Molaidhean dhan a’ Choimisean

Seo am faidhle a chur sinn a-steach: Yes Alba Smith Commission Submission.

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Yes Alba Submission to the Smith Commission

Yes Alba is a campaign network, based in Glasgow, but with over 30,000 supporters across the country and overseas. We campaigned for a Yes vote, however, we accept the result of the referendum and the main interest of our submission lies in ensuring that the new constitutional arrangement is cognisant of the needs of Gaelic speakers and of Gaelic as a minority language.

Our submission is based on the reversing language shift principles pioneered by Joshua Fishman which are well established in academia and in practice across the globe. These principles influenced the 2005 Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act, passed by Holyrood, and the 1993 Welsh Language Act, passed at Westminster. They state that to reverse language shift from the minority language, work has to be undertaken to ensure the continued intergenerational transmission of the language. Strategies to achieve this can be forward on four fronts: language status; language usage; language acquisition and the corpus of the language. Therefore the language should be afforded a status which increases awareness and the visibility of the language and encourages its use in everyday life; more opportunities should be created for speakers to use the language; new opportunities and techniques should be encouraged for language learning and academic work should support this by ensuring the linguistic tools available to a majority language are created for the minority one (grammars, dictionaries etc.). These principles will guide the response below.

Problems of the 2005 Legislation and Reserved Bodies
In order to ensure Gaelic is more frequently seen and used in public life (status and usage planning), the 2005 act enables Bòrd na Gàidhlig to call on Scottish public bodies to create Gaelic language plans and provide a basic level of service in the language. What has become apparent since the passing of the Act is bodies governed by the reserved legislation, such as the DVLA, do not provide services to Gaelic speakers. Therefore a Gaelic speaker can request a Welsh language driver’s licence but not a Gaelic one. This contrasts with the increasing level of Gaelic engagement evident from devolved public bodies that have been requested to draw up language plans. This situation contradicts the aim of the 2005 Act, that Gaelic and English should have equal esteem in Scotland.
The comparison with Wales is instructive, as a Welsh language act was passed by Westminster prior to devolution whereas a Gaelic language act was not. Other examples of how the disconnect between the devolved legislation and the reserved bodies plays out in everyday life would be bilingual signage for MOD installations in Welsh-speaking areas, but not in Gaelic-speaking ones or road signage, such as the “Slow | Araf” signs on the road in Wales, but no such similar measure in either the Gaelic communities of Scotland or the country as a whole.
We are aware that a number of other submissions to the committee have raised issues of Gaelic legislation and reserved agencies, and that it has also featured in an early day motion (Tom Harris MP #2822) at Westminster. We believe that this is an issue of substance that the commission can address fairly simply by following best practice from Wales, and which would be of benefit to Scotland’s Gaelic community. The legislation creating the new devolutionary settlement at Westminster should therefore acknowledge the Gaelic Act, and implement its goals with regards to agencies related to reserved powers, affording the Scottish Parliament some legal rights to hold those agencies to account for their work in Scotland. This would highlight in an emblematic manner the ability of any new devolutionary settlement to ensure better co-operation between the two legislatures, their existing legislation and their respective agencies. If we continue to operate in a system where public services reserved to Westminster do not react to developments in Holyrood then Gaelic will continue to lose out.
There are issues of funding that may complicate matters slightly as Bòrd na Gàidhlig is funded by the Scottish Government who are responsible for the language. So as not to have Scottish taxpayers pay for their services twice it would be important to examine whether Westminster should contribute to the Bòrd’s funding so that work with the reserved agencies can be undertaken or whether Westminster itself should fund those language plans, via those agencies directly. The Welsh example would perhaps provide a precedent for the best way to achieve this, in practice.

Billingual Ballot Papers
Gaelic is both a de jure and de facto national language of Scotland, with half of all Gaelic speakers living outside its 20th century Highlands and Islands heartlands. We support the devolution of governance of elections so that both the status and usage of the language can be enhanced by its use on bilingual ballots. As happens with minority languages across the world this can be achieved with minimal expense and effort, and can be overseen by the Electoral Commission.

