Ulster Language Act?

There has been understandably much ado on here regarding the Irish Language act (or rather the absence of one) recently.

I personally have been struck by the number of unionists on here (and on other sites) that are actually in support of an act of some sort in theory.

Newton Emerson briefly highlighted the shortcomings and potential fall-out from Carál ní Chuilín’s proposal a while back during a criticism of Arlene Foster’s attitude to an act.

http://www.irishnews.com/opinion/columnists/2017/02/09/news/newton-emerson-arlene-has-boxed-herself-into-a-corner-on-irish-language-act-923410/

I’m in agreement with him as to the choice aspect of signs which would ultimately just be yet another territorial marker and there are enough of those in Northern Ireland already.

So, in the absence of a hard-set plan here are a few proposals that could assuage fears of societal demarcation and (hopefully) the oft touted rebuttal of ‘expense’.

1/ Name: Instead of an Irish Language Act I’d propose either an ‘Ulster Gaelic Act’ or perhaps more fittingly ‘The Languages of Ulster Act’.

2/ Signs and Translations: Let all public signs in the land be either bi-lingual or tri-lingual depending on the area. For example, most of the Sperrins region would not have much in the way of Scots (language, not people) influence whereas areas say east of the river Moyola would. There would be no shortage of academics and historians willing to lend a hand for such a project that could determine the boundaries.
This removes the territory-stamping that would inevitably arise from a choice based system plus it should be taken into consideration that a choice based system would be dynamic and subject to regular review depending on the growth or contraction of the Gaelic sphere, whereas with this proposal the lines are static and require no monitoring (and therefore less expenditure).

Rather than an overnight replacement signs could be replaced as and when required (no doubt ‘accidents’ will increase as a result but at least it wouldn’t be an expensive rush to replace every sign in the land).

Co. Antrim street and place signs could all be written in Antrim Gaelic (with English an Scots). This would be legible to Donegal Gaelic speakers (if indeed there’d be much difference in many instances anyway) and would tilt a nod in the direction of Scotland which has much shared history with the county, look at the names on the Antrim coast of both the people and places, it makes sense (or just look out the window if you live on the coast).

(There are instances of places retaining the older versions of their place names e.g. in Zagreb, Croatia the upper town’s street names are still in some cases written in old German and old Croatian).

Sensitivity should be applied to translations of place names e.g. Northern Ireland could be translated as Northern Ireland, not ‘the North of Ireland’. Londonderry could have the London prefix included in areas where this sign is in use (the county has its own platoons of spray-can wielding censors too).

(On a side note, some translations seem odd to me, my understanding is that ‘The Loup’ in South Derry took its name from the once large wolf population there that caused headaches for the local French speaking Huguenots hence ‘Loup’ (Lupus/Lupine) and not from ‘An Lub’, though I stand open to correction, so why isn’t it translated accordingly?)

3/ Public Documents: On a practical level I personally can’t see the need to have public notices such as TV licence correspondence, Bovine TB tests from DARD, planning permission notices or such like written in 2/3 languages. The point of the communication is to illicit information. This can be done in English.

However, titles, letter heads and footers; there’s no reason why they can’t be translated. It’ll look good and give a sense of cultural appreciation that the ILA is supposed to do but without waste or much extra cost.

4/ Media:
Why not team up with BBC Alba to form a new dual Gaelic channel or simply re-brand BBC Alba to BBC Alba Uladh?

It could use some fresh blood and ideas. Having a mix of Scottish and Ulster Gaelic programs will be a step back to bygone days in terms of a common cultural sphere of influence and again from a PR point of view will help take the sting out of it for some unionists e.g. like listening to Free Presbyterian Psalms from Lewis on a Sunday (Scottish heritage is key to unlocking that particular door in my experience).

Of course, this would need discussion with the Beeb, BBC Alba and GM but it’s hard to see how the expansion of an audience would be off-putting to them.

BBC Alba – Uladh; Maximum coverage, minimum expenditure.

A whole new potential audience too.

Summary:
The above proposals may well stop short of what Scotland and Wales have but they are surely a decent starting point and concentrate on pragmatism and have the advantage of being less ‘alienating’ than previous suggestions.

The exposure of Gaelic leaps exponentially but is not subject to the standard rebuttals and scrutiny that we have seen and heard recently. The BBC Alba-Uladh makes use of an existing service, would be more cross community in nature and would require relatively little in the way of prohibitive financing.

Surely it’s better to have something tangible like TV and road signs over something academic and theoretical like court proceedings?

If the point of an act is to afford protection and promotion of the language then which route is better?
No doubt I’ve missed out on a great deal and perhaps have been too optimistic about costs but it’s a start.

Furthermore, for any unionists who would as a reflex automatically oppose any and all moves towards an act is that really the best way to avoid being landed with the worst possible variant of a potential language act?

Would unionist involvement in a proposed act not lead to something more palatable rather than a hostile stance that could potentially lead to an ultimately more objectionable one being implemented anyway?

So many things in Northern Ireland are framed unfairly, usually with the explicit aim of hurting a particular group for political gain but is it really too much to ask to consider a modicum of respect for the language of the land that we refer to almost every day when we talk of our towns, villages and homes?

