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Sunday, January 25, 1998 Published at 09:05 GMT


Bernie celebrates Burns and the Jamaica connection
image: [ Bernie Grant:
Bernie Grant: "Burns was a swash-buckling figure"

The Jamaican-born MP Bernie Grant is preparing to join people around the world in celebrating the life and work of the Scottish poet Robbie Burns.

The BBC's Alasdair Sandford explains the Jamaica connection and gets Bernie Grant to give a recital (3'08")
Mr Grant is to toast the poet's Immortal Memory at a Burns Supper held by Falkirk West Labour Party on Sunday as he did last year in Milngavie, near Glasgow.

The London MP's love for the Scots bard goes back to his days as a student in Edinburgh.

"Burns was a swash-buckling figure, very good with women and almost a socialist," Mr Grant said.

"I don't think they really had socialists at that time but he had a lot of empathy with ordinary people."

[ image: Burns: a protype socialist]
Burns: a protype socialist
Mr Grant's affinity with Burns was further strengthened when he discovered the 18th century poet had considered fleeing his homeland for the Caribbean.

A combination of poverty and the wrath of the father of his pregnant girlfriend inspired Burns to think of life overseas.

Ultimately he decided he could not leave Scotland and stayed to find fame and fortune in his homeland.

But he wrote about his dream of a travelling across the ocean and his words caught the imagination of Mr Grant who, along with thousands of others, will honour the poet on Sunday night.

Spirit of Rabbie warms Scotch hearts

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25 Jan 98 | UK
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The Burns Supper: a literary feast

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