AUTHOR and broadcaster Billy Kay has hit back at Unionist trolls who criticised him for delivering a speech in Scots to the Holyrood Parliament.

On Tuesday afternoon the Scots language campaigner presented the Time for Reflection address to MSPs. The segment, held every Tuesday afternoon at the start of house business, sees different speakers invited from outside of the parliament to address members briefly – normally on issues of faith.

Kay was invited by SNP MSP Emma Harper to deliver the address, which was the first one ever presented in Scots in the history of devolution.

The author of Scots: The Mither Tongue took the opportunity to highlight the importance of the Scottish Parliament promoting the language, and give multiple examples of Scots words rarely heard in the Chamber.

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Kay also called for further use of Scots in the curriculum, telling MSPs: "Bairns like the quaet wee lass in P2 in Fawkirk wha ran an lowped intae her teachers airms lauchin an greetin wi joy when she furst heard her mither tongue in cless, or the sweirt learners in Dundee, dour teenage boays wha gaed tae the tap o the cless for the first time when the langage they yaised ilka day cam intae the schuil in books they then devoured…an never luikit back. Scottish weans transformed learnin a Scottish leid.

“A nation whaur naebody’s excludit and awbody kens they belang – shuirly, dear Members o the Scottish Pairliament, thon’s weel worth bein yersel for.”

Kay’s speech was welcomed by politicians and cultural figures. SNP culture spokesperson at Westminster John Nicolson said it was a “fabulous address”, and added it proved why Scots should be made “an official national language and taught more extensively”.

Public finance minister Tom Arthur said Kay provided a “beautiful, inspiring, and thought-provoking speech”, Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville commented: “Bringing #Scots to the heart of our Parliament just as it should be.”

Another commenter added: “Over the years I've lost most of the Scots I grew up with. Why? Because it was inferred to me that it was in my best interest. And so today I hear, a speech in my own tongue.”

But despite the floods of support, footage of Kay’s address prompted a barrage of Unionist trolls to attack him.

Some users accused Kay of speaking a “made up” language, branding him an “embarrassment”, while others claimed Scots was “gibberish” and one senior Labour member commented: “Literally nobody in Scotland speaks like this. What a clown.”

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Following the backlash – with the clip viewed tens of thousands of times – Kay had an apt response from Burns – whose use of Scots has long been celebrated.

“Thenks tae awbody that gied me support for the speech at the Pairliament - ower monie tae thenk personally,” he wrote.

“As for the trolls & Scots deniers, here's Burns: The mair they talk, I'm kent the better, E'en let them clash; An auld wife's tongue's a feckless matter, To gie ane fash.”

He later added: "One of the bizarre responses to the speech is that it was political, whereas there were equal benign references to all the parties so that they all felt included. For unionist trolls any expression of Scottish culture and identity nowadays makes them go berserk with fury."

MSP Harper, who had invited Kay initially, on Tuesday night said the speech had shown the "vital importance of promoting Scots".

“Jackie [Dunbar] and I have pressed the parliament to improve its approach to using, and promoting Scots on the Parliament campus, and we have met with the Scottish Government to discuss the Scots Language Act which was committed to in the SNP 2021 Manifesto," she said.

“I again thank Billy for his fantastic Time for Reflection address and I encourage everyone to watch it and to play their part in helping to raise the profile of one of our national languages.”