Promotion of Gaelic Language and Culture overseas
Whilst we recognise that international affairs shall in all likelihood remain at Westminster under an enhanced devolutionary package the promotion of Gaelic amongst the diaspora is of growing importance to the language’s continued resurgence at home. We believe there should be more influence from the Scottish Government on the overseas activities of our diplomatic and cultural bodies. This should entail some accountability to the Scottish Government from the FCO, whilst acknowledging that their main responsibility will be to Westminster. Interest in the language provides a market for Gaelic language materials far in excess of the domestic market. British officials, especially in nations with sizeable populations of Highland descent (e.g Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S amongst others) should be aware of the language and its role in strengthening cultural connections overseas. Gaelic is taught at university level in most of these countries and the FCO should be aware of the importance of strengthening cultural ties as a part of its wider diplomatic efforts. This would follow the example of the Republic of Ireland which continues to promote Irish overseas.
The Scottish Government should therefore be allowed an increased say in the cultural efforts of our diplomats and cultural agencies overseas. This will involve some accountability for international matters, specifically those relating to cultural matters, being granted to Holyrood.

There is a strong case for devolving control of broadcasting from a Gaelic perspective. Having legislation and regulation of broadcasting at Holyrood would ensure that Gaelic is prominent amongst considerations for any future legislation affecting this sector. This would ensure the continued success of BBC Alba, Radio nan Gàidheal and the BBC’s online Gaelic content, all of which are vital to reversing language shift by promoting the usage, acquisition and status of the language.

Economic Development in the Western Isles and the West Highlands
Ensuring a stable population in fragile rural areas is vital to language revitalisation efforts as this can act as a basis for intergenerational transmission in the community. The traditional heartlands of the Gaelic language continue to suffer from outmigration and lack of opportunities for economic development. The people of the Western Isles have continued to make the case for substantial investment in the grid infrastructure to ensure that the renewables potentials of that region is utilised. This would have employment benefits for the islands, creating and retaining skilled jobs for the local population. Given that the current situation appears to be failing to ensure that this potential is unleashed the case for devolution of further energy powers appears irrefutable.
There are similar problems evident from reserved powers on telecommunications and postal services. We support the maximum amount of devolution required to enable the Scottish Parliament to deal with the issues facing rural Scotland. This would strengthen a new devolutionary settlement, by ensuring that the body with the knowledge required to deal with the challenges facing our rural communities, namely the Scottish Parliament, is empowered to deal with them. Given these services are no longer provided by state providers, and successive Westminster governments have promoted competition in these sectors, there already exists a variety of different providers, who successfully operate under different regulatory systems across the globe. Scotland should be able to tailor its own approach to these services to the benefit of our fragile communities.

In conclusion we wish the commission well in your endeavours. The aims of the commission are best served by being confident in putting power closer to the people. This will allow legislation and regulation that is more aware of the circumstances within Scotland and improve the ability of minorities, such as the Gaelic-speaking community, to influence the legislation that affects their lives.

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10 Adhbharan Airson Neo-Eisimeileachd

Bha mise riamh taiceil do neo-eisimeileachd. Bha mi den bheachd, is tha fhathast, gu bheil Alba na dhùthaich, agus mur nach eil adhbharan air leth sònraichte ann na aghaidh, bu chòir gach dùthaich a bhith os cionn nan gnothaichean aca fhèin. Chan eil mi ro mheasail air sgaraidhean nàiseanta, ach tha iad ann co-dhiù agus chan eil neach sam bith a’ strì airson Aonadh leis a’ Bheilg neo Belize. Ach on a chaidh mi an sàs san iomairt seo tha adhbharan a bharrachd air tighinn thugam, seach fèin-riaghlaidh mar rud a tha math dhuinn co-dhiù.

1. Tha daoine san dùthaich seo aig nach eil gu leòr biadh. Tha pàrantan a’ dol dhan leabaidh air an oidhche is iad acrach, gus an urrainn dhaibh biadh a thoirt dhan chuid chloinne. Chan e dìreach gu bheil iadsan a tha os cionn shochairean sòisealta na dùthcha air fàiligeadh, tha iad air a’ bhochd a pheanasachadh agus tha iad air an t-suidheachadh aca a dhèanamh nas miosa. Tha cuid den bheachd gu bheil seo ceangailte ris na bailtean mòra- gu deimhinne chan eil. Chithear bancaichean-bidhe air feadh na dùthcha- gu math tric air am fosgladh le ministearan bhon aon riaghaltas a dh’adhbhraich iad.

