Captain Moonlight's Notebook: Reclaiming Robert Burns

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The Independent Online
A LETTER arrives on my desk from an organisation calling itself the Scottish Women's Action Network (Swan) in Glasgow, promising to reclaim Robert Burns for all the Scottish people and not just 'the minority of the population who happen to be the same sex'.

Instead of a Burns Night celebration on 25 January, the ladies of Swan plan a Jean Armour supper on 6 February, named after the woman who carried his child and whom he eventually married in 1788 after first going off with another woman. They forgot to mention that Ms Armour, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, went back on her promise to marry Burns in 1786, which was why he left her.

Instead of being offal-filled, the haggis will be vegetarian. And instead of the usual toast to the lassies and a recitation of Burns' bawdy verse, the diners will celebrate Scottish women 'many of whom, like Jean Armour, are today only known through the prism of their partners' fame'. The kitchens will be staffed by males.

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