Thursday 18 August 2022

We need to talk about "Scots"

 Some time ago, longer than I might like to confess, I was taught that when addressing a jury, you must make your key points first.

So here they are. Last week, there was a survey of Afghan refugees to the UK. . It discovered they did not want to come to Scotland. Because they believed people here did not speak English. And that conclusion on their part, and its consequence, was the overt objective of our SNP Government. For they did not want them here.

Nationalists across Europe do not want refugees with brown or black skins. Hungarian nationalists do not want them. Polish nationalists do not want them. Italian nationalists do not want them. French nationalists do not want them. Swedish nationalists don't want them. Danish nationalists do not want them and, yes, British nationalists do not want them. I could go on. So why conceivably would Scottish nationalists be an exception to that? Of course they aren't. They are nationalists. 

But Scottish nationalists are trying to build a coalition that requires the involvement, no matter how deludedly, of those who regard themselves to be left wing. So Sturgeon needs a solution that keeps them on board while not confessing her personal politics are little different from those of Orban, Morawiecki, Meloni, Le Pen or (I'll skip the Scandanavians) Farage. And that solution is not to say they can't come here, just that they really, really wouldn't want to. And her mechanism is Scots. "Don't come here. If you thought learning English as a second language was difficult, just think how difficult learning "Scots" is going to be?" So, stay where you are, in England. While we will hypocritically insist you are being terribly treated while, at the same time, putting up an implied  language barrier to you being encouraged to come here.  An entirely fictitious barrier but that's not the point, except it actually is.

Nobody, nobody in England will have told refugees that we do not speak English in Scotland. But plenty in Scotland will have told them we do. That is not my conclusion, it is the conclusion of the refugees themselves. I refer again to the polling

The whole thing is, and I do not hesitate to use the word, racist.

Pretty much everybody in Scotland has a dialect. Ayrshire does not speak like Fife. Nobody speaks like bloody Aberdeen. Again I could go on. But we all recognise that, if we slow down a bit, we can mutually understand each other. In English. just as we would in Newcastle or Truro,. So why, I repeat, are potential immigrants to here encouraged to reach a different conclusion, as they apparently have? That we in Scotland, all of us, speak a different language here. An assertion made by no less than the SNP Scottish Government? 

The why has its own answer.

There is no such thing as "Scots" as a language. It is a dialect of English. Don't take my word for that, take that of Robert Burns. And even he might have doubted that if he had ever been north of Falkirk. 

If you look at who promotes the idea of "Scots" being a language you quickly reach the conclusion that they are invariably white middle aged, and older, men on the blood and soil wing of the SNP. They are entitled to their views. I have no plan to stand outside their meetings , throwing eggs, spitting at them and shouting incoherent abuse. But I see them. We should all see them. And as to the SNP Government giving them public money? We should see that as well and appreciate why.