  • Conchúr Ó Conghaile

    These aren’t bad ideas. The problem is that Ulster Scots is still very much a makey-uppy “language” that can’t really be put on the same level as Gaelige and Scots Gaelic.

  • Gavin Smithson

    Absolutely not. English is our language. All this Language Act stuff is obscurant pantaloonery of the highest order.

    People can speak in whatever tongue they want. If they speak French or Irish in court, the court provides a translator.

  • BeanRua

    I sometimes wonder if the DUP had not been so openly resistant to the Irish language, the idea of an Irish Act would not have gained as much support as it does now. For example, Gregory Campbell’s ‘curry my yoghurt’ outburst put a lot of people’s backs up (in both communities) and made many moderate nationalists more in favour of having the language recognised formally.
    It’s all about respect for identity and cultural heritage, something that is being increasingly denigrated by the DUP, as far as I can see. Certainly, without the overt rudeness we have witnessed over the last couple of years, the support for an Irish Language Act would have remained minimal. Nationalists would likely have continued to maintain their interest in the Irish language as a cultural thing but would not have become so fiercely defensive about it as they are now. Ironically, the DUP, by their entrenched attitude, have also managed to make moderate unionists look to their own historical relationship with the Irish language, thus gaining their tacit approval of an Irish Language Act.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    English may be ‘your’ language – but it is not ‘our’ language. Or are you planning to set up your own state on an isolated rock – population + 1?

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    Ulster Scots has the same status as Scots. I.E. It is a recognised separate language, being a dialect of Scots. So no jist some kind o broken English, if ye ken whit ahm sayin.

  • Granni Trixie

    It is so unfortunate that in the name of “fairness” or balance Ulster Scots is being promoted as an equivalent. It is what it is.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    But it is an equivalent. Scots is recognised as a language in its own right. See?

  • Granni Trixie

    Dont some people argue it is a dialect?
    The enthusiasm of people presenting US radio programmes would draw you in. It clearly has educational as well as recreational value and deserves to get some resources from gov but not because it is an equivalent to Irish culture.

  • Ballyglass

    Never quite sure why there is a need to legislate for an issue which citizens are free to engage in freely other than to create situations where only our learned friends gain any benefit. Following publication of preliminary results of the Irish 2016 census it looks like we may need a re-boot of our national language – living here in the west of Ireland it is never heard – stop broadcasting Corrie I say!

  • Mike the First

    You realise you’re coming across all Daily Mail here in your attitude towards the Scots language, don’t you?

    http://www.thenational.scot/comment/14863247.Wee_Ginger_Dug__Scots_language_under_attack_from_Daily_Mail___again/

  • Mike the First

    Indeed. Those who dismiss Ulster Scots was just something made up or just accented English (I appreciate not what GT was doing) need to look across to Scotland.

    http://www.gov.scot/Topics/ArtsCultureSport/arts/Scots

    http://www.gov.scot/Topics/ArtsCultureSport/arts/Scots/History

    Equally, I think Ulster Scots language advocates would be best off not isolating Ulster Scots as “the Ulster Scots language” per se, but more as “the version/dialect of the Scots language spoken in (parts of) Ulster”.

  • There is ‘respect’ right there. Give it to my interest, but see them, they’re just making it up. Not real culture, not like us…. You don’t make a case by insulting others’ culture, which plenty shout on these pages.

  • Ballyglass

    Don’t be so proprietorial as English is the primary language for us south of the border – source Census Ireland 2016

  • NotNowJohnny

    Can you give us a brief lesson on why English is the primary language for you south of the border and why it isn’t Irish in the same way that French is the primary language of France and Spanish the primary language of Spain – just for the benefit of those who may not understand. Thanks.

  • NotNowJohnny

    If Ulster Scots is really so important to unionists then why did the unionist government not bring forward an Ulster Scots act during the 50 years in which it had the power to do so?

  • NotNowJohnny

    I know people whose first language is Irish. It is the language spoken in the home and the language in which they are schooled in. It is also the native language of the land they live in and the language from which most of the place names derive. How do you come to the conclusion that English is their language? Surely only a fool would conclude that. You’re not a fool are you?

  • Steptoe

    I absolutely love Ulster Scots, I love the construction of words and the way they sound. Who can’t love terms such as doer {door}, danner {walk}, thonder {over there} and aye {always}? There are lots more. I’ve been brought up on Ulster Scots without even knowing it, I’ve just learned the words as I went along.
    But, I cannot escape the feeling that this is not a language. This is just a take on the pronnouncation of words, jacked up to create a rival to the Irish language. A precise example of how bringing politics into something beautiful
    In order to point score can undermine a wonderful
    Uniqueness

  • Abucs

    I see this as a problem of Progressive Sinn Fein. The Progressive idea is to demand things through the state and get everybody else to pay for YOUR rights as you are shoving YOUR culture down everyone else’s throats under the threat of wrecking everything. Of course this pisses many people off, hence the resistance.

    I am all in favour of the Irish language but not as a weapon wielded by immature Progressives.

    The Christian response (should be) to work from the bottom up, pay for it yourself and create a lived culture without being threatening to anyone.

