Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Celebrating Robert Burns the radical

I'll be leading a tribute to ‘Robert Burns the radical’ at the SSP's annual ‘Alternative Burns Supper’ on Friday 26th in the Canons Gait on the High Street.

We recognize in Robert Burns someone who was passionate about independence, a true radical who spoke out in favour of the French revolution and the American revolution and was a member of the Scots reform movement. Here was a man advocating workers representatives in Parliament a hundred and fifty years before Keir Hardie, demanding universal suffrage way before the suffragists, and fighting for the abolition of slavery and celebrating Scots hero’s like Wallace and Thomas Muir the leader of the United Scotsmen.

Burns is for me a hugely inspiring figure. He championed our own Scots culture when the ruling classes here considered it couthy, backward and rude. He was a figure the establishment truly feared and he has through his work retained his potency today. He was a close friend and collaborator of Scotland's great blacklisted painter Alexander Naysmith.

Robert Burns is rightly celebrated the world over and his attraction is that he was truly a poet of the common man and a genius to boot.
The SSP has proudly marked the anniversary of his birth for a decade now by debunking the myths and explaining who Robert Burns really was, what he really stood for and what he left us. I believe we owe him that much.
In the Canons Gait tomorrow night we will sing and dance and eat and drink to one true working class hero. He’s one of us.

Tickets £7 and £4unwaged – haggis neeps and tatties included.

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