Ramsay (1686-1758): Poet, Playwright and Editor
itself gives pleasure to the sight,
To see how all the sets imbide the light;
Forming some way, which even to me lies hid,
White, black, blue, yellow, purple, green, and red.
Let Newton’s royal club thro’ prisms stare,
To view celestial dyes with curious care,
I’ll please myself, nor shall my sight ask aid
Of crystal gimcracks to survey the plaid.
claret best keeps out the cauld
An drives awa the winter soon
It maks a man baith gash an bauld
An heaves his saul ayont the mune.
shew that music may have as good fate
In Albion’s glens, as Umbria’s green retreat;
And with Corelli’s soft Italian song
Mix Cowden Knowes, and Winter nights are long:
Nor should the martial pibrough be dispis’d;
Own’d and refin’d by you, these shall the more be priz’d.
Musick Club [Edinburgh] 1721)
Novelist and Broadcaster
writers keep writing even when they don’t need the money and don’t need
the acclaim is that they haven’t yet written the perfect book. Each book
you produce is another small failure.
It struck me that
nothing man-made defines a country – neither its artefacts nor its
monuments. Golf, tartan and whisky fail to tell our story. A nation is
defined by the very people who live there, whether they’re in mansions
or high-rises. They animate their surroundings and lay down markers.
They breathe life into the place. If Scotland and Scottishness exist,
they do so in the mind.
(Rebus’s Scotland – A
Personal Journal 2005)
It is certainly true
that in the past, Scotland was famed for its ‘democratic intellect’, the
idea that we were measured not by outward show but by inner qualities.
The Scots abhor pretension and bragging. The problem with this, of
course, is that it tends to stifle novelty, creativity, difference, new
thinking and intellectualism. We’re all supposed to be cut from the same
cloth – ‘all Jock Tamson’s bairns’, as the Scots saying goes – and not
supposed to act differently from our fellows.
(Rebus’s Scotland – A
personal Journey 2005)
(1627-1705): English Naturalist, ‘Father’ of English Natural History
Scots cannot endure to have their country or Countrymen spoken against.
Edna (Eddi) Reader: Singer and Songwriter
inspires me to look again at something that’s ordinary and see the
beauty and humour in it. The complete ‘My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose’
is the perfect love story poem. Burns should be celebrated with a raised
glass, some grub, a story and a song.
Mail 18 January 2009)
Poet, Writer and Editor
That Scotland is a part of the United Kingdom is an almost
inevitable accident: at the same time, the unity of the English and
the Scots should never be assumed. It was Sir Walter Scott who
pointed out that the Scots and the English had fought three hundred
and fourteen major battles against one another before their Union;
this kind of historical animosity does not disappear overnight. The
fact remains that the two countries are altogether distinct in
temperament and manner, and their conjunction, although it is by now
a working one, has never been resolved to the satisfaction of
New Yorker 1964)
is no doubt that Scots do get spread to a quite amazing degree over the
face of the earth. There has always been a drift away from the stony
barrenness of the home ground out into the expansive world; yet for
wandering Scots the homeland never quite disappears. The odd thing is
that almost everything said about the Scots is true, but never the whole
truth – their character has so many sides to it.
James (Jimmy) Reid: Political and Trade Union Activist, Shipyard Worker
(Joint-Leader Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Work-In), Author, Journalist and
poetry sprang from a living school of Scottish poetry. Those who put him
posthumously on a pedestal, as a one-off who came from nowhere, would
have outraged Burns, who knew otherwise. Read Robert Fergusson and you
read the embryonic Burns. The later openly and generously acknowledged
this debt, though he took Scottish poetry to new heights and
international acclaim .In the times in which he lived, Robert Burns was
a radical ; a revolutionary. He supported the American and French
Revolutions. He was an active member of the Reform Movement in Scotland.
In Ayrshire, only 1 per cent of people had the vote. The living
conditions of the poor were dire. He was for liberty, equality and
fraternity. It is there to be seen in his poetry and letters.
Scotsman 21 January 2002)
Francois Marie Rémusat, Comte de (1797-1875):
French Politician and Writer
nation doit prendre rang parmi les plus eclairées de l’universe. La
polique, la religion, la litérature ont fait de l’Écosse quelque chose
nation must rank among the most enlightened in the universe. Politics,
religion and literature have made of Scotland something beyond compare.
Riccio (1533-1566): Italian Singer, Secretary to Mary Queen of Scots
Parole, parole, nothing but words. The Scots will boast but rarely
perform their brags.
English Broadcaster, Journalist and Columnist
discourse has been hijacked by people who treat language as a shield not
a bridge. And as a nation of language lovers Scots should be up in arms
– that’s our patch they’re cross-cutting. It’s also our civic world that
their jargon has diminished – because ‘ordinary’ Scots must learn fluent
West Wing to participate.