2. Is toigh leam Sasainn, Èirinn a Tuath agus a’ Chuimrigh. Mar an ceudna, ar leam gum bu chòir luchd-obrach a bhith ag obair còmhla gus dèanamh cinnteach gu bheil na coraichean-obrach aca air an dìon. Ach chan eil meas sam bith agam dhan argamaid fhaoin gum feum Alba fuireach san Rìoghachd Aonaichte gus a bhith bàidheil dar co-chreutairean sna dùthchannan eile innte. Mar nach urrainn dhuinn dàimhean dlùth a chumail le muinntir Poblachd na h-Èirinn. Gu dearbh, fhad ’s a tha na seann shòisealaich  a’ gairm mu ‘solidarity’ sna coilbhean-naidheachd aca, tha na bochd a’ fuiling. Chan eil e na bhuannachd sam bith do mhuinntir Liverpool gu bheil teaghlaichean ann an Inbhir Nis gun bhiadh.

3. Tha cothrom againn ann an Alba cur às do bhomaichean niùclasach Bhreatainn. Tha gràin agam bho bhun gu bàrr air na buill-airm seo, a tha seòladh gu foill sna lochan mara againne. Chan ann ach le neo-eisimeileachd a bhios cothrom againn stad a chur air ginealach ùr de na h-innealan feòladaireach seo. Ma dh’fhaoidte gun tèid aig an Rìoghachd neo-Aonaichte an gluasad gu deas; mu dh’fhaoidte nach tèid. Ach bhiodh sinne ann an Alba air ar dìcheall a dhèanamh, agus dleastanas eadar-nàiseanta do mhic-an-duine a choileanadh. Le taic dhan Aonadh, chan eil fiù ’s an cothrom sin againn.

4. Tha Riaghaltas na Rìoghachd Aonaichte a’ cur às do thaic airgid sam bith do chuid de dhaoine, pàrantan nam measg, airson mhìosan air sgath ’s mearachdan beaga rianachd. Chaidh daoine-tinn a nàireachadh le deuchainnean faoin a dhealbhaich companaidhean prìobhaideach, seach measadh ceart bho na dotairean aca. ’S ann air mar a làimhsicheas an stàit na daoine as ìsle san dùthaich a thèid a mheasadh, agus ’s ann mar sin a thèid an Rìoghachd Aonaichte a dhìteadh.

5. Tha deamocrasaidh stèidhichte air roghainnean is taghaidhean. ’S e roghainn a th’ ann a bhith a’ peanasachadh nam bochd agus a’ fàgail nan companaidhean mòra nach eil a’ solarachadh sgilinn ruadh dhuinn ann an cìsean. ’S e roghainn a th’ ann airgead a chaitheamh air Trident, sgothan-plèanaichean gun phlèanaichean agus rathad-iarainn ùr eadar Lunnainn is Birmingham. Roghainn a thathas a’ dèanamh fhad ’s a tha iad a’ gearradh sochairean agus seirbhisean. Tha na trì partaidhean ann an Lunainn uile a’ cumail taic ris an Austerity seo: thig Rìgh Seumas a-nall bhon Fhràing mus tig Riaghaltas Làbarach den shliochd aig Attlee agus Bevan.

6. Seall air map de sgìrean Gàidhealach ann an 1707 agus seall air a’ mhap ann an 2014. Mur nach eil thu a’ leantail uirsgeulachdan mu dhèidhinn beatha is bàs nàdarra do gach cànan, rud nach eil airidh air tuigse pàiste, ’s ann aig Riaghaltas Breatainn a tha a’ mhòr-mhòr-chuid den choireach aig ìre oifigeil airson crìonadh na Gàidhlig. Às dèidh 300 bliadhna, dè fhuair sinn bho Riaghaltas Westminster, a bharrachd air Machair?

