Fáilte Gu McDonald's, Albain

Britnat Nastiness Is Mainstream In The UK Press

Merryn Somerset Webb is a relatively well-known business journalist and editor in the UK who writes on a wide range of financial matters for the British press. So it was somewhat surprising to see her recent article in “MoneyWeek”, a conservative-leaning investment magazine, examining the burgeoning status of the Scottish Gaelic language in Scotland. Even more so when her piece is couched in a surprisingly vitriolic manner towards her chosen subject.

“Governments aren’t often good at very much. But when it comes to losing all sense of proportion in spending other people’s money they are generally utterly unbeatable. Clear winners. Look to Scotland’s Gaelic policy and you will see what I mean.

Well under 2% of the residents of Scotland speak Gaelic (the highest number I have seen is 1.7%). As far as I can see all of those 57,000-58,000 are bilingual – they all speak English as well as Gaelic.

So the vast majority of people in Scotland have English as their first language and almost no one has Gaelic as either their first or their second language (Polish is the second most widely spoken language at home in Scotland by school pupils).

Given that, you would think that there would be no need to provide government services in Gaelic. No need at all…

That’s not what the Scottish government thinks. They have a National Plan for Gaelic.

The key point is that the government wants more people to speak Gaelic, and, many millions of pounds’ worth of public spending on, it wants all services to be provided in Gaelic. This manifests itself in all sorts of odd ways.

Police Scotland (which is very strapped for cash) has said that it is to be “bilingual” by 2020 and is in the process of looking for a Gaelic development assistant to be paid £18,000 to travel around Scotland to “promote and support the development of Gaelic language culture and heritage in communities served by Police Scotland”. No matter that most of these communities have no Gaelic heritage.

One of the things the Scottish government is often accused of is inward-looking nationalism. And this seems to be a classic example of that – Gaelic is surely more of a hobby to be encouraged in areas where it has genuine heritage (as with knitting in Shetland) than something we should all have to be bothered with/pay for. Better perhaps to put money into teaching Scottish students useful languages (Spanish is pretty widely spoken globally…). To look out, not in.

If you want to be highly paid, it works to have a skill that is relatively rare but much in demand from the price insensitive. The Scottish government is clearly (if inexplicably) price insensitive. And Gaelic speakers are clearly rare.

What are you waiting for? You can pick up a basic Gaelic dictionary here for a fiver.”

This must be one of the worse examples of the “non-people” argument against the Celtic-speaking communities and individuals of north-western Europe that I have seen for some time now. In essence Somerset Webb is suggesting that the men, women and children who identify themselves as speakers of Scottish Gaelic, even as indigenous users, are lying. They cannot exist as a distinct minority since most – if not all – are also fluent in English. In other words, their bilingualism – rather than a praiseworthy feature – is an anglophone cudgel to beat them into British cultural submission. If you speak English then you must, perforce, acquiesce to it as the default language of the United Kingdom of Great Britain in all matters and in all areas of life. To do otherwise is to be nationalistic, inward-looking, hobbyist and parasitical. Yes, young Scottish-speaking pupils, be they in the Outer Hebrides or Argyll, Inverness or Glasgow, are destined to become a would-be Gaelic Taliban, linguistic train-spotters or recalcitrant dole-scroungers, merely by virtue of the native or learned vernacular they express themselves in.

No doubt in her next article Merryn Somerset Webb will be treating us to a diatribe on the inherent parochialism of the Danes, Finns and Dutch for refusing to abandon their national languages in favour of Spanish. Or Chinese (for the English language supremacists, it’s always Chinese…). Thank god she’s not an inward-looking nationalist, hey?

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49 comments

  1. I’m always amazed at those articles. And your last paragraph is exactly what I had in mind: everybody in Denmark now speaks English, so why do they still bother with Danish? “Outward looking”. Funnily enough I met in my life more people who became outward looking through the practice of their local culture and language – which leads you to understand and accept others’ differences – and I met an awful lot of “global people” who focused everything on English, Spanish or French and couldn’t stand meeting somebody who was slightly different from them. And no matter how globalised the world is, when you live in Gwynedd you’ll meet far more Welsh speakers than Spanish speakers, and you have more chances to order your beer in Gàidhlig than in Chinese while on Uibhist.