4 June 2007)
youngest wean of a big family or the smallest child at school, Scots
have survived centuries without a state by constantly recreating a
national myth. We are a bunch of naebodies on the fringes of Europe who
occasionally punch above our weight, making Tartan Army friends
everywhere – only to be doomed to heroic (and almost inevitable)
failure. It is our reverse Faustian pact. Faust did a deal with the
devil to achieve worldly power and success at the price of spiritual
values. Scots achieve moral superiority at the expense of worldly power
19 November 2007)
preferred brain to brawn and bequeathed his nation the gift of words.
Thanks to Burns, a nation of silent Scotsman can speak. Like a national
Cyrano de Bergerac, the bard translated hopes and feelings into the most
powerful forms of expression. Those words and songs still shape
Scotsman 21 January 2008)
companionship and confidence are the qualities in life that sustains us
– even more so now. I’d rather ‘shop around’ for people with hilarious
stories, or places with a buzz of creativity than find a better deal on
car insurance. The ceilidh isn’t a party, a drinking session or even a
musical session – it’s a gathering. And a gathering demands that each
person knows how to amuse, sustain or surprise the others. Who wouldn’t
prefer possession of Delia-like cooking capabilities to the latest
Finest meal from Tesco? Or green fingers, dulcet tones, or musical
skills to a complete boxed set of The Wire?
5 January 2009)
Murray Ritchie: Journalist and Author
true independence in Britain remains perfectly feasible. In broad terms
it would mean a return to the original United Kingdom of Great Britain
and it would rectify the historic political wrong of 1707. If the treaty
was changed to allow two independent parliaments, we could all be
unionists together just as we are European unionists together. Some
might resist EU membership and some might want a republic; but these are
arguments for another time. For myself I would be delighted for Scotland
to be as independent as France or Belgium or even non-EU states like
Norway or Switzerland.
(Time for Honesty about Scotland/s Part of the Union 2006)
(born Joan Alexandra Molinsky): American Comedian, Actress, Talk Show host
Edinburgh is fabulous, are you kidding? Mary, Queen of Scots is an
idiot. She should have stayed there.
‘The Bruce’, Earl of Carrick (1274-1329): King of Scots (1306-1329)
them, on them, they fail, they fail.
Bannockburn 24 June 1314)
Traveller and Ballad Singer
better come in and I’ll sing it to you right.
collector Dr Hamish Henderson 1953)
Lithuanian Banker and Businessman; Majority Shareholder Heart of Midlothian
is an amazing city. Its beauty was created during the times of the kings
of old, and now I see how everything that people were gathering for
centuries – a culture, all Walter Scott’s heritage, is being ruled and
destroyed by monkeys from the safari park.
Scottish people are part of the local structure and local footballing
mafia, and it is very difficult for them to rise above that level.
Motherwell manager Mark McGhee turned down the Heart of Midlothian job July
David Rorie (1867-1946):
Medical Practitioner. Poet and Author
an’ twal’ mile roon.
Fife an’ a’ the lands aboot it.
Ta’en frae Scotland’s runkeld map
Little’s left, an’ wha will doot it?
least ‘at maitters ony,
Orra folk, it’s easy seen,
Folk ‘at dinna come frae bonny
Fife or canny Aiberdeen.
(A Per Se
Writer and Teacher
has to be the healer now. Seeing as there is no God
being is just another seed drifting on the wind. It was an Edinburgh
east wind that carried Stevenson to the mountains of southern France.
Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell (1872-1970): Welsh Philosopher,
Mathematician, Author and Social Critic
We drove home
to St Fillans through the gloomy valley of Glencoe, as dark and dreadful as
if the massacre [13 February 1692] had just taken place.
Russell: Politician, Writer and Commentator
nationalism is a positive force for change. It does not found itself on
hostility to any other nation, it is not based on race or religious
creed and it is not, most definitely not, rooted in feelings of
superiority. It is, essentially. A desire for normality – for being as
other nations are, neither better nor worse.
Thistle (Introduction) 2006)
take back the right to make key decisions, choosing to do so of our own
free will, then we cannot (collectively and individually) flourish.
Scotland’s people need to get back many of the things which have been
discarded. They need to be put back in the driving seat, so that they
can then decide how they wish their country and their government to be
Thistle (Introduction) 2006)
(Alex) Elliot Anderson Salmond: Politician, 4th
First Minister of Scotland and
model democratic party for all of our 60 years, there has never been,
and never will be, a place for anti-English sentiment in the ranks of
the Scottish National Party.
is no doubt that our future is a normal independent country because only
independence will give us all freedoms we need to make Scotland
(St Andrew Day, 30 November 2005)
personifies the Scottish democratic intellect, and the true radical
spirit of Scotland. The values championed by Burns are timeless and
never said that Scots are better than anyone else and I never will. But
I shall not let anyone from Westminster, from Holyrood or anywhere else,
from any party, or from any newspaper, tell us that we are less capable
than any other nation.
may be some doom-mongers who think that England is too lacking in
resources – too poor without Scottish oil – to be a successful
independent country. But I disagree.
