UK

Robert Burns would have written for The National, claims Ruth Davidson

Giving the Immortal Memory address at Scotland in Union’s virtual Burns Dinner on Tuesday night, Davidson said she thought Burns was a “chancer” who would have “played both sides” in the debate over the Union. 

She said: “We all know that during the independence referendum, the Nationalists tried to play recruiting sergeant.

“If Burns had been here during the referendum, I honestly don’t know what side he would have been on. 

“Because I’ve always viewed him as a total chancer. 

“I think he would have tried to ride both horses for as long as he could. 

“He would have been penning newspaper articles for both the Telegraph and The National, as long as he got paid.”

Attendees loved Davidson’s contributions

She claimed independence supporters tried to use Burns to “play recruiting sergeant” but that she hits back with lines from Burns’s address to the Dumfries Volunteers.

She read: “Be Britain still to Britain true,

“Amang oursels united;

“For never but by British hands

“Maun British wrangs be righted!” 

Hosted by Scotland in Union chief executive Pamela Nash, the event saw former Labour MP Iain Luke performing Birks of Aberfeldy, Labour MSP Martin Whitfield doing the Toast to the Lassies and LibDem MSP Beatrice Wishart giving the traditional reply.

Davidson said it was the first time she had given the Immortal Memory, usually being asked to do the reply to the Toast to the Ladies.

Attendees gave Davidson gushing praise during their speeches. Whitfield said it was “my loss” he had never shared a debating chamber with the Baroness. Introducing Davidson’s contribution, Nash said Davidson had been a “breath of fresh air” to the Scottish Conservatives and praised her for winning voters over for the Better Together campaign in 2014. 

Nash said: “She became one of the faces of the Better Together campaign and appealed to people across the political spectrum with a fact-based, no-nonsense approach that was always delivered with a sense of humour.

“Her popularity grew at a time when we really needed likeable and trustworthy leaders.”

Davidson also revealed she had backed a failed bid by Alex Salmond to have a statue of the former First Minister built in Charlotte Square. 

She said she was consulted on the plans and said she wanted to have the “pigeons have their say” on Salmond’s legacy. 

Winners of a two-round quiz received a Scotland in Union calendar and there was a raffle to win a box of 38 Tunnocks caramel wafers, 36 Tunnocks tea cakes, a bottle of whisky, a bottle of wine and two home tickets for a Partick Thistle match.

The event, hosted on Zoom cost £11.37 and was attended by around 70 people.



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