2007 - 2021

The People’s Protest – Burns Day, Grangemouth, Jan 25th 2015

burnsyWhen activists tak tae the street 
An’ activists at Grangemooth meet; 
As Janwar days are wearin’ late,
We bring oor rally tae this gate:
Tae expose Tory con an’ lies

Tae steek their plans as unwise
They say ‘Cheap gas’ an’ jobs for a’
Like manna fae the Heaven’s fa’!
‘T’s fact, Lord Browne has paid them weel
‘Flat out for shale’ an’ a’ that spiel.
Five hunner grand’s a bribe, corrupt
We’re here tae protest, no’ disrupt.

Let’s examine the Evidence
Tae see if what they say maks sense.
There’s plenty ‘experts’ oan yin side
So are they takin us for a ride?
Are geologic survey’s done? 
Whar, underground, dis water run?
And – seismic data o’ fault lines?
Or ‘subsidence’ fae auld coal mines? –
Are these risk factors a’ array’d
When risk assessments judgements’ made?
Na! this data isny gether’d
Science ’s run awa’ untethered!
Ken this, absence o’ evidence
Isny evidence o’ absence!
Whun evidence yon ‘experts’ shun

Noo let’s examine drilling wells
Tae see whit myths the facts dispels?
Guid evidence that’s peer-reviewed
Proves safety claims are hyped an’ skew’d 
The percentum o’ wells that leak
Is exposed in ae fine critique
By Professor Ingraffea
Wha, on this subject, has nae peer. 
Fools talk o’ well ‘int-eg-ri-ty’
But wells leaks whar we canna see
Disturb its source and up it comes
Like smoke oot o’ yer reeking lums.
Methane gas is invisible
Toxic tae, it can burn or kill;
Through complex geologic ways
An’ aquifers it finds ae space

Drill horizontal thru coal seams?
Is takin’ risk tae new extremes!
We’ve mony auld coal mines unlisted
CBM must be resisted.
Wi risk ye canny be blasé!
A sink-hole in a motorway!
Or ‘water water everywhere’
But no’ a drap tae drink or spare!
So, gas will leak whar nae-wan knows
Cos water flows whar water goes.

Tae fracking fluids, noo turn yer ee,
And in the toxic mix, ye’ll see 
A wheen o known carcinogens
Then zoom in further wi the lense
Tae see, endocrine disruption
In the toxic brew eruption:
They blast it in, they know not where
And whar it gans, they just don’t care!
So by ae route o’ pathways rent
Bi leak an’ seepage, fluid spent,
It gets intae the watercourse
An’ tae oor reservoir it pours.
Then fu’, intae the gless ye drink
Fae water-tank tae kitchen sink.
Turn on yer tap an’ licht yer flame
If it builds up, it’s Boom! nae hame!

The laws o’ probability
Increase risk wi’ volatility
Extreme conditions wull exist
When unkent variables persist.
Nae scientific test regime
Fir radioactive NORMS doonstream!
So, water it may burn or glow
Fae flowback waste fae doon below.
Rules allow the corporation
Self-reporting regulation
So, whun things gang wrang, as they must
Tae private greed we place oor trust?!!!
Na, ae best Civil Action Plan –
Avert disaster – if WE can
Keep toxic poisons fae oor water!
Oor health an’ safety DOES MATTER!
Nae birth defects or cancers spread!
Stop fracking HERE and NOW! Instead.

‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley’, time an’ again.
So whun the environment’s assessed
Some water an’ fauna they test –
Otters an’ badgers are surveyed
On line, or face-to-face, it’s said
Ae badger telt the other nicht
‘I’m concerned ‘bout human richts’
The otter said that he was too
He couldna believe that it was true –
That Human health assessment’s missed
Health an’ safety’s a game o’ twist;
Lang took fir grant’t, noo we fear
Fir drinkin’ water, pure and clear.

EIA’s are a paper-chase
They’re no’ upon the real world based.
Oan paper, every theory’s grand
It’s the real world ye can’t command.
Hence, ‘Gold standard regulation’
Is a rouse upon oor nation.

Lang syne, the states had rights held dear
What’s over there is coming here!
A hunner thoosan’ ill or harmed

So why should we be sae alarmed?
At least o’er there, ae tide his turned
Concerned communities hae learn’d
Pressure oan they politicians
Curbs wild corporate ambitions!

Like Florida or New York state:
Stop it here – before it’s too late!

Underground gasification?
Hell’s-furnace ablow oor nation!
Psychotic vampires’ slash-and-burn
Scotia’s ashes pit in an urn!
Nae carbon capture tae restrain!
E’en Satan isnae sae insane!
Mammon’s venal slaves in season
Hae tint their last sinew o’ Reason.
Is naewhar sacred ony mair?
Beyond the Gates o’ Hell they’d dare.

