If I can put in my 2 bob’s worth – I come from Musselburgh, Midlothian (not East Lothian), my mum was a local, my father is from Argyll, his mum was a native Gaelic speaker who won a medal at a National Mod back in the 1920’s. I was brought up close to Highland and Gaelic culture, particularly in the 1960’s/70’s and competed as a Gaelic learner-singer in Edinburgh local Mods and in a Gaelic choir under Archie MacLean (choir was ex- Lothian Celtic Choir under George Clavey and ex-Edinburgh Gaelic Choir under Murdo F.J. MacLeod) at the Stirling National Mod in 1973. My father brother and I also had a Highand trio/ceilidh group and performed at ceilidhs all over Highland and Lowland Scotland. I well remember how Gaelic language and culture in those days was marginalized and apart from Se Ur Beatha on TV and local Gaelic radio, there wasn’t much recognition of Gaelic in Scotland.
I don’t live in Scotland anymore (haven’t since 1983 – lived/worked in London, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and now Sultanate of Oman), so I’m probably well out of touch with the pulse of Scotland.
However, it seems to me that, in recent times, “The Braveheart Effect” has spurred on Scottish Labour and Nationalist MP’s to push on the whole country all things Celtic and Gaelic, the same way that “Cool Britannia” became the clarion call of the trendy Labour Government in Westminster.
I do not know if place names/town entry signs have dual-language names throughout Scotland yet, but if not, then I believe moves are afoot to do this. Though not exactly the fount of all knowledge, go to Wikipedia, look up a Scottish place and you will no doubt find a Gaelic name too. That’s fine for those places which historically had it, but my home town, Musselburgh never had any links to Gaelic language whatsoever. To give it a Gaelic name is false revisionism, an imposition. The Gaelic version of Musselburgh translates as “the Town of Mussels”, hardly a musically-poetic alternative ! It is just a word for word translation of Musselburgh. It would be more historically accurate for Musselburgh to have a Latin alternative, being at one time a Roman stronghold.
What I am saying is promote Gaelic culture for those who want it, make it available at GCSE etc, make it mandatory if needs be in Highland regions (Strathclyde would need split up no doubt), but don’t impose its culture, like Pol Pot in Kampuchea, where it has been unknown for many centuries, if at all. Lowland Scots are no less Scottish than Highland Scots. If you want to go down the road of Highlands = more Scottish than Lowlands, ask yourself, Scotland’s famous Highland regiments – where has the majority of its manpower come from since the 19th Century till now ? The Highlands ? – no – It’s the Lowlands in the vast majority, then the Highlands, then the rest of the British Isles and Ireland. Even in the period of most Highland battalions ever in British history, WW1, most of the manpower came from the Lowlands. Even the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders’ only Kitchener volunteer battalion, the 5th QOCH, was recruited mainly from Glasgow, as Inverness-shire didn’t have enough natives to even begin to fill up its ranks as well as its one territorial battalion (4th QOCH).
Horses for courses.