[Scottish] independence, England will still be our biggest pal, our
biggest friend, our biggest trading partner and people both north and
south of the border find that a very attractive proposition.
4’s Today Programme 9 April 2007)
is a wind of change blowing through Scottish politics.
speech after overturning a 4,000 Liberal Democrat majority to win the Gordon
seat in the Scottish Parliament for the Scottish national Party with a 2,000
winning margin 4 May 2007)
century, there are limits to what government can achieve. But one thing
any government I lead will never lack is ambition for Scotland.
speech on being elected First Minister of Scotland 16 May 2007)
is in transition. Our nation faces some pivotal choices in the years
ahead. I believe in the restoration of an independent Scotland. Others
in this chamber take a different view. I welcome that debate and the
national conversation to follow. The challenge for all of us is to have
that conversation with dignity, with respect and with substance.
Royal Opening of Third Term of the Scottish Parliament 30 June 2007)
that it is time to transform the nature of Scotland’s representation and
impact in Europe, tonight my message is clear and unambiguous – this is
time for Scotland to assume our obligations and responsibilities and to
help mould the world around us to rediscover the sense of
internationalism which once defined our nation.
Reception in Scotland House, Brussels 9 July 2007)
statue is not only a reminder of the Highland Clearances, but a great
example of the skill and vision of those who remain. This is an
impressive work of art that will strike a chord with every Scottish
family. This statue is a reminder of the men, women and children who
left Scotland and took their skills, their strength and their stories
across the seas and shared them around the world. While we deplore the
Clearances we can be proud of the contributions that those cleared have
made to humanity.
memorial statue ‘Exiles’ at the mouth of the Strath of Kildonan in memory of
those who were evicted during the Highland Clearances 23 July 2007)
is the moment when, as First Minister, I ask every Scot to pause and
reflect not on the kind of country we are, but on the kind of country we
could be, we should be. And today is the start of the most wide-ranging,
inclusive, imaginative and direct effort from any Scottish government to
engage with every person in this country and furth of Scotland, who has
a view on the future of our nation.
( Launch of
Scottish Government White Paper on Scottish Independence 14 August 2007)
We have a
history and present reality of innovation, examples of educational
excellence and individuals and companies succeeding in a competitive
global market… We have everything it takes for a Celtic Lion economy to
take off in Scotland.
Council on Foreign Relations in New York 11 October 2007)
We are not
simply trying to build a proud nation, but rather a nation of which we
can be proud.
the 73rd Annual National Conference of the Scottish National
Party, Aviemore 28 October 2007)
stunning scenery, history, architecture and a wealth of culture to enjoy
the Highlands and Islands are Scotland’s crown and now we need to find
the smartest way to wear it. By making every effort to promote our
assets we can attract the wealth, opportunities and reputation that will
allow business to thrive.
Autumn Convention of the Highlands and Islands 29 October 2007)
wind has blown through Scottish political and cultural life, lifting our
spirits and helping our hearts beat prouder and faster.
We need to
make our own initiatives now, solve our own problems, take our own
opportunities. There is a growing realisation that this country has the
talent and ability to stand on its own two feet – and we have got to
find the democratic structure that will allow us to do that,
Message 30 December 2007)
Scotland’s renewable potential is immense – enough to meet our energy
requirements many times over.
new £90 million biomass power station near Lockerbie 19 March 2008)
I am happy
to test support for enhanced devolution, along with support for
independence for Scotland.
year ago we said that it was time for Scotland to move forward. The
people of Scotland agreed and they entrusted us with government. We are
repaying the trust of the people of Scotland by breathing new life into
Scottish democracy, and delivering for our great public services.
(2 May 2008)
repaying the trust of the people of Scotland by breathing new life into
are two things Scotland has no shortage of – water and heroes.
Awards September 2008)
Homecoming  is a chance for Scotland’s international family, and
all who feel an affinity for our nation, to come back and reconnect with
our heritage while also learning what being a citizen in Scotland in the
21st century actually means. I believe there is a spirit of
optimism abroad that will pull us through the hard times, that will see
Scotland take her rightful place in the world, and right now will
encourage people to return to Scotland for our Year of Homecoming.
One of the founding
principles of my Government is the resolute belief in a One Scotland of
many cultures, faiths and beliefs – a belief that all of us, regardless
of background, have our pride in being Scottish woven into the complex
make up of our individual identities. ‘Scotland’s Jews’ will undoubtedly
help to reinforce this important message. It will also help us to
understand the need to achieve a Scotland where the diversity is
celebrated and seen as a strength not a weakness.
Scotland’s Jews – A
Guide to the History and Community of the Jews in Scotland - Foreword 2008)
When the party was
founded  few could have imagined the distance we have travelled in
the years since, with an SNP government now in place and an independence
referendum planned for next year. Now it is time for the SNP and the
people of Scotland to move into a new era, to look to the future, and to
build the smarter, wealthier, and healthier Scotland.
