My Preamble

We will get publication of the Government’s White paper on Independence this month and my informant tells me it will be so comprehensive that it will open the Ark of the Covenant, describe the Fourth Dimension, incorporate a time-elapse video of the Big Bang which created the Universe, reveal the truth about the Turin Shroud and re-write the Third Secret of Fatima. The one question it will not answer is: Why do people elect Ian Davidson?

We know that nothing, even the amalgamation of every single Wikipedia entry on the internet, will satisfy the Unionists. When it proposes using sterling for example, the answer will be that Scots can’t decide that in Scotland. Remember, our role is to be supplicant to the London master and he – be it Dave and George or Ed and…erm…Ed – will decide that, not the Scots who have been full partners in Union for 300 years and who have contributed to the strength of sterling and whose oil underwrites it today…and who have shared rights in it because that’s what the Union is supposed to be about.

Is there no articulate Unionist out there, representative of a party, group or interest or representative of none, who will declare on behalf of all Scots that sterling belongs as much to them as it does to England? I keep wondering about that great silent swathe of humanity which is telling the pollsters they are either No or Don’t Knows but who contribute nothing visible to the debate, as if being against is enough. If the argument is that, as Alastair contends, Scotland can – of course – become independent and survive, just not as well as inside Union, where then are the proud Scots who support him? When will we hear the Unionist Scot announce that we are Better Together but the campaign must stop misleading and demeaning? It cannot be inimical for a Unionist to insist it will be Scotland’s right to use sterling, it’s just that he doesn’t believe we should split from England to do so.

Please – and no offence, Grahamski – would a proud Scottish Unionist get in touch and explain their feelings about some of this propaganda. This is the most one-sided debate in that all of the ideas, the creativity, the inspiration are copyright Yes and the hidebound, deferential, “It’s aye been” cowed opposition is clustered behind No.

On which point, I now reveal my role in drafting the White Paper…or at least my role in attempting to influence it. You’ll remember that the First Minister suggested some time ago that an inspiring preamble to the document might be written by Willie McIlvanney. Nothing daunted, I said: “Willie who? Is that the football reporter in the Observer? I can do better than any tabloid footy hack.” So I did. I wrote my own forward and submitted it to the FM’s adviser. (It may never have arrived as I had no acknowledgement. My guess is that they looked, laughed and litter-binned it.)

So, exclusively, as they say in the Record when Johann puts out a quote on Falkirk, here is my version of the preamble for Scotland’s White Paper. (I’ll explain the thinking behind it after you’ve read it but some of you will realise what I’m doing as you go through it.)


We know from the chronicles of the ancients that the Scots are among the most venerable and renowned nations of the world. For a thousand years and more we have resisted invasion and occupation.  We held our lands free of servitude with our own unbroken line of royalty until agreeing to share monarchy with our neighbours and then joining voluntarily as an equal partner in political union 300 years ago retaining our inalienable right to dissolve the treaty. 

We wish no malice or treachery to friendly neighbours yet have defended our nation against incursion and threat through the centuries so we could live in freedom – freedom to act in our interests and freedom to think for ourselves, to imagine and create the country we desire. No constraints should placed upon this rightful freedom, not by alliance nor contract nor the claims of others. 

The right to self-determination as enshrined in the United Nations charter is a freedom that belongs to all nations. It is a fundamental human right we claim as our own. 

The right to freedom must resist all challenge from within and from without and any attempt to deny or restrict it will meet with total defiance. Even our leaders will be driven out if they waver or subvert this principle. Power is vested not in Crown, nor parliament nor high office but only and alone in the people for they are sovereign. 

We hold this to be true in the face of glory, riches and honour and in the name of freedom, which no honest Scot gives up but with life itself.

We will stand by the people in all our efforts and stand by all the people. We make no distinction between race, religion, gender or social standing and embrace all who live here as true Scots in a sign to the world of our open and deep desire for peace. It is peace that forms the basis of all communities and governs all relationships and peace springs from love, which free people give to the world. 

As Scots we desire to redeem our ancient right and resume our place among the independent nations of the world, at peace and in trade with neighbours, yet dependent on none. Through learning and commerce at home we seek equality and opportunity for all. 

