On the night of the annual Thomas Muir Lecture (24 August) 2017, Ally Heather interviews Tommy Sheppard on the inspiration of Muir and what lessons can be learnt for today’s movement. As the leading voice of reform in Scotland, Muir suffered persecution and ultimately transportation for sedition for advocating democratic principles in Scotland. As a national figure associated with the ideals of democracy, Muir was essentially a democrat who believed in the people when the majority were not allowed to vote. The first political prisoners transported to Australia were convicted in Edinburgh and were known as the “Scottish Political Martyrs.”

Sheppard talks of learning from Muir by relocating the independence movement as one of radical solidarity – a  movement in step with wider movements for change, for democracy and for liberty.

The lecture was attended by over 400 people in St Mary’s Cathedral and was preceded by a rendition of the Tree o’ Liberty and Thomas Muir of Huntershill by Michel Byrne and an introduction by Murray Armstrong, author of The Liberty Tree – The Stirring Story of Thomas Muir And Scotland’s First Fight For Democracy.

The Thomas Muir Festival runs from August to November in and around Huntershill. Details here.



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