Two articles from Scotland touching upon the increase in the numbers of new Scottish language speakers observed over the last decade, thanks in part to the equality policies implemented by the SNP government in Edinburgh. Another example of how positive social change can be driven by democratic politics and the importance of the state’s softpower to transform any given situation if fully, and unambiguously, committed to doing so.
If only the Irish political classes had such vision. Or such integrity.
From the Scotsman newspaper:
“ORGANISERS of the 109th Royal National Mod claim more young Scots are speaking fluent Gaelic than ever before as the eight-day festival opened in Dunoon over the weekend.
The celebration of Gaelic music, dance, drama, arts and literature, which first took place 120 years ago, is running until Saturday and thousands are expected to visitvthe Cowal Peninsula town in Argyll.
John Macleod, president of Gaelic organisation An Comunn Gàidhealach, said trends showed the language was becoming more entrenched in Scotland.
He said: “What is changing is that more and more of the young competitors taking part are fluent in Gaelic and they’re less of the learners’ standard.”
The festival’s launch coincided with a £60,000 investment into Gaelic programmes by the Scottish Government.”
Meanwhile the BBC reports:
“Tourism organisation VisitScotland has published its first Gaelic language plan.
The document sets out the agency’s commitment for the next three years to ensuring Gaelic has a “strong and sustainable future”.
VisitScotland said it would promote the language across Scotland through its signage, in its work with the public and by using it on its website.”
Yet not everyone can accept that bilingual equality is the future of Scotland, as pointed out in the Falkirk Herald where one Labour Party councillor has expressed his views on language rights:
“Is Gaelic a dead language in the Falkirk area?
One person who certainly thinks so is Councillor John McLuckie and he made his feelings clear at a recent meeting of Falkirk Council.
When members discussed the Gaelic Language Plan, which aims to boost the use of the language locally, Councillor McLuckie stood up and proclaimed Gaelic was a dead language and, although he said he liked Gaelic music and culture, he could not understand why the Scottish Government wanted to promote something which the vast majority of people in the Falkirk area did not use.
Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald, one of the driving forces behind the Royal National Mod coming to Falkirk in 2008, was not impressed.
He said: “I am disappointed to hear Councillor McLuckie has referred to the Gaelic language as dead and he has questioned the Scottish Government’s support for the language.
“It is ill-informed ignorance such as this that has left the language in its current condition, fighting for survival. That is why there was cross-party agreement in 2005 to create the Gaelic Language Act (2005), which calls for equal respect for Gaelic with English.
“Sadly, Councillor McLuckie fails to show the respect for the Gaelic language enshrined in the Act.”
The council received a £11,200 grant from Gaelic promotion body Bord na Gaidhilig last August to enable them to pursue the aims of the plan and another £15,000 last session to transport 13 pupils to full time Gaelic education at Condorratt Primary School and Wallace High School.”
Who knew that the Irish Labour Party also had a councillor in Scotland?