    But then Sinn Fein are not Christian as they have accepted the Progressive religion and all the backwardness that goes along with that.

    n.b. “Paying for it yourself” could well include tax payers money but it cannot be out of proportion to the tax paid by such advocates. Again this has all the hallmarks (old phrase now thankfully) of socialist Progressive utopian thinking which divides the people and puts pressure on the financials of the state to advance your own agenda.

  • Gopher

    That census down South seems to point to Irish being in a downward spiral, so really should not any act be realistic, ie about respect rather than just making Irish speakers look like zealots. If you want respect for your language which incidently does look made up to alot of people with regards the evoltution of language from the 20th century on, perhap you should respect that others that want their insular vanity project aswell.

  • Ballyglass

    It may be the native language but only a minority of Irish citizens use it on a regular basis – only 77,000 citizens use it on a daily basis while a further 450,000 will use it occasionally or can use it if needed – these are a reduction in numbers since the last census. The reality is if you go anywhere in Ireland you will go along way before anyone will speak to you directly in Irish. That is not my experience of visiting France or Spain. If you live in the North the desire to speak Irish is laudable but please don’t be sentimental about it! Our daughter had to take Irish as part of her leaving cert and had to be coached as did many of her friends – each year more students ask for an exemption from this mandatory subject. See Ireland Census 2016 for the facts – more people speak Polish and Chinese on a daily basis and if you go into any supermarket you will always here someone speak an eastern European language!

  • Nevin

    “How often

    Of the 1.76 million who said they could speak Irish,
    73,803 said they speak it daily outside the education
    system, a fall of 3,382 on the 2011 figure.

    A further 111,473 said they spoke it weekly, while 586,535
    said they spoke it less often. Over one in four ( 421,274)
    said they never spoke Irish.

    The numbers speaking Irish weekly showed an increase
    of 831 persons, while those speaking Irish less often
    showed a decrease of 26,701.” .. CSO website

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “n.b. “Paying for it yourself” could well include tax payers money but it cannot be out of proportion to the tax paid by such advocates.”

    But……our culture is always going to be something which will enrich the whole community, something for all to benefit from, not simply a closed off private reserve. Its quite similar to the issue with the NHS, where we do not expect someone suffering from cancer to show he or she has contribute as much or more in taxes to permit treatment, but have such treatment available to those who might need to avail themselves of it.

    Your comment suggests an “every time I hear the word culture I reach for someone else’s tax returns” kind of mentality, the mindset of the sort of person the lad from east Cheam used to describe as “Philistines….”

  • Abucs

    It is not like the NHS. It is a political weapon that divisively rallies the troops on one side and pisses off the troops on the other.

    Again, one of the many problems of Progressiveness is to play identity politics through the state. The NHS has nothing to do with identity politics.

  • The Irishman

    Excellent point.

  • Dan

    So, anyhow, whilst i’ve waited going on five weeks for my driving licence to be sent back renewed, way beyond the expiry date, and its taken four days to get through to their customer services to get confirmation that my application has been received and confirmed on their syetem, and no emails i’ve sent have been replied to…i’m excited to see that the DVLNi department name is translated into Irish on the top of the letter.
    Priorities

  • NotNowJohnny

    This is very much stating the obvious. What happened to the lesson that I requested? Or is that still to come?

  • NotNowJohnny

    Thanks. I’m hoping someone answers this question soon.

  • Katyusha

    Give it to my interest, but see them, they’re just making it up.

    Which is a fair enough thing to say when they are just making it up, as is the constructed cant pushed by the Ulster-Scots Agency. Thankfully they’ve removed much of the laughable poetry that used to populate their website, but the phantom accent in the name of the Agency still persists.

    Scots is a rich language with a long and established history, and there si indeed heavy Scots influence in the dialect used in north and northeast Ulster, but the output of the Ulster-Scots Agency frequently has little to do with either.

  • ted hagan

    Unfortunately the latest census findings in the South will depress anyone hoping to promote the Irish language, or Ulster Scots for that matter. It seems to be swimming against the tide, and at great expense.. .

  • ted hagan

    Why would they have felt the need to? It seemed to be co-existing pretty well alongside ‘standard’ English. I never remember hearing much clamour either from nationalists for an Irish Language Act until fairly recently.
    Frankly, a plague on both your houses. I would rather see a better health service and the crisis over GPs sorted. Time to get real.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Don’t forget that vestiges of Elizabethan English still persist here simultaneously. W.F. Marshall, the Bard of Tyrone being one of its exponents. I don’t intend to suggest facetiously (unlike the DUP’s support for Ulster Scots) that it must have legislation to protect it either.

    Unlike Ulster Scots, languages change in order to survive and that includes the Irish language/s (Connacht, Munster & Uladh/Donegal Irish but excluding Prison Irish since remission). Dialects will only survive if they adapt sufficiently to serve as an effective communication (information sharing) tool in a rapidly changing and increasingly globalised environment.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    It’s not a language and can’t really claim to be. It is a dialect of Lallans, stemming from the version of Anglo Saxon that was introduced into southern Scotland over a thousand years ago. While not a language it’s not “makey-uppy” either. Klingon is one example of a “makey-uppy” language as is binary code.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    English is the language of anyone who can use it with precision, efficiency and fluency even when it’s not the mother tongue nor the ‘native’ language. The same goes for any language. A language can never be under the sole ownership of any user as it is a shared resource. The same goes for bilinguals/trilinguals/ad infinitum. It’s great when individuals can claim ownership over more than one language.

