Indytwa?

Fernando McClurg jots doon his initial post-EUref reactions.

 

didyeaye

Is it, aye?

We’re aw strauchlin tae get a haundle on whit’s happent i the lest 24 hours.  As the initial souch o relief as Nigel Farage’s apparent concession turned tae a grue o dreid an disgust as the results startit comin in frae England, it becam clear that Britain an Scotland were heidin deeper intae choppy watters.  Mair (an hopefully mair coherent) analysis wull be alang suin, as we get time tae digest an think ower whit’s happent an whit wey Scotland shid respond.  For the noo, here’s ma thochts on the assumptions sum fowk are makkin aboot an airlie referendum an whit Brexit micht mean for Scots independence i the near future.

 

There were monie reasons that Aye didna win i 2014.  Media bias an the structural strength o an auld establishment were certainly amang thaim, but fundamentally (is “fundilymundily” aye a thing?) we on i the Aye camp simply didna a) dae eneuch tae convince undecidit fowk an b) didna hae a guid eneuch prospectus for independence tae convince thaim wi (twa relatit, but distinct, things).

Syne the referendum, the Aye campaign haes lairgely ceased tae exist as a coherent entity, forbye tae the extent that it haes been incorporate intil the SNP – wi the astoondin growth i memmership makkin it effectively the ainle mass pairty i Scotland.  Individual groups haes continued (Weimen for Independence, RIC, monie local groups etc.), but there is nae ane independence muivement onie mair that can threip tae pit the case for independence tae undecidtit fowk.  There is nae agreed-upo case or prospectus.  Gin an whan anither referendum is cawed, I wad expeck sic a muivement tae form fairly quickly (the netwarks o the 2012-14 campaign are aye there, efter aw).

 

As regairds the SNP, it haesna raelly duin muckle tae chynge fowks’ minds aboot independence direckly.  It haesna, publicly, talked aboot failures o the Indyref campaign an came up wi a better offer.  Noo, pairt o this is a maitter time.  Syne Indyref, aye less nor twa year syne (it feels langer), we hae haed a UK general election, a Scots Pairliament election, an the EU referendum – wi cooncil elections noo less nor a year awa an aw.  We micht even hae anither UK general election suiner nor we thocht as weill, dependin on whit happens wi the Tory haundower o pooer.  In the middle o aw this campaignin, an the need tae communicate, immediately, messages aboot govrenance at different levels, there haes been neither the time tae formulate, nor the space tae airgue for, a mair realistic/ attractive case for independence.
I ken that the SNP haes planned a campaign frae this simmer tae convince Na voters tae come tae the Aye fauld for nixt time.  I’ve no seen a lot o this as yit, but it maun consist o mair substantial airguements, especially aboot currency.  Aye ran a guid campaign, but it lost, an we need tae avoid makkin the ae mistakes again.

A straucht re-run o 2014 wad be a major strategic error for thae reasons, even assumin that anither referendum wis sanctioned by the UK govrenment (an there is nae guarantee o that).  No eneuch haes chynged i terms o the case we can pit for independence, an that case lost less nor twa year syne.
Hooanever, a lot haes chynged wi regairds tae the case for the Union that wis endorsed than.  Monie o things that we were telt lippened on the Union hae noo gane – includin monie jobs, oor EU memmership, an the UK’s credit ratin (in as faur as that is a tangible thing tae maist fowk).  Monie o the fowk that gambled on a Na vote an a Labour govrenment i 2015 are noo dealin wi a Tory gorvrenment votit for by England (again) – an aw that that means for the welfare state, tredd union richts, civil liberties an regulation o the things that raelly dae affeck fowk dae-tae-day.  Hoo confident are thae fowk o a gamble on Labour i 2020 (or suiner) peyin aff?  Or the nixt time?  The nixt again?  Ane mair heave, comrades, and Labour wull redd it aw oot?  Especially giein that UKIP, wha cam seicont i sae monie Labour saets i 2015, hae noo won sae monie warkin cless areas awa frae Labour’s line on the EU (maistly on immigration an British nationalism) – micht we see the PASOKification northern English Labour, as we did wi Scots Labour?

As for Labour i Scotland, Kezia Dugdale haes awready said she winna support anither independence referendum i the eftermath o Brexit, sayin, as I hae suggestit masel, that there’s monie issues tae dae wi the lest offer o independence that aye needs reddit oot.  The question is, is the Labour pairty wullin tae engage wi reddin oot thae issues, or is it gaein tae be left ahint i the stoor, wunnerin whaur awbodie gaed?

