Fit tae dae about obesity?

Nae ower lang syne, there wis an outcry on social media. Cancer Research UK haed juist release’t new advertisin, fit wis intendit tae mak a verra clear pynt. The ímage clearly read: “Obesity is a cause of cancer.” Ae quine wisna too impressed wi this idea, an cried on Twitter that it wis ‘fat-shamin’ an that the chairity should tak it doun. Than, aa o a sudden, a haundfu o trolls pop up (at least hauf o them wi eggs for profile picturs) gaun on about foo “fat fowk juist need tae get a grip an gang on a diet.” Nou, ‘at’s fit got me rile’t up. The UK is the maist obese kintra in Europe. Nae ane o the maist, but the maist. Aye, it’s aafu, but it’s nae wird o a lee aither. Tae really pit ‘at statistic intae perspective, Cancer Research UK maks it pretty clear on their wabsite that obesity can cause thirteen types o cancer aathegither, sic as kindey cancer, breist cancer, intestine cancer an oesophagus cancer. Sae foo can we improve the state o our population’s health an tak the pressure aff our NHS? Foo can we pit a stap tae the cancer epidemic that could be comin if we dinna dae something about the astoundin rate o obesity? Ah dinna think bullyin owerwecht fowk online is the wey tae dae it.

First an foremaist, aab’dy haes tae tak intae consíderation that there’s hunners o reasons fit wey some fowk are owerwecht. It can quite aften be the case that an obese person juist haesna got the energy, motivation or confidence tae get out o their bed fan it’s still pitch black outside an heid tae the gym tae dae an hour o cardio at 5am ivery mornin. But, dinna forget that there’s countless ither causes an aa. Ane o the biggest causes is haein ither health issues which can lead tae wecht gain. Ah, masel, hiv gaed fae bein a fit an healthy black belt, trainin in mairtial airts fower times a week, tae nou, some days nae bein able tae climb a set o stairs, since developin pernicious anemia fower ‘ear ago. There’s fowk fa struggle wi wecht gain because o thyroid problems, fowk fa mebbe arena sae able tae gang tae the gym efter becomin injure’t at wark, or in a caur accident. A study bi the NHS also fund that 58 per cent o fowk fa suffer fae depression are at a higher risk o becomin obese. O course, it’s a vícious cycle consíderin that bein obese can be fit causes some mental illnesses in the first place. Fowk fa are über fit an healthy can sometimes be aafu quick tae judge, but obesity is something aafu personal, an aafu complex. There’s nae juist ae wey tae tackle it, especially fan it’s caused bi unnerlyin health issues.

Juist a few weeks past the sugar tax cam intae play. There’s been plenty o argiments for an agin it (especially fae Irn Bru fans), but will it really help? Aye, mebbe taxin sugar-filled products will reduce the nummer o puir fowk fa are obese, but nae the rich anes. Onybody fa can afford tae continue tae pey for fit they crave, be it a bottle o fizzy juice or a bag o skittles, will dae so. Ye can see this easily fan ye compare the Canary Islands wi Scotland, for example. Out on islands sic as Gran Canaria an Lanzarote ye’ll see packets o cigarettes lyin about in ivery shop imaiginable, an a jumbo pack o 200 will set ye back about €19. In Aiberdeen, for the same brand ye’ll pey upwards o a tenner, for a pack o 20. ’At’s 90 per cent less cigarettes for mair than hauf o the price. Yet still, 20 per cent o Scotland’s population arena pit aff bi the high taxes an continue tae pey the comparably high price tae be smokers. If onything, a tax on sugary products will only prevent them fa live in poverty fae bein able tae indulge in a treat fan they fancy ane, an will therefore dae nae verra much except for braidenin class divísions even mair. If a sae-caad ‘solution’ causes a bigger social gap in ma kintra, than tae me it’s niver really gaun tae be an effective ane. Taxin aabody’s sugary treats isna the sweetest o ideas; there’s better anes.

