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Uisin oor vyce: hou we can gar polítical action on Scots inevitable

There’s a Renaissance gaun on the nou. It’s in wir newspapers, it’s on wir social media, an it’s in wir heids. It’s a newfund confidence tae be wirsels an speak hou we want tae speak. The guid Scots tongue is finally stertin tae get its smeddum back.

Leuk aroond ye, an whaur Scots micht hae been invísible in the past, it’s nou present, e’en tho it can aften seem anely microscopically sae. Thanks tae the tireless darg pitten in bi coontless activists an organisations, the Scots leid is finally stertin tae finnd itsel heezed up fae bein Scotia’s bonnie broukit bairn tae its richtfu steid as ane o Scotland’s national leids.

There’s little dout that there’s been muckle impruivement in the leid’s status an vísibility in the past few year. Fae airticles in The National tae academic papers, it’s easy nouadays tae finnd Scots in contexts whaur it wad hae been unthinkable in the past. Fowk fae Hawick tae Hoy ar stertin tae see their ain vyces an weys o speakin reflectit in the líteratur they read an the media they consume, an this haes gart mony tak tae their ain keybuirds an stert screivin awa in the mither tongue. As a result, mair an mair fowk ar takkin tent o their linguistic heritage bi the day.

Gin thon’s no a social Renaissance, ah dinnae ken whit is.

But there’s a snag. Social chynge is yet tae become policy chynge. In the twinty year sin devolution, Scottish Government action on the leid haes been límitit at best an absent at waur. The fundin gien tae Scots organisations is little mair nor pocket siller; there’s still nae Scots Language Act takkin tent o Scots an giein it ony kinna offícial cívic status; an gey few scuils ar confident eneuch tae lairn bairns in their ain mither tongue. Wi Scots sae stairved o status an fundin, it’s nae wunner that the Scots Renaissance is yet tae be reflectit bi government policy.

Nou ah’m no interestit in stertin a blame game. Ah certainly dinnae ’hink that the wey Scots haes been treatit is delíberate. Whit ah dae ken fae ma ain polítical experience is that politícians ar gey busy fowk. They cannae be expectit tae ken aboot awthing gaun on awwhaur at aw times. Gin they’re gonnae tak tent o an issue, some’dy needs tae hae taen the issue tae them an demonstratit why they shuid act on it.

Ah suppose whit ah’m ettlin at sayin is that gin we, the Scots language community, want real polítical chynge, we hae a responsibílity tae be proactive. We cannae expect a Scots Language Act tae juist faw intae wir laps. Coorse, we need the politícians tae dae the legislatin for us, but it’s up tae us — an naeb’dy else — tae demonstrate tae politícians why they shuid tak tent o wir cause, an gie it the time an siller we reckon it desers.

An it’s wi thon in mind that Oor Vyce haes been launched.

Oor Vyce is a new campaignin platform cawin on the Scottish Government tae tak mair polítical action on protectin an promuivin Scots. Wi eneuch involvement fae the Scots language community, it can act as the polítical airm o the community an wirk tae big brigs wi Holyrood.

The principal ettle o Oor Vyce is tae gie Scots speakers a wey o garrin their vyce heard in the polítical sphere. It haes the potential tae act as a unified vyce o the Scots language community bi haudin meetins an gaitherin pynts o view fae a diverse cross-section o the community, fae the airts tae academia, an distillin fae thae views common priorities an values.

Bi haein a means o communicatin wir values an aims tae politícians, we’ll be in better steid tae get politícians tae actually lug intae wir haiverins, tak us seriously, an act on wir advice.

We’r at a crucial pynt for polítical action on Scots. At their national conference in October, the SNP will be debatin the idea o adoptin the creation o a statutory Scots Language Board as pairty policy, an in Holyrood there’s murmurins o settin up a Cross-Pairty Group tae ettle at legislatin for a Scots Language Act. Politícians fae a wheen pairties ar finally stertin tae tak Scots seriously an recognise the need for polítical action. But this isnae the first time we’v been here. In the past, sib actions hiv turnt oot tae be nowt mair nor blinnd closes. This time, we hiv tae mak siccar it’s different. Bi unitin ahint the baunner o Oor Vyce, we can haud polticians’ feet tae the ingle for tae gar promises made promises kept.

Sae ay, there’s a cultural Renaissance gaun on, but Reinaissances come an gang. Anely wi proper polítical action can we gar thon Reinaissance permanent. Wi a Scots Language Act, there’d be nae gaun back tae the derk auld days we bide in the nou. Sae lat’s no juist be content wi cultural an social chynge, but uise it tae caw for polítical chynge. Lat’s be proactive in takkin wir case tae politícians, garrin wir vyces heard in Holyrood, an uisin Oor Vyce tae keep up the pressure fae the sidelines.

For the first time in ower lang, Scots is back on the polítical agenda. Roch winds ar blawin. Sae it’s time for the Scots language community tae unite an mak siccar that thae winds haud blawin, an blawin haurd forby.

For tae shaw yer support, len a haund in the campaign, or speir ocht, finnd iz on Twitter @OorVyce or drap iz an email at oorvyce@gmail.com.

Social media image: © User:Colin / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0