(E-mail message to
Scottish National Party members marking the party’s 75th
anniversary 7 April 2009)
aren’t the most comfortable thing to wear if the wind’s blowing.
George Scott (1880-1958): Composer; Lecturer in Music at Jordanhill
Training College for Teachers
Pibroch is not ‘Ceol Beag’ [light music]. It would, on the contrary,
be better to think of it as the only musical form Scotland has given
to the world; as an aristocratic art in classical shape and as
keeping its distance away from the common and popular. I doubt if it
ever was popular, even in the Highlands.
great job apart from Saturday afternoons.
football management at Dunfermline FC 1991-1993)
Paul Henderson Scott: Diplomat, Author and Editor
in Scotland we are fortunate because we have an alternative. As
Government ministers have frequently acknowledged, we have an undeniable
right to decide for ourselves that we want to be independence, and that
would follow a majority vote for the SNP in a general Election. With
independence we can build a rational and prosperous state like one of
our Scandinavian neighbours. This might well be an inspiration to the
English. As many of them know too well the British system is now so
antiquated, perverse and corrupt that it cannot be saved by minor
readjustments. England, like Scotland, needs radical constitutional
reform. We are in a good position to give a lead.
(The End of Britishness – ‘Cencrastus’ Autumn 1993)
people prefer self-government to external control and prefer to follow
their own inclinations than accept conformity imposed from the outside.
of Books, PEN Lecture at the Edinburgh Book Festival August 1999)
English influence has been so overwhelming, our education has reflected
this, and generations of Scottish children have left school knowing
almost nothing about the past of their own country and of the remarkable
contribution which Scots have made in thought and invention and to the
development of many other countries.
10 September 2007)
Walter Scott (1771-1832): Novelist and Poet
For God’s sake, sir, let us remain
as Nature made us, Englishmen, Irishmen, and Scotchmen, with something
like the impress of our several countries upon each!
(Letters of Malachi Malagrowther)
Breathes there the man with
soul so dead
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
(The Lay of the Last Minstrel,
Caledonia! Stern and wild
Meet nurse for a poetic child!
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood
Land of the mountain and the flood ….
(Lay of the
Last Minstrel, canto vi, stanza 2)
damsel donned her kirtle sheen,
The hall was dressed with holly green,
Forth to the wood did merry-men go
To gather in the mistletoe.
If I were
to choose a spot from which the rising or setting sun could be seen to
the greatest possible advantage, it would be that wild path winding
around the foot of the high belt of semi-circular rocks, called
Salisbury Crags, and marking the verge of the steep descent which slopes
down into the glen on the south-eastern side of the city of Edinburgh.
(The Heart of
I feel as
if there will be less sunshine for me from this day forth.
Canongate grave of his life-long friend Johnny Ballantyne 1821)
return this book; I find that though many friends are poor
arithmeticians, they are nearly all good bookkeepers.
lords and lieges, let us all to dinner, for the cockie-leekie is
(The Fortunes of Nigel 1822)
Highlanders are what he [King George IV] will like most to see. Each
clan chief to bring half-a-dozen, no, half-a-score of clansmen to
Edinburgh. Mind, Highlandmen of decided respectability, dress and
accoutrements to be in order. Make sure the Plaids and Tartans are
sorted out, and allocated appropriately with some semblance to
the Royal Visit 1822)
gradually destroying what remains of nationality, and making the country
tabula rasa for doctrines of bold innovation. Their loosening and
grinding down all those peculiarities which distinguished us as Scotsmen
will throw the country into a state in which it will be universally
turned to democracy, and instead of canny Saunders, they will have a
very dangerous North British neighbourhood.
(Journal 12 March 1826)
National diversity between different countries is but an instance of
that general variety which nature seems to have adopted through all her
Malachi Malagrowther 1826)
till Ben Nevis be level with Norfolkshire, though the natural wants of
the two nations [Scotland and England] may be the same, the extent of
these wants, natural or commercial, and the mode of supplying them, must
be widely different, let the rule of uniformity be as absolute as it
Malachi Malagrowther, First Letter, 1826)
strip, lads, and to it, though sharp be the weather,
And if by mischance, you should happen to fall,
There are worse things in life than a tumble on the heather,
And life is itself but a game of football.
the Lifting of the Banner of the House of Buccleuch)
Oh What a dangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive.
(Marmion Canto VI
Stanza 17, 1808)
clansmen and one bagpipe make a rebellion.
The jury gave that bastard verdict, Not proven. I hate that
Caledonian medium quid. One who is not proven guilty
is innocent in the eye of the law.
Robert Burns] The eye alone, I think, indicated the poetic character and
temperament. It was large and of a dark cast, which glowed (I say
literally glowed) when he spoke with feeling and interest. I never saw
such another eye in a human head, though I have seen the most
distinguished men in my time.