Obligatory fuid education in primary scuils is a must. Teachin younger generations aa about fit healthy fuid an drinks are an foo tae prepare them is the best wey tae mak the futur brichter, an less obese. Scotland is a kintra rich in agriculture, so it’s even mair imperative an aa that our bairns unnerstaund far the produce that they eat is comin fae. They need tae ken that fish fingers come fae the North Sea an that chocolate milk disna come fae broun cous. Bairns also need tae be taucht foo tae enjoy treats like sweeties ’ithout gaun ower the score: a better idea o fit calories are, an foo they wirk, is ’ithout a dout something ah wish that ah haed learnt at the scuil. This could gang haund in haund wi mair obvious nutritional information on sweetie papers etc. Ah’m nae sayin that packagin o sweeties should follae the fitsteps o cigarettes an be completely colourless wi naething but ímages o fowk on their deith beds, but if fowk are taucht tae unnerstaund the meanin ahint nutritional information, an it’s made a lot mair prominent on aa fuid packagin, it wad nae dout mak an aafu difference.

It must be said that tellin an obese person tae “juist lose wecht” is nae far aff tellin a depressed person tae “juist be happy.” It’s juist daft! Obesity is an aafu problem for those fa are lívin throu it, an for our NHS, but scare-mongerin fowk isna the wey tae fix it. The idea ahint the sugar tax is nae a bad ane, but there’s far better weys o achievin lower levels o obesity. It’s time tae stairt thinkin about educatin young bairns mair about fuid sae that the nixt generations arena faced wi the same epidemic.

Antonia UriAntonia Uri is a twinty-ane year auld Doric-spikkin student o Modren Furrin Leids at Aiberdeen University. She is currently the Alba Eiditor at The Gaudie, an a scriever for The National. Claik awa wi her on Twitter @teuchtertoni.

Richt o sel-law as fundamental richt for democracy: The case o hauf-free decísions anent Catalonie

A feck o democratic Catalan politícians haes polítical captions agin thaim. The Spainish government is forfendin yet again the process o the Catalan pairlament. In October, it wis acause o the wanthirldom referendum. An nou it’s the jylin o politícians for polítical causes. Thay are socht for ‘rebellion’ an ‘embezzlement’. The definítion o ‘rebeliòn’ in the Spainish constitution actually haes specífically adae wi bangstrie, something that Puidgemont, Ponsati or ither Catalan independentists haes niver promuived. An the referendum wis for the public guid, sae it cannae be embezzlement.

A ‘mids’ postur o mair autonomy for Catalonie, as propone’t by Claus Hecking in Der Spiegel, juist isnae tenable ony mair: the Catalan population haes awready votit on the question o mair autonomy an it wis approbate by thareabout aichty per cent o the population, but than pairtly annult by the Spainish Heich Court.

Gif the Spainish government wants tae be raisonable an trulins be a democratic state, it anerly haes ae option: exeem the polítical prísoners an pit in place a wanthirldom referendum.

Jakob Augstein, in the Spiegel itsel, is richt whan he says Germany sudnae haund Puidgement ower tae the Spainish government. He’s forby richt whan he says that Puidgemont’s bein liftit is a shame for Spainie, Europe an Germany. For kintras that pride thairsels on bein democratic, thay cannae pit fowk in jyle juist for organisin a vote that wis pairt o the polítical programme that buir the gree.

This is hou it is richt tae raise the question o whit we expect o a state. Dae we expect that a state wad oppone democracy? Och naw! We sud expect an demand o governments that thay are free, an become free-er. Thay say thay are democracies. We can assume that, but thay sud pruive that thay are, by applýin democratic principles. An thare is room for chynge in the Spainish estaiblishment.

Acause freedom isnae juist gien an than it’s thare for aye acause it wis gien tae ye. Freedoms an richts is like muscles: thay mouter awa gif ye dinnae uise thaim.

The fact that fowk stoups Ponsati wis shawn in the wey she pit thegither mair nor twa hunner thousand pund in legal upkeep in juist a few days.

Kevin McKenna is richt an aw tae say that we sud say that the Spainish state haes commit authoritarian actions, raither than bein authoritarian. Acause pairt o that expectation is the expectation that fowk can chynge, that things can impruive. Obviously, it isnae inevitable. But we sud certainly evite the cynical attitude o “things is keech” acause the anerly wey for things tae git ony better is for fowk tae imaigine the forrit an ayont an mak steps taewart that futur.

