Put yon bluidy fag oot

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I’m tremendously honoured and thrilled to have secured an exclusive interview with the great Robert Burns to discuss the ban on smoking in public places.

Mr Burns, can I begin by asking you if you are actually a smoker yourself?

Dinna mull your kintyre o’er a skimpie wee roll-up or twa to go with a cup o’ kindness. ‘Tis no great alloa. So now we’ll tak twa or sae cannie nicotine patches, my dear, for auld lang syne and there’ll be nae more hoickin’ an’ phlemmin’ in yon taverns and your tam o’ shanter willna reek o’ bensons from the days of auld. Then may your right gude-willie waught and may your tar for aye gang low.

So, do I take it that you approve of a ban on smoking in public places?

‘Tis airdrie nil stenhousemuir three to me. Awa’ wi’ ye to puff your wee ciggies and to wheeze i’ Scotia’s glens and braes and when we are i’ the taverns and forfar bistros, we’ll pluck yon spearmintie Wrigley from thy pocket and we’ll chew thegither, you and I. Fare ye wal, ye bonnie wine bar lasses wi’ your Marlboro Lichts, your mimsy menthols and your silken cuts and your Pinot from the banks of the fair Grigio.

Have folk in Scotland accepted the ban?

Och, there’s no need for brechin. Fare ye wal, ye grottie ashtray wi’ your squishie stubbies and we’ll see nae more o’ the De’il’s fearful warnings on the pack.

Do you believe that acupuncture and hypnosis can help people give up?

There’s nae connery in acupuncture and there’s none of the prudence of Dunfermline East’s belov’d son Gordon Brown in hypnosis. ‘Tis all throgh the power of the will. So, come awa’ with me and we’ll hurl the zippo in the loch and we’ll gang nae more a-lurkin’ in the smillie office doorways with the mankie lungful and the watery ee. Ye’ll not see us in the frowzy tavern with the gigantic screen TV, the gassy brew of the Danes and tim’rous Belgians and the spewy panatellas.

And what is your view of the ban on smoking in public places?

Let the salmon of fair Loch Fyne stay with their smokin’ habit and the sleekit eels as weel. But I’ll hae nae man waftin’ his smoke rings o’er my parritch or my oatcakes and shortbread, and, if he does it, I’ll gi’e him a kick i’ the partick thistle.

Wasn’t the smoking ban just another case of the interfering nanny state we’ve all become accustomed to, quite frankly?

A nanny’s a nanny for a’ that. It’s a’ for the lads and lasses who’ll nae more dance the threesome reel or the hornpipe or run through the dewy glen without heavin’ and pantin and doubling over like hamilton academicals on a bad afternoon because they have been passively breathin’ those dark clouds sent forth by the clans of Rothman and the folk who abide in yon Stuyvesant.

But there is no ban on anybody tossing a caber in an enclosed space. And what about passive bagpiping? What about children who might be frightened by a haggis after dark? Aren’t these problems just as serious?

Awa’ wi’ ye, ye krankie. Stop your barmie noddle. I’ll tak’ nae more of your fancy billy-connolly. Go lauder yourself on the low road before I gi’e ye a motherwelling ye’ll nae forget.

Finally, Mr Burns, can I ask you, now that you have succeeded in kicking the nicotine habit, is there any chance that you might give up apostrophes?

Storno’wi’ye, or I’ll gi’e ye a gude apostrophe i’ the ee!