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Lowland 'Scots' was the ruin of Scotland

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Old 14th October 2009, 19:33
Calum Mac Neill Calum Mac Neill is offline
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Blaming the victim for the atrocity

Andy-J3, the size of the ethnic group I am criticising does not concern me. It could be the size of America and that would not elevate them beyond criticism. As for boldness, thank you for the compliment. I imagine that others of the same opinion as me might find it very difficult to state it publicly in a Scottish context, owing to the size of the ethnic group and the likely, impassioned response from certain Anglophone Scots who, unlike Americans, are less inclined to accept responsibility for the damage done to another, native, culture through the spread of their own.

I perceive that you believe that, if you mention the numbers of Highlanders fighting on the government side in Jacobite wars, you are mentioning a fact and producing hard evidence and being unsubjective and not 'talking out of your backside', and that, contrarily, if I mention speakers of descendants of Anglo-Saxon in Scotland began to call their language Scottish and alienising Gaels as being Irish, you believe it is neither fact nor hard evidence and that I am talking out of my backside.

You evidently do not accept that you are not the only person in this discussion presenting historical facts. Believe it or not, facts do not cease to be facts just because I present them within a given hermeneutic or because you ignore them. Your accusations of conceit and your - how shall I put it - toilet language (?) indicate the real nature of your response to the view presented: you feel offended and are being offensive back.

It is easy to trade historical facts back and forth but these don't necessary nullify any argument such as, for example, a nationalist or unionist viewpoint. People come to different conclusions for different reasons. A nationalist and unionist, for example, cannot merely say to each other with any scientifically provable justification, "I am being logical and you are being illogical". Anyone working from an assumption that they can prove or disprove my viewpoint objectively would be mistaken in my view, as values and the meaning of facts count just as much in such viewpoints as the facts themselves.

Two of my values are patriotism and a wariness of Scottish culture being whittled away by Anglicisation of a kind which incrementally neuters Scottish self-development and self-expression and which implants English modes of being in their stead. If I can present any evidence at all of lack of patriotism and accession to Anglicisation of the kind I mention, then my viewpoint has some substance. Perhaps this is why you choose not to recognise any mention I make of the fact of Gaels being more willing to offer certain football coverage than English language channels, or the fact of an Anglophone hegemony voting for union with England. To admit that I have mentioned these facts does of course provide evidence for my case that for a Scot to speak a descendant of Anglo-Saxon as a first language is to be part of an ethnicity that is ultimately fated to be dominated by English national culture.

Human relationships can suffer from similar problems. The facts of what happen in relationships do not always lend themselves to any easy resolution of someone being completely in the right and someone else completely in the wrong. However, sometimes one half of a marriage can be pretty much in the right while the other half is pretty much in the wrong. Lowlanders being more numerous, as you mention, does not justify their innate, excessive tendency towards Anglicisation.

As for your examples of Gaels fighting in government armies, and vice versa, well, these contrasting examples only indicate that Gaels were sometimes their own worst enemies and also that Anglophone Scots were also sometimes their own worst enemies. I don't see how these examples as you present them indicate that Gaels themselves caused the destruction of their own culture any more than they indicate that Anglophones caused the destruction of their own culture. These examples only prove that history is complex and divert our attention from more obvious examples of Anglophones adopting Englishness and killing off Scottishness.

You also say that Scottish history can't be divided down ethnic lines. The fact that a serial killer lets one of his victims go as an act of mercy doesn't excuse the rest of his actions or disguise his general intentions. Similarly, dropping a pound into a charity box presented in front of you on the street does not necessarily consitute you as a regular charitable giver. The existence of traitors in a population does not indicate that the general population supports its enemy. Likewise, Irishmen fighting on both sides in the struggle for American independence does not indicate a general tendency for Irish people to support British rule of Ireland. Trends in behaviour are often more indicative of core ethnic attitudes than seemingly contradictory facts.

Anglophones needed to destroy Gaelic language as they saw it as providing a medium for political threat to their country, as they would have it. If you don't see the Statutes of Iona or the Highland clearances as historical fact illustrative of a trend within a longer story of a struggle between the centres of power in the west and in the east of Scotland, if you don't see that I mention the Statutes of Iona and the Highland clearances, and need a book reference for such things, that is not an issue I am willing to contend with. You are clearly in avoidance mode - if you had to recognise that I have mentioned such facts, you would have to deal with them, and up until now, that is something you haven't been willing to do, like a lot of Anglophone Scots. I'm not going to write FACT in capital letters beside such events and supply a book reference in order to draw your attention to them.