It’s the same wi individuals: gif we want fowk tae impruive, we can juist say “ye’re a dunnerheid” an lea’ it at that. Aw ye daen thare is create unfríendship. It’s a fair feck better tae say “this thing is wrang; here’s hou it can be better.”

A richt free state is ane whaur ye can say whit ye want ’ithout ony bather fae the government. A free state is ane whaur ye can chuise yer leaders, an thay implement the programme ye votit for. Or in even free-er societies, ye dinnae need the middle man; ye juist vote or decide on the policies straucht-like.

An a richt free state is ane that uphauds the richt tae sel-determination; ane whaur a fowk can decide its ain futur. It’s the fowk that needs tae be in the heft. An that includes fowks that disnae yet hae thair ain kintra.1 2 An that includes the richt tae lea’ the kintra thay are awready in acause ense it’s like ye’re jyle’t ’ithin the state, a Hotel California version o democracy. Ye can gie somebody aw the polítical richts ye want (an ye sud) as pairt o anither unit. Ye can dae the same for cívil richts an aw. But ’ithout the richt sel-determination, thay’re still boxt in.

An democracy is about the laws in place representin the will o the demos, the fowk. Gif ye dinnae hae a demos, ye cannae hae a democracy. An, gif the identity o the people concernt by the polítical entity disnae correspond wi the polítical entity in question, the polítical entity is lackin in its democratic capacity tae represent a demos. Sae, for tae hae a fou democracy, whit recks is creatin a polítical entity that by lattin the fowk that isnae pairt o the demos form thair ain state, gif that is whit thay want.

This richt sud be applíed equal-aqual an richt-like tae aw fowks in the warld. But, for the maument, the anerly kintras that is sonsie in thair quest for freedom is kintras that haes support fae muckle pouers. Nou, consíderin the feck o the muckle pouers is democracies, thay sud be uphaudin aw ettles at wanthirldom.3

The richt tae sel-determination is estaiblisht as a principle o law applicable tae aw fowks at the Unitit Nations. The oríginal definítion o fowk is that fowks is ony group occupýin a sindry aurie.

This richt is contrastit wi the concep o ‘territorial integrity’. This concep applíes anerly in case o democracies that grant richts tae aw thair cítizens.4

We can argie that, in the ensaumple o Catalonie, the Spainish government haes gien unequal representation tae the different autonomist communities acause it haes lat Andalucía guide policy auries that it wadnae allou tae Catalonie.

An, by ma wey o it, the richt wey tae balance the twa richts wad be tae uphaud anerly agin threits fae outwi’ the state mairches. That wey, it wad gie fou richts tae sel-law ‘ithout lattin the feckfu kintras mismaggle the affairs o the ither kintras.

In Statehood and the Law of Self-Determination, it is statit that the criteria for the formation o a state, an the criteria for the onhaudin o a state isnae the same: the onhaudin o a state is assumed, whaur the formation is needin tae fulfil specífic criteria.5 This creates inertia whaurby the sítuation steys lang the same whan it could chynge for tae create a jonicker sítuation, mair representative o the wills o the fowks o the warld. It can forby create víolent sítuations o war that wad hinderly be wannecessar gif states wad juist recognise the wills o the fowks tae stert wi.

Sae we can see that Catalonia is unner a government that committit actions that wisnae richt in fauvours o freedom. A say this acause the Spainish government hisnae yet lea’d the Catalans git the government thay votit on an thay hinnae lea’d the Catalans vote thairsels out o Spainie an intae a new Catalonia.

An that this isnae whit we sud expect tae see, consíderin Spainie is a democracy, even gif it isnae a republic. This is a fundamental pairt o a wirkin democracy: tae lea’ fowk the richt tae sae we’ll dae wir ain thing wirsels.

An this richt sud applý tae aw fowks the warld ower, even in kintras that is itherwise free. An thare is mony ensaumples o kintras; we hivnae even leukit at the case o Kurdistan, the Iraq-rung pairt o whilk votit for its ain wanthirldom wi a clear majority an a muckle participation rate. Acause the ultimate richt is tae sae “we’ll decide things by wirsels.”