(Recollecting his only meeting, as an Edinburgh schoolboy, with Robert
Something of the black dog still hanging about me; but I will shake him
off. I generally affect good spirits in company of my family, whether I
am enjoying them or not. It is too severe to sadden the harmless mirth
of other by suffering your own causeless melancholy to be seen; and this
species of exertion is, like virtue, its own reward; for the good
spirits, which are at first simulated, become at length real.
order to enjoy leisure, it is absolutely necessary it should be
preceded by occupation.
(Willie) Scott (1897-1990):
Shepherd, Crook maker and Traditional Singer
wes a young shepherd at the hoose, he cam (along) and that’s how the
kindae sing-songs [hill pairties] got agoing. That’s whaur ye got the
sangs. If the young shepherd cam frae a distance an he had a different
sang, if ye liket it, ee’d memorise it at great length and ee got roon
aboot askin him tae gie ye the words. There wes hardly a hoose in the
hillglens but had a fiddle ot twae hingin in the hoose, an auld melodeon
and yon Jewish harps. There wes hardly a body but could play something
or sing a sang.
Willie Scott was born in Canobie, Dumfriesshire in 1897 and spent most of
his working life as a shepherd. He came from a family of seven, most of whom
were singers, storytellers and musicians. During the 1960s Scottish Folk
Revival Willie Scott was in great demand and appeared at many folk clubs and
festivals including a concert tour in America.
Sempill (Semple) of Beltrees (c1595-1665): Poet
Kilbarchan now may say alas
For she hath lost the game and grace,
Both Trixie and the Maiden Trace;
But what remead?
For no man can supply his place –
Hab Simson’s dead.
shall play ‘The day it daws’
Or ‘Hunt’s Up’ when the cock he craw’?
Or who can, for our kirktown cause,
Stand us in stead?
On bagpipes now nobody blaws,
Sin Habbie’s dead
and Death of the Piper of Kilbarchan)
English Poet and Playwright
Stands Scotland where it did?
Alas, poor country,
Almost afraid to know itself! It cannot
Be call’d our mother, but our grave; where nothing,
But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile;
Where sighs, and groans, and shrieks, that rent the air,
Are made, not mark’d; where violent sorrow seems
A modern ecstasy; the dead man’s knell
Is there scarce ask’d for who; and good men’s lives
Expire before the flowers in their caps,
Dying or ere they sicken.
(Bill) Shankley (1913-1981): Footballer, Scottish Internationalist (5 caps)
said “Football is more important than life and death to you” and I said
“Listen it’s more important than that.
Television Chat-Show 1981)
Alan Sharp: Author and Scriptwriter
always experience a profound identity crisis about Scotland’s
[international football] games. Profound is maybe too profound a word.
Extreme is nearer the mark. For a time before, throughout and after I
have the feeling that my personal worth is bound up with Scotland’s
success or failure.
Support You Evermore 1976)
(1856-1950): Irish Playwright and Nobel Prize Winner for
God help England if she had no
Scots to think for her.
Shepherd (1893-1981): Novelist, Poet and Lecturer
is bounded on the south by England, on the east by the rising sun, on
the north by the Arory-bory-Alice, and on the west by Eternity.
Politician, Columnist and Author
so used to being in a provincial backwater that we shy clear of making
claims about our potential impact on the wider human scene. But it is
time to set aside this self-effacement.
(Scotland – A
Case for Optimism 1985)
polls are about as scientific as looking at the entrails of a chicken.
Sinclair of Ulbster (1754-1835): Politician, Agriculturalist and
tends to preserve that martial spirit for which the Scottish nation has
so long been celebrated; for there is no real Scotsman who would not
march to battle with more alacrity to the animating sound of the
bagpipes, than any other warlike instrument.
prizes at a Piobaireachd Competition, Edinburgh August 1822)
Slessor ‘The Mother of All the People’ (1848-1915):
have only a loving heart, willing hands and common sense, they will not
need fine English, for there is none to admire…
qualifications needed for helpers in her missionary work in Africa)
your whole being to create music everywhere, in the light places and in
the dark places, and your life will make melody.
Smeaton: Glasgow Airport Baggage Handler
just to get on with life and you cannot let it affect you. If you let it
affect you then they win.
(Reflecting on his part on averting the alleged terrorist attack on Glasgow
Airport [30 June 2007] on returning to work 20 July 2007)
Smith (1723-1790): Economist and Philosopher
In some counties, as in
Scotland, where the
government was weak, unpopular, and not very firmly established, the
Reformatiom was strong enough to overturn, not only the church, but the
state likewise for attempting to support the church.
Wealth of Nations, 1784 edition Bk. V, ch. I)
is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the
lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes and a tolerable administration of
There are four distinct
states which mankind passes through. 1st, the age of Hunters; 2nd,
the age of Shepherds; 3rd, the age of Agriculture; 4th,
the age of Commerce.
