On Burns Night this post is reproduced from January 2022 to remind readers of an oft used tactic of the Union to devalue all things Scottish, a slur that seeks to divide. Burns is often a target, more recently the Claim of Right 1689, as it grows in political importance is now getting the same treatment.
THEY JUST CAN’T HELP THEMSELVES
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 Rabbie Burns our National Bard whose works honour our nation.
I am, as always
Yours for Scotland.
BEAT THE CENSORS
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.