An like for ony ither richt, we sud haud thaim tae account. Whither it’s protestin, votin, petítions, be clear on whit kin o society ye want tae be lívin in, an fecht for it.

James McDonaldJames McDonald is a Scots polyglot steyin in Réunion. He is keen on different leids, inspecially local leids, an thair forderin, whether it’s Scots, Gaelic, Réunion Creole or ither leids. He wirks in schuils, helpin bairns wi thair hamewirk an giein chess lessons. Ye can contact him on jmcd89 [AT] googlemail [DOT] com.

Social media ímage: Català: La manifestació Diada del Sí es va celebrar l’11 de setembre de 2017 a Barcelona by medel. License: CC BY-SA 4.0


For tips on readin Scots, alang wi a glossar o common wirds, see our cutty guide (written in English).

Scots English
adae wi to do with
Andalucía autonomous community in southern Spain
approbate approved
auries areas
bangstrie violence to a person or property
buirt the gree won first place (in the election)
captions arrest warrants
daen done
dunnerheid idiot, simpleton
ense else, otherwise
equal-aqual in equal shares, equally
ettles ambitions, desires
evite avoid, shun
exeem free
feckfu powerful
forfendin preventing, forbidding
forrit an ayont the way ahead
fowks peoples
hinderly eventually
jonicker honest, fair, just
keech shit, awful
liftit arrested
mairches borders
mismaggle interfere with
mouter decay slowly
onhaudin continuation
oppone oppose
promuive support, foster, promote
propone’t proposed
sel-law self-government
sindry distinct
sonsie successful
stoups supports
tae be in the heft to have complete control (of a situation), to have the whip hand
trulins truly, indeed
uphaudin supporting
wannecessar unnecessary
wanthirldom independence
whit recks? what does it matter?

The killin fields!

I wis watchin a bonnie cock pheasant makkin his wey alang the road aside ma hous; in his ain guid time, o course, as thair kind are wint tae dae, an regairdless o the caurs fleein close by. His heid an tail war up, birse puffit out an shimmerin in the sun. Tae see sic gledsome beauty in aw its glory is aye a sicht for sair een. But I wis mair than delichtit whan he sprackelt awa fae the road an throu the fence intae a field. Lívin in the Lawlands, near tae a sportin estate, it’s likely I see thae bonnie birdies gaein about mair nor maist. It’s aye vexin tae find ane deid on the road, but the thing that mair maks ma hert sink is the sound o gunfire, for I ken the wee craiturs are bein forced tae tak wing anely tae be a target for sae-cawed sportsmen.

I’v been agin field sports aw ma days, an whiles I ken it’s big business, an about makkin siller, I hae tae say, I will niver unnerstaund hou onybody could tak pairt in sic delíberate destruction an cry it sport. But thare’s a hale industry dedicatit tae it; the shootin estates e’en proscribin tae thirsels whit ither craiturs alangside thair sportin targets should be allou’t tae live or dee. Sae it’s aye guid whan sic muckle pouer gets cawed tae account; brocht intae the licht for a bit o closer scrutiny as happent in the last week or twa, wi a video makkit on the fly in Januar on the grouse muirs an gied tae the BBC by an ainimal richts chairity.

Onybody wi e’en the tottiest bit o compassion couldnae help but be scunnert at the film shawin the sýstematic killin in muckle nummers o our ain muntain hares. Craiturs wha belangt tae Scotland; native tae the land for thousands o years. Yet the film shaws thaim bein hairrit an harassit by teams o gemmkeepers fae the private estates out at nicht on the bens whan the craiturs are gaitherin for shelter or tae scrape awa the snaw tae feed on the heather an gress. The keepers organisin thairsels in thair muckle aw-terrain caurs in sic a relentless wey as tae clear aw the wee feart beasts aff the hillside an daein it like sodgers on a military operation. The puir wee hares, frantic, wi nae wey tae get awa, bein drivin richt intae an ambush o mair gemmkeepers juist waitin tae shoot thaim deid. An if that’s no callous eneuch, settin thair dugs on the woundit anes tae fínish thaim aff. The corps gaithert up an piled intae a truck. Sic hellish destruction, an aw duin in the name o ‘estate management’. It’s hert-rendin juist tae think on it.