(Lecture Notes for 24
is the greatest antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.
of Nations 1776)
real price of every thing, what every thing really costs to the man who
wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it.
(The Wealth of Nations 1776)
society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater
part of the members are poor and miserable. It is but equity, besides,
that they who feed, clothe and lodge the whole body of the people,
should have such a share of the produce of their labour as to be
themselves well fed, clothed and lodged.
of Nations 1776)
merchants and master-manufactures complain much of the effects of high
wages in raising the price, and thereby lessening the sale of their
goods both at home and abroad. They say nothing concerning the bad
effects of high profits. They are silent with regard to the pernicious
effects of their own gains. They complain only of those of other people.
(The Wealth of Nations 1776)
Alexander McCall Smith: Author and Professor of Medical Law
love a country until it hurts.
Careful Use of Compliments 2007)
think the world is ours for ever, but we are little more than squatters.
Careful Use of Compliments 2007)
Smith: Actress and Columnist
long-term goal for Scotland is independence, and I think one day it
will be achieved. We’re afraid of taking the leap, but I think
independence would be a great thing for us.
often the contribution of Scots women to their country has been
written out of the history books. Those who died or were imprisoned
in Scotland to win women the vote barely get a mention – all that
seems to matter was the history of men and what they did. As a young
girl I had to constantly ask “Where were the women when all the
heroic stuff was going on? Were they even alive?” I never got an
know how Jack McConnell felt about [Westminster] Health Secretary
Patricia Hewitt calling him Jack McDonald but I was furious. What an
ignorant thing to do. You can guarantee that she wouldn’t have got the
name of the Irish or the French PM wrong but it shows the low regard the
office of First Minister has in the Westminster village. Regardless of
your political persuasion or feelings about Jack, this was an insult to
until 2007 but I am glad to see that the Government have finally decided
Scottish history is a good thing for our kids to learn about. We will now
have questions on it in the compulsory section of the Higher History exam.
Scottish history questions used to be optional, meaning like me you could
obtain a higher without ever studying any events in your own country’s past
– and still end up with an A. I think that it is essential that our children
know at least a wee but about the history of this great nation. It’s
ridiculous that educating new generations about our proud heritage was
neglected for so long.
there’s a common cause within Scots, regardless of whether you’re
wealthy or poor – a sense of justice. You can see the people who have
made it big and they have a great sense of where they are from and what
they want to put back into life.
English MPs want rid of the so-called Scottish mafia in the cabinet
because English people will respond better to English MPs running
things. How racist is that? We Jocks are just too much to take, eh?
These Mps wouldn’t dare say stuff like this about blacks and Asians so
why is it OK to say it about Scots.
has healing powers, not only for players but also for those who listen.
Members of our orchestra [Edinburgh-based Really Terrible Orchestra]
have been astonished at how even our bad and sometimes discordant
playing can give pleasure to our audiences. Perhaps even badly played
music soothes and inspires – and may even do so more powerfully than
well-executed performances. This may be because the listener knows that
the music is being made by somebody just like him or her and perhaps
this allows foe a special sort of identification. Perhaps. Or it may be
that the audience of an amateur orchestra merely sympathies and the
giving of sympathy can be as healing as the receiving.
Digest November 2008)
Edwin Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead (1872-1930):
English Lawyer and Politician
is renowned as the home of the most ambitious race in the world.
Address at Aberdeen University)
Professional Footballer, Agent, Broadcaster and Chief Executive of the
Scottish Football Association
It’s a big
position; I’m a patriotic Scot and I want to see Scottish football
appointed Scottish Football Association Chief Executive 1 June 2007)
Journalist and Television News and Current Affairs Presenter
that the country finds a model of government that satisfies all the
country’s ambitions and lets Scotland become a more confident nation
that is comfortable with its place in the world.
10 May 2007)
Goodsir Smith (1915-1975): Poet, Playwright and Artist
Scotland is like a bonnie
Ahint castle waas. The castle maun be
Forced and she deliverit frae her bands.
(The Wallace 1960)
dowf tae be drinkan alane, my luve,
When I wud drink wi my dear,
Nor Crabbie nor Bell’s can fire me, luve,
As they wud an you were here.
Sydney Smith (1771-1845): English Clergyman and Essayist
It requires a surgical operation to get a joke well
into a Scotch understanding.
(Lady Holland’s Memoirs 1855)
George Smollett (1721-1771):
not think I could enjoy Life with greater Relish in any part of the
world than in Scotland among you and your Friends, and I often amuse
my Imagination with schemes for attaining that Degree of Happiness,
which, however, is altogether out of my Reach. I am heartily tired
of this Land of Indifference [England] and Phlegm where the finer
Sensations of the Soul are not felt, and Felicity is held to consist
in stupefying Port and overgrown Buttocks of Beef, where Genius is
lost, Learning undervalued, and Taste altogether extinguished, and
Ignorance prevails to such a degree that one of our Chelsea Club
asked me if the weather was good when I crossed the Sea from
Alexander Carlyle 1 March 1754)
Scots have a slight tincture of letters, with which they make a
parade among people who are more illiterate than themselves; but
they may be said to float on the surface of science, and they have
made every small advances in the useful arts.
are wise and some are otherwise.
for my part one half of the nation is mad – and the other not very
Launcelot Greaves 1762)
is a hot-bed of genius.