 

A lot haes chynged in a gey short space o time, an I genuinely dinna think onieane can be confident aboot kennin whit comes next.

 

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Whit dae ye want “British vailues” tae mean?

Alison Sneddon warks for Community World Service Asia. She haes warked i baith Scotland an Pakistan. (http://communityworldservice.asia/)

As haes became routine i Britain’s political culture, the debate anent Britain’s future i the EU haes managed tae appear varied, complex an comprehensive, while makkin siccar that the focus o the discussion haes been sair leimitit. The haill issue haes came doon, on baith sides, tae whit Britain gains or tynes (specifically hoo muckle siller Britain gains or tynes) as a result o its memmership. It’s no unreasonable for the govrenment o the fowk tae be fasht aboot the kintra’s weillbein, but this narrae focus fairly taks awa frae the quality o the conversation, an o oor unnerstaundin aboot whit oor role is as a naition i the modren warld. The EU is a tredd alliance, an as sic is lairgely aboot makkin siller; but it is an ideological alliance an aw, an the ideology is ane that Britain at the ae time maks claim til, an rejecks. We threip that the chairacter o Britain is ane that isna sweirt tae dae oot bit an that champions justice, yit we’re failin tae wark constructively wi oor neebours tae deal wi the unco humanitarian crisis unfauldin on oor doorstap, an grue at the European “imposition” o human richts.

The term “British vailues” is conveniently vague an yaised by actors across the political spectrum tae push whitever agenda suits thaim, bit Britain daes hae a lang history o genuine leadership in international upbiggin. It’s no a subjeck that lowps tae mind whan conseiderin oor relationship wi the EU, but it is a field that is mair an mair vital in a warld whair naitural disasters, conflicts, epidemics an corruption are growein i size, duration an impack, makkin poverty an inequality aye the waur, an contributin tae global threits tae stability an security. Internaitional upbiggin is as muckle in oor ain interest as it is oor obligation as a memmer o the internaitional community. In the ae wey that oor influence in internaitional diplomacy an negotiations is magnifee’d as a memmer o the EU, oor ability tae affeck meaningful chynge for fowk an fecht agin poverty, inequality an injustice aroond the warld is faur greater nor it wad be in isolation. The memmers o the EU represent mair nor hauf o global upbiggin assistance, an EU institutions are the lairgest soorce o internaitional aid i the warld. Whan we deliver govrenment aid through EU institurions, ither memmer states matches oor spendin, resultin in a significantly lairger puil o siller, that is spent mair efficiently acause it’s managed by ane agency raither nor multiple agencies, cuttin doon on transaction costs. Gin Britain quats the EU, we’re makkin oor spendin less efficient, an we’re also takkin oorsels oot frae the collective lobbyin, advocacy an negotioations that are vital tae create an environment whaur internaitional upbiggin initiatives can bear the gree.


Britain haes been a leader in warkin tae enable vulnerable fowk aroond the warld tae realise their fundamental human richts, but we winna be able tae maintain that ootwi the EU. A vote tae leave is a vote tae remuive oorsels frae the opportunities the EU provides for warkin thegither on maitters that are the difference atween life an daith, poverty an prosperity, inequality an justice for men, weimen an bairns aroond the warld. It is a vote tae define British vailues as bein singularly sel-centred.

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Chynge o sum kind is comin either wey, but a vote tae leave wad empooer Europe’s faur richt.

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist, editor an fiction screiver. She is heid editor o OurBeeb, an Commissionin Editor for 50:50. She bydes in Athens, an is also screivin a novel.

 

Britain shapes an is shaped by Europe. Lat’s no pretend itherweys. 

I’ve pinned doon the core reason hoo I’m for Britain bydin i the EU. It isna acause I want tae byde the same, but that I’m siccar that, even wi a Remain vote, there wull suin be radical chynge i the UK an Europe.

I unnerstaund the importance o democracy an naitional sovereignty – I bade i Scotland an votit i favour o Scots independence. I’m o blindit by the economists, the banks, the IMF, an aw the establishment hoodies croakin for doom – it’s no ainlie their track raicord, we ken that their idea o a ‘successful UK’ haes nocht ava tae dae wi ordinar fowk.

I byde i Greece the noo an can see ilka day the seeminly endless ruinage an waste o life an howp caused at the haunds o the EU, like I saw the depths o institutional corruption durin the incredible ‘negotiations’.

Sae I gree wi muckle o the Brexit airgument frae principle, as weill as a lot o the analysis. Ultimately whaur we differ is that – ironically for fowk wha threip they want chynge – thae fowk i favour o Brexit dinna seem tae be able tae imagine the kinds o radical chynges that’s comin, whitever wey we vote.

