A trilingual advertisement seeking a new PSNI Chief Constable for the PSNI has attracted criticism in the press. Given the fact that the experience required (two years as an Assistant Chief Constable in another police service) deliberately excludes a local candidate, no doubt some might argue that English would have sufficed — and, indeed, only the most basic information is included in Irish and Ulster Scots. Yet, in the latter case, even a single sentence has excited criticism:
"Tha Norlin Airlan Polis-wark Boord is leukkin tae tak oan a Heid Offyser furtae jyne tha PSNI Ontak Guidin Core."
The case illustrates the bind that Ulster Scots — and especially the inauthentic variety promoted by the Language Society — finds itself in. Top-down promotion envisages Scots appearing wherever Irish does, but native speakers themselves reject it.
While it is of course possible to use Scots sensitively in higher registers, another approach would be to concentrate on supporting it in the areas where it is strong (literature, song, arts in general).
In fact, it might even mean the Ulster-Scots Agency could stop giving all its money to flute bands.