As Jackson Carlaw and his Dept of Cultural Self Hatred descend into a cacophony of anti-gaelic bile here’s that vile separatist, er, Deputy Transport Minister Lewis Macdonald announcing gaelic road signs back in 2003. The initiative was celebrated by that well-known Cultural Cybernat, Mike Watson, then Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport who said:
“I believe that this will make a positive contribution to the Scottish Executive’s strengthening of Gaelic language and will supplement the efforts already being made by local authorities. Gaelic signage will provide visible evidence of public support for Gaelic in Scotland and we hope it will strengthen the confidence of speakers and learners in their use of the language.”
The plans date back to March 2001, when crazed Blood and Soil nationalist Sarah Boyack, ‘gave Highland Council the go-ahead for bilingual road signs on the A87 between Kyle of Lochalsh and Uig and on the A830.’
Yesterday monoglot zealotry met obsessive British militarism.
On an extraordinary day when the Conservatives bypassed the entire Westminster process and announce the future militarisation of the west coast of Scotland, and, in a glorious piece of theatre John McTernan explained to Kezia Dugdale how any efforts to host a meaningful dialogue within SLAB were null-and-void because defence is reserved, up bobbed George Osborne on the Gare Loch looking like Fireman Sam in Dismaland, all afloat with half a billion in his pocket.
Only two of Scotland’s 59 MPs, the Tory Scottish secretary, David Mundell, and the former Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael, support nuclear weapons: Ian Murray, Labour’s sole representative, has said publicly he will vote against renewing Trident.
Democracy eh? It’s understood by so few people these days it’s probably best it was just allowed to die away naturally.
The spokesman from the Party of Death was up to announce the securing of massive investment in more weapons of mass destruction, with fantasy figures and a ghoulish projection into our future. The simple moral repugnance of this spending in times of harsh austerity is beyond belief.
This is about democracy and how our politicians hate it.
Carlaw hates it when people have knowledge of their own culture. Osborne hates it when an entire national body of MPs represent a mass rejection of Trident. McTernan hates it when Scottish Labour attempts to show the most basic level of autonomy. All must crushed ignored and defeated. Centralisation and monoculture is the hallmark of Britain.
A groups called ‘Smash the SNP’ put out this image (right) saying with crushing irony ‘Wouldn’t this money be put to better use on the poor you bleat about?’
As the publisher Alec Finlay responded:
“I shared a wonderful conversation about landscape, names, and the analysis, insight, and poetry they offer us this weekend, at the Environmental Art Festival, learning about the seven languages that make up our hybrid country, including Gaelic, a language which offers such a subtle account of topography. We also discussed this: the self-hating, know nothing, feart, nihilism of people who can’t see that two names on a sign offers you the chance to learn something about where you are, hear different sounds, think about the past, the future, land ownership, colours, and beliefs. To accept complexity and change. Not understanding a language is an invitation to learn, not to hate. The Unionjackism that is scared of different languages, cultures and identities has no place in these islands.”
This narrative has become commonplace beyond un-muzzled Tories and enrage Unionist twitter-freaks. Enragés figures like STV’s Stephen Daisley or David Mitchell are uninhibited in their disgust.
The reality is that Gaelic is on roadsigns because the UK govt signed the EU charter on minority & regional languages, and the benefits of bilingualism are understood. The resistance to anti-democracy should be cultural celebration. The resistance to the people who bring us weapons of death must be cultural and linguistic celebration as testimony to life and rich living traditions.
I’m sick and tired of this relentless argument and living in a culture that is constantly under attack from within. It’s time to shift to a more pro-active way to not just defend our culture, and many languages, but to expand & challenge, and give voice to traditions old and new. We need to have much better instant rebuttal but also engage, embrace and commission more writing and publishing in all of our languages to drown out the negativity.
Anyone up for that?