I’m gled tae sae thare’s been a muckle stramash ower the film, wi the scenes bein describit in the Scots Pairlament as ‘sickening slaughter’ an the First Mínister shawin she wisnae at aw happy about sic ill-farrant gaeins on, promisin tae leuk at aw the options includin a licensin scheme tae pit a stap tae sic actívities. Her wirds hae pit the wind up the gemmkeepers fae the video. Scrievin thay haed duin naething wrang nor on the fly an invitin baith the First Mínister an the Environment Secretar tae thair grund whaur thay can tak tent o hou hares are ‘managed’. Whiles weel-kent TV naituralist Chris Packham gied a warnin the beasts could be wipit out in the Southren Uplands acause o dulefu culls o this naitur. Thare’s nae dout the laund-owners will no be wantin ony chynges tae the rules sin thay can mair or less dae whit thay like the nou, bein allou’t tae shoot the hares wi’out a licence fae August tae Februar wi nae restrictions. But fowk agin it jalouse the true aim o the estates is tae hae nae hares at aw on thair managed grouse muirs.

O course the laund-owners wad claim it’s about protectin the rid grouse fae disease; ticks an the like cairit by hares, an that thay maun keepit the nummer o hares doun. Yet, the verra craiturs that by naitur wad dae juist that — the tods an futrets as weel as craws, buzzards, hen harriers, eagles an mair — are bein trappit an shot on thae estates as weel. The gemmkeepers micht want tae deny it wi regairds birds o prey like hen harriers or eagles, but as it happens aw thae craiturs are predators o rid grouse. An fine thay ken: the hen harrier is the maist persecutit o aw the raptors. An further mair, juist like the hares, grouse feed on heather an gress. Sae it leuks tae me like outside o the season whan thay get blastit out o the lift by peyin sportsmen, it’s the grouse wha maun be the ower-protectit species. Anent thay ither beasts wha bide on the estates, it’s an aw-round killin spree wi man, thair maist deidly predator.

Whit a sad state o affairs.

Elizabeth ThoumireElizabeth is an Edinburgh-born airtist drawin an paintin maistly animals an birds. Forby that, she is pairt o the organisation Hands Up For Trad wha wirk tae increase the profile an visibílity o Scottish tradítional muisic an cultur throu information, education an advocacy.

Social media thumbnail ímage: pentin by Elizabeth Thoumire

A dangerous thing wi style

Tae dae a dangerous thing wi style is whit ah caw airt — Charles Bukowski

As a scriever ye’re no meant tae read ablo-the-line o yer ain airticles, gang gallus intae yon dour Apache laund o Unicode emoticons an racist GIFs an illíterate comments bi fowk wha micht mean wan thing an micht mean anither but neither thing maks ony sense. Ye’re no meant tae dae it, ah say, but ye dae it onywey; an as a scriever o Scots ye can be gey shuir that a smaw but faithfu minority o commenters (ah’ll no say readers — wha’s got time tae read onything these days but heidlines?) are giein ye a hefty shirrackin for writin the wey ye dae.1

Sae tae be treatit like a scriever o English — that is tae say, tae tak a skelpin for whit ye actually scrievit, raither than the leid ye chose tae scrieve it in — is kind o a tonic. Somebody’s taen the time tae disagree, repone tae ye like ye war a plausible human bein raither than some wee bauchle shoutin the odds outside the Sports Direct on Argyle Street. Anither ane o Adam’s bairns is pure ragin at ye, wad tak a flier richt at ye, if they could — an, in short, ye’v duin no bad for yersel.

Like, twa-three weeks syne, sowt ah scrievit got somebody’s back up a bit, an they got wired intae the comments section wi a dissentin opínion. It wis awfu polite, ye ken. Weel-trickit, ye micht even say. Ah mean, they war talkin out their hint-end, but the thocht wis there. Ah’d hiv felt quite chuffed wi masel, if they haednae obviously got me mixed up wi ma guid fere an colleague Rab Wilson.