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    I see no harm in the Ulster Scots language though watching Nelson last night on The View I was a bit sickened by the way he added to Ulster Scots language and culture, Orange culture. Whereas Ulster Scots language and culture is open to all, Orange culture isn’t by its very definition.
    If you’re going to include Ulster Scots in legislation protecting the ‘languages of Ulster’, despite the fact that it’s very evidently riding in on the coat tails of the Irish language, without any group having mounted a campaign of any description, not even the shambolic campaign organised by Sinn Féin against Brexit last year, you really have to place it in context. It doesn’t necessitate with all the respect in the world, equal billing with Irish in any languages legislation. Both Irish and Ulster Scots are at different stages of development, something which is reflected in the different designations under the European Charter. That would be inequitable to both languages and whoever speaks either or both. The likes of Nelson would like to paint us into corners and put us in tidy boxes so he can describe us all in similar derogatory terms. The reality is that Irish is growing in its appeal in the wider community as people become curious and want to find out more.
    Having a sensible, community driven approach to the provision of services, as hinted at in this posting, is the way forward. Trying to create false ‘equalities’ is basically following a wreckers charter where the most outcome is no progress at all. And maybe that’s what Nelson really wants….a burn it all approach.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Steptoe, in a couple of short paragraphs I think you’ve just about nailed it.

  • Marcus Orr

    Gavin, speaking as a Unionist, may I suggest that you open your mind ever so slightly towards the Irish language ?
    It is true that a very small amount of people speak it as a first language. However at the very least on a cultural heritage level it ought to be recognised by us all as of immense value and importance. I can’t think of any place names in NI that can be said without using the language, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Kilkeel etc. (even all the unionist towns!)…ok maybe not Monkstown I grant you but even that anglicised place name comes I think from an older Irish name meaning “where the monks live” or something like that…
    That was the mistake that Gregory Campbell made back in 2014 in the Assembly. I personally had no problem whatsoever with his infamous “Curry my Yoghurt….” statement. The point was valid: we have here a public body (the assembly) in which the great majority of people do not speak any Irish at all. But everyone speaks English. People getting up in any gathering in which some people speak both languages and everyone speaks one language should obviously show respect for all the people in the Assembly and speak the language that everyone speaks. Greg Campbell was just making the point in saying “Curry my yoghurt” that it is extremely rude to be doing what the SF members were doing – all fair enough. But his actual question (not that many people listened to it) was “Do you really think a minorities language act is necessary”? He was trying to equate the Irish language with Polish or French or whatever and that was very silly – and could rightly be perceived as very arrogant from the nationalist/republican community.
    The DUP should be completely open about this and propose an Irish language act but with 1 or 2 conditions: Irish gets established as an official language in NI but as the 2nd language AFTER English.

  • Tochais Siorai

    And Yola in Wexford which predates Elizabethan English by a few centuries.

  • Tochais Siorai

    You didn’t answer the question though. A quick google of ‘tally stick’ + ‘Ireland’ will get you started.

  • NotNowJohnny

    I’m not at all clear as to why you are posing that question to me. Perhaps you should be asking those unionists proposing legislation on Ulster Scots why they feel the need to?

  • NotNowJohnny

    I’d also like to see a better health service and the crisis over GPs sorted. But I don’t see what this has got to do with an Irish language act. Are there other acts of the Assembly or legislative proposals that you want up see halted or revoked in order to facilitate better health services or is it only Irish language legislation that you are opposed to?

  • ted hagan

    I’m all for an Irish language act, but it doesn’t come anywhere near my concerns about the state of the health service. SF walked out over RHI, now they’ve added a shopping list of demands..
    Both sides in this game are equally at fault and if they had real concern for the people who elected them They would find a way of sorting out their problems within government, not outside.

  • ted hagan

    The unionists feel they need to because it’s part of the petty tit-for-tat game that passes for politics in this feckin place.
    You asked a question. I’m answering that unionists didn’t bring an Ulster Scots act during their fifty years of misrule because the language/dialect was just part of the scenery and no one gave it a second thought or felt they needed to.

  • ted hagan

    Nonsense. Campbell was being both juvenile, ignorant and rude.
    He could have expressed his irritaion in a mature fashion, instead he used his position to mock the language itself in the way schoolkids and comedians used to mock Chinese and Indian speakers in the not too distant past.

  • Marcus Orr

    Sorry but I don’t agree. If you have ever been amongst a group of people who speak in the group in which you are in a language which you do not understand at all – you feel humiliated and completely left out of things.

    It was very obviously an attempt by the Sinn Féin members of the Assembly in 2014 (most of whom were average in Irish language skills themselves) to provoke people and to make a political point with their “go raibh maith agat ceann comhairle”…
    Completely ok in that context for a bit of sarcasm like “curry my yoghurt” to point out their rudeness – they started it after all. And only an idiot would take that to be “mocking the language” – it was doing no such thing, just pointing out how completely juvenile the Irish language commissars in the Assembly were. But what is true is that the actual question that Campbell posed in the Assembly clearly demonstrated that he did not himself have a mature and adult position on the Irish language – for that he ought to be have been called out for.