William Soutar (1898-1943):
If the Doric is to come back
alive, it will come first on a cock-horse.
(Letter to Hugh MacDiarmid,
meanness of national spirit [has been] accumulative since our loss of
nationhood. By the severance of our continental ties, our linguistic
roots, our traditional heritage, it was inevitable that parochialism
should spread like a national blight, so that ultimately our national
traits have withered into indiosyncrasies and our types degenerated into
of a Dying Man 1937 – edited by Alexander Scott (1955)
Souter: Businessman, co-funder Stagecoach Group
and smears about independence are insulting to both the intelligence and
self-respect of Scots.
We are a
distinct society, an ancient European nation, who have a right to
self-determination and I believe we can become a great nation again.
(1774-1843): English Poet, Literary Scholar, Historian and Biographer
Edinburgh be called Auld Reekie! And the houses stand so one above
another, that none of the smoke wastes itself upon the desert air before
the inhabitants have derived all the advantages of its odour and its
smuts, You might smoke bacon by hanging it out of the window.
(Journal of a
Tour in Scotland in 1819)
Novelist, Short Story Writer, Playwright and Editor
possible for parents to be corrupted or improved by their children.
Give me a
girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life.
(The Prime of
Miss Jean Brodie 1961)
education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil’s soul.
(The Prime of
Miss Jean Brodie 1961)
you deal with the problem of suffering if everybody conspires to
estrange you from suffering?
impossible to persuade a man who does not disagree, but smiles.
loiter with intent.
I have a
great desire to make people smile, not laugh. Laughter is too
aggressive. People bare their teeth.
Henry Morton Stanley (born John Rowlands) (1841-1904):
Welsh Journalist and Explorer
Livingstone, I presume?
(How I Found
(Jock) Stein (1922-1985): Football Player and Manager
have the greatest fans in the world but I’ve never seen a fan score a
(Discussing the World Cup in Spain 1982)
the fans football is nothing.
Steinbeck (1902-1968): American Novelist and Nobel Prize Winner
You talked of Scotland as a lost
cause and that is not true. Scotland is an unwon cause.
(Letter of 28 February 1964 to Mrs
John F Kennedy)
Louis Balfour Stevenson (1850-1894): Author
your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.
For that is the mark of the
Scot of all classes; that he stands in an attitude towards the past
unthinkable to Englishmen, and remembers and cherishes the memory of
his forebears; good or bad; and their burns alive in him a sense of
identity with the dead even to the twentieth generation.
(Weir of Hermiston)
I saw rain
falling and the rainbow drawn
Hearkening I heard again
precipitous city beaten bells [Edinburgh]
keen sea wind.
(To My Wife,
dedication of Weir of Hermiston)
Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie,
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you grave for me –
‘Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.’
All speech, written or spoken, is a
dead language, until it finds a willing and prepared hearer.
long as we love we serve; so long as we are loved by others, I would
almost say that we are indispensable; and no man is useless while he has
Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is
hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to
business in this world is not to succeed, but to continue to fail,
in good spirits.
the mark of a good action that it appears inevitable in restrospect.
cruellest lies are often told in silence.
been a Scotchman all my life and denied my native land.
Scotchman is vain, interested in himself and others, eager for
sympathy, setting forth his thoughts and experience in the best
light. The egoism of the Englishman is self-contained. He does not
seek to proselytise. He takes no interest in Scotland or the Scotch,
and, what is the unkindest cut of all, he does not care to justify
voyage is a piece of autobiography at best.
a Donkey 1879)
part I travel not to go anywhere but to go. I travel for travel’s sake.
The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life
more nearly, to come down off their featherbed of civilisation and find
the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints.
that when I shall come to die out here among these beautiful islands, I
shall have lost something that has been my due – my native, pre-destinate
and forfeited grave among honest Scots sods.
the Scottish Thistle Club of Honolulu 27 September 1893)
morals make you dreary, depend upon it they are wrong.
Scots dialect is singularly rich in terms of reproach against the winter
wind Snell, blae, nirly and scowthering are four of these significant
vocables; they are all words that carry a shiver with them.
is useless while he has a friend.
Stewart B.E.M. (1906-1997):
Traveller, Traditional Singer and Songwriter
put my pen away
It’s this I would like to say
You’ll travel far afore you’ll meet
A kinder lot than they;
For I’ve mixed wi them in field in pub
And while I’ve breath to spare
I’ll bless the hand that led me tae
The berry fields o Blair.
