Sunday, 12 December 2010

Ministerial Working Group on Scots

The report of the Ministerial Working Group on the Scots Language to which so many of us have been looking forward is now available, and it contains many good things. Unfortunately, however, the only mention of "Ulster" in its 29 pages is an erroneous reference to "BBC Ulster" (i.e. BBC Northern Ireland). There is no talk of shared linguistic heritage, nor of economies of scale. While it is true that activism on this side of the Sheuch has taken a bizarre path linguistically, and one often tinged with a sectarian politics that Scotland — which has its own, much smaller problem — rightly wishes to avoid, it is sad that there is no discussion of east-west links.

However, the report's authors have more to worry about than that, since it has already been the subject of attack from the English Tory press in the form of the Daily Telegraph. Bizarrely, one of the Torygraph's quibbles is the wish expressed in the report to promote Scots alongside Gaelic and English as one of three indigenous languages of Scotland. The journalist appears oblivious to how tolerant that position is. After all, if Scots is a language, English is hardly indigenous.

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