Is it possible to think of Scotland outside Europe? Our special guest this week is author, presenter and social historian Billy Kay, who argues that our relationship with Europe is so intertwined with our history – stretching long before the Act of Union – that it would be unnatural to turn our back on the Continent.
Billy points out that Scottish sea trade with the Baltic states, Scandinavia and Russia was crucial to our merchants long before the 18th century. We have long links with Russia and Poland, so much so that Scottish societies of merchants existed there in the 1500s. He points also to the influence of the Scottish Enlightenment on French educational history, and long links to Italian and French places of study.
Today’s podcast is a valuable discussion that puts Scotland firmly in the European context. Billy and his host, Derek Bateman, discuss the prospects for next month’s EU referendum, its implications for Scotland, and even the impact of a “Brexit” vote on Scottish public opinion and European views of Scotland in that scenario.
Billy remains of the belief that Scotland will be independent, although he accepts the referendum may be several years away. Here he explains why.
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Billy’s interview is now available in video: