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Robert Burns (1759-1796) the poet needs no further introduction. But Robert Burns the revolutionary democrat is another matter. It is a matter of great regret that nowadays it seems to have become the fashion among certain left circles in Scotland to renounce Burns. To some degree this is understandable. After his death, Burns was hijacked by the Scottish Establishment, who turned him into a harmless icon. On Burns' night each January, upper class Scotsmen in kilts (!) make use of the great man's anniversary to eat and drink to excess, declaim poems to the haggis, and generally make fools of themselves. This grotesque parody would, of course, have had Rabbie Burns splitting his sides with laughter. His poems, his politics, his philosophy, his life and his death - all bear witness against these stage Scotsmen and hypocritical Pharisees.