7. Chan eil seo mu dheidhinn fèin-aithne. Nan robh fèin-aithne stèidhichte air crìochan na stàite cha bhiodh fèin-aithne Albannach ann eadar 1707 agus 1999. Faodaidh tu bratach Bhreatainn a sgaoileadh ma thogras tu, ach cha bhith mise gad leantail.

8. Tha e fhathast ceadaichte cur sìos air cultar nan Gàidheal sa chultar Bhreatainneach san fharsaingeachd. Tha luchd-eachdraidh a’ leantail chlaon-breithean Hugh Trevor-Roper a thuirt, sna bliadhnaichean às dèidh na reifrinn ann an 1979, gun deach cultar na h-Alba a chruthachadh ann an 1822. Cluinnear an aon sgudail aig amadain a leithid Seòras Galloway, ach tha e cuideachd air nochdadh nas fhaisge air crìdhe Nas Fhèarr Còmhla: ar le George Robertson, Ìleach, nach eil cultar neo cànain sònraichte againn ann an Alba. Chan eil seo a’ dol às àicheadh gu bheil daoine a tha taiceil don Ghàidhlig ann an NFC cuideachd, ach aithnichear an duine air a chuideachd.

9. Tha na Gàidheil air dearbhadh uair às dèidh uair gu bheil sinn fhathast an seo, gu bheil cultar an dà chuid dualchasach agus eadar-nàiseantach againn cho math ri nàisean sam bith eile. Ach gun chumhachd phoiliteagach is eaconomaigeach chan urrainn do chultar a h-uile sìon a dhèanamh. Ma ’s e is nach eile saothair Shomhairle is Dòmhnaill Ruaidh Mhic an t-Saoir air dearbhadh gu bheil luach nar chànain is nar chultar, chan fhiach a choimhead dhan chultar airson an ais-ghluasad-chànain mhòir a tha a dhìth oirnn. Stèidheachadh litreachas foillsichte na Gàidhlig fhèin mar ghnìomh an aghaidh na h-Ìmpireachd Bhreatainneach agus Righ Seòras, leis an leabhar aig Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair Ais-Èiridh na Sean Chànoin Albannaich a chaidh fhoillseachadh mun aon àm ’s a bha e a’ toirt seachad fios mu lèirsgrios stàit Bhreatainn air a’ Ghàidhealtachd. Cha d’fhuair Beurla làmh an uachdair tro dannsaichean-Morris air a’ Ghàidhealtachd neo le bhith sgaoileadh co-chruinneachaidhean de bhàrdachd Pope is Wordsworth. Feumaidh sinn barrachd chumhachd thar na beathannan againn fhèin gus cothrom na fèinne a thoirt air ais dhan Ghàidhlig.

10. Tha mise sia-air-fhichead, ach uair às dèidh uair rim bheò tha e air tighinn am follais nach eil an Rìoghachd Aonaichte a’ feuchainn ri sìth a chruthachadh aig ìre eadar-nàiseanta. Eadar a bhith a’ ciùrradh phrìosanaich, a’ marbhadh nan neo-chiontach ann an Iraq agus a’ toirt taic agus buill-airm do Riaghaltasan brùideil air feadh na cruinne bu chòir ’s gu bheil na tha iad a’ dèanamh as ar leth na nàire mhòir oirnn uile. Ach tha daoine fhathast moiteil às a bhuaidh a th’ aig Breatainn aig ìre eadar-nàiseanta. Gu sealbh orm. B’ fheàrr leam gu robh sinn a’ brosnachadh sìth san aon dòigh ’s a tha ar nàbaidhean beaga ann an Nirribhidh agus an Eilbhis le bhith a’ toirt gach taobh den chomhstri còmhla gus còmhraidhean a chumail.

Tha adhbharan eadar-dhealaichte aig gach duine airson neo-eisimeileachd. Ach canaidh mi ri gach neach a tha a’ toirt taic dhan aonadh: thoir sùil air an stàit seo sa bheil sinn beò, mar a làimhsichear iadsan a tha gun ghuth, na bochd ’s na h-euslaintich, agus air na tha sinn a’ dèanamh gu h-eadar-nàiseanta. Feuch a bheil thu deònach a’ dol dhan sgìre agam fhìn ann am Maryhill, agus mìneachadh do phàist a tha a’ falbh dhan leabaidh gun bhiadh carson a tha sinn nas fheàrr còmhla.