We ken Europe is polarisin: nationalism, euroscepticism an the faur richt are bearin the gree, as are the pairties o the ‘radical’ left, wha lairgely aye urge for a reformed EU. Whit trend wad Britain be pairt o? Gien that the EU wull be hugely transformed i the comin years, an the euro is hiely unlikely tae exist, hoo wull a UK on the ootside shape an be shaped by this process (as it aye wull be, o coorse)?

In ither wurds, whit happens i the years efter a Brexit vote no ainlie affecks the UK, but the future o Europe an the wurld. It’s no that we’re sae hugely important. It’s that thir are pivotal times.

It’s affy unco that fowk on the left are talkin aboot a possible victory for Labour or a left coalition i the medium future, an whit they micht could dae in a UK ootbye the EU, as gin the decade atween (lat’s be real) isna eneuch time tae chynge the verra sowel o the kintra, as Thatcher pruived.

Ye could say that the Conservatives haes awready begoud a haillsale transformation – whit difference is there atween a neoliberal paradise for the rich biggit unner Cameron an aidit by Merkel et al, nor ane biggit by Boris Johnson his lane?

But this shows a deidly want o imagination. Ower monie British fowk on the left an richt seems tae jalouse that the UK is exceptional an immune tae ‘extreme’ politics, even though we are a kintra that haes attemptit tae re-mak the EU in oor ain eimage – that o the extreme ideology o neoliberalism. Oor media an politicians are strainin at the leash tae stoke the fires o racism aye furder, an we’ve seen whit they’ve been able tae dae i the raicent few short months.

But this isna fricht-mongerin or a plea no tae ‘lowp intil the unkent’. I hae an idea o the airtin the UK micht tak post-Brexit, mibbie eventually wioot Scotland. Whit happens tae Britain efter a Remain vote is i monie weys faur mair o an open beuk. I can unnerstaun the furstration o the left, an the genuinely anti-establishment richt i the UK, wha see nae end i sicht tae the elite stitch-up an jist want tae shak things up, jalousin oniething’s better.

I jist dinna think that’s true. In the EU, there are monie factors at play: it’s impossible tae say yit whit the govrenments o the ither 27 memmer states wull manage tae dae ower the comin years, or whit their fowks micht achieve. It seems certain that no aw kintras wull remain. Corbyn winna bear the gree, but Labour micht gie wey tae anither pairty o the left or become unrecognisable. It could be a decade defined by terrorism an conflict. We micht even finally tak in oor fair share, or mair, o refugees.

Monie things micht could happen. It’s a muckle risk an a muckle opportunity either wey. But’s lat’s recognise that we hae allies amang the govrenments an fowks o Europe. The alternative is tae haund Britain on a truncher tae the ‘rogue’ Tories, allooin thaim tae threip that their nationalistic, anti-public, pro-exploitation, ultimately racist agenda haes been fully legitimised by us, while pretendin that we dinna ken whit they’ll dae.

 

This airticle wis originally set furth (in English) on Open Democracy:

https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/niki-seth-smith/change-of-some-kind-is-coming-either-way-but-vote-to-leave-would-empower-europes-

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The Mitterand Plan

Alistair Davidson is a political activist, screiver, an memmer o the Bella Caledonia editorial buird. Follae him on Twitter @moh-kohn

In economics, there are twa solutions. Either ye are a Leninst. Or ye winna chynge oniething.”

                                                                                                – François Mitterand.

A turnin pynt i the the final fortnicht o the independence referendum campaign wis the news, braithlessly reportit by the BBC, that stocks i Scots banks wis fawin. Whit haed been nair mair nor a threit o financial disaster becam reality for newskesters an for thae voters wha listen til thaim.

The actual muivment i price wis modest an the story owerhyped, but the fear it spak til wis real an rational. Ever syne Nixon muived the warld tae a seistem o freely tradable currencies i 1971, ilka kintra haes facedd the threit o capital flicht. It cripples investment, brings aboot hie unemployment, an aften gars govrenments rack up lairge debts tae prevent a collapse i the vailye o their currency.

Joseph Stiglitz, winner o the Nobel Prize in Economics an a memmer o the Scots Govrement’s Cooncil o Economic Advisors, cries this “het siller” – it flaws intae a kintra leukin for a quick return, an leaves jist as quickly at the first sign o tribble. Thus a minor political muive – say, the decision o a Tory-awned financial institution tae flit its HQ – can lead tae a bank rin on an entire kintra. Fowk that were involved i the muivement for global debt justice, seimbolised by the “Battle in Seattle”, wull mind capital flicht as ane o the methods yaised tae discipline developin nations an keep thaim on the neoliberal path. Whit is less weill kent is that capital flicht cam til Europe first.

