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Robin the Candidate

1867-8: Representation of the People Acts

Author: Anon [A. C. B.]

Publication: Kilmarnock Standard

Published: 10 October 1868

Place of publication: Kilmarnock, Scotland

Publication type: Newspaper/Periodical

Featured individuals:
Edwin Chadwick (1800-1890)

No full copy of this poem is available.

Archive/Library: Burns Monument Centre
Classmark(s): Microfilm
Pages(s): 2

This poem is a portrait of an eccentric candidate for the Kilmarnock Burghs seat in 1868, eventual third-place finisher Robert Thomson. Thomson appears to have been something of a local character, 'Wha cut some capers unco silly. / In truth, he was a bletherin billie'. The poem implies that he was a 'stickit' minister who was inspired, or even directly encouraged, to run by another Liberal candidate, the social reformer Edwin Chadwick: '"Altho' you're noo without a kirk, / To gie them gab you hae the quirk." / "I'll stump it then," says Robin.' He appears to have had a populist plan of land redistribution ('Twa million farms I'll gie awa'). Thomson's Scottishness was a keystone of his campaign: he pitted this against the incomer status of both Chadwick, who had been parachuted in to run in this particular election, and Edward Pleydell-Bouverie, who had represented the constituency for almost 25 years but was a son of the Earl of Radnor. He issued a poem modelled on 'Scots, wha hae' at his stump speech on election day ('Scots wha Bouverie hasna led').