The Scottish Independence Podcast 185 – Billy Kay on Scotland and Identity

The 185th episode of the Scottish Independence Podcast is a talk by Broadcaster, writer and activist and former guest on the show, Billy Kay, about Scottish identity.

Have you ever noticed when you go abroad that the locals always seem to know what happened in 1437 in every wee nook and cranny of their town. Have you also noticed that this often isn’t the case in Scotland? Why would that be? Kay explores this idea in the talk, but also provides some great stories from Scottish history, and there are a few revelations as well. For example, which UK Prime Minister may well have supported Scottish Independence?  Which SNP MSP alledges that she was followed around the Houses of Parliament in the dark by Scottish Labour MPs.

Also, there’s something about the special branch meddling in the Scottish Independence Movement.

All that and more, hope you enjoy.

You can download the show directly if you click THIS LINK.

You can listen online at the show’s spreaker webpage, or you can subscribe with itunes. We can also be found on youtube and on facebook.

We are also now available on Spotify, Podcast Addict, iHeartRadio and GooglePodcasts.

These podcasts are independently minded and independently funded, you can help to keep them going by making a donation.

d6ewnplT.jpg large

The Scottish Independence Podcast 19 – Michael Hance On Scots

IAaWM-qnCIAEJPF2 think almost every Scot will at one time or another have been told off for using a word that, although perfectly acceptable Scots, is not standard English.

How could such a situation come about?

This was one of the topics of the discussion when I spoke to Michael Hance, who is the director of the Scots Language Centre.

We also spoke about the cultural importance of the language, the work of the centre itself, how the situation has changed since devolution and finally about how the situation might improve in the future.

If you’re wondering why it is not For A’ That today, we’ve flipped them over this week and For A’ That will be on Wednesday. Next week we’ll be back to normal.

I also declined to include my rendition of the poem/song that I have included below the links, not because of worries about the pronunciation but rather that I just don’t think poetry comes good coming from me!


As usual, this is direct download link (right click and save as)

You can listen to the show online at the show’s homepage

Or you can subscribe through itunes.


Michael Greenwell

Listen Tae The Teacher

He’s 5 year auld, he’s aff tae school
Fairmer’s bairn wi a pencil and a rule
His teacher scoffs when he says “hoose”
“The word is house, you silly little goose”
He tells his ma when he gets back
He saa a mouse in an auld cairt track
His faither laughs fae the stackyard dyke
“Yon’s a MOOSE ye daft wee tyke”


Listen tae the teacher, dinna say dinna
Listen tae the teacher, dinna say hoose
Listen tae the teacher, ye canna say maunna
Listen tae the teacher, ye maunna say moose

He bit his lip an shut his mooth
Which one could he trust for truth
He took his burden o’er the hill
Tae auld grey Geordie o’ the mill
“An did they mock thee for thy tongue
Wi them sae auld and you sae young?
They werena makin a fool o’ ye
They were makin a fool o’ themsels ye see”

Say hoose tae the faither, house tae the teacher
Moose tae the fairmer, mouse tae the preacher
When yer young it’s weel for you
Tae dae in Rome as Romans do
But when ye grow an ye are auld
Ye needna dae as ye are tauld
Don’t trim yer tongue tae suit yon dame
That scorns the language o’ her hame

Then teacher thocht that he was fine
He kept in step, he stayed in line
Faither says that he was gran’
He spoke his ain tongue like a man
An when he grew and made his choice
He chose his Scots, his native voice
And I charge ye tae dae likewise
Spurn yon pair misguided cries

The Scottish Independence Podcast 17 – Lorna Waite

928008e0-c274-4489-8084-393746de259dThe Scottish Independence Podcast is back after a little break and I hope to have the regular Wednesday = Scottish Independence Podcast, Sunday = For A’ That podcast up and running for the forseeable future.

For this 17th episode I spoke with poet Lorna Waite , author of The Steel Garden, and we had a few topics of conversation.

Firstly we speak about Lorna, herself and her work, and why she believes that any division between the cultural and economic reasons given for independence are false.

We talked about the role of women in the Indy debate and also the more unpleasant colonial aspects of the union, and how we might combat the lack of self-respect that those colonial problems have created in Scotland.

Language got a look in as we spoke about t9780956628343he historical suppression of both the Gaelic and Scots language.

Lorna is also a Rangers supporter and in the second part of the conversation we moved on to talk about a topic that I began with Kris Kujawa in a previous podcast, and talked about how the debate is playing out among football supporters, this time specifically amongst Rangers fans.