In Aprile 1976, James Callaghan becam Prime Meinister. Harold Wilson haed resigned efter the Labout left dingied his economic programme, an Tony Benn an Michael Foot were i govrnement. They pursued the kind o Keynesian programme that Jeremy Corbyn noo proposes: interest rates an govrenment spendin were yaised tae fecht unemployment, pensions an benefit peyments raise, warkers’ richts were strengthened. By Septemmer, currency speculators were haimmerin the vailye o the pund. Callaghan wis forced tae tak a lend frae frae the IMF, wha demaundit austerity as their price. Austerity an monetarism – the yaise o unemployment tae control wadge increases – stairtit unner Callaghan, no Thatcher.

Social Democracy haed been sae successful that it wis unnerminin profits, an i the 70s an 80s European voters were forced tae wale atween takkin Social Democracy apairt tae save profits, or muivin taewards Socialism. The ae dynamics played oot across Europe, an as i Britain, French voters tried muivin left first.

In 1981 FrFrancois-Mitterrand-1024x685ançois Mitterand cam tae pooer wi a radical programme for a peaceful transition tae Socialism. Airguably his experience tells us whit micht hae happent gin Michael Foot’s Labour Pairty haed buir the gree ower Thatcher i 1983 an implementit Bennite (Corbynite?) policies. Industries were nationalised, welfare spendin gaed richt up, a walth tax wis brocht in. For the first time syne Warld War II, capital-C Communists formed pairt o the govrenment. Sadly, Callaghan’s experience replayed itsel. By 1983 capital flicht an a collapsin Franc gart Mitterand turn tae foreign lends, wi austerity as the price demaundit by creditors.

The implication is stairk for the European left: voters waled Socialism, but in a warld o globalised finance, nae ane kintra can be a social democracy o the kind we saw frae 1945-1979. The ainlie kintras wha can staund up tae the global financial sector ava are the likes o Americae, China an Brazil – mucke kintras, near-continental i size. Even posterbairn Iceland restrickit itsel tae jylin local spivs i the wake o complete collapse. It didna an canna unfankle itsel frae the global bankin seistem.

There hae been twa main responses tae thir uncomfortable facks: surrender an denial. Unner Clinton, Blair an Hollande, Social Democrats forleitit onie challenge tae centralised private awnership an concentratit walth, insteid focusin on post-mercat income redistribution. This led til spiralin inequality, acause walth produces sae muckle income that it canna aw be redistribute.

Meanwhile, the radical left haes been gruppit by denial, preferrin tae blame oor failure on individual bad fowk, frae Thatcher an Blair tae Sheridan an Tsipras. This is a tragic forleitin o the left tradition o leukin for structural raither nor individual causes.

Aince we accept the lessons o the defait o Social Democracy, we can stairt tae draw up realistic plans. Prime Meinister Corbyn or an independent Scotland winna an canna restore the postwar settlement. In Scotland, we micht manage tae ape the shilpit an waikened Social Democracy that aye exists i Scandinavia. At a UK level, even thon is impossible wioot first repressin the City o Lunnon, whilk wad devastate tax revenues an the balance o tredd.

Nae policy, nae maitter hoo radical or weill-intentioned, can jouk thir problems. Social Democracy warkit sae weill that it forced a crisis, a revolutionary situation. It failed for the ae reasons that ilka attempt tae bigg socialism in ae kintra haes failed: capitalist pooers come thegither tae blockade an gin necessary invade onie threit tae the seistem. This begs the question o hoo we jouk denial wioot surrenderin. The clue might ligg i Mitterand’s new policy efter 1983, tae pursue European integration at aw costs.

Capitalists haes ayeweys haed a contradictory relationship wi the state. The need the state tae create mercats an fend thaim frae the puir (“For one very rich man there must be at least five hundred poor … It is only under the shelter of the civil magistrate that the owner of that valuable property … can sleep a single night in security.” – Adam Smith), but a state pooerful eneuch tae mak a mercat is pooerful eneuch tae regulate it an tae redistribute walth frae rich tae puir.

Socialists faces the ae dilemma as the capitalists: we want tae dae awa wi the capitalist state, biggit as it is tae fend the interests o the pooerful, but the state is ane o the few wappins capable o matchin the pooer o the capitalists.