  • Cináed mac Artri

    Northerners who may have issues with the idea of legislative Irish language promotion need not worry too much about it. In the Republic anyone can quite easily exist without the Irish language impinging on their lives in any meaningful way.

    Of course bilingual road signage exists, but after a while that becomes background wallpaper. Many may be shocked to learn that the vast majority of motorists rely on the locations rendered in English to get about (if not their Anglophile SatNavs).

    Of course I understand that in NI it is more than the actual language itself that generates the heat (I’m sure the same applies across the board on any number of other issues). It is yet another peg to hang inter-community rivalries on – the kneejerk negativity and cultural oneupmanship concerning Ulster-Scots strongly suggests this.

    The cost argument is also something of a red herring. Governments spend money; governments ‘waste’ money (‘waste’ being very much in the eye of the beholder). It was ever thus.

  • Oggins

    AG, to be frank i know little or nothing about US. The fact i love your posts and general thinking and ability to challenge, can you recommend me any good books?

  • Hugh Davison

    Also known as ‘Forth and Bargy’ from the eponymous baronies in Wexford settled by the first English speakers arriving in the first Norman invasion.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Is your problem with Scots that it’s a dialect of English? Have you made this known to people in Scotland?

    I don’t see that the beauty and value of Scots depends in any way on the beauty and value of Irish Gaelic, Czech, Ndebele or any other language. It is of intrinsic value. That neither King Lear, The Sorrows of Young Werther nor The Brothers Karamazov were written in it is kind of irrelevant. It’s not a competition.

    It is also recognised by the EU as a regional or minority language, as well as by the UK government and the Scottish Executive.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    So what if it’s a dialect though? It is still a distinct thing and is recognised and protected. I did my German exchange trip in Lower Austria, everyone there spoke dialect among themselves and High German only when they had to (and to me!). But the dialect was a beautiful thing, it was the actual language spoken by the region’s people and they wanted it kept and promoted. Of course all the literature they did in school was High German but dialects are real living things too that mean a lot to speakers. There is a lot of needless insensitivity towards Scots. Why not treasure it?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Exactly, it is Scots and the heritage of Scots (Burns etc) is part of it too.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    But not a bad Idea to have a Northern Ireland Cultures Act which protects and promotes all cultural and linguistic groups, including Gaelic, Scots and Polish (and people who say cyar instead of car). It would take the heat out of it without anyone losing anything.

  • Croiteir

    I will raise you with Fingalian

  • Croiteir

    Just for the craic – here is the program based on Ballyclare man McCrums book. a bit of history of the Lallans dialect. note the makey up bits claiming gaelic words as Scots,

  • Granni Trixie

    I agree, treasure it. But are you claiming it ought to have same status as Irish? Or same public resources? I dont think so.

  • ted hagan

    Are those who use the Irish language (the native language) in the Dail therefore being offensive to those who don’t speak it? As I said, it was being deliberately insulting to the language. Iit also reflects on your own immaturity that you have to resort to the term ‘idiot’ to describe someone who disagrees with you.

  • ted hagan

    Play the game fairly? A plague on both their houses, I say.

  • Marcus Orr

    “Are those who use the Irish language (the native language) in the Dail therefore being offensive to those who don’t speak it? ”

    Completely different situation – in the Republic there is various legislation in place governing and defining usage of the language, indeed it is defined constitutionally as the first language (Irish version of the Republic’s constitution takes precedence over English version etc.). But we are talking about structures set up since 100 years.

    If you want an official status and position for the language in a different jurisdiction (NI) you respectfully campaign for it. You don’t go out of your way to name new Gaeltachts after Bobby Sands or simply start speaking Irish in the Assembly in front of everyone, that would obviously be taken as a provocation (it was of course a deliberate provocation, let’s not beat around the bush). If you want the language to flourish and grow and get support from the whole community, you don’t use it as a political tool at the Assembly.

    “Iit also reflects on your own immaturity that you have to resort to the term ‘idiot’ to describe someone who disagrees with you.”
    You’re absolutely right, I shouldn’t have used the word “idiot”, hereby withdrawn, please accept my apologies.

  • ted hagan

    Accepted.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    One of the advantages, Abucs, of being an historian is that one usually has encountered the fatuousness of statements such as “It is a political weapon that divisively rallies the troops on one side and pisses off the troops on the other.”

    Similar bizarre and hyperbolic claims were made in the run up to the inception of the NHS itself: “Hitlerian coercion……..first step to turn Britain into a National Socialist economy”, “The State medical service is part of the Socialist plot to convert Great Britain into a National Socialist economy” are quoted in one recent article:

    https://www.quora.com/Was-there-major-opposition-to-the-National-Health-Service-Act-1946-in-the-UK-as-there-is-for-the-Affordable-Care-Act-Obamacare-in-the-US

    Obviously the NHS, too, was seen by those looking through the lenses of an established bias as “a political weapon that divisively rallies the troops on one side and pisses off the troops on the other.”