Beneath the Heaven’s perfect blue
There’s energy we can renew:
Ae greatest source is licht an’ heat
Fir solar rays oor sun’s replete
It’s free, it’s oors, sae panels build:

The jobs await – oor people skilled. 
There’s birnies row an’ river’s flow
There’s tidal waves an’ winds that blow
A’ this energy IS FOR FREE
The win’, the river, tide and sea
Its time tae harness Nature’s power
An’ gauge her kilowatts per hour.
Enhance electrification
Scotland’s wind an’ hydro-nation
Invest in what is safe an’ green
Fir climate justice, carbon clean.

Scots politicians, hear this plea
For you who shall decide – must see –
(The Airth Inquiry you called-in

Oor People’s interests must win)

Review evidence fae baith sides
Let a’ the evidence decide 
True caution is wise and simple
A precautionary principle
Err oan the side o’ human health
No’ oan the side o’ private wealth
Protect us fae this Tory plan
A moratorium or BAN.



Whit Burns wad say, if here, this day:
‘I pray wi holy fire!
Lord send a rough shod troop o Hell
O’er a wad Scotland buy or sell
And grind them in the mire!!!
‘Then let us pray, as come it may’
Oor People’s richts fir a’ that.
When Greed trumps need, Oor People bleed!
We’ll win this fecht for a that.

Witten by Cllr Paddy Scott Hogg, SNP, Cumbernauld South ward.

Biographer of Robert Burns and author of Robert Burns: the Patriot Bard (2008) and co-editor of The Canongate Burns (2001).

Comments (13)

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  1. patmctavish says:

    How you managed to get all that information to match Burns poem and still it rhymes I will never know – brilliant – thanks.

  2. bowanarrow says:

    Amazing !!!
    Wonderful !!!

  3. manandboy says:

    Michty me, Paddy. That was bonnie braw an ah fair enjoyed it sae.
    Awfy good an a sight tae see.

  4. MBC says:

    Just brilliant!

    A’ the bairns should learn it!

  5. Martin Coffield says:

    As one who struggles with the occasional couplet, I am mightily impressed. Thank you.

  6. jimnarlene says:


  7. Darien says:

    When you read something like this you can better appreciate the ways in which our Scots language has been and still is actively suppressed and discriminated against. A similar feeling from listening to the marvellous songs and music of Martyn Bennett last night during Celtic Connections opening night concert. Scots need to ensure our language and culture has its full freedom – to speak, sing and rhyme naturally.

    1. davidmccann24 says:

      Couldnt agree more, and in case you missed it. here are the links to the late Martyn Bennett story on iPlayer.
      And well worth watching his friend Greg Lawson’s brilliant orchestral interpretation of Martyn’s genius at the opening concert of the 2015 Celtic Connections.

  8. oldbattle says:

    Fn brilliant! Well done! Might I add a wee ps
    Burns nailed the environment issue in a couple of lines (Tae a Mouse)

    1. I’m truly sorry man’s dominion,
    Has broken nature’s social union,

    (An’ justifies that ill opinion,
    What makes thee startle
    At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
    An’ fellow-mortal! )

    2. Burns pays a visit to the new crude industrial world of early capitalism: The Carron Iron works. (Not too far from Grangemouth both geographically and environmentally).
    He wants to look at this new blast furnace spewing fire and reek but is prevented from entering. (Seems familiar?) So he goes to a local hostelry and writes a public verse of protest on the windie:

    “We cam na here to view your warks
    In hopes to be mair wise
    Bit only lest we gang to hell,
    It may be nae surprise…”

  9. Paddy S Hogg says:

    Thanks for the kind remarks. Oldbattle is perfectly right about Carron Ironworks, which was closed when Burns turned up and they would not let him in to look around.
    I should have put a footnote to explain CBM means coal bed methane extraction and EIA means Environmental Impact Assessment. In addition, I should have acknowledged my debt to Prof Andrew Watterson for looking over the original poem and suggesting I delete the Latin word and add some more Scots words. Prof Watterson, a world expert on environmental impact on Human Health, argued brilliantly for the international protocol of applying the Precautionary Principle in the case of Airth’s Inquiry. From the evidence I have examined in detail, esp that of Prof Anthony Ingraffea, a moratorium is essential sooner rather than later based on all the evidence that has come home on this issue during the last 9 months. Good to see more and more politicians coming to this evidence-based conclusion. I should have used the analogy of Tories and Lemmings dragging us o’er a cliff of environmental risk. Cliff? Sheugh?

  10. Love this, and am lucky to say we have Paddy on our side in North Lanarkshire, working with his evident passion for this beautiful country.

  11. Brian Fleming says:

    Guid oan ye, Paddy Scott Hogg.

  12. Moira Pate says:

    I’m sure you’ll have reads this, but just in case. So good

    Sent from my iPad


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