Capitalists maun aye bigg a state lairge eneuch tae create the mercats they need. For a common mercat across the British Empire, capitalists needit the British Imperial State. For a common mercat across Euripe, capitalists haes creatit the ootlines o a federal European state.

While the EU is currently a fae o Social Democracy frae Scotland tae Greece, the EU is also the smawest possible state capable o implementin Socialism or even Social Democracy in Europe.

There is a tendency i Britain tae blame “the EU” as gin it is a govrenment apairt, but i fack EU policy is lairgely driven by naitional govrenments i the Cooncil o the European Union. The sae-cried European Pairliament is actually a saicont chaumer like the Hoose o Lords. It is the naitional govrenments wha appynt the Commission an the naitonal govrenments wha control the equivalent o the Commons. We hae a richt-wing EU acause we hae richt-wing European govrenments.

Gin we want tae match the pooer o finance capitalists an pit an end tae austerity, oor ainlie howp is an international muivement tae win an anti-austerity majority o European govrenments. Gin we want Socialism, we maun win a Socialist majority across Europe

 

This airticle wis originally set furth (in English) on Bella Caledonia: http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2016/01/21/the-mitterrand-plan/

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Scots, the Electoral Commission an the language community

Fernando McClurg on the EU Referendum Scots votin guide.

I wis richt surprised yesterday whan I saw that the Electoral Comission haed postit a Scots version o their EU Referendum votin guide. As a maitter o fack, they postit twa, for Ulster Scots haed a version tae itsel, an I’ll say a bittie mair aboot it ablow.

First an foremaist, I hae nae hesitation ava i walcomin this Scots version o an official document. Ower the lest year or sae, we hae seen some muckle staps forrit i the normalisation o Scots, an bringin it closer tae the mainstream o national discoorse. The maist prominent example o this is the weekly Scots column i the National – wha could hae foreseen sic a thing even five year syne? We hae also seen the regular current o Scots airticles on Bella Caledonia, an ane or twa on Common Space as weill. We’ve seen the growth o the Scots Language Radio podkests. I wad lik tae think that this, the ainlie hailly Scots-medium politics blog haes played a wee pairt as weill.

But tae see Scots alang wi the ither leids that gets provision for official maitters sic as votin is a new ane, an is an unusuall vizzie o oor language ootside activist efforts. The Creative Scotland language plan frae last year wis anither – but this is the mair byordinar for no bein aboot Scots. I certainly howp that this winna be the lest time that Scots speakers are able tae access this kind o information i their ain language, though it seems tae be the first (I canna mind seein oniething o this kind for the Halyruid elections jist past, or the Independence Referendum, for instance).

An here we hit the problem: there is nae statutory provision for onie public body tae gar thaim produce siclike materials (or, raelly, dae oniething ava through the medium o Scots). This means that whit we dae get tends tae be piecemeal, produced on a whim, aften taikenistic, an wi nae sense o strategy aboot developin a consistent prose style or register appropriate for siclike domains. We aw ken that expository Scots prose is a bit o a free-for-aw wi ilka screiver gaein their ain gate wi spellin, diction an idiom (no that there’s no guid models oot there). Gin there wis a consistent, reliable presence for Scots i the public domain, it is ma belief that certain forms could weill emerge, organically, as normative staundarts. They wad become influential. Mair, fowk wad grow yaised tae seein Scots wrutten doon i mair formal contexts, they wadna get that wee grue o feelin orra aboot it that maist daes the noo. This wad be the maist important development: Scots-speakin fowk wad be able tae communicate wi their public bodies, an be communicate til, i their ain language, wi nae embarrassment, wi nae sel-consciousness aboot “Nedspeak”, wi confidence an wi dignity.

But this can ainlie happen gin sic a staundart prose form, or siclike public documents, are produced i connection wi the leivin communities o Scots speakers. Gin this process taks place in a deracinatit wey, by sel-appyntit experts an no wi the involvement an consent o the language community, whit is produced wull be a disaster, a lauchin-stock, sumthing that wull ainlie turn fowk awa frae their language. This is the lesson we can lairn frae whit’s happent wi Ulster Scots. Noo, I ken that there are Scots speakers in Ulster, an I ken that there are guid fowk warkin there tae bigg up the language an the smeddum an confidence o the fowk that speaks it. But it seems that sic fowk are no involved i producin public documents.

Tak the Electoral Commission’s EU Referenfum votin guide as an example.

For the Scots version, we hae:

On 23 Juin 2016 we’r awa tae hae a referendum on the Unitit Kinrik’s memmership o the European Union.

