10 March 2012

Minority Languages aren't tied to Political Parties

It's all too often that you'll see people decrying Scottish Gaelic as some kind of tartan-wrapped plot by the Scottish Nationalist Party to trick people into independence.

Well, sorry, but it's not.

A) Gaelic has had cross-party support, and cross-party opposition in both Westminster and Holyrood.

B) Scottish Gaelic is more of a weapon against Scottish nationalism than a tool for it.  After all, people see it as a tartan-wrapped plot by the Scottish Nationalist Party to trick people into indepedence.  People don't trust it.  People don't like it.  Which is a bit mean of them, but that's beside the point.  Gaelic doesn't win elections.  No party claims it as their own.

Anyhow, back to A: cross-party support.

An early-day motion has been presented to parliament by Tom Harris MP, Labour member for Glasgow South.  This motion calls for Westminster to give the same status to Gaelic as it has already done for Welsh.  The motion is sponsored by Malcolm Bruce, Liberal Democrat MP for Gordon constituency (Aberdeenshire); Tom Clarke, Labour, Coatbridge Chryston and Bellshill; Jim Cunningham, Labour, Coventry South (yes, England); Graeme Morrice, Labour, Livingston; Jim Sheridan, Labour, Paisley and Renfrewshire North.

To date, 25 MPs have signed.  Yes, all 5 SNP MPs have signed, but then they would, wouldn't they?  You might also expect Plaid Cymru and the SDLP to sign, and 2 of Plaid Cymru's 3 have signed and all 3 SDLP MPs have signed. But the motion has been backed by 3 LibDems and 12 Labour MPs, so over half the support is from mainstream parties.  7 of the MPs represent English constituencies, and in addition to the 2 Plaid signatories, there are 2 Welsh Labour MPs.

It is clearly not a partisan issue, and the majority (14 out of 25) are not in Scottish constituencies.  It was proposed by Labour.

A language is not a political party, and people would do well to remember that....

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