So, what did devolution do for us?

No Guid Eneuch

In spite of twenty years of devolution, next to no serious political action has been taken to protect or promote Scotland’s second most spoken language, Scots. Jack Capener explores why, and argues that the time is now for the Scottish Government to finally provide Scots speakers with linguistic equality.

Twenty years ago, there was a confidence that devolution would help Scotland do things differently.

But some hings hivnae chynged ower muckle. Aw thon new cultural confidence brocht aboot bi devolution hisnae translatit ower weel intae confidence aboot hoo we speak, especially fir thae folk thit speak Scots. Whan it comes tae the status an treatment o Scotland’s seicont maist spake leid, it cin sometimes seem like devolution ne’er happened at aw.

He reasons; “The fact thit maist Scots speakers still cannae feel at hame in their ain vyce mauger o twa decades o devolution shuid be an affront tae us aw. An the reason fir it is simple: lack o serious government action”. Carpenter observes that most of the work done promoting Scots is achieved by committed activists, private organisations, writers and the like. Is this ‘privatisation really enough? “Gin we accept thit linguistic richts are human richts, then we maun accept it’s the responsibility o the government tae facilitate the enjyement o linguistic richts”.

Scots has just about survived in the wild so far, but, “we cannae tak its ongangin survival fir grantit, as thair’s anely sae muckle thit individuals an private organisations cin dae… an lack o siller is an ayebidin roadblock. On tap o this, individuals cannae dae onyhin aboot the lack o Scots broadcastin, signage, an owersettin in offeicial documents. Thon’s exackly why government action is sae sairly needit”. Carpenter adds to the call for a Scots Language Board, due to be debated at the SNP conference.

Scots speakers are stertin tae cairry their identities wi mair pride, but a chynge at the grassroots needs tae be accompanied bi a chynge in politics. We cuid weel be at the stert o a Scots Leid Renaissance, but it’ll ne’er get aff the groon wioot political action. 

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