(The Berry Fields o
Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Silvester Maria Stewart (1720-1788):
Italian-born exiled Claimant to Thrones of Scotland, England and Ireland
come home, sir, and will entertain no notion of returning to that
place from whence I came, for that I am persuaded my faithful
Highlanders will stand by me.
to Alexander MacDonald of Boisdale who had stated that without
sufficient French backing he should return home 24 July 1745)
Stewart, James VI and I, ‘The Wisest Fool in Christendom’ (1566-1625): King
of Scots (1567-1625) and English King (1603-1625)
custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain,
dangerous to the lungs, and in the black, stinking fume thereof, nearest
resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless.
Counterblast to Tobacco)
State of monarchy is the supremest thing on earth. For kings are not
only God’s Lieutenants upon earth and sit upon God’s throne, but even by
God himself they are called gods.
David Strachan: Football Manager, Celtic FC
annoy me, though, to hear people in our game say “I’m a winner”. We
can’t all be winners, because each tournament has only one and all you
can say is “I’m a competitor”. That is as much as anyone can expect.
Stuart, Iain Ruadh Stiubhart (1700-1752): Gaelic Poet and Jacobite Colonel
armailt nam breacan
sgaoileadh ‘s air sgapadh ‘s gach àit,
ghnathaich bonn ceartais ‘nan dàil;
bhuannaich iad baiteal
Cha b’ ann
d’an cruadal no ‘n tapadh a bhà,
aniar agus frasan
nios oirnn bhàrr machair nan Gall.
(Woe is me for
the plaided troops scattered and routed everywhere at the hands of these
foxes of England who observed no fairness at all in the conflict; though
they won the battle, it was not from courage or the skill of them but the
westward wind and the rain coming down on us from the flat lands of the
Chul-Lodair. Culloden Day)
celebrated Gaelic poet Colonel John Roy Stuart was born at Knock of
Kincardine in Badenoch in 1700 and served in both the British and French
armies before offering his service to Charles Edward Stewart. After the
Battle of Prestonpans he was ordered to raise a regiment in Edinburgh.
Recruitment was not easy and to make up the numbers Lord George Murray
transferred 50 Strathban men from the Atholl Brigade to the Edinburgh
Regiment. The 200 strong regiment fought in the front line at Culloden and
afterwards marched with their Colonel to the rendezvous at Ruthven He was
sent to France with news of the Jacobite defeat by Prince Charles.
Lord’s my targe, I will be stout,
With dirk and trusty blade,
Though Cambells come in flocks about
I will not be afraid.
Lord’s the same as heretofore,
He’s always good to me;
Though red-coats come a thousand more,
Afraid I will not be.
My Targe – parody of David’s Twenty-Third Psalm )
Sturgeon: Politician, Depute First Minister of Scotland and Lawyer
there are issues when Scotland’s voice needs to be heard, an SNP
government will make sure that it is heard.
think, as a nation, we do have unique attributes and values, not least a
belief in fairness and equality. As women, this belief has helped us,
because although there are barriers and hurdles like anywhere else in
the world, we live in a culture that’s conducive to letting us get on
Sutherland: Journalist and Author
we, the Scots, do is stoicism with an air of disgruntlement. That is our
failsafe coping mechanism. We’re good at it.
Grounds: A Scottish Football Safari 2007)
Sutherland, “Robert Garioch” (1909-1981):
Poet and Teacher
Scottish claes are fine for deevil’s tricks;
the feck o folk wha daur ti wear the kilt
maun be the kind wi shanks like parritch-sticks
while wycelike wichts gang breekt, the Deil’s intillt.
(The Masque of
when aa sorts foregather
in Embro tae the ploy,
folk seek oot freens tae hae a blether
or foes they’d fain annoy.
Smorit wi British Railways’ reek
frae Glesca or Glen Roy
or Wick, they come tae a week
o cultivated joy
at Embro tae the ploy.
(Embro tae the
According to the poet Douglas Young this byous poem on the Edinburgh
Festival by one of Edinburgh’s favourite poets was first printed in his
publication ‘Scottish Verse 1851-1951 selected by Douglas Young’ in 1952.
Here’s the poliss,
The Gayfield poliss,
An thull pi’iz in the nick fir
Pleyan fi’baw in the street.
(Fi’baw in the
find more intellectual honesty at Murrayfield than at a Burns Supper.
But in neither of these places do you find any genuine Scottish feeling.
[Edinburgh] is a city with nearly everything you want.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745): Irish Cleric, Author, Satirist, Essayist and
are some people who think they sufficiently acquit themselves, and
entertain their company, with relating facts of no consequence, but all
out of the road of such common incidents as happen every day; and this I
have observed more frequently among the Scots than any other nation, who
are very careful not to omit the minutest circumstance of time or place;
which kind of discourse, if it were not a little relieved by the uncouth
terms and phrases, as well as accent and gesture peculiar to that
country, would be hardly tolerable.