Aonghas Mac Leòid, Glaschu.

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Na thug air Gearmailteach taic a chur do Neo-Eisimeileachd

Ann am facal – riaghlachas. Governance, mar a chanar sa chànan eile. Ach ’s dòcha gum biodh mìneachadh beagan nas fhaide nas soilleire.

Chan Albannach ’s cha Sasannach mise. ’S e Gearmailteach a tha ’nam athair agus Sìneach a tha ’nam mhàthair is rugadh agus thogadh mise sa Ghearmailt. Cha dàinig mi a dh’Alba gus an robh mi 24 a dh’aois, a dhèanamh ceum aig Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann agus cha b’ e gaoil na Gàidhlig a thug orm a thighinn an-seo (ged a tha ùidh mhòr agam ann an cànanan san fharsaingeachd) ach gaol do chuideigin. Sasannaich a bha san dithis dhan dug mise gaol – ann an Alba. Feumaidh gu bheil comas-gàire aig an domhan.

Co-dhiù, ’s ciall dha sin nach robh mi calg-dhìreach an aghaigh taobh seach taobh nuair a ràinig mise – cha robh fiù fhios agam gun robh iomairt neo-eisimeileachd a’ dol ann an Alba, beag no mòr. Ach leis gun robh mi a’ fuireach an-seo agus leis gun robh mi a’ suirghe ri Sasannaich fad bhliadhnaichean, dh’fhàs mi eòlach gu leòr air a’ mhuinntir air dà thaobh na crìche. Agus sa chiad dol a-mach, ’s e mo bheachd-sa gu bheil daoine còir is daoine craicte a’ fuireach air a dà thaobh agus gu bheil a’ mhòr-chuid dhiubh còir air dà thaobh na crìche. B’ e an Rìoghachd Aonaichte a’ chiad dùthaich a bha ’na dachaigh cheart dhomh far nach robh iomagain orm a thaobh mo shinnsireachd. Agus ’s e sin a thug orm cur a-steach airson saoranachd Bhreatannach cuideachd ann an 2010.

Ach mhothaich mi do rudan cuideachd a tha eadar-dhealaichte san dà dhùthaich agus thug aonan dhiubh orm gu h-àraidh tionndadh a dh’ionnsaigh neo-eisimeileachd. Ged a tha an dà shluagh fad air thoiseach air na Gearmailtich a thaobh co-ionnannachd, tha na h-Albannaich fada nas co-ionnannachail (’s e sin egalitarian) na na Sasannaich. Tha sin follaiseach aig iomadh ìre. San fharsaingeachd, chanainn nach eil uiread a mheas air pribhleidean dhaoine agus urram nan urracha mòra ann an gnothachas is poileataigs aig na h-Albannaich ’s a tha aig mòran ann an Sasainn. Tha e caran annasach ma chuireas pàrantan duine-cloinne gu sgoil phrìobhaideach ach ma dh’fhosglas tu pàipear no iris ionadail ann an Sasainn, tha sanasachd nan sgoiltean prìobhaideach gu math pailt (ann an Yorkshire co-dhiù) agus cha chur e iongnadh air duine sam bith ann an seòmar ma dh’innseas cuideigin gu bheil an cuid cloinne a’ dol gu sgoil mar sin. Agus chan eil daoine a chaidh a Chambrige no Oxford idir cho pailte ann an Riaghaltas na h-Alba an coimeas ri Riaghaltas Westminster.

Chan fhaicear bothan a chuireas taic dha na Palastaineach ann an York aig deireadh na seachdain ach chithear iad gu tric air Sràid Bhochanan. ’S e Glaschu a thug saorsa a’ bhaile do Nelson Mandela fhad ’s a bha Westminster a’ fàgail air fhathast gur e ceannairceach a bha ann. ’S e Pàrlamaid na h-Alba ann an Dùn Èideann a thug a-steach achd co-ionnannachd pòsaidh an toiseach. ’S e muinntir na h-Alba a tha calg-dhìreach an aghaidh Cìs nan Seòmraichean-Cadail agus ’s e Pàrlamaid na h-Alba a tha a’ dèanamh a dìcheall a buaidh a shèimheachadh. Tha cungaidhean-leighis saor an-asgaidh againne an-seo ach tha cumhachd nan companaidhean prìobhaideach san NHS ann an Sasainn a’ fàs o latha gu latha. ’S e liosta fada de rudan a tha ann, feadhainn dhiubh gu math follaiseach ’s feadhainn car beag is dìomhair. Ach tha an diofar seo ann.

