New Year has just passed and all over the World the event is celebrated, very often with Burns Anthem of Auld Lang Syne.

The BBC recorded this fact with the following “Now research from the University of Edinburgh has revealed the origins of the Hogmanay tradition are connected to freemasonry.

Singing with arms crossed and hands joined was a parting ritual at many Masonic lodges.”

So there you go, the reason for the song’s worldwide popularity is the Freemasons. I can see why the London controlled BBC would be attracted to this explanation. England has always been bemused and find it inexplicable that a song written and created in tiny Scotland has established itself as the number one friendship song across the world.

The more so in that it is written in a language that the colonial masters in London have worked long and hard to suppress and eliminate. How did that happen?

Now to be fair England has had a role in spreading the song worldwide. Their role in forcing Scots abroad during the Clearances that occurred mainly between 1750 and 1860 also coincided with Burns being born in 1759. As he grew to maturity and lived his life until his death in Dumfries in 1796 his poetry was already popular. A popularity that only increased after his death. Likewise the British Empire was expanding rapidly and by the early 20th century ruled over 23% of the World’s population. They could proudly boast that “the sun never sets on the British Empire” as the possessions were so geographically diverse no matter the time of day the sun would be shining somewhere on the 24% of the entire land mass of the World that Britain controlled.

The Scots have always been a sociable race and thanks to the Scottish education system of the time, which ensured Scotland had a higher proportion of people who could read and write, this served our emigrants well and led to many of them securing positions of influence and authority in the countries they immigrated to. Likewise that ability to count, to write and record, also made them key employees in the ever growing empire. An empire expansion that often involved military power, another area where Scots soldiers played a significant role.

Scots introduced Burns to many nationalities. In Japan for instance the tune is used in graduation ceremonies in Universities and some shops use it when closing each day. Bell used the tune to demonstrate his telephone invention and the words were used on the ticker tape notice in Times Square in New York in 1929. Burns societies were established across the World and remain active to this day. An event that definitely internationalised Burns was the first World Boy Scouts Jamboree in 1920 which ended with all participants singing Auld Lang Syne. This led to multiple versions of the song being printed in many languages across the World.

The BBC even attempted to introduce the Union into their article and I quote “ A newspaper report of an Ayrshire lodge’s Burns Supper in 1879 describes Auld Lang Syne being sung as members formed “the circle of unity” – a Masonic ritual also called the “chain of union”.

It must mystify the English why Burns Songs and poetry, all written in a language which they have spent centuries trying to suppress grows and maintains its appeal rather than “Roll out the barrel” or “Jerusalem”

I would suggest it is the sentiments expressed in his work. His appeal for us all to be brothers ( and sisters) in friendship. The complete absence of value because of greed or money being valid. His  ability to bring down those in eminent positions calling for their worth to be measured by their kindness and humility rather than power and position.

So I have some news for our shellshocked oppressors in England. Your power is diminishing by the day, virtually all your colonial possessions have ebbed away as country after country has secured their Independence. None of them are coming back. I fully understand the quandary of why a poet from one of your last colonial possessions, writing in a language you have been trying to kill for centuries has this worldwide appeal despite your best efforts.

Let me conclude by reminding you of this. January 1st may have been an annoyance but come the 25th January every year, the World celebrates Burns Night.

To use one of the Empire’s favourite phrases “ there is never a time on the 25th January each year where the sun is not shining on a land where the Bard’s life and work is not being celebrated at a Supper in his honour”. The Empire may be gone but the admiration of peoples across the World and the friendship and warmth that they feel for the Bard and his homeland is always present. The Freemasons are welcome to join in but BURNS was established across the world by many forces, particularly working class people who valued the principles of international friendship and decency his works espoused.

It is those principles that the World celebrate and I am one proud Scotsman that those same principles and values still exist and are still celebrated in Scotland today.

Ladies and Gentleman I give you a toast. To Robbie Burns our National Bard whose works honour our nation.

I am, as always

Yours for Scotland.


Sadly some sites had given up on being pro Indy sites and have decided to become merely pro SNP sites where any criticism of the Party Leader or opposition to the latest policy extremes, results in censorship being applied. This, in the rather over optimistic belief that this will suppress public discussion on such topics. My regular readers have expertly worked out that by regularly sharing articles on this site defeats that censorship and makes it all rather pointless. I really do appreciate such support and free speech in Scotland is remaining unaffected by their juvenile censorship. Indeed it is has become a symptom of weakness and guilt. Quite encouraging really.


  1. Brilliant appraisal of Scotland’s worldwide reputation, coupled with rightful praise for Robert Burns. And a fantastic exposé of English state jealousy and chagrin at the reality of it. My use of two French words is quite deliberate.

