2007 - 2021

Thomas Muir Lecture 2017 – Interview

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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Comments (2)

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  1. bringiton says:

    Well,most democratic people start with having their elected government in their own country,not in someone else’s.
    That is pretty well the starting point for all democracies,the right to elect a government of your choice.
    After that,people can decide what if anything they wish to pool and share with others.
    However,for Unionists on both sides of the water between Scotland and Ireland,other things come into play and has little to do with democracy.
    What unionists don’t appear to understand is that the other country’s establishment they claim to be in partnership with doesn’t want to be in any sort of union that they are not in charge of (Brexit!).
    An example of this was what happened prior to the 2015 Westminster election when the possibility of Scottish MPs running England’s government was met with outrage by HM press and establishment.
    Even if it was a ploy by England’s Tories to stop people in England from voting for England’s Labour party,it worked.
    People in England,rightly so,decided they didn’t want Scots running their affairs.
    Unionism for the English establishment means only,”We are in charge” and if not,end of Union.
    For Unionists in Scotland,so long as they Kowtow to London,they will be tolerated and given the trinkets designed for colonials but should they stray from the path……..

    1. Alf Baird says:

      As you imply, there is no ‘union’, therefore there can be no ‘unionists’. Scotland appears to fit the definition of a powerless colony rather too well (http://newsnet.scot/archive/brexit-vote-underline-scotland-not-country-colony/) and however unpalatable this may be for some, it suggests the opponents of Scotland’s rightful quest for self-determination are primarily exploitative colonists. It is a pity Tommy Shepherd and his SNP MP and MSP colleagues are neither nationalist nor radical enough to acknowledge this reality, or willing to use their democratic Scottish majority to implement an appropriate solution, as no doubt Thomas Muir would advocate. The party of independence already holds a democratic majority in Scotland sufficient to end the ‘union’ charade in the same way it began and they should not squander this advantage; they should use it to give notice to end the union now.

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