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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

McClure calls for action

5th October 2017

In the press this week (The National, 4 October) well known academic and Scots language supporter J Derrick McClure called on the Scottish Government to act decisively in support of both the Scots and Gaelic-speaking communities. Derrick, who has spent many years researching the language and literature of Scots as an academic based at the University of Aberdeen, has also chaired and been a member of several advisory groups, including that which was set up to inform the Scottish Government back in 2009.

Although small steps have been taken in the right direction in recent years, for both languages, Derrick was very critical of the current lack of activity and declared “It is a disgrace their official recognition and active support still has to be fought for.” He continued with the observation that Alasdair Allan (who speaks both languages) was formerly the minister with the remit but that this has since fallen to John Swinney. McClure did not doubt Mr Swinney’s “...industry, ability and dedication” but pointed out that languages are not Mr Swinney’s department. McClure called instead for action to be taken to address this anomalous situation and stated “We require a fully qualified Minister for the Languages of Scotland, with the responsibility of ensuring that Scots and Gaelic receive their due recognition and support as national languages. How many more times must the case be made before the Government takes decisive action?” We are sure that speakers from both communities will concur with the call for the appointment of such an official to co-ordinate and oversee language policy.