    1. I agree, Feñch. Bilingualism and multilingualism represent an open door to experiences not a closed gate.

      If Wales was a majority Welsh-speaking nation, with a 50%+ monolingual Welsh-speaking population, would it really adversely effect its socio-economic prosperity? One could argue that the necessity for monolingual Welsh language media, business signs and products, etc. would generate jobs, as in Denmark, where businesses have to localise their products in order to sell them. That still allows many Danes to become proficient in English, German, etc. for when dealing with overseas businesses, etc.

      I suspect the antipathy on display to Scottish, or Welsh, in Britain is more a case of Greater English nationalism than anything else. Non-English languages make the UK too unlike Greater England. Which is ironic given the amount of languages you would hear on an average street in London, or Manchester or Birmingham!

      1. It definitely would affect their prosperity. If you’re a native speaker of a small language, then being a monoglot is the equivalent of being mentally retarded. I haven’t met a single Latvian monoglot (except some very young children) – we all speak at least 2 languages.

        1. However your language is learned, so you begin as monoglots and your society is broadly monolingual on a day-to-day basis which is the point I was making. Minority languages need monolingual or cultural heartlands to survive and prosper, such as exist in modern Estonia. Secondary language acquisition is another matter, though a valuable one.

    2. They bother with Danish in Denmark for the simple reason that it’s their default language that’s used in everyday communication – English is not used for that purpose despite the fact that most people speak it.
      That’s not the case in Ireland – here most people don’t understand anything other than English – they can’t abandon anything any more – their ancestors did it a long time ago.

      I would not speak any other language with my brothers than our shared native language – Latvian – and it would be extremely weird for us to change it. But that’s what has to be done in order to revive Irish. Friends and relatives must abandon their own shared native language (that also happens to be the world’s lingua franca) and start speaking a completely different language with each other. I just can’t see that happening.

      1. Your vision is myopic here. People are already predicting which continental European country will be the first to give up its national language in favour of English. The big money is going on Holland. Germany might not be far behind. It can happen in as little as 2 generations. There is not such thing as a default language is you think that it is an immutable fact. Things can change. For example, if the Soviet regime had continued for another couple of generations, with continued Russian ethnic migration and policies favouring the Russian language, what would you predict for Latvia?

  2. Gaelic is surely more of a hobby to be encouraged in areas where it has genuine heritage (as with knitting in Shetland) than something we should all have to be bothered with/pay for.
    —————-
    I agree with this. Why should a regional minority language be imposed upon people in different parts of the country and who aren’t interested in it?

    it’s just as weird as if someone came to my hometown and started promoting Lithuanian on Estonian.

      1. Yeah, because it’s needed to know in order to live in Estonia where the majority prefers to communicate in Estonian. There’s no language equality in the Baltics – the national languages are more equal than others – those who still can’t get over the collapse of the USSR can GTFO back to Russia and speak Russian as much as they want.

        That doesn’t really apply to the UK & Ireland. Most people here speak English as their first and only language – that’s why languages like Irish and Scottish Gaelic serve no purpose whatsoever for most people.

        1. Well, not quite.

          Estonia Launches New Channel to Win Over Its Russians

          On Monday, ethnic Russians in Estonia will wake up to a new television channel created expressly for them, a move by the Estonian government to reach out to its Russian minority and counter what Western governments have described as the Kremlin’s infowar.

          Although ethnic Russians make up a quarter of the former Soviet country’s 1.3-million population, they are often cut off from ethnic Estonians by media, language and geography. The new government-funded Russian-language channel is aimed at bridging those divides.

          The channel’s launch also attests to the concerns of politicians in the Baltic countries that after Russia’s meddling in Ukraine under the pretext of protecting ethnic Russians there, ethnic Russians living on their soil could be stirred up by Russian propaganda to undermine stability.

          In interviews for this article, ethnic Russians in Estonia dismissed that idea but complained about their treatment by school systems, employers and the government.”

          1. Only ignorant people are cut off from ethnic Estonians. People who don’t act like colonisers learn the national language of the state and can access the national media just fine.

            When I said that the national languages are more equal than others I didn’t mean that other languages are banned or something. But things like this Estonian TV channel, education in Russian and information that’s published in other languages by the government aren’t rights. They’re PRIVILEGES – acts of goodwill – that can be changed or removed altogether if necessary.

