Radical Scotland: Uncovering Scotland’s radical history – from the French Revolutionary era to the 1820 Rising Kenny MacAskill (Author)
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Biteback Publishing (January 21, 2021)
‘I have devoted myself to the cause of the people. It is a good cause – it shall ultimately prevail – it shall finally triumph.’ Thomas Muir
The Political Martyrs memorial in Edinburgh looms large on the city’s skyline but its history is relatively unknown. And that is not by accident. As Edinburgh’s New Town was constructed, a narrative of kilts and loyalty was created for Scotland, with its radical history deliberately excluded.
The French Revolution lit a spark in Scotland, inspiring radicals and working people alike, and uniting them in opposition to the King and his government. The oligarchy of landowners that ran Scotland was worried. Leading radicals like Thomas Muir and fellow political reformists were later rounded up and transported to Botany Bay. But they fought back and formed the Society of the United Scotsmen, seeking widespread political reform throughout the Union and were prepared to use physical force in defence of their ideals. As social and economic hardship followed in Waterloo’s wake, the flame of radicalism was further ignited. This is Scotland’s radical history.
Kenny MacAskill is the SNP Member of Parliament (MP) for East Lothian. He was an MSP from 1999 to 2016 and Scottish Justice Secretary from 2007 to 2014. Prior to that he was a senior partner in a law firm. Since stepping down from politics he has been writing columns for newspapers and magazines on current and historical affairs. He is also the author of The Lockerbie Bombing (2016), Jimmy Reid (2017) and Glasgow 1919. (2019). He lives in Edinburgh.