But then, I note that you say that Lowland 'Scots' was "the language spoken by the people of Scotland for over 500 years". This statement is typical of the Anglophone attitude to Gaels and to the Highlands, indicating that, in their world view, the existence of the Gael is simply not worth taking into account in a summing up statement about the last 500 years of linguistic history. Such a statement would be a typical example of Anglophone tendencies to minimise both the significance of Gaelic culture to Scotland and its presence in Scotland.

Your comments are adequate expression of the centuries-old Anglophone dismissal of Scottishness. You state that Gaels themselves are to be held responsible for much of the oppression they suffered - taking that view, Anglophone Scots can safely distance themselves from much of what happened to the Gael, blaming them for the extent of anti-Gaelic laws, the 'maide-crochaidh' approach to English teaching, the Clearances etc.

Being on the losing side in the Gaelic versus Anglophone politico-cultural struggle does not justify attempts at cultural extirpation, nor does it justify statements about language which ignore the existence of the language of the losing side. It is time that Scots had a real awareness of the situation that Scottish culture is in under the Anglophone hegemony and seriously questions where it leads to. Any Gael who feels that the damage done to Gaelic culture is self-created is surely prey to internal colonialist attitudes.

To assert that the Gaels caused the damage done to their language and culture simply by losing to the Anglophones, is to suggest that the Catalans and Basques are to blame for the subjugation of their languages and culture after they lost the Spanish civil war. Anglophones in effect are, according to your logic, equivalent to Franco. Asking Scots today to support such Anglophone attitudes as 'the Gaels themselves are to blame' is like asking Basques and Catalans, and even many other Spaniards, to blame themselves for what Franco did to them.

So if the Gaels are not to blame, who is? The Anglophone Scots need to wake up to the reality of how they have compromised Scottish language, culture and even identity through the promotion of English, in the 12th century, in the 15th century, during the Reformation with their English language Bibles and prayerbooks (why bother with one in a dialect?), after the union and right into the 20th century, where children were asked, "what language do we speak" and gave the correct answer, "English, miss".

English should be a Scot's second language, not his first, and if Anglophone Scots don't want to have their own dialect taught in schools, they should at least approve of the teaching of Gaelic and stop marginalising it as they have done in the past.

Why speak dialects of Anglo-Saxon origin? The country has a true, original, nationality-giving Scottish language, Gaelic, beaten down by the Anglophones whose leaders, over centuries, fought for and took control of education and law over the whole of Scotland and who, naturally, adopted Queen's English as their first language and tried to erase Gaelic. Thanks to the advent of modernity and human rights, Scots have an opportunity to undo the damage done to Scottish language and identity by these Anglophones with their linguistic-cultural allegiances.

Last edited by Calum Mac Neill; 14th October 2009 at 20:01.
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Old 15th October 2009, 01:14
Duthill Duthill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ANDY-J3 View Post
I'm well aware that you're criticising an ethnic group- one which amounts to several million people and adds up to to over 90% of the country's population.
I find this statistic rather odd .
Is that a guess or a recorded number ?
And how was it arrived at ?
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Old 15th October 2009, 15:07
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so just how much gaelic do u speak on a daily basis then callum?


whats gaelic for blow and hard?

oh n ps...what side was "the goverment" side those highlanders where fighting...or not?

oh n ppss....how many times can u say anglophone in one statement?........lots
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Old 16th October 2009, 18:29
ANDY-J3 ANDY-J3 is offline
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Originally posted by Calum Mac Neill



As for boldness, thank you for the compliment. I imagine that others of the same opinion as me might find it very difficult to state it publicly in a Scottish context, owing to the size of the ethnic group and the likely, impassioned response from certain Anglophone Scots who, unlike Americans, are less inclined to accept responsibility for the damage done to another, native, culture through the spread of their own.

You talk as if Anglophone Scots are some kind of homogenous group with an anti Gaelic agenda. Just how many of these Anglophones do you imagine lack any Gaelic heritage? Shall we say something approaching zero. The problem for you is that Anglophone Scots without exception have Gaelic genes in their lineage - I only need to go back three generations to find Gaelic speakers so I have every reason to defend Gaelic culture and language as an important part of our country's heritage. Using the word boldness wasn't a compliment I just wanted to be polite and avoid using a word like arrogance.