Agus sin cnag na cùise dhomhsa. Seadh, tha an ola againn agus dealan na gaoithe ’s na mara ’s an t-uisge-beatha ’s na bancaichean ’s mìle rud eile. Agus tha Lunnainn a’ faoin-chosg beartas na dùthcha air fad air rudan mar Trident, HS2, cogaidhean mì-laghail agus mìle rud neònach eile. Ach gu ìre, chan eil sin cho cudromach – tha fhios gu bheil a leithid aig na Stàitean Aonaichte, can. Ach chan e dùthaich a tha innte far a bheil co-ionnannachd chòraichean is chothroman oir tha iad umhail is ro umhail do chumhachd an airgid ann, lobaidh nan gunna ’s nam banca ’s nan eaglaisean ’s an ola ’s iomadh rud eile. Tha Lunnainn, gu mì-fhortanach, a’ fàs mar sin agus ge b’ oil leis na h-Albannaich seo, chan eil leasachadh air oir chan eil ach cuibhreann bheag a bhòtaichean againn ann am Westminster.

Ged a tha mi cinnteach nach fhaighinn mo thoil-sa fad na h-ùine ann an Alba neo-eisimeileach agus ged a tha mi cinnteach gun dèan sinne ’s ar Riaghaltas mearachdan (mar a nì gach duine), tha mi làn-chinnteach gum bi an dùthaich seo nas cothromaiche agus co-ionnainn, an-seo agus gu eadar-nàiseanta, nam biodh làn-smachd againn air cùisean.

Agus am facal mu dheireadh san dealachadh. Nochdaidh daoine ’s iomairtean neònach an‐seo fhèin cuideachd thar ùine agus aig deireadh an latha, ma thig e gu fianais a thogail, tha e seachd turais nas fhasa fichead mìle Albannach a chruinneachadh air beulaibh Taigh an Ròid ann an Dùn Èideann na an dearbh-àireamh air Parliament Square ann an Lunnainn. Tha fhios nach b’ urrainn dhomh fhìn a dhol ann.

Sin am prìomh-adhbhar a thug orm taic a chur do neo-eisimeileachd, riaghlachas a bhios nas fhaisge air muinntir na h-Alba agus earbsa agam annta.

Air a phostadh ann an Uncategorized | 4 beachd(an)

Campaigning in Gaelic

There are approximately 58,000 Gaelic speakers in Scotland, less than an average Scottish Parliamentary constituency. And yet over at Yes Alba we’re campaigning in Scottish Gaelic for independence. At the moment we’re raising funds to provide some much needed Gaelic high-vis campaign materials, and if we hit the target, run some Gaelic language events. Is this idealism, naivety or “obscurantist rubbish”? Or is there a more substantial argument for it.

Any effort to make a language secure, and allow it to flourish, proceeds on a number of fronts. Two of these are language usage and language status. Whilst that’s a bit of jargon it’s really just common sense. If you want to secure a language for the future, people have to be given the opportunity to use it, and not be made to feel inferior whilst doing so.

One of the simplest, and therefore more widely used, ways to improve language status is for the state to begin introducing an element of equality in its own functions. Hence some of the bilingual letterheads and corporate signage emerging from various public bodies. This is yet to be mirrored in any substantial way in the Yes or No Campaigns. Whilst in usage terms any advance in how speakers can interact with public sector bodies has been mainly symbolic, at least in terms of status children are now growing up in Scotland aware, for the first time in centuries, that their first language is a valued part of Scotland’s national life.

Indeed, part of the Yes Alba campaign is generational. In the same way the Independence Generation has grown up accustomed to the idea of a parliament in Edinburgh, Gaels are now expecting more and more language equality in public life. If you can go from playgroup to a PhD using Gaelic, then the argument that it’s for the home and the Hebrides no longer holds water. Half of all Gaelic speakers now live outwith the areas where Gaelic was strongest 50 years ago. The generation that has grown up with Gaelic Medium Education and the Fèis movement are not content for the serious business of the state to be conducted solely in the business as usual language of English.