We didn’t come up with the brightest prospects in that bit.

As usual this is direct download link (right click and “save as”)

Or you can listen on the show’s homepage.

Or you can subscribe and get it on itunes.



There are positive and negative stereotypes for every country and usually they are just convenient ways to label people and have little grounding in fact.

For example, I have spent time in Italy and I found the people to be neither lazier nor more stylish than people from other countries. Nor do they know more about food than other places as a lot of them are very nationalistic about this and don’t try food from other countries. Then again, a lot of them do so it is a dangerous thing to label people altogether in this way.

Similarly, in Korea I did not find the people to be obsessed with politeness and honour etc. All that bowing business only occurs on the rare occasion that you can’t actually avoid it. They do seem to work more than in some other places but they are as p*ssed off about that as anyone else would be. There wasn’t the deference to authority that we are always told about. There is a long history of striking and vehement protest in Korea. Take this photo as an example.

There is one Scottish steretype that has always baffled me though, which is this thing about saying “Och aye, the noo”.

I have NEVER heard someone say this except when taking the p*ss out of the fact we are supposed to say it.

It means basically, “oh yes, just now”. Doesn’t this strike you as rather odd thing for a nation of people to walk around saying?

Try to think of questions that go with this response. There are a few, but there aren’t too many.

I don’t know how the idea that this is a commonly used phrase came about except that it is often repeated that we actually say it. Maybe it is a species of self-reinforcing myth. The steps go like this…

  1. Someone said we say it
  2. Other people heard we say it
  3. We heard that other people said we say it so we started saying it to make fun of the fact that they said we say it
  4. Other people heard us saying it so they believe that we actually say it
  5. etc

However, having said all this, I should point out for the record that having spent some time there I can confirm that Italians really do say “mamma mia” quite often.


I did a quick internet search a moment ago to see if i could find a conjugation of the verb “to be” in Scots instead of English.

There didn’t appear to be one so I thought I would have a go.

I know there are different dialects all around Scotland so this might just be Glasgow dialect but I would be very interested to see other people’s attempts.

Anyway, here is what I did. I think it becomes more interesting with the negatives…

I am  – Ah um

You are – Ye ur

He is – He is

She is – She is

It is  – It is

You are (plural) – Youse ur

They are – Thay ur

We are – We ur

Like I said, the negatives make it more interesting…

I’m not – Ah umnae

You aren’t – Ye urnae

He isn’t – He isnae

She isn’t – She isnae

It isn’t – It isnae

You aren’t – Youse urnae

They aren’t – Thay urnae

We aren’t – We urnae

Also, when you put it into past tense it is interesting too…

I was  – Ah wis

You were – Ye wur

He was – He wis/z

She was – She wis/z

It was – It wis/z

You were – Youse wur

They were – Thay wur

We were – We wur

and the negatives…

I wasn’t  – Ah wisnae

You weren’t – Ye wurnae

He wasn’t – He wisnae

She wasn’t – She wisnae

It wasn’t – It wisnae

You weren’t – Youse wurnae

They weren’t – Thay wurnae

We weren’t – We wurnae


One of the ways in which Scotland is kept away from itself is language.

From day one we are taught that sentences like the title of this article are vulgar. I used that particular sentence because of something I remember very clearly from primary school.

My friend came in late one morning. The teacher asked him where he had been and he replied that he had a ‘sair heid’.

He was then ridiculed in front of the class for saying it in this way. It was all quite vicious too.

That little display taught me a lot when I was old enough to think about it properly [we were only 7 at the time].

We are always told that the language of Scots is nothing other than a bastardisation of English, which simply isn’t true.

I have a friend in Ireland who teaches Scots as a language to kids. Yes, you read correctly. That is in Ireland, in Scotland we are still told it is wrong. We are told to mend our pronunciation and speak in the ‘queen’s english’.

F*ck that.

We need a formulation of the Scots language. There are dictionaries and so on but original Scots is probably more different from English than Italian is from Spanish [that is the opinion of two linguists I spoke to] and we need to formulate and teach it.

I know that this could lead to arguments about which dialect is correct and so on. I know that this could lead eventually to the same kind of arguments as the one I have just said about Scots/English but it needs to be done for our independence. Very much the same thing happened in Ireland when they were trying to formulate Irish for teaching in schools and it hasn’t done them any harm.

We need to do it.

“Language is memory and metaphor.”

Storm Jamieson