All people are born free and equal and their rights are the foundation of democracy.  To the world we say: Our flag is the saltire and it is the flag of freedom.


So, yes, it’s basically a re-write and update of the Declaration of Arbroath and I’ve attempted to capture some of the phrasing and cadence applied by those Scots 700 years ago. I reckon there is no better foundation for today’s nationalist movement than the Declaration which remains one of the outstanding statements on the rights of man ever written…way ahead of its time. It also contradicts all of that sovereignty of the crown in parliament nonsense in the English tradition. Also, don’t you think that it makes a difficult target for all critics if it’s based on Arbroath?  You may have spotted the use of the word Love. This is not at all the usual country-building protocol which is meant to be male and militaristic but I think that single word sends a signal about us and our country and I intend soon to write about what those two concepts – Love and Country – mean to me. If you think I’m a bit flowery for your taste, you have to remember that this is traditional in such documents. (Try the Quebec Sovereignty Declaration…you’ll still be reading next Tuesday!)

I don’t know what the Government is going to choose, probably something prosaic, but why don’t some of you have a go too? What is your declaration of independence?

I’ll post them all – funny or otherwise.

Meanwhile please vote on my effort by answering either:

Yes, I like Derek’s preamble,

Or: Yes, I definitely like Derek’s preamble.

In keeping with modern referendums, there is no second question.



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0 thoughts on “My Preamble

  1. I like it Derek,
    The Declaration of Maryhill
    Of course I am biased, I am a Maryhittite

  2. Aye, that’ll do for me.

  3. I like it. I really really like it. A perfect example of the anciet and modern.

  4. “joining voluntarily as an equal partner in political union 300 years ago”

    Dunno if the masses of people who rioted in the streets of Scotland’s towns and cities would necessarily agree with that…

  5. Scots don’t have the right to self-determination. That is the BT official position, the legal advice they commissioned and paid for (with your money), and which was announced gravely to the world by a ‘useful’ LibDem, Michael Moore, Secretary of State of Scotland. So your argument is null.

  6. like the negation of the crown in parliament nonsense

  7. Quite (in the original definition) good, Derek.

  8. Not a bad stab at it at all (this boy shows promise)

  9. Yes, I definitely like Derek’s preamble.

  10. Now be honest, you’ve done this writing thing before.

    No bad at all. 🙂

  11. I feel six inches taller after reading that…DEFINITELY YES!

  12. Definitely like

  13. Derek, according to an article in the Spectator (they claim to have seen a copy of UK Govts response to the white paper),” concentrates on the practical problems of Independence,not an impassioned defence of the Union.There’ll be a blast from Danny Alexander on an IFS report on the fiscal implications of Independence and Whitehall also wants to reignite the debate about whether an Independent Scotland could negotiate EU membership within 18 months” -James Forsyth
    So no debate then (as the white paper has not even been published yet) just preprepared stock scare mongering ,it may yet fall on Grahamski to be the one voice that can ‘explain his feelings’ regarding this ,hopefully done in a Justin Timberlake style so we can at least all join in the chorus.
    Yes I definitely like your preamble – a common weal ,an aim for all in this nation.

  14. Definitely YES!

  15. Yes, I definitely like Derek’s preamble.

  16. Och Derek you’ve nailed it there by invoking the Declaration. Although I too raised my eyebrows at the ‘voluntary joining’ bit, that last sentence brought a wee lump to my throat.

  17. The Water Beastie

    Aye, Derek….did Margaret Thatcher not have a bit of a go at the Declaration of Arbroath and the French Declaration, saying the earliest declaration of human rights was ‘the Ten Commandments….’ or some such mince?

  18. Yes, I definitely like Derek’s preamble.
    (thought I had better get the wording right in case it was counted as a spoiled vote)

  19. Del, yir fairly coming on. Rare.

  20. As preambles go that’s not bad!…………..actually it brought a tear to my eye.

  21. In the spirit of this referendum, I have some questions about the second question. I see you said there is no second question, but there is something I need to know about the second question.
    Well no, I’m not going to tell you what i want to know, that is a ridiculous suggestion. I demand you tell me what the questions are I want to know about the second question.
    If you can’t answer my questions, which I believe you should tell me, then your are deluding the people of Scotland, with whom we are going to have a conversation about how we need to ask questions. Which you will not answer. Disgraceful and shameless.