        2. One of the most tiring comments made by the apologists for imperialism is that it is too late to do anything now. “Oh, we obliterated Irish as a spoken language. Oh well, it’s all done now. Can’t be undone. No use crying over spilt milk”. The fact is that any situation can be changed if enough people decide to do it. The fact is, at one point an invading power came to Ireland, with a population of 100% Gaeilgeorí, and began a long, slow campaign to eliminate Irish culture. They did not make the same tiring arguement that because the majority are this way, or because it’s been thousands of years that it’s been this way, that we may as well not bother.

          Can you imagine, at one point every café and pub was jammed with smokers. No one, in a million years, would have accepted that it was unacceptable to smoke in these environments. Even non-smokers accepted it to a large degree. But then it changed and it has been completely reversed. We are talking about hundreds of millions of people who changed. The numbers and the time are not as complete blocks as is being suggested.

          A similar campaign to make aboriginal North Americans into good British citizens was even more successful than that practiced in Ireland. Should aboriginal cultures accept the fact that their language and spirituality has been devasted and throw in the towel? Or is that different because some indigenous cultures are more important than others?

          Reading comments like this, telling people to not even bother because it will make no difference, makes me wonder why some people even get out of bed in the morning.

          1. Changing the habit and going to smoke outside is far easier than learning a difficult foreign language that is used by few people.

        3. To understand the Irish situation you need to imagine what might have happened if Latvia had remained part of Russia after 1916 (or whenever it was) and become an independent country for the first time only after the collapse of the USSR. It’s quite possible that with industrialisation and modern communications etc. that Russian would have become the only language of education and business and the everyday language of everywhere apart from a few remote regions. What then would you have done after independence? Clearly Latvian would be still seen as the ‘national’ language, an important historic and symbolic way of showing you were not Russians, yet most people would not have spoken it for two or three generations. What to do? This is essentially the position Ireland found itself in after 1920.

          1. Georgia, Ukraine and all the “-stans” were like that. And their languages are still alive. The only post-Soviet country that has a comparable situation with Ireland is Belarus. And the reason why so many people in Latvia speak Russian is not because many of us threw away our language (some did unfortunately), but because of the Soviet organised mass immigration into Latvia.

            1. Did education continue in Latvian? If in the scenario I suggested, all teaching was in Russian only, all employment apart from agricultural and basic manual work required Russian etc. then I think the situation might have been the same as in Ireland. People simply saw not future for Irish and put advancement or simply survival before language and culture.

              Georgia might be an interesting case to examine, I know very little about how things worked there, except that Stalin was Georgian so they might have been favoured by the Soviets.

              I don’t think Belarus and Ukraine are comparable because their languages are not very different from Russian, making the change from one to the other more a matter of ‘style’ than learning a ‘foreign’ language. Like switching from standard English to Scots or a very marked form of Irish English. Different common words and expressions, accent, even some small changes in grammar and syntax, but still essentially the same language. Not something you need years of classes to be able to understand.

              1. The situation in Latvia was well on its way to becoming a Baltic Ireland. Up to half the population ethnic Russians or Russophones by the 1980s, a third of the population speaking only Russian, etc. If the USSR had lasted another fifty years Latvian would be a minority language in Latvia.

          2. That would not be a Baltic Ireland, but a Baltic Australia or Baltic New Zealand.

            Almost all English speakers in Ireland identify as Irish. Most soviet migrants identify as Russian as in – no different than the Russians who live in Russia. And Putin is actively promoting this worldview – he says that they all are part of the Russian nation and it’s perfectly acceptable to use military force to “liberate” them from “the local nazis and fascists”. (According to Putin – if I refuse to speak Russian in Latvia, then I’m a fascist) And he’s already doing that in Ukraine.

            The descendants of those Russian migrants would not even try to revive the Latvian language and culture because those things are completely alien to them. Just like an average American could not care less about the Navajo language and culture.

            1. If I understand you correctly ‘Russia’ means (or meant) the whole Union, not just ‘Great Russia’, or perhaps Russia + Belarus + Ukraine (+ Baltics?) + ???
              France has the same ‘problem’ in that they insist that Bretons, Basques and even people in remote French possessions are all ‘French’. The UK can get round that. No one would ever call the Welsh or Irish or Scots, ‘English’, nor even at the height of Empire, Canadians, Australians etc. The terms ‘British’, ‘British Isles’, ‘British Empire’ were available and always used officially. (Admittedly, English people often forget about Scotland and Wales and ‘England’ when they really mean Britain or the UK. After all, “it’s all the same country, isn’t it?” LOL!)

