Friday, 3 April 2009

The Declaration of Arbroath

"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".

No, not the new election slogan from the Scottish National Party, but the opening line of the Declaration of Arbroath! The story of the declaration is explained in a news piece from the National Archives of Scotland on its website at

The American Declaration of Independence is said to have been inspired by the Declaration of Arbroath, but ten years ago I came across a slightly more disturbing interpratation of its message and principles. Whilst filming a television series called Celtic America in the USA for STV, we had to record a parade by the modern Ku Klux Klan in Pulaski, Tennessee, as part of the story. The Grand Pixie, or Great Wizard (I forget his title), handed me a booklet on the Declaration of Arbroath, claiming it provided a justification for the Klan's beliefs. I suspect someone missed the point there really...!

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