Billy Kay: Still grieving for September 18


Leading Scottish cultural historian and commentator Billy Kay says he’s still grieving for September 18 2014 – referendum day – and its aftermath.

Billy visited the Newsnet studio to catch up with Bateman Broadcasting’s Derek Bateman, months after a pre-referendum visit where he had looked forward to victory and a day of great personal joy.

Now he describes the No vote as “the ultimate expression of the Scottish cringe”, but adds that he has regained his optimism and believes change will come.

Always looking forward Billy himself is enthused about a series of forthcoming radio documentaries he is making for BBC Radio Scotland. They include a series on Scotland’s historic connections with Russia. And they will of course include a programme about that referendum and its impact on Scotland.

As ever, this is a wide-ranging discussion driven by Billy’s enthusiastic and encyclopaedic knowledge of Scotland and Scots, especially those who travelled worldwide in search of fame and fortune. Apart from Russia, these tales range across Africa and Latin America, covering imperialism, the Enlightenment, international intrigue and the Scots’ fond and long-standing relationship with French claret.

Find out more about Billy’s work here.

A video version of Billy’s latest meeting with Derek is also available here.





  1. Fascinating, enough there to keep even the mildly curious furiously overdosing on google and wiki research for weeks.

    Seriously – I was struck by how many of the topics he covered flicked wee memory buttons in my heid.

    – Gonny go and annoy my pals online in america with some of this now …

  2. Completely OT, but in a Catalan press (ARA) review of new socialists in Europe, the following is said about the SNP. Nicola is getting listened to.
    The Scottish independentists have become consolidated as almost the only national party of reference in the country for a large section of the popular classes. Pro-Europe progressives, opposed to the inheritance of the Thatcher era, they have occupied the space abandoned by the Scottish branch of London-centric Labour. The independentist victory in working class Glasgow on 18-September was no coincidence.

  3. I remember a few years ago Billy did a series on Radio Scotland about the historic links with Scots trade in the Baltic and Poland. Was very interesting and was wondering if this was still available anywhere to download.

  4. Surely by now even the most un-suspicious amongst us must now wonder at the #indyref being rigged. Pundits repeatedly ask,

    “How can there be such a support for the SNP after a ‘NO’ Vote?”

    Surely the correct question is,

    “With such support for the SNP, how could it have been a ‘NO’ Vote?”

    John Stewart on the ‘Daily Show’ 9 days before the #indyref seemed to be implying that we were naive to believe it would be so simple as a matter of democracy for Scotland to become independent. I recommend you check the show out on YouTube. Once you’ve done that consider that the top Civil Servant in the Treasury has owned up to being active in taking steps to frustrate the demand for Scottish Independence. Of course, Britain would only ever allow that department to get involved to protect its interests, especially Oil and Nukes. It would never use its other agencies like the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for this purpose. Ooops, I forgot that it did just that. Still, it would never have used anything else like MI5 or GCHQ for the same ends, would it????

    Fact is, in the cold light of day, only one thing explains the current situation; The #indyref was rigged.


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