I AM a big fan of the writings of the Wee Ginger Dog. But his column alleging a “lack of Declaration of Arbroath anniversary events” shows even he isn’t infallible.

And I sincerely hope it doesn’t indicate that, even among some leading independence supporters, a metropolitan view of Scotland exists ... that it can’t be of national significance if it isn’t in Edinburgh or Glasgow.

The Scottish Government and its partner agencies threw their weight behind ensuring the commemorations of the signing of the Declaration were centred on Arbroath, believing that was the right location for community-inspired celebrations of the enormous significance of the document.

As a Minister in the Scottish Government, I had specific oversight of what was being planned. As the MSP for Arbroath and a former trustee of Arbroath 2020, I was personally delighted to see the focus being where it ought to be and pleased to see so many non-official musical/cultural events springing up around this.

READ MORE: Wee Ginger Dug on the Declaration of Arbroath anniversary

The Dug bemoans a lack of “processions of children” and “commissioning of “sculptures”.

Well, a huge public parade, funded in part by the Scottish Government, was planned for April 5, in Arbroath, which would have seen local schoolchildren front and centre.

Earlier this year, a bass relief, donated by Arbroath Guildry, was unveiled outside the Abbey.

And on the anniversary itself, a stunning digital replica of the Declaration was to have been presented to the young people of Arbroath for housing alongside the amazing Declaration Tapestry (created over 2000 hours by local stitchers), within a newly refurbished offering in the visitor centre.

Now, Edinburgh had not been forgotten in all of this. The National Museum was, in conjunction with National Records of Scotland, to have had the surviving version of the Declaration (there were two made at the time) on public display for a month.

Sadly, all of the above, along with the All Under One Banner parade (they to seem to have decided Arbroath was the right place to be as well) intended for the weekend of the anniversary fell foul of the coronavirus.

But the intention is to reschedule most, if not all, of what was planned (and there was more than I have noted) next year under the Arbroath 700 + 1 or 2020 + 1 flag.

I hope we can welcome the Wee Ginger Dug, and the rest of Scotland, to Angus then. He and they would be very welcome to join our national celebrations ... where they should be held!

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