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Indeed. And more locally, the Rhyming Weavers

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I don’t see why not

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Same thing happened to minority languages across Europe. Look at the spread of the Ile de France version of French in the 19th Century, Hochdeutsch, Castilian Spanish, etc. It’s to do with the Industrial Revolution, speeding up of transport links, urbanisation and massively increased mobility of people over the past 200 years. Centralising political forces in power across Europe did also exacerbate that by pushing linguistic homogeneity. Same thing happened across the Continent; and indeed in the US where in Pennsylvania there was a thriving German language press in the 19th Century and into the 20th but is now a historical curiosity – a real shame.

    Hopefully there’s greater awareness now of the value of maintaining linguistic diversity; and something of a fight back, which is great. But these are big global homogenising forces we’re dealing with, it’s not just a case of “imperialism” or perfidious Albion. The damage is done through vast economic and social forces.

  • NotNowJohnny

    At least you’ve cleared up the mystery of why some unionists are now calling for Ulster Scots legislation. On the basis of your analysis (which seems pretty accurate to me), they clearly have no case whatsoever and should therefore be ignored.

  • grumpy oul man

    “everybody else’s money” the people who want a ILA pay taxes like everybody else.
    It’s their money as much as anybody else’s!
    Of course since you have a very strange idea of progressive ( any body who disagrees with you) I think we can dismiss a that bit of your post.
    You seem unaware of the simple fact that SF are not the only people to want a ILA.
    As for a Christian way of doing things,Ireland tried that complete failure.
    The Christian way brought us Madeline laundry’s and mass graves. Child abuse and shame. And the discrimation of the Christians who run NI is infamous.
    So I don’t see the decent people of Ireland giving Christians power.
    Would you also support the state removing support from the Catholic School System or is it only other people’s agenda’s you have issues with.

  • grumpy oul man

    But when it was proposed , it split the nation along left right lines, with those you term progressive promoting it and the right opposing in, no doubt complaining about lefties spending other people’s money.
    Nothing changes eh!

  • grumpy oul man

    Not a lot I could disagree with.
    I could understand court and official documents being transfer into Gealic if we had a sizeable population of Gealic monolingists but all are Gealic speakers speak English like natives.
    A shared channel with Scotland perhaps working with TnaG (they already work together) could work.
    I think Ulster Scots is worth protecting but as a dialect and part of our culture but it isn’t a language comparable to Gealic.
    Cost is all important, we must get the best possible value for money and gealtacht scholarships​ or night classes for example would help the devolpment of the language more readily than a bilingual tax return.

  • NotNowJohnny

    I would suggest that if the people who elected them were really concerned about getting the problems of government sorted out, they’d have elected somebody else.

  • John Collins

    I will throw in Shelta, the language of the Travelling Community.

  • ted hagan

    Sheep comes to mind.

  • NotNowJohnny

    That’s one way of referring to the leadership of the two main parties. Where the people lead, the parties will follow.

  • NotNowJohnny

    The reason why not is because no one really wants it.

  • Ballyglass

    Yes all very well but we dont live in the 19th century or any other century – we live in the now so how about getting real and less about how it might all have been – if you want spend your time righting yesterday’s wrongs good luck but your contribution will not make this a better place to live.

  • Abucs

    Comparing the established identity politics of Irish/nationalist verse British/Unionist with historical pro and anti NHS groups is fatuous.

    I do agree with your general stated historical reference to Hitler’s National Socialism in that it was considered socialism until the Left started to control university departments and teach us all otherwise. Given some horrible experiences of socialism and medicine you could understand the concerns of such moves. There are still concerns in European countries today with care to the elderly and unconsented killing of patients.

    Hitler using the doctors to kill people considered handicapped and China’s more recent use of doctors to kill unborn children with their mothers kicking and screaming against it on the operating table or reports of that governments using doctors to harvest organs from incarcerated political prisoners are more chilling examples.

    But such concerns in 1946 does not equate to identity politics and ideas such as ensuring today that a tiny activist class get court hearings in the Irish language and a mountain of official transcripts are translated into documents only a handful of people will bother reading are not equivalent to the NHS but jobs for the boys and sticking it up the unionists by enforcing identity politics through the state.

  • Abucs

    The madness of Progressivism did not exist as a political entity in 1946. Labour was still largely a Christian working class movement and the hospitals were courtesy of the intelligence and compassion of Christian inspired citizens and religious. In subsequent years we have had the total collapse of socialism as a viable humane system of government, the retreat of failed socialists into what is now called Progressiveness and the take over of left politics by the aforementioned insane, failed group basing policy largely around divisive identity politics.

    Funding and extending the Christian cultural innovation of western medical care through hospitals (or education and welfare) universally to more and more citizens is not in itself a bad thing. In fact the modern world is largely built on such projects. There is the question though of whether the increased forced taking of people’s money through taxation in order to fund it should then give government ‘cultural’ control of these sectors.

    This is especially considering that the failed Socialists, now called Progressives, are so terribly bad themselves in creating anything worthwhile and lasting through community efforts, but instead seek to further a failed vision through the state takeover of other groups more healthy and successful culture.

    Politics being what it is, the failed Socialists can expect to be in power approximately half the time (in the UK) and look to appropriate more and more culture through the state, not just to fund it, but to use it to enforce their failed visions of society.

    Extending the cultural creation of traditional Christian hospital care is a good thing and the case for mandatory public taxation for it is a fair case.

    But the forced increase in taxation for the meaningless translation of official documents into the Irish language and the right of a handful of Progressive activists to a trial in the Irish language does not make a good case.