  3. Merryn Somerset Webb … The old double-barrelled surname says it all, oh so very Tory, so very English. This twit is pretentious, opinionated and lacks any appreciation of the linguistic heritage of the Celtic Isles, and the cultural background of Scotland. These people want a monolithic anglo culture throughout Britain, something the English have always hankered after. The pompous tone masks a sense of inferiority about the immature English culture; a people with a glorified history built on aggression and militarism; the envy, arrogance and sneering contempt is so typical of the English response to any kind of enlightened policy that seeks to differentiate Scotland, or Wales for that matter, from England. The sooner Scotland and Wales leave the union and form a Celtic political and economic alliance with the Ireland, the better. An alliance that would omit the English. They deserve nothing less after centuries of sucking the wealth from the Celtic areas of Britain into England. I can envision an economic, social then military takeover of southern Britain that would end the English curse, finally ridding the isles of this barbarian culture and its language.

    1. Well in a sense the Scots did take over England when James VI & I became king. But as always the larger partner dominated the union. Jamie buggered off to London with his court and the rest is history …

  4. It’s at least encouraging that almost all the comments to the original article are pro-Gàidhlig. This is in line with surveys of the Scottish population. From memory something like 2/3 are in favour of measures to support G., about a quarter or so are completely indifferent, and the remaining 10%-15% are anti. All political parties in the Scots parliament also support the policy, it’s not just an SNP nationalist obsession.

    Hì hó ró togaibh i, suas leis a’ Ghàidhlig!

    1. But are those 2/3 of them actually learning and/or speaking the language or are they like “Not In My Backyard” – go and promote it wherever you want just don’t impose it upon me?.

      1. You need to understand that Gaelic is not a defining feature of Scottish nationality. Both Gaelic and English were brought to Scotland at roughly the same time and displaced earlier languages (Pictish in the north, British [a form of Welsh] in the south). Gaelic spread over most of the country except the SE, then retreated as English/Scots expanded. But neither language has ever had complete control.

        So speaking Gaelic is a bit like wearing a kilt. Walk down the street in a kilt and no-one is going to make remarks or throw things at you, it’s a personal choice. Most men only wear the kilt on special occasions, but you get the occasional person who does it habitually, maybe a bit eccentric but not to be laughed at or despised.

        The problem really is that considering language rights in the same way as other individual rights doesn’t quite work, because language is really a community matter. You, for example, are free to speak your native language in Ireland, but that ‘right’ is not much use if there are not other Latvian speakers around for you to talk to. Add to that the problems around unilateral bilingualism (‘everyone speaks English’) and you begin to see why maintaining minority languages is a tricky issue, conceptually, legally and practically.

        Interesting which countries have NOT signed up to the ECRML, they include Ireland and all the Baltics (along with Portugal and Greece). See map here :

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Charter_for_Regional_or_Minority_Languages

        Nevertheless, this page says :

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_linguistic_rights_in_European_constitutions#Latvia
        —-
        The Constitution of the Republic of Latvia was adopted by the Constitutional Assembly of Latvia on 15 February 1922 and it was last amended on 30 April 2002.[7]

        Article 4

        The Latvian language is the official language in the Republic of Latvia.

        Article 114

        Persons belonging to ethnic minorities have the right to preserve and develop their language and their ethnic and cultural identity.

        In addition the State Language Law provides further protection to Livonian language and Latgalian literary tradition and regards all other languages as a foreign. The law was adopted in December 1999 and entered into force on the 1st of September 2000.
        —-

        So I might ask, are you pro/anti/indifferent to Livonian and Latgalian? (Aren’t you from Latgalia?)

        1. Yes, I’m from Latgale and Latgalian is my native dialect (and I speak standard.Latvian with a very noticeable accent).
          It’s spoken in my hometown and family. And the govt doesn’t support it very much – there are no road signs in Latgalian, the govt. is not required to provide information in it and it’s not used in the education system (at least not officially). The Latgalian language/dialect is also mutually intelligible with standard Latvian so there are usually no problems with communication, but I don’t speak it outside of Latgale.

          Livonian is dead and no one really cares about it. I’ve never heard it spoken by a living person and would probably not tell it apart from Estonian.

