AT THE weekend I had the great privilege of giving the Immortal Memory at the traditional Burns Supper of the Old Musselburgh Club, a venerable but lively gathering of 100 leading Musselburgh citizens.
My thanks for a wonderful evening’s entertainment and company: Rabbie himself would have had a good time and doubtless got unco happy and not a little fou.
There’s a strong Burns family connection with East Lothian – his younger brother Gilbert moved to Morham after the Bard’s death and ended up as the manager on the Lennoxlove Estate. Burns’ mother and sister Annabella also lived with Gilbert in East Lothian. So the Burns’ tradition has entered our local DNA.
In a week that saw Donald Trump become US President (though with three million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton), it is comforting to know that the greatest American to occupy the White House, Abraham Lincoln, was a devoted admirer of Robert Burns.
Lincoln and his wife Mary named their third son William Wallace in honour of the great Scottish hero and because of Lincoln’s affection for Burns’ Scots Wa Hae. During the American Civil War, when people gathered in the White House in the evening, Lincoln would read aloud from Shakespeare and Burns.
I can’t say I’m a fan of Mr Trump. The Conservative Government is being very naïve if they think that he will cut the UK any special deal on trade.
Scotland is being dragged out of the EU, our biggest market. As I write, the Commons is still taking in the decision by the Supreme Court to make Tory ministers get Parliamentary approval to trigger Article 50 on divorcing the EU. How can Tory ministers claim Brexit is about “returning power to Westminster” when they have tried to deny Parliament a vote?
Meanwhile, I’m off to yet another Burns Supper – organised by the Longniddry Scouts. Here’s to the Bard!