A referendum pits a question tae voters. For this referendum the question is: Shuid the Unitit Kinrik bide as a memmer o the European Union or come oot the European Union?

The equivalent text for Ulster Scots is:

Oan 23 Juin 20an 16 the’r fur haein a resydentèr walin anent tha Claught Kïngrick haudin tae bein memmers o Claught Euraip.

A resydentèr walin’s leukkin ye tae pit in yer vóat anent yin speirin. Fur this resydentèr walin, tha speirin’s this wye: Wad ye hae tha Claught Kïngrick haud tae bein a memmer o Claught Euraip or tynin Claught Euraip?
While there is problems ye could find wi the Scots version, there’s nae question ava whilk version is the clearer, or wad communicate the message better tae native speakers. The Ulster Scots version taks a muckle lowp at Ausbau – an sum o the reasons for daein that, an sum o the choices made are reasonable eneuch. But gin this is isna duin wi involvement, the eddication an the engagement o the language community, than the lowp taks the activists faur awa frae the native speakin language base, an whan it gets oot o sicht, the speakers wull shrug their shooders an no bather ava wi it. An in a situation o language shift tae English across aw domains, the “dilution” o the language taewards English an the brakdoon o the language amang younger fowk, that’s a gey dangerous situation tae be in.

Sae, lat’s walcome this publication i Scots. Lat’s press for mair, an for mair consistent Scots versions o siclike documents i the future. But lat’s no tyne sicht o the language community, or think that we can bigg up the language wioot it.

Scots version

http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/204887/EU-Referendum-Public-Awareness-Booklet-Alternative-Languages-Scots.pdf

Ulster Scots version

http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/205274/EU-Referendum-Public-Awareness-Booklet-Alternative-Languages-NI-Ulster-Scots.pdf

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Creative Scotland an the sowl o Scots

Embro-born but brocht up maislie in Fife an Pairthshire, Clive Young is noo an educator and pairt-time polyglot. He bides in Lunnin an misses Scotland.  See his wabsite at http://scotshaunbuik.co.uk an follae him on Twitter @CliveYoungScots

Are we enterin a new Gowden Age fur the Scots tung? Aw levels o government noo richtlie caw Scots a language. We ken frae the 2011 census that Scots is faur frae deid, wi mair nor a million an a hauf folk declarin they baith ken an speak it. The Scottish Government’s Scots Language Policy respondit tae the census wi the muivin wirds, “it is, therefore, richt that Scots shuid continue tae be refleckit in education, airts, media an mair”. Pairt o the policy is an ongaun action plan frae Education Scotland an we’re e’en hearin Scots spoken a bittie mair in the scuils. Aw this is certie a muckle stap forrit in the historie o the tung. But we’re no oot o the wuids yet, an faur frae’t. A doot there still a muckle airgument tae be haid ower the verra sowl o Scots.

See, its no eneuch tae jist awn that Scots is a language, we hae tae conseeder whit kind o language it is an whit it’s future cud be. Fur Scots language acteevists the ainlie road forrit fur Scots is tae big it up swith-like intae a modren tung, able tae be yaised fur jist aboot awthin in Scottish societie, the model bein post-Franco Catalan. Thon ambeetion is aften cawed ‘normalisation’ aifter the successfu process in Catalonia. It aw soons like a sair fecht, but it’s no as muckle a lowp as monie fowk think. Scots awreaddies haes a braid yaiser base, a guid reenge of weel-foondit dictionaries and gremmars, an guid-gaun social media netwarks.

Hoanivver it’s no that sicker the high-heidyins o the Scottish estaiblishment aye see it thon wey. Tae be fair Scots is a kinna new thing fur monie o thaim, an they mibbies dinna unnerstaun whit modren Scots is aw aboot. Lat’s tak oor freens at Creative Scotland as a example. Wi siller frae the Scottish Government Embro-basit Creative Scotland uphauds the airts an creative industries in Scotland. Ower the laist twa year the bodie haes brocht a walcome focus tae the public forderin o Scots an in 2015 they lencht the twa-year post o Scots Scriever that won a fair bit positeeve kivverage in the media.