    Liked by 10 people

  2. It’s no like the Empire to attempt tae pillage somethin that disnae belang tae them. Is it?

    Thanks Iain, for the timely reminder, and the toast to OUR man o’ the people, Rabbie Burns.

    “In Japan for instance the tune is used in graduation ceremonies in Universities and some shops use it when closing each day.”

    I have a feeling that the man that should be credited with bringing Burns to the attention of Japan, is none other than, Thomas Blake Glover. And he probably kindled Japan’s love of whisky too!
    Another one of Scotland’s unsung heroes. Although, I did watch an excellent documentary film on him a few years ago.
    Born in Fraserburgh in 1838. Glover died and was buried in Nagasaki in 1911.
    He left his shipping clerk’s job with Jardine Mathieson and moved to Japan in 1857 and started the Glover Co in Nagasaki in 1859, trading in merchandise. He was instrumental in supplying rifles and other armaments to the warring Japanese clans. He even supplied ships to the Japanese Navy. He never left Japan. He became, affectionately known as the”Grandfather of the Industrialisation of Japan”. In recognition of his services to Japan, he was awarded the prestigious Order of the Rising Sun. He co-founded the shipbuilding company, later to be known as the Mitsubishi Co., and the Japan Brewery Co., .later known as the Kirrin Brewery Co. His house in Nagasaki still stands and is a tourist attraction. His grave is still visited by many Japanese as Glover’s achievements are still taught in Japanese schools to this day….

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Bruceruk.

      He’s not the only weel kent Scot in Japan Richard Henry Brunton, is known as the Father of Japanese Lighthouses.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. Many thanks Bruce, it was an excellent documentary on him.

      Now you’ve reminded me to get Alexander McKay’s book Scottish Samurai: Thomas Blake Glover, 1838-1911.

      Liked by 4 people

    3. Thanks for that info. The world owes the Scots, I hope when it comes to our battle for independence it stands solid behind us. Saor Alba.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A dozen societies developed during the Wealth dominant “Class” years. Probably back to the 14th. Century.
    The Masons are the best known but others such as the “Gardeners Society” were developed because these groups of skilled people moved to spend their careers at the building of Cathedrals or for developing The Gardens of Stately homes. This was often a life’s work and they had the additional role to their apprentices beyond teaching technical skills. They had to build moral standards and values. They used the tools of the trade hence we for have example the Masonic “on the level” which we still use.

    The later capture of these societies by Gentlemen as a means of advancement should not be confused with the original values.

    Did good men bring the values of Scottish traditions into their societies or did their values get taken out into society. I would imagine it was a bit of both.

    I remember on a management course being told you can set rules or they evolve. The example given was if you go and stay at someone’s house and you notice the family take off their shoes at the door. That the family take their plates back to the kitchen it doesn’t take long before you are doing the same thing.Standards can be achieved by simple example.

    Scots had Highland Welfare long before modern Social Security. We had protection of travellers and many other customs. Good People take on good examples and pass them on.

    The behaviour of the BritNat Media is an example of poor values and standards. The attempt at this spin reminds me of the Saltire photo edited to look like a Swastika.

    ( and Yes, I do know that Burns was a Mason)

    Liked by 11 people

  4. Whither went the 600k
    For IndyRef2 it did not pay?

    A man’s a wummin for a’ that
    But Indy disnae qualy for chat.

    But whaur’s the ideas and where is the plan?
    Awa fae Indy the Murrells did ran.

    Coercing yer pals to get Salmond convictive,
    Maks certain that Stalins’s pure evil vindictive.

    Both votes SNP, well that was the plan,
    To get 40 Yoon members elected as wan.

    If somethings no’ working, it’s now called a ferry,
    And if someone’s abused, it’s Joanna Cherry.

    For the Railways top job, a wummins been hired,
    Testicles and experience, well they’re no required.

    But if you write truth how the SNP fail,
    As day follows night, they’ll send you to jail.

    Liked by 9 people

  5. Beautifully written, Iain, and very uplifting.

    When snakes get distressed they start eating their own tail. I feel the power that be snake has almost reached the turning point where it starts to eat itself up (metaphorically speaking) because nothing works anymore to bring Scotland to heel.

    The relentless attempts to undermine Scotland’s culture, unity and heritage to break Scotland’s soul as a nation have spectacularly failed despite that snake trying for over 300 years.

    I feel that what we are seeing are the lasts laborious gasps before the snake starts to eat its own tail due to the distress caused by its own failure. From then on, we may hear it screaming in pain.

    It may be painful to watch and hear, but who are we to stop it? Haven’t we been told for 300 years that we are simply too wee, too poor and too stupid to change the course of anything?

    Liked by 7 people

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