Rabbie Burns

Burns Night is upon us again…..no one here will be celebrating, apart from a Canadian who owns a kilt and can play the bagpipes. Leo is too ill to enjoy black bun, but we have haggis, though wthout the neeps, and whisky in which to toast the Immortal Memory.

Unfortunately, in moderation. And not only because the Speyside stuff is all you can get here….nothing from the islands. No Laphroaig, no Lavagulin, nor my father’s favourite, Highland Park, sweet from the peat cuttings which smoked the barley. Now, would you believe, they are marketing the stuff as Viking whisky…though I trust a glass of ‘the creature’ would not send one off on an orgy of murder and looting.

Still, one never knows……

Burns flourished in the period of the Scottish enlightenment…and grew up in the determination of the Scottish Presbyterian church that every child should go to school. He was well equipped to view his society, nomatter how his society viewed him.

Given his views on freedom and liberty, how would he react to what is happening in his beloved Scotia…where a government voted into power to gain independence from the United Kingdom hangs onto to power under UK control rather than strike out to fulfill its promises. Where in order to stay in power it aligns itself with the Greens – a party whose policies are now being inflicted on the nation.

Years ago, a good friend, a retired German vet who had been through post war imprisonment in work camps in Russia, described the Greens, then becoming a force in German politics, as terrorists, hell bent on overturning everything that made life worth living. That man was a prophet!

What he could not have foreseen was that their ideas would be adopted by governments world wide – apart from the governments producing the most pollution, that is.

We have net zero targets with governments galloping ahead to rely only on renewable energy sources without thinking for one moment whether these are as yet sufficient to maintain civilised life for the mass of people. In the meantime the suppliers of these energy forms enjoy state subsidies, paid for, of course, by the public, who are those who will suffer power outages when the renewables fail to produce.

The car is the enemy – unless it is electric powered. Let alone the cost, which will make it impossible for most people to buy one, what about the misery of those – including children – in the Democratic Republic of the Congo mining cobalt to produce lithium? Do the Greens care…or is the relief of that misery the job of charities? Save the planet…stuff the children.

The list is endless, but what concerns me currently is a recent development in Scotland whose parliament has recently passed the Gender Recognition Reform Act 1922 with the aim of permitting those wishing to change their legal gender to do so with less restrictions.

Given the blanket provisions of the act there has been public dissent, giving rise to demonstrations in support of the Act, on one of which these placards figured, behind the smirking faces of two Members of the Scottish Parliament

TERF stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist…or, in English, women who do not think that trans woman are women.

How is it possible, in a land which used to pride itself on its respect for liberty and free speech, that its society has produced people who can think it possible to turn out with such disgraceful slogans? Where are the police, so hot on hate crimes? Where is the condemnation in the press…..in the Scottish Parliament? If you follow the link be prepared for some very disturbing content.

Robert Burns, unforgettably described by Mike Biles in his ‘A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays’ as a chap whose brain was generally used merely as a periscope for his willie, and known to make appearances on the penitence stool at the kirk, might these days find himself cancelled should he now proclaim that ‘a man’s a man for a’ that’.

Happy Burns Night……

Here’s tae us,wha’s like us,

Gey few, an they’re a’ deid


The Immortal Memory

Ca the yowes…for those unacquainted with the Doric….https://lyricstranslate.com/en/robert-burns-ca-yowes-lyrics.html

Robert Burns, poet of the human condition, whose life and works are celebrated tonight by Scots all over the world.

A man of his times, whose message is timeless.

A Scot, who speaks still to the world.

From the sheer fun of ‘ The De’il’s Away Wi’ The Exciseman’, written for a gathering of his fellow customes officers,

to the lyricism of ‘Flow Gently Sweet Afton’

his song of independence , ‘Scots Wa Hae’ – which, in faster time would still make a better anthem than that blasted dirge ‘Flower of Scotland’. No wonder we lose everything…..

and his song of brotherhood ‘ A Man’s a Man for A’ That’ as sung at the opening of the Scottish Parliament…and those bastards should be ashamed of themselves all these years on at their betrayal of their country…yet another parcel of rogues in a nation.

With typical Scots pawky humour that was the tune played to summon defaulters – military miscreants – to their punishment in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders regiment.

He has inspired many over the centuries…..

Abraham Lincoln, who was given his poems as a young man…’From Shakespeare I learnt the sonnets, from the Bible, the scriptures, but it was from that man that I learnt humanity.’

Maya Angelou, who was given his poems as a child …..’He was the first white man I read who seemed to understand that a human being is a human being, that we are more alike than unlike”.

And when we link arms for Auld Lang Syne, whether it be with the lass from ‘Coming Through the Rye’ or Holy Willie we live out his dream, that whomsoever we might be we are capable of a belief in the goodness of each other and our collective ability to make a better world.

For a’ That and a’ That…

Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an’ a’ that;
The coward slave-we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a’ that!
For a’ that, an’ a’ that.
Our toils obscure an’ a’ that,
The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,
The Man’s the gowd for a’ that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hodden grey, an’ a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A man’s a man for a’ that:
For a’ that, and a’ that,
Their tinsel show, an’ a’ that;
The honest man, tho’ e’er sae poor,
Is king o’ men for a’ that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca’d a lord,
Wha struts, an’ stares, an’ a’ that;
Tho’ hundreds worship at his word,
He’s but a cuif for a’ that:
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
His ribband, star, an’ a’ that:
The man o’ independent mind
He looks an’ laughs at a’ that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an’ a’ that;
But an honest man’s abon his might,
Gude faith, he maunna fa’ that!
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
Their dignities an’ a’ that;
The pith o’ sense, an’ pride o’ worth,
Are higher rank than a’ that.

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a’ that,)
That Sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an’ a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
It’s coming yet for a’ that,
That Man to Man, the world o’er,
Shall brothers be for a’ that.

But it won’t come unless we make it so

We have to have trust in ourselves and in each other: open our eyes and our minds, have confidence in our joint ability to create the decent society we all need in order to be the best we can.

We have to stop the rape of the commonweal by private interest; put roofs over heads and food on the table – and this not only in ‘poor’ countries, but in first world countries too where the cynical ruination of the national wealth is blamed on the greed, incompetence, immorality of the very people who are the first victims of that system.

And how do we do it?

For a first step we must stop allowing our masters to divide us: recognise that the ‘benefit scroungers’ are those who avoid tax, whose companies are given the unemployed as cheap or free labour, who award themselves pay and benefits out of all proportion to any benefit they bring to those said companies.

Starve them of funds…don’t use their companies.

Then stop voting for party candidates, locally and nationally.

I know that local government in the U.K. is a broken reed, kept on a short rein by central government and then used as an Aunt Sally to bring the democratic process into disrepute.

We need properly independent councillors who will not toe party lines, who will explain to their constituents exactly why their services are going to hell in a handcart and to take a firm hand on the remuneration packages of their officials.

Only with a solid structure of local government can we hope to reclaim national government from the party system and to build that structure we need to recreate communities – genuine ones, not the artificially empowered ‘communities’  which have a symbiotic relationship with the power structure in which their self appointed leaders deliver the votes and in turn have the recognition – and the funds – to dominate those who are forced to depend on them for a voice..

It is a long road…but our parents and their parents have walked it before us.

We may be but dwarfs on the shoulders of those giants…but what giants!

For their belief in justice they faced what we do not – the gallows.

We have their blood, we have the memory of their sacrifice, we can not only resist, but we can win.

Happy New Year to you all.