Aw fine an guid, but then later thon year alang cam Creative Scotland’s Scots Leid Policie”. Weel, alairm bells suin stairtit dirlin; it wis a utter guddle. Nae the gist or the guidwillie but mair the style. Noo awbodie kens spellin can aye gar a shushie amang Scots upsteerers but some fowk tak this tae mean there nae stannerts at aw. But thon isna stricklie true. A lowse stannert haes kinna warked itsel oot ower the years, “ooie” shair but a yaisable stannert nanetheless. We ken there nae Académie Écossaise tellin awbodie whit tae write, but there noo braw yaiser-freenlie Scots dictionaries biggit wi public siller. Fur example, the Scottish Language Dictionaries’ Essential Scots Dictionary”, is 20 year auld an e’en warks as a app for yer iPad? The wice Online Scots Dictionary is jist as kenspeckle. There Colin Wilson’s Scots language coorse, Christine Robinson’s Modren Scots Grammar, ma ain Scots Learners’ Grammar an the ‘big yin’, the Scots Language Centre’s (SLC) ootstaunin, inspirin an, oweraw, consistent wabsteid, kivvverin mair nor 15 thoosant wirds. Noo these dinna aw line up perfeck-like – an the gleg amang ye’ll see A masel dinna line up 100% here aither – but Scots prose writin is a lang wey frae the wile linguistic anarchie some fowk like tae mak oot. Sae it wis a surpreese that the Scots Leid Policie, a offeecial document, mind, mair or less owerluiked aw that ‘saft stannertisation’ an cam up wi a aff-the-wa , mak-it-up-as-ye-gang-alang writin style, that haed monie fowk pure stammygastert.

Fowk howpin it wis jist Creative Scotland gaun a bittie aff-piste, wis suin sair disappyntit. This month the Creative Scotland buikie An Introduction to Scotland’s Languages. makkit awthin clairer, an no in a guid wey. Maistile in English, the puckle Scots in it wis aince mair jist a bit aff. E’en the Scots vairsion o the title An Innins tae Scotlan’s Leids didna luik richt. The reglar dictionary aqual tae “introduction” is jist innin. An wha writes Scotlan onieways? But that wisna the rael problem; it wis whit wis in the English text.

Lat’s stairt we a wee girn o ma ain. Creative Scotland (an indeed Education Scotland) is richt keen on yaisin a adjectival phrase “Scots language” insteid o “the Scots language”, a noun phrase. Wha cares? Weel, apairt frae it aften comin aff ungrammatical yon raither pyntit yiss kinna maks oot “Scots” is a jist a description an no a linguistic “bein” or thing in it ain richt. Fur example, is forderin the yiss o “Scots language” an forderin the yiss o “the Scots language” the same? A’d sey it’s no.

Mibbie thon’s ower perjink, but on page 10 Creative Scotland’s wirryin ideologie is makkit muckle mair clair,

Scots is the official name for the dialects of Scotland (such as Glaswegian, Doric, Ayrshire, Shetland and Lallans)”.

Sae Scots as a thing apairt frae the dialects disna raellie exist, then. “Scots” is the braid label fur a rickle o unconnecktit wee dialects, accordin tae Creative Scotland. While awnin that “the literature of both languages dates back hundreds of years” in this defineetion the modren tradeetion o writin nae-dialectial Scots is wipit oot, dichtit clean frae oor cultural historie. Mibbies o coorse that’s whit they meant by the auld-farrant an nooadays aften pitdoon tairm “Lallans”, but A wudna coont on it. They conteena, Scots “use today is widespread” but it “was retained in oral traditional storytelling and songs”. Sae we’re telt naebodie writes – or here e’en speaks – ilkaday normal Scots.

In this licht the fremmit Creative Scotland likin fur unco-leukin Scots orthographies maks mair sense. The guid fowk at Creative Scotand arenae illiterate eejits, o coorse, they’re ideologues. Although they ken fine weel Scots “is recognised as a language in its own right”, the Creative Scotland defineetion o a language isna at aw the same as that o Scots language activeests. Language is a mair a tairm o convenience. In the wey Creative Scotland write it and the wey they write aboot it, Scots is praisentit as a a linguistic midden, wi nae stannerts, nae gremmar, a naethin apairt frae the fragmentit, fest deein-oot spoken dialects. The ootcam o thon nairra ideologie frae Scotland’s foremaist cultural bodie is semple. At the hinneren Scots can nivver hae a future ayont the couthie an the colloquial. Aifter aw, naebodie can normalise a naethin.

 

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Frae Norrowa ower the faem

The day we hae a guest post aboot the election frae James Puchowski, English Scot, student o Norrowegian an Green independence supporter.  He tweets @puchowskijk

I maun aloo, it haes been interessin tae leuk frae ma flet i Norrowa at hoo Scots politics haes developed ower the lest year. As tae the election, I think there are sum clear conclusions we can draw frae the results.

