Well, soon I will have to go and get my slap on ready to attend the YES Prestwick Burns Supper tonight. I am giving the “Reply from the Lassies” which is good as it means I get the last word!
Prior to living in Ayrshire, I only knew Burns at a relatively superficial level and was blown away by my first “proper” Burns Supper at Ayr Hospital in 2002. The quality of the speeches, recitations and community singing was beyond anything I had experienced when attending Burns suppers elsewhere. You could tell he was truly in the DNA of those from Ayrshire.
When I was asked to give the Toast to the Immortal Memory in 2005, at Kyle Academy, I had to really do my homework and that was when I started to learn about the man, his peccadilloes and, most importantly, his politics.
Burns was not much of a feminist and I’m sure we members of Women for Independence would have written a few letters about his behaviour if we had lived at the same time. He was, however, a committed Internationalist and Socialist and there we would have found common ground. He had no great veneration for authority or pomp but believed in the brotherhood of mankind. I believe he would have relished the last couple of years we have spent visualising a better, fairer Scotland.
He lived in a time when few men (and no women) had the vote. So, as we celebrate the life of Burns this weekend, we should commit ourselves to campaigning for change and then use our vote in May to fight austerity and take Scotland forward.
OK, time to go and find the polyfilla!
If you haven’t yet attended a Burns Supper this year, why don’t you join us at the YES Troon/SNP Supper on 6th February. Tickets £10 from firstname.lastname@example.org