I perceive that you believe that, if you mention the numbers of Highlanders fighting on the government side in Jacobite wars, you are mentioning a fact and producing hard evidence and being unsubjective and not 'talking out of your backside', and that, contrarily, if I mention speakers of descendants of Anglo-Saxon in Scotland began to call their language Scottish and alienising Gaels as being Irish, you believe it is neither fact nor hard evidence and that I am talking out of my backside.You evidently do not accept that you are not the only person in this discussion presenting historical facts. Believe it or not, facts do not cease to be facts just because I present them within a given hermeneutic or because you ignore them. Your accusations of conceit and your - how shall I put it - toilet language (?) indicate the real nature of your response to the view presented: you feel offended and are being offensive back.


I'm only offended that I should need to defend Scottish culture from a vitriolic and unfounded attack from a fellow Scot. I perceive a problem with you presenting facts which you are unwilling to support by any textual evidence. If you're clever enough (or maybe just pretentious enough) to use words like hermeneutic then I'm sure you're clever enough to appreciate that an argument is seen to be valid only when some form of supporting textual evidence is provided to suggest that it is true. You are the one making the arguments hence the onus is on you to provide the evidence to support them otherwise you're expressing subjective opinions that people are free to dismiss as invalid. You show me the textual evidence that supports your contention that "lowland Scots was the ruin of Scotland" and we can discuss the validity of that evidence without recourse to toilet language.


It is easy to trade historical facts back and forth but these don't necessary nullify any argument such as, for example, a nationalist or unionist viewpoint. People come to different conclusions for different reasons. A nationalist and unionist, for example, cannot merely say to each other with any scientifically provable justification, "I am being logical and you are being illogical". Anyone working from an assumption that they can prove or disprove my viewpoint objectively would be mistaken in my view, as values and the meaning of facts count just as much in such viewpoints as the facts themselves.

No one is asking for conclusive proof just supporting evidence to show your argument has validity. No evidence equates to no argument.




Two of my values are patriotism and a wariness of Scottish culture being whittled away by Anglicisation of a kind which incrementally neuters Scottish self-development and self-expression and which implants English modes of being in their stead.

Scottish culture is whittled away by parochialism and narrow mindedness. Our culture is a synthesis of many diverse European cultures, Brythonic, Gaelic, Anglo-Saxon etc. I don't care if my ancestors were Celts or Anglo Saxons. I'm equally proud of my heritage whether they spoke Scots or Gaelic and my sense of Scottish identity is not diminshed by the fact that I speak Scottish English. I would rather that a greater effort was made to preserve Scots but just because I speak English it doesn't make me any less willing to preserve Scottish culture including the Gaelic language.




If I can present any evidence at all of lack of patriotism and accession to Anglicisation of the kind I mention, then my viewpoint has some substance. Perhaps this is why you choose not to recognise any mention I make of the fact of Gaels being more willing to offer certain football coverage than English language channels, or the fact of an Anglophone hegemony voting for union with England.

I never mentioned the issue regarding football coverage because if I'm being frank I thought it was a bit of an eccentric statement - I'm aware that many factors other than patriotic values influence what media companies choose to broadcast. As regards the "Anglophone hegemony" that's referring to the act of union over 300 years ago. In the modern era the self same Anglophones voted in an SNP government with a mandate to achieve independence for Scotland so I think that argument is shown to be fatally flawed.
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Old 16th October 2009, 18:49
ANDY-J3 ANDY-J3 is offline
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Originally posted by Calum Mac Neill

These examples only prove that history is complex and divert our attention from more obvious examples of Anglophones adopting Englishness and killing off Scottishness.


Such as voting for a party whose sole reason for existing is to bring about independence for Scotland? Your contentions are at odds with the realities. A people who wanted to kill off Scottishness and strengthen ties with England wouldn't have voted in an SNP government. How many SNP members of the Scottish parliament were returned by voters in the Highlands and islands? Traditionally it has been the very lowland Scots who you accuse of being Anglophiles who are the most ardent supporters of the nationalists.




Anglophones needed to destroy Gaelic language as they saw it as providing a medium for political threat to their country, as they would have it. If you don't see the Statutes of Iona or the Highland clearances as historical fact illustrative of a trend within a longer story of a struggle between the centres of power in the west and in the east of Scotland, if you don't see that I mention the Statutes of Iona and the Highland clearances, and need a book reference for such things, that is not an issue I am willing to contend with. You are clearly in avoidance mode - if you had to recognise that I have mentioned such facts, you would have to deal with them, and up until now, that is something you haven't been willing to do, like a lot of Anglophone Scots. I'm not going to write FACT in capital letters beside such events and supply a book reference in order to draw your attention to them.


