Scottish blogger Tocasaid has some rightfully strident views on the apparent refusal of the SNP government in Scotland to submit a bilingual Scottish/English language question in next year’s referendum on independence for the northern Gaelic nation (see here for my take on the decision).
“It’s the language that dare not speak its name. Partly because its name – Scots/Scottish – has been hijacked by another – Inglis/Anglo-Saxon. There are those in the movement for Scottish self-determination who regularly, and quite rightly, draw attention to how Scotland and her culture, politics and weather even is overlooked by London based navel-gazers.
One also notices that independence movements in other small nations – thinking Basque Country, Wales, Catalunya and Quebec in particular – wear their languages as badges of pride. Here though, the ‘Nats’ have caught the Scots cringe. Instead of educating Scots about the place of Gaelic in their history and present, they’ve airbrushed it from their glossy campaign.
But is Gaelic a ‘nationalist totem’?
No for fucks sake, it’s a medium. I don’t know any Gaelic speakers who wear the long plaid, cover themselves in woad or Celtic tattoos and who hanker for a life amongst the hills acting out epic lifestyles in the vein of Cù Chulainn, Sgàthach or Fionn MacCumhail.
On the other hand we use Gaelic in everyday social media, at work and at home like anyone else. And while our classical Scottish literature from the ‘Fenian cycle’ is an amazing part of our heritage my kids and those at school will digest it in glossy-covered text books or from animated cartoons. Older users of the language may upload Gaelic for Punks lessons to SoundCloud or play air-guitar to Oi Polloi.
One worry, especially of ‘radical’ campaigners for self-determination, is that the SNP’s vision of independence is too ‘lite’. Is there any evidence of a different approach to Gaelic? We’ve had support from Thatcher’s little puppet here, Michael Forsyth as well as from Labour’s right-wing Unionist Brian Wilson. We’ve had a little from the ‘Nats’.
In the SNP’s latest dereliction of duty in relation to Gaelic, their councillors in Glasgow staged a walk-out of a meeting prior to voting through the local Gaelic Language Plan. Poor stuff.
YesScotland – get a grip. Do we want a new Scotland populated by feart horses ignorant of their own heritage and culture?”
Read the whole thing for yourself but I have to say I am in full agreement.