    It is clearly divisive. It is used solely for identity political considerations for insane Progressives and creates another needless government bureaucracy with more expensive ‘jobs for the boys’.

  • grumpy oul man

    So this magic date when progressives appeared, why then what happened, what changed the people who campaigned for the NHS and proper schooling etc from socialists to this new “progressive Religion” (i asked you for a definition of this before and you failed to supply it) ,
    This bit is fun,
    “, the retreat of failed socialists into what is now called Progressiveness and the take over of left politics by the aforementioned insane, failed group basing policy largely around divisive identity politics.
    What is identity politics , I suspect it a folder you lump everything you don’t like.
    Its important you explain this as your whole argument depends on this thing existing so please define it!
    “Extending the cultural creation of traditional Christian hospital care is a good thing and the case for mandatory public taxation for it is a fair case.”
    Traditional Christian medical care is a bit of a mixed bag, I refer you to the mass graves of babies being exhumed in Ireland and how well Christians looked after young pregnant girls and the young in their care.
    Of course the government should tax people but i am interested how does Christian health care make a fair case for taxation over any other health care system without a religious aspect, i’m interested in your reasoning!

  • grumpy oul man

    So you have really just repeated yourself, and i see no explanation of why |Christian health care despite it’s obvious failings should get peoples tax money, Christians are now a minority in Ireland and have been for a long while on the bigger Island, surely your not suggesting that they should get preferential treatment.
    Now who said that a ILA would involve translating court documents into Gaelic or indeed trails in Gaelic, very few i know who support a ILA support this idea, it just a waste of money really, (perhaps you could read what has actually been said instead of building arguments on what you think people said.
    Now again i ask, why 1956, what happened to spawn this progressive movement, would you be so kind to explain how it came about, the history please and a definition of this movement.
    you seem very unwilling to defend your claims.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Oh I don’t know about that.

    But as I’ve said, much of the resistance to an Irish Language Act seems to me a fear of a one-sided cultural dynamic within it, that it’s another SF Trojan Horse for the greening of N Ireland. I’m for legislation to help promote Irish personally and it seems to me that is best done in our ethnic china shop when tied to some safeguards against that happening and some reciprocal promotion of cultural or civic initiatives that support and promote N Ireland’s British cultural heritage too. I don’t think reciprocity is too bad a principle upon which to operate. Seems a bit of a no-brainer.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Happy to add in Chinese. Sorry I find your approach way too nativist and narrow. If people move to the UK and bring a culture or language with them, then we should embrace it and encourage it. I think it enriches us all. Gaelic and Scots have particular relevance and deep historical roots of course, but we need to embrace our new diversity too.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Don’t fret, I don’t spend my days wondering what might have been. However, sometimes a little bit of awareness as to the background of how our society is the way it is wouldn’t do any harm. Irish was deliberately and systematically wiped out as a living language and it might make this place a better place to live if some people acknowledged this and we could move on.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Shouldn’t be either/or surely? Both/and.

  • Abucs

    For beginners it was 1946 not 1956 and for seconders no one said the Progressive movement started then. It was said they were not around at that date which was when the NHS was being debated and when you erroneously claimed they were supporting it. Look there is a lot you don’t get and as I have demonstrated many times before you just can’t follow what is being said.

    As far as Christian health care – no you misunderstand yet again. I did not talk about the Christian health care sector that is today identifiably Christian, let alone argue for money. I mentioned that the western medical enterprise in itself was derived from the Christian cultural establishment of hospitals and best practice. It is largely a Christian cultural phenomenon that has evolved into what we have today with a diverse set of providers and has been largely taken over by the state in most countries.

    As mentioned many times before there is not much reason to respond to you because you just don’t understand what is said and it is a huge waste of time going back and explaining things a second time let alone 14 or 15 times.

    Have a great life.

    http://www.churchinhistory.org/pages/middleages/healing/healing1.htm

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_health_care
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07480a.htm

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_hospitals

    http://www.catholicleague.org/irelands-mass-graves-story-is-fake-news/

    http://www.catholicleague.org/irelands-mass-grave-hoax-media-smear-nuns/

  • grumpy oul man

    So if these progressives came into play in 1956, who were they before 1956, were the socialists who proposed and designed the NHS under labor not fall into your definition of progressive, (a definition you have chose to give us yet) and what brought them about (you haven’t gives us anything but claims) how about some history, you know events, people,etc.
    You see most people would call Bevan and the labor government of the time Progressive, seemingly you chose to ignore this.
    so yet again could you lay your reasoning out (and i do hope its better than your “Hitler was a leftie foolishness”).
    Also how do you square your claims that a “Christian Health service ” would be a best option! again no explanation.
    I can follow what being said quite easily if you cannot explain yourself outside unproven claims and personal abuse that is hardly my fault, all i want is for you to explain yourself.

  • Abucs

    “So if these progressives came into play in 1956”

    omg you are priceless.

    “Also how do you square your claims that a “Christian Health service ” would be a best option!”

    umm that wasn’t my claim. Do you purposely misunderstand everything?