First o aw, it is evident that support for independence aye haesna dwyned efter the Na vote i 2014. The feck o MSPs is memmers o pairties that openly supports an independent Scotland, though it haes been gey cairious tae see that major media ootlets seems tae hae ignored this. Again, it appears that tae the mainstream media back hame, the SNP its lane embodies the haill independence muivement. As a supporter o the Scots Green Pairty, it is richt dreich tae hae tae mind fowk that mair nor ane pairty is drivin this muivement.

Whit haes been upsettin, but, is seein dee-haird SNP supporters moliganterin on Twitter an Facebook that support for the Scots Green Pairty brocht doon the SNP’s chances o haudin on tae sole pooer i the Scots Pairliament. I brawly mind the comaraderie i 2014 atween the SNPS, the SSP an the Scots Greens tae wark for an independent Scotland. I unnerstaun the enthusiasm ahing the SNP’s successes, but the platform for chynge disna belange ainlie the Scots National Pairty. It belangs individuals an a muckle range o different campaigns. Ye can imagine, tae, whit a scunner it is whan fowk like Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson, wha also happens tae be ma new MSP, clashes on aboot hoo the SNP nae langer haes a majority, an therefore haes nae mandate for anither referendum. Na. That’s no whit wey it warks. Mibbie I shid send her a letter.

The wey I see it, gin we were raelly sairious aboot comin thegither an stappin Lunnon pairties haudin ontae saets in Edinburgh an the Borders, we could hae formed a jynt ticket atween the SNP, the Greens an ither pro-independence pairties, but even I doot there wad be fowk wullin tae dae sae. An aye, the Conservatives noo leads oor opposition as a result. This is, lat me mind ye, a mixit blissin. On the tane haund, the SNP an the Greens can haud the Tories tae accoont for the policies haundit tae us by Lunnon; but on the tither, even mair angry debates aboot hoo the SNP is tryin tae disregaird the 2014 rejection o independence are gaein tae be haudit at Halyruid. Me, I’ll be sittin back wi a bowl o popcorn while I watch thir airguements gae on. Wi Labour noo reduced i saets an influence, the Tories wull be the nixt tairget an the nixt group o fowk tae defait an convince tae support the new vision for Scotland.

We maun also mind that this nixt term needna be aw aboot independence, hame rule or even mair devolution. Ultimately, i ma opinion, the SNP wull need tae be haudit tae accoont, an the strang team o left-wing, communitarian an civic pro-independence Green MSPs wull dae jist thon. They are nae faes o whit the SNP is daein, but they are a vyce o radical conscience. The Scots National Pairty haes by aw means been a braw body for talkin aboot whit oor country can become an whaur it is heidit, but at the ae time, it is a braid kirk wi fowk that jist dinna belang left o centre. Sum, but no aw, are aisy-osie on topics sic as frackin an tax-joukin.

The day’s Scotland needs mair nor ane radical political group steerin us forrit – it wad be unhealthy gin there wis nae discoorse atween groups an political pairties. The Greens – as weill as ither, smawer political muivements – wull keep oor govrenment i check, an this is needit gin oor idea for a new Scotland is gaein tae attrack support frae ootwi oor Aye Alliance bubble.

Scotland can be a different kintra, but we shidna define oor difference based simply on daein the opposite o the Lunnon Tory govrenment. We shid be aimin for a different sort o economy, pooered by warkers, no by the affluent that peys oor wages. We shid be demaundin muckle reforms across oor nation – impruivin social mobility, impruivin oor eddication seistem.

Wi Labour nearly oor the picture i Scots politics, the Liberal Democrats hingin on a threid wi its main bases i the Northren Isles an sum urban areas on the aist coast, an the Tories representin the affluent Scots that wants the status quo, Scotland’s future haes been haundit a new sort o pairty politics for guid.

I hae been exiled in Oslo on an exchynge year, an aw I hae is social media as a wey o kennin whit is gaein on back hame in Edinburgh. Norrowa is different – there are faur mair coalitions here, an nae ane pairty bears the gree. Political discoorse can be fund in ilka airt, an the localisation o political pooer means that faur mair fowk here hae experience as toon cooncillors an cammatee memmers, even gin they dinna think o thaimsels as ful-time politicians. This is mibbie the sort o seistem that Scotland can leuk taewards.

I arrived i Scotland afore the Aye Campaign’s smeddum an left briefly for Norrowa while this fermentin broth o political chynge left its mairk on oor kintra’s landscape. Whan I retour i Septemmer, I leuk forrit tae experiencin new debates in a Scotland that, shairly an steidily, is makkin its wey tae a nation unner the control o the fowk that bydes, warks, studies an haes a future there.

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