          1. I suspect that Latgalian ~ Latvian is a lot like Scots ~ English, but without the political motivation to develop it as a standard language in it’s own right. From the little I’ve seen of it it looks like Latvian with all the vowels changed at random (lol!)

            Livonian is I believe has only a handful of elderly native speakers. This was the position of Manx (the Gaelic of the Isle of Man) a few decades ago. It has always had a minimum official status though (their new laws had to be read out in Manx each year) and has since been revived, with e.g. a Manx medium school etc. Of course it helps that it belongs to an island with its own special identity, it”s own government and education system etc. As you mentioned before, the Livonians were displaced and scattered during WWII because of their strategic coastal location. Nevertheless if the language has been documented, has some literature etc. and if there remains any sort of community/identity then it’s always possible for it to be revived if that’s what the Livs want.

  5. Merryn Somerset Webb and her arguments belong to the imperial past. It’s EU policy to safeguard minority languages – like gaelic whether it’s Scottish, Welsh or irish. Great Britain is doing what it is supposed to do as a member of the EU. I expect some sort of legal challenge in NI on the lack of the irish language Act (which was also promised in the St Andrews Agreement).

  6. Perhaps not entirely OT (again!) I’m in the process of reading this thesis. It goes on a bit the way you have to in a PhD thesis, but if you use the contents page you may find some of the background historical and social information interesting, especially as a parallel to the Irish situation.

    http://theses.gla.ac.uk/4603/1/2013nancephd.pdf

    See, e.g. Sections 2.5, 2.6, 3.2-4, 4.4.1, 5.1

    One worrying fact, to me at least, was the revelation that kids in GME don’t in fact use Gaelic amongst themselves, which implies to me that they don’t really ‘own’ the language. In which case, is it really worth the effort after all? Is this true for the products of Gaelscoileanna?

    1. I will sit down and read that tonight. Looks interesting.

      On Irish-medium schools, the language dominates in the school but once the children pass out through the school-gates… I know there was a suggestion from the gaelscoil near me to have one or two Irish-speaking staff in the local shop which serves the school kids during breaks and after school but the franchise owner wanted nothing to do with it. In fact the handful of parents who came up with the idea were given short thrift. A couple were made to look like idiots or zealots for even suggesting it.

      1. The owner can’t just “have” them. He can::
        1. fire some of the existing staff and find fluent Irish speakers somewhere and hire them. (not an easy task, because it’s not widely spoken and shelf-stacking isn’t anyone’s dream job so many people would not take the job even if they have very good Irish skills)
        or
        2. coerce some existing staff members into learning Irish. (learning a language takes ages)

        1. The shop was looking for part-time staff and the parents offered to help source an Irish-speaker or two, suggesting former students of the gaelscoil currently attending college. It was a long-shot but not entirely infeasible. It was dismissed out of hand and they were told in no uncertain terms where to go. It at least shows some attempt to create an Irish language community with the gaelscoil as the focus. Of course I sometimes hear a few of the staff in the shop chat in Polish (?) with customers or friends. There is an irony in there somewhere.

          1. Why was it dismissed?

            As long as those former students are willing to stock shelves and speak English why should the owner even care what other skills they have? Did they get rejected BECAUSE they were Irish speakers?

  7. Her argument that all Gaidhlig speakers also speak English reminds me of an argument that a certain poster on politics.ie always uses, her default line of defence for her argument is that all Irish speakers are also English speakers (with only monoglots been small number of pre-school children) so why bother providing services in Irish. What’s funny though is the specific poster probably thinks of herself as been a liberal-lefty apart from when it comes to the Irish language that is.

    1. This attitude is not at all uncommon, nor is it too hard to understand, since ‘traditional’ languages are easily associated with conservative, ‘backward’ attitudes by outsiders. With the image of the stubborn yet oppressed peasant bowing to his/her economic and religious superiors. This is especially so where the remaining population is largely rural and marginal and has little representation in urban, educated, radical etc. circles.

      As I’ve said before, these are the people who will raise funds for a threatened tribe in the Amazon, while being entirely oblivious to the damage they are doing on their own doorstep, by e.g. moving to an area with its own language and culture while continuing to live as though they were in Kent or Essex. When such people are otherwise radical politically, it always comes as a shock, to me at least.