Weel, awricht. There’s mony a makar out there — masel includit — wha wad hae a celebratory dram gin a scribblin o theirs wis miskent for ane bi the Bard o New Cumnock. Yon’s nae calamity.2 But whit got me doun a bit wisnae the subject o the unkennin identity fraud ah’d cairit out, but the fact that a perfectly mensefu reader3 couldnae tell the odds atween twa awfu different scrievers — seein Scots, in effect, as a kind o linguistic tredmerk, like e e cummings an his lower case or David Foster Wallace an his fitnotes.4

Acause that’s whaur we are richt nou, like it or no. Scots disnae hiv styles; Scots is the style. Whether ye’re Rab Wilson or Matthew Fitt or Irvine Welsh or Hugh MacDiarmid, tae a substantial subset o the population it’s aw ane. Scots, as is, is juist a genre; which micht, dependin on the laziness o the reader, be chairacterised as ‘kailyard’ or ‘folksy’ or ‘earthily humourous’ or whitiver, but is still mair or less identifiable as a discrete tradítion, an a tradítion whase individual contríbutors are as anonymous as the compilers o the New Testament or the scrievers o auld Punch an Judy shaws.

In the same wey that Hollywood films uised tae recycle the same auld sets ower an ower again — the palace yetts, the hotel lobby, the suin tae be cowped ower saloon — ilka scriever o Modren Scots is stuck daein their wee pairty piece in front o the same exhaustit bourach o deid or deein ímages. That’s chyngin — a bit — thanks tae outlats like The National an Bella Caledonia an Mak Forrit, whaur sic hithertae virgin subjects as economics an current affairs an gender politics are nou bein scrievit about in braid Scots. But whit Scots needs — whit ony leid needs, an whit the current state o Scots is a cautionary tale regairdin — isnae juist new things tae scrieve about; it’s new weys o scrievin them.

Saul Bellow ance glaikitly speirt whaur the Hemingway o the Zulus wis. G. K. Chesterton lauched aff the notion that the Chinese micht iver produce a Wordsworth.5 Lat alane the cultural insensitivity o the question for nou, an speir yersel: whit about Scots? Whaur’s our F. Scott Fitzgerald? Whaur’s our Virginia Woolf? An, mair importantly, hou will we find them? Hou dae we bend the leid awa fae its present gate; a gemm-chyngin makar ilka twa hunner year, an naething but saund inatween?

The central tension o Modren Scots is that, for want o ony ither viable authority, the responsibílity for representin an codifyin its scrievit form haes fawin tae the verra fowk wha are in the warst posítion tae dae it: the scrievers.6 The writers wha should be stormin the tours insteid hae been left mannin them; airtists wind up as advocates; an makars are laundit wi the psychic cost o scrievin warks that act príncipally as their ain glossars. The pressure on ony Scots writer tae conform tae a uniform ideal o the leid is enormous7 tae the pynt that it drives out aw ither consíderations. The Faulkner o Fawkirk wad niver hiv been alloued tae scrieve ‘The Sound and the Fury’, nor Glesga’s Ginsberg ‘Howl’, nor the Joyce o Johnstone ‘Ulysses’. It couldnae hiv happent, acause fowk wad hae duin their bunnets8 about whit it meant for the Scots leid. Currently, the primary function o a wark in Modren Scots is tae evangelise for Modren Scots — an ettlin at which nane o the scrievers abuin wad iver hae strived or succeedit. ‘Ceptin mebbes by producin somethin o lastin vailue in the leid, if that counts for owt.9

A fair bittie o whit ah’m mumpin about, ah jalouse, is juist the sílencin effects o capitalism, scrievit about mony pairts elsewhaur bi thinkers cantier than masel. Mercat forces hiv pit the leid’s airm up its back, for shuir, but there’s as much pynt girnin about that as there is complainin that the air’s no got eneuch oxygen in it or the muin’s no a muckle chocolate orange. If there’s onything we can dae tae keep the leid alive, it’ll need tae stairt a wee bit smawer than social revolution, a wee bit muckler than ‘Downfall’ memes.