  • WindsorRocker

    If the Language circle is to be squared then we need an appreciation of the difference between functionalism and symbolism.
    The Irish Language is a wonderful representation of a diverse cultural thread and a way of life of individual communities. Functional in today’s world it is not.
    The logic of the SF ILA position is that Irish is nationalist and English is unionist, which is patent nonsense.
    The tri-lingual solution is the only one on offer in all of this. English to actually inform 99% of us (unionist and nationalist) where we need to go and what we are looking at and the Irish language and an Ulster-Scot equivalent to add the cultural frill to it all and to make people feel included.
    It is ironic that I remember at my time at university that bilingualism was seen by the Equality agencies as nationalist hence why the Bilingual signs were removed 20 years ago from the QUBSU.
    I do agree that unionism needs to be creative and imaginative with a languages response and the extra money this would cost might just be a price worth paying to prove that they want to move the show on here back to substantive issues.

  • Gavin Crowley

    And influenced by Cornish settlers too, apparantly

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Of course there are Gaelic words in Scots – is that a problem? Linguistic “purity” is kind of nonsense … I don’t speak Gaelic but I should imagine there are some English words in there too.

  • Croiteir

    Loan words in all languages as all languages, well the ones I know about, meet and interact through their human medius, with other languages. That is not what was implied/stated however.

  • DOUG

    Or a plaque on both their houses – in whatever language they choose.
    I’ll just leave now.

  • Ballyglass

    The simple lesson is to listen to the proceedings of the Dail – why if the Irish language is the native tongue do almost all their discussions take place in English – is it possible that most TD’s couldn’t sustain a debate in Irish. And oh yes the minister for the Gaeltacht had to rush off and refresh his Irish to allow him to fulfill his duties. Don’t think this would happen in France or Spain or anywhere for that matter – hope this lesson hasn’t be too complicated for you!!!

  • Ballyglass

    I never feet especially near blog sites! It is also a little presumptuous to think that you need to make others aware of our history when you have never met them. I doubt if we need to acknowledge the historical significance of Irish in society when for the last one hundred years the awful English have been banished and yet the vast majority of the population cannot be bothered to speak their native tongue – or maybe they have all moved on.

  • Ballyglass

    There are more than 6 million people on this island so the numbers are not that impressive and simply illustrate that the preoccupation with Irish speaking is another issue to be shaken to death by the northern cousins!!

  • NotNowJohnny

    You still haven’t provided the lesson requested so there’s no question of it being too complicated.

  • Ballyglass

    Reply sent yesterday – clean your glasses

  • NotNowJohnny

    I got your reply. What I didn’t get was the lesson requested.

    I note that you continue to make disparaging remarks; this is normally the behaviour of one who struggles to debate the issue in question.

  • Ballyglass

    Just done a straw poll here in the pub in Galway – everyone understands the points I made and would concur that Irish is not the primary language although it is the official language. None of my Southern Irish friends have had any need to use the Irish learnt at school for as long as they can remember. Nobody is at all sure what you mean by lesson other than what you have read from my post – in fact where are your counter arguments!!! I don’t see from any of your other posts any attempt at debate – odd comments so don’t be so presumptuous about what constitutes debate.

  • NotNowJohnny

    It’s not a question of whether people in a pub understand your points. It’s a question of whether you have answered the question I asked. I don’t see why you would expect me to provide a counter argument when I’m not disagreeing with you. For the record, here is my request again. Note that the key part of question is the word ‘why’. I suggest you ask your mates in the pub whether your response actually deals with the question of ‘why’. If it doesn’t, put your hand in your pocket and buy a round.

    Can you give us a brief lesson on WHY English is the primary language for you south of the border and why it isn’t Irish in the same way that French is the primary language of France and Spanish the primary language of Spain?

    And here’s your reply.

    It may be the native language but only a minority of Irish citizens use it on a regular basis – only 77,000 citizens use it on a daily basis while a further 450,000 will use it occasionally or can use it if needed – these are a reduction in numbers since the last census. The reality is if you go anywhere in Ireland you will go along way before anyone will speak to you directly in Irish. That is not my experience of visiting France or Spain. If you live in the North the desire to speak Irish is laudable but please don’t be sentimental about it! Our daughter had to take Irish as part of her leaving cert and had to be coached as did many of her friends – each year more students ask for an exemption from this mandatory subject. See Ireland Census 2016 for the facts – more people speak Polish and Chinese on a daily basis and if you go into any supermarket you will always here someone speak an eastern European language!

  • Ballyglass

    I think you don’t understand the meaning of the word primary. The reason English is the primary language in the south is that it is on used by the vast majority of the population – this includes the news media, TV, politicians in the Dail, the courts and every shop I go into on a daily basis. The census supports this conclusion because only 77,000 citizens out of 5.4 million converse speak Irish daily. Pub has concluded the why is dealt with and you are just getting perverse – no further comments.

  • NotNowJohnny

    You’re still being reduced to making disparaging remarks. Of course I understand the meaning of the word primary. I would suggest that the reason English is the primary language of Ireland relates to a number of historical factors including colonisation, the penal laws, emigration, the attitude of the Catholic Church, British government policy etc. The fact that the majority of the population now use english is a consequence of all that. It’s disappointing that the northern had to provide a southerner with the Irish history lesson. But there you go.

  • Dan

    Never thought of that! 🙂