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Scotland and Arbroath 1320 – 2020

700 Years of Fighting for Freedom, Sovereignty, and Independence


Edited By Klaus Peter Müller

700 years of people in Scotland, England, Europe, and the world fighting for freedom, sovereignty, independence and justice are investigated in the essential periods and cultures since the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath: the Middle Ages, the Reformation and Early Modern Age, the English Revolution, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Cultural, media, political, and social studies, history, the law, art, philosophy, and literature are used for an analysis of the evolution of human rights, democracy, freedom, individual as well as national independence and justice in connection with past and present threats to them. Threats from politics, the economy, digitalisation, artificial intelligence, people's ignorance.


With contributions by Alasdair Allan MSP, Christopher J. Berry, Neil Blain, Alexander Broadie FRSE, Dauvit Broun, Mark P. Bruce, Ewen A. Cameron, Robert Crawford, Ian Duncan, Richard J. Finlay, David Forrest, Edouard Gaudot, Marjory Harper, Sarah Longlands, Ben McConville, David McCrone, Aileen McHarg, John Morrison, Klaus Peter Müller, Hugh O’Donnell, Murray Pittock, Anthony Salamone, David R. Sorensen, Silke Stroh, Christopher A. Whatley and Ben Wray.

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“Coveting Nothing but Our Own”: Arbroath and the Modern Independence Movement (Alasdair Allan (MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar))


Alasdair Allan (MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar)

“Coveting Nothing but Our Own”: Arbroath and the Modern Independence Movement

Abstract: Alasdair Allan looks at the place which the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath has played in the modern independence movement in Scotland and the Scottish National Party. He focusses on how the Declaration has been quoted and celebrated, particularly in the very early days of the movement. He also looks at how some of the key ideas in the Declaration have found themselves quoted by the wider pro-independence ‘Yes’ movement since Scotland’s independence referendum of 2014.

Keywords: History; Arbroath; independence; movements; freedom; politics; SNP; EU; Scotland; England; nation; nationalism; Covenant; knowledge; Home Rule Brexit

0. Introduction: Arbroath and Destiny

On 11 April 1951, four students were on the run from the police for a very unusual reason. Under cover of darkness, they dragged a large block of sandstone, draped in the saltire flag, into the ruins of Arbroath Abbey, where they left it to be found beside the high altar. Anyone familiar with the folklore of modern Scotland will know the story.

The tale of the taking of the Stone of Destiny is a deeply appealing one which, at least in part, helped inspire a whole generation of early campaigners for Scottish home rule and independence.1To cut a seven-hundred-year story short, in 1950 four idealistic young students from Glasgow University decided to recover Scotland’s ancient coronation stone from Westminster...

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