnote: Douglas Young translated Scotland’s favourite psalm into Scots on St
Andrew’s Day, 30 November 1942, whilst serving a sentence in Saughton Jail,
Edinburgh, for opposing the authorities over conscription. Prior to his
imprisonment he was elected as National Chairman of the Scottish National
Party, and following his release he represented the party in the Kirkcaldy
Burghs By-Election, polling over 40% of the vote. See Complete Poems for a
poem written by Sydney Goodsir Smith,
A Ballad for Douglas Young at the
time of his imprisonment.
libbit William Wallace.
gar’d them bleed.
(On a North British Devolutionist, Scots Independent 1944)
Sir Jimmy Young: English Broadcaster and Disc Jockey
English have never warmed to the big clunking fist of Gordon Brown
[Glasgow-born Chancellor of the Exchequer].
The English aren’t alone in not warming to Gordon Brown as was evidenced at
Central Park, Cowdenbeath, on 29 April 2006, the day Cowdenbeath FC won the
Scottish Third Division Championship. After the game, local Labour MP Gordon
Brown was introduced to the crowd which resulted in sustained booing by the
2500 attending the crunch game.