I'm well aware of the failed attempts by certain Scots to destroy Gaelic culture but to what extent was that ever feasible. The highlands and islands were largely impervious to the influences of central government prior to the ninetenth century due to their geographic isolation. There weren't armies of of lowlanders in the highlands hell bent on subduing Gaelic culture and language. The Black Watch were highlanders and the masacre of Glencoe was instigated and perpetrated by highlanders. I don't accept that the demise in Gaelic was due to a pro active campaign by lowlanders to destroy it because I don't believe that such a thing would even have been possible before the modern era and the advent of mass media. As I have stated I know one Gaelic speaker and he tells me that he spoke nothing but Gaelic until he was a teenager but he was forced by circumstances to speak English in order to find work and I suspect that is the real reason for the demise in Gaelic language. Gaels themselves chose to speak English due to economic circumstances not due to any atempts by lowlanders to destroy their cultural heritage.


But then, I note that you say that Lowland 'Scots' was "the language spoken by the people of Scotland for over 500 years". This statement is typical of the Anglophone attitude to Gaels and to the Highlands, indicating that, in their world view, the existence of the Gael is simply not worth taking into account in a summing up statement about the last 500 years of linguistic history. Such a statement would be a typical example of Anglophone tendencies to minimise both the significance of Gaelic culture to Scotland and its presence in Scotland.


I knew as soon as I wrote it that you would pedantically home in on that one single word "the". I just wish I'd used the word "a". You see a meaning in my statement that I had no intention of conveying.
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Old 16th October 2009, 19:18
ANDY-J3 ANDY-J3 is offline
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Originally posted by Calum Mac Neill

Your comments are adequate expression of the centuries-old Anglophone dismissal of Scottishness. You state that Gaels themselves are to be held responsible for much of the oppression they suffered - taking that view, Anglophone Scots can safely distance themselves from much of what happened to the Gael, blaming them for the extent of anti-Gaelic laws, the 'maide-crochaidh' approach to English teaching, the Clearances etc.

Why are you putting words in my mouth? Are you struggling to find valid challenges to my arguments so you feel the need to misquote me? I never mentioned anything about Gaels being responsible for suffering imposed on them. I don't support any imposition of suffering on any group of Scots by central government. What I stated was that Gaels were often their own worst enemies, riven by factionalism and often motivated only by self interest. Certain highland chieftans chose paths that were politically expedient and profitable for themselves and which didn't always further the interests of the highland people.



Being on the losing side in the Gaelic versus Anglophone politico-cultural struggle does not justify attempts at cultural extirpation, nor does it justify statements about language which ignore the existence of the language of the losing side.


Your argument falls flat on its face by virtue of the fact that there are virtually no native Scots who don't have Gaelic genes. Lowland Scots have both a mixed lowland and highland heritage- they have no reason to denigrate Gaelic culture because it is as much a part of their cultural heritage as it is the heritage of those highlanders who still speak the language. I haven't actually met anyone who wants to destroy the Gaelic language- at worst a lot of Scots are probably indifferent to its future but I think most people would be happy to see it thriving again because it's such an important part of our history.



To assert that the Gaels caused the damage done to their language and culture simply by losing to the Anglophones, is to suggest that the Catalans and Basques are to blame for the subjugation of their languages and culture after they lost the Spanish civil war. Anglophones in effect are, according to your logic, equivalent to Franco.

You don't say. I never actually said it of course.

English should be a Scot's second language, not his first, and if Anglophone Scots don't want to have their own dialect taught in schools, they should at least approve of the teaching of Gaelic and stop marginalising it as they have done in the past.

English is my first language and I don't see that as an issue of any great importance. It doesn't diminish my sense of Scottishness and Gaelic should be taught in schools where there is a demand for it to be taught.



Why speak dialects of Anglo-Saxon origin?


Why celebrate Scottish independence and heritage by lionising Anglo-Norman aristocrats? Because history is what it is and it can't be re-written to conform to some idealised image that we would like to manufacture. Whether we like it or not Scots have Anglo-Saxon as well as Celtic heritage. Gaels aren't any less Scottish because of the Scandinavian Germanic influences in their history and neither are lowlanders any less Scottish because of the Anglo-Saxon influences upon their culture and language.
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Old 16th October 2009, 19:21
ANDY-J3 ANDY-J3 is offline
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Originally posted by Duthill

I find this statistic rather odd .
Is that a guess or a recorded number ?
And how was it arrived at ?


At present the number of Gaelic speakers in Scotland amounts to somewhere in the region of 100 000 people. The number of "Anglophones" or English speakers as they are conventionally referred to is over 5 million.
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