For engaging with the older generations, either those who have spent years campaigning to give the language a secure place in Scottish life, or those who have grown accustomed to keeping it to themselves, using Gaelic to campaign also has benefits. The very effort to engage with them in the language of their birth and/ or their choice shows that the Yes Campaign values their opinion;  at least, values it enough to give them the option to engage in the debate in their own language, in any case. Then it’s the speakers who have a choice about how they engage with the debate on their own terms. Indeed, it’s a damn sight more than what’s coming out of Better Together anyway.

The margins in the referendum campaign are getting closer and closer. This trend in the polls has been picking up pace since the start of the year, and given the methodological disadvantage the polling companies are working with, and their usual margins of error it’s clear we’re close to neck and neck. Say there are 40-odd thousand Gaelic speakers of voting age: that’s a lot of votes not to be going after. To quote the, admittedly fictional, political advisor Bruno Gianelli: “If you think I’m going to miss even one opportunity to pick up half-a-knot of boat speed, you’re absolutely out of your mind.”

There is a fallacy going around that of course Gaelic speakers are going to vote yes. Whilst I believe there will be a Yes majority amongst Gaelic speakers, not that we’ll ever know, there are committed unionists campaigning in Gaeldom too. So whilst you have musicians like Julie Fowlis in favour of Yes; you have equally prominent musicians saying No. And if the radical John MacLean and SNP founder John MacCormick were the urban descendants of Gaels, then so are Johann Lamont and Alasdair Campbell. There are votes in the Gaelic-speaking community that need to be won― so let’s make sure we have the tools to do it.

The fact that Gaelic, which is supposed to have parity of esteem with English, didn’t make it onto the ballot paper was not an encouraging start to the campaign― indeed it was a fine example of how to alienate a support base. A realistic analysis of the decision is that it was taken as a rear-guard action to counter the attack that the SNP was seeking to create an independent tartan paradise. Whilst that charge is nonsensical (Gaelic enjoys, admittedly-timid, cross party support and it was imperial unionism that created Brigadoon tartanry) it is the Gaels who have missed out because of ill-informed unionists and lazy commentators.

It is ironic, given the periodic stushies about bilingual road signs that one of the features of the indyref campaign, especially in the Highlands and Islands, is the number of monolingual campaign signs, stickers and badges in places with those same bilingual road signs. If the campaign for independence is truly to be won by informal conversations, then why not Gaelic conversations? We can make that happen if campaigners with Gaelic can show, whether with a badge or a t-shirt, that they have the language. If we want to start building a truly multilingual Scotland, there really is no time like the present.

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Iomairt Mhaoineachaidh Yes Alba

Ma ‘s e is gu bheil sibh a’ leantainn Yes Alba air facebook no twitter, bidh fios agaibh gu bheil sinn air iomairt a chur air bhog gus maoineachadh fhaighinn. Feumaidh sinn maoineachadh airson lìonraidh de luchd-iomairt aig a bheil a’ Ghàidhlig a chruthachadh agus gus goireasan agus teachdaireachd ‘Bu Chòir’ a sgaoileadh air feadh na dùthcha.

Tha sinne den bheachd gum bu chòir don Ghàidhlig a bhith a’ nochdadh gu follaiseach anns an deasbad air Neo-eisimeileachd. Tha sinne ag iarraidh gum bidh na goireasan aig luchd-iomairt gus seo a dhèanamh. Le bhur taic ‘s urrainn dhuinn sin a dhèanamh còmhla.

Chan eil ach beagan làithean air fhàgail aig an t-iomairt mhaoineachaidh againn. Ma tha sgilling no dhà agaibh agus ma tha sibh airson ‘s gum bith barrachd ghoireasan Ghàidhlig ri fhaighinn anns an iomairt ‘Bu Chòir’, dèanamh air ar dhuilleag  no briog an seo far am faighear barrachd fiosrachaidh agus far an tèid agaibh tabhartas a dhèanamh.

Tapadh leibh.

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