  22. Yes, I definitely like Derek’s preamble.

  23. 1. The quibble with that one word that others have mentioned.
    2. Royalty — hardly unbroken for a millennium. And seriously something we should be moving beyond bending the knee, in the 21st century. Post eventually vacated by natural wastage and a referendum to see if we re-fill it..
    3. I’d be proud to have the rest of it pinned on my door.

  24. Och, it’s no bad.

    I suppose I can live with the plagiarism for a good cause. 😉

    SCED30, that is indeed the spirit of the referendum as far as our media is concerned!

  25. This is so good that I will have to go into the cupboard and unpack the long-buried printer in order to have a copy up on my wall.

  26. That will do for me! You obviously have excellent communication skills, Derek. Have you considered a career in broadcasting?

  27. I definitely like Derek’s preamble.
    Now, do I get a prize for saying that?

  28. You mentioned Love and Grahamski in the same article.

    Thats an odd combination.

    Apart from that it’s very good.

  29. I definitely like Derek’s preamble. The inclusion of love is a big plus. That’s what we want to be about.

  30. Ach, nae bad .. which font were you planning?

  31. Really lovely stuff, and interestingly, I’d been thinking about my own wee “Declaration of Arbroath” type thing. I think you did a grand job: even if I’d quibble with one or two points, it isn’t as if the 1320 document didn’t have a few wee cases of “smoothing things over” in the name of presenting a peaceful statement.

  32. I don’t like Derek’s preamble. I love it.

  33. Brilliant! Love…the love.

  34. I agree with Derek.

  35. I’d go for something a bit shorter: How no?

  36. Kind of quite liked your preamble.

    I know historians see themselves as important, and sometimes they are.

    They could potentially point out that celebrating the start of a War is kind of, well, abnormal

    Or that, whoever they were, the folk that headed off the Romans was pretty admirable. I doubt many modern Scots would have the same world view as those folk….. Do we know enough to say?

    But, and it is a big but, the more recent stuff, even the Decleration of Arbroath, was written and signed by plutocrats, not the likes of thee nor me. And as someone else has pointed out the surrender of sovereign government 300 years ago was not with the consent of the people. It was against the will of the people.

    Let us have no false nobility, taking decisions based on personal equity, let us decide what is right for us.


    We are where we are.

    The future is still to be written.

    A small, agile state off of Europe, if my crystal ball is right, could be a beacon of democracy, prosperity and equality in the true sense of all these words, in a darkening world. It is a while since the USA stood up for it’s own constitution in a meaningful way. Let us be against extraordinary rendition, torture and illegal wars. Let a small population never enter a war that cannot be justified before both it’s own electorate and a jury of nations.

    The light in others’ crystal balls may vary. Theirs are however shrouded by a mist of what we scientists call jingoism.

  37. Derek,

    despair not for my hunch is Eck has read your masterpiece and is fully committed to using it. There is, however, the small consideration of the BBC leaking ‘top secret’ papers (they have form) and with this in mind Eck has decided to err on the side of caution and make like he has never even read your preamble. He has, of course, taken the liberty of amending a few of your assertions, namely, the ‘joining voluntarily as an equal partner in political union’ (he just had to take this line oot as it went against the great bard Rabbie’s classic line of bought and sold etc.)

    He also loved your ‘Our flag is the saltire and it is the flag of freedom’ line. There lies, just under the surface, a great feeling of resentment towards a certain ‘rag’ that had the temerity to portray the oldest national flag still in use as a symbol of Tory fascism. On the great day of independence your line will be printed long and large and wrapped around this ‘rag’s’ building. Provided this certain rag manages to stave off their impending foreclosure long enough to be around for the 19th of September 2014.

    He is also looking for expressions of interest for the position of Director General of the SBC. Interested?

  38. That’ll do.

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