      1. As we have seen in Ireland, former “environmentalists” have proven themselves to be some of the harshest critics of Irish rights. I saw for myself during the destruction at the Hill of Tara the way the then governing Green Party, in coalition with Fianna Fáil, disdained our national heritage. As a former GP voter, who knew some on the edge of the party, I still feel incredibly angry and bitter towards them. They’ve changed since then but most of the self-serving, self-regarding, and deceitful old guard are still there in the upper echelons.

        1. Whereas Scotland has its own Green Party which is pro-indy and afaik reasonably enlightened culturally, Wales only has a branch of the English GP, which seems to largely consist of incomers, English students etc. with little knowledge and even less concern for local culture and history. It’s a real shame, but there you are. So beware of the ‘Welsh’ Greens.

    2. Sure don’t they speak English anyway?

      Yep, heard it a dozen times before. The idea that Irish-speakers might have no choice in the matter never enters the critics’ heads.

    3. In order to provide services in Irish you have either hire only Irish speakers (and turn away English speakers who are better qualified for the job) or coerce English speakers into learning Irish. There are legitimate practical difficulties – it’s not just hate and racism.

      1. Well in Canada, many jobs with the federal government are designated as bilingual and if you are unable to speak both national languages you are UNQUALIFIED for the job. You lack one of the basic tools that the employer has identified as being essential to the fullfilling of the tasks. Sure monolingual Anglophones don’t like it but eventually they start sending their children to French immersion. This began in the 60’s and now we have two generations of young Anglophones being schooled in French and capable of working in a bilingual environment and offering services in both languages.

        You are right, it is not just hate and racism. What is required is the leadership of the national government.

      2. But everyone who goes to school in the Irish Republic gets taught Irish for years and years and years, starting very young. Probably for longer than you studied English, so in theory there should be no excuse. In practise, obviously, something has gone very badly wrong …

        1. There’s a big difference between “gets taught” and ” actually learns”. If you don’t try to learn it yourself by actually trying to communicate in the language then the state provided education is completely useless. I myself put far more effort into learning English than just attending English lessons at school.

  8. There is a time you reach snapping point. Everywhere I look in the Celtic countries, there is reactionary, open racism against the indigenous culture and language. it is part and parcel of “Assimilation”, (IE, absorbtion and deracination) which has the sole aim of crushing and destroying any difference or dissent from the society of the Colonial powers, who now have, from history, “Native” helpers who see their own position as threatened by any kind of recovery of the national identity and culture. Those who clearly hate the natural culture and language of “Another”, are racists, neo-fascist in mentality and outlook, and usually have a an extremist right wing reactionary and authoritarian outlook. Their main characteristic is that they are either from a foreign state, (as in this case attacking the Gaelic identity), or “Assimulated ones” who get their whole identity and life from pretending to be one of the Rul;ing dominent foreign culture. The difference from hating jews, blacks, or others, is zero. The Anglosphere society is quite simply hegmonist, repressive, and racist, and hates difference. In Northern Ireland, there was a huge component of racism, Facism, and hatred of other ethnics in the recent war there. They Loyalists are an example of an internal community that clings to these views, and enforces them, where ever they can. Most Anglo’s cannot ever admit their hatred of Celts, but it slithers out in a 100 small ways, in everyday life. I think it is high time that we called a spade a spade. Racism and cultural/ethnic repression are what it is. Time to combat it face to face, to expose it at every instance, and drive it out.

    1. But they get it from the left as much as from the right. Old-style socialist (Marxist?) internationalism tends to be against traditions and languages that are associated with ‘reactionary’ life-styles and religions. Equality and Fraternity are often taken to imply Uniformity.

      1. Two of the worse arguments I’ve ever had on Irish rights were with left-wing activists. One was a member of the Socialist Party or Socialist Workers Party who argued that it was a form of ethnicism and racism to argue for language restoration etc. in Ireland. Also that it would inhibit the creation of a class based European and global state, or some such, and that all languages – bar English it seems though he was never entirely clear – are nationalist and tribal. I’m summarising a long speech (rant). Ironically the second was with a member of Sinn Féin who thought an Irish-speaking south would inhibit or prevent reunification. You can’t win, really.

        1. It would indeed inhibit reunification. Many unionists would not like compulsory Irish imposed upon them.

      2. Right wingers in Latvia are very supportive of the Latvian language. But many of them unfortunately have idiotic views like – “Blacks and gays can’t be Latvian”.

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