The story of radical Scot Thomas Muir is related by leading historian and academic Gerard Carruthers in a fascinating podcast interview with our host Derek Bateman.
Sent to Botany Bay as a trouble maker by the British authorities for challenging the UK constitution in an Edinburgh “show trial” before Lord Braxfield, Muir – one of the so-called “Scottish Martyrs” – had been accused of sedition.
A Scottish advocate, Muir led a principled stand against the unionists and land-owners of the Scottish ruling class during the late 18th century. His struggles began as a Church of Scotland elder, when he led the opposition to local land-owners and mine-owners in what is now East Dunbartonshire
Carruthers recounts the tale of Muir, now celebrated by The Friends of Thomas Muir as a Scotsman who promoted the principles of the French Revolution and aligned himself with campaigners for Irish independence, including Wolfe Tone, whom he met whilst on the run. His was a colourful and troubled life, and he is appreciated now as a key figure in Scottish radical history.
Billy Kay continues his (sober) recounting of the Scots love of red wine, tracing the story of “Scottish claret”, often exported into England via Leith. Billy recounts the stories of the Grahams, Cockburns and Sandemans among others, who became celebrated as the importers of Portuguese port and the subsequent growth of the industry. As ever, Billy weaves a fascinating tale.
This is the final day that Billy Kay’s last in the Radio Scotland series The Cause can be heard on the BBC iPlayer. Click here for a listen about the final reflections of many key figures on last year’s Indyref.