Scots scrievin is hingin on in there, but it’s in intensive care. The first team squad is as strang as it’s been in a while; the forementioned Welsh, Wilson an Fitt, Liz Lochhead an James Kelman an Stuart Paterson an Chris McQueer, Ally Heather an Ashley Douglas an Antonia Uri, Itchy Coo an James Robertson an Matthew Mackie an Michael Dempster an Hamish Macdonald… an that’s aff the tap o ma heid an nae dout lea’s out a hantle o fowk.10 That’s a group that should provide style eneuch for onybody. But ah’m aye mindit how guid the Leeds United squad wis juist afore they went bust.

The talent is there, an mebbe ayeweys haes been. Whit’s needit nou, aye, is tae support these fowk; an tae dae that, amang sindry ither weys, bi lattin them the hell alane. Lea them tae get on wi pushin the limits o the leid, an stap thristin ontae them the burden o preservation forby. We cannae hae a meaninfu leid wi’out a meaninfu líteratur; an we cannae hae a meaninfu líteratur wi’out scrievers wha are alloued tae be scrievers first an language activists a distant saxt. There’s a wheen o fowk out there wha’v got muckle ideas about whit they’d dae if they war in chairge o Scots — weel, guid. Here’s their chance. It’s past time for the makars tae muive up an muive on. As lang as the scrievers are stuck playin Gatekeeper an Keymaster baith, the maist we can howp for is that the leid steys juist whaur it is, a tradítion; no quite in assistit lívin, but no faur aff it; wi naething tae come but a couple mair generations o Scots Language Power Rangers, colour-codit scrievers distinguishable fae each ither anely bi shade an action pose.11

Niver mind the Creative Scotland definítions; tae dae a dangerous thing wi style is airt. An whit could be mair dangerous tae ony scriever than tae thraw ower the hale global jingbang, this readership o potential billions that we’v aw got access tae, an scrieve anely in this disreputable, deein leid o ours, for a haundfu o radges an a skailin o bawbees? Stephen King could write for a hunner years an niver rin the thing close — but scrieve in Scots, ma fríends, an ye’re haufgates tae maiterin. Aw ye need than is a wee bit style, an that’s a thing ye can pick up juist about onywhaur. Check out the outlaws, check out the dugs. Check out the tramps an the ticket inspectors, the fowk wha’v got somethin at stake. Than get up on that bollard at Sports Direct an staund an sing yer hert out.

Thomas ClarkThomas Clark is a makar an scriever fae the Scottish Borders. He is praisently editor o Scots at Bella Caledonia, an poet-in-residence at Selkirk FC. He gabs awa at an on Twitter: @clashcityclarky.

Naewey tae bide

It’s impossible tae unnerstaund fit it feels like tae hae naewey tae bide. But, juist shut yer een; tak a míntie tae imaigine fou it maun feel tae nae hae a comfy sofa tae come hame an park yer bahookie on efter a lang, haurd day; nae telly tae watch daft programmes on whilst ye ham in tae yer warm maet keukit in a convenient kitchen ben the hous. Think fit it maun be like tae nae hae a cosy bed far ye can pit yer heid doun fan ye want naething mair than a decent kip.

Sadly, for a lairge nummer o Scots fowk, they dinna hae tae imaigine this scenario because it’s their reality. In 2016-17, there wis mair than 34,000 hameless applications made in Scotland. Aamaist the same amount o fowk fa mak up the population o Fawkirk or Stirlin. A hertbraken nummer.

Things div seem tae be gettin a wee bittie better, fouiver, compare’t tae 2005-6, fan this nummer reached ower 60,000. The raison for this could pairtially be that fowk seem tae be becomin mair conscious about the problem. Ah hiv certainly seen a chynge in attitudes taewart hameless fowk sin ah wis a young quinie.

Haud on readin . . . “Naewey tae bide”

Cultural diversity outthrou time an place

Thare is ither places the warld ower, an ither times outthrou history, wi differs: whiles it’s ither places we’v niver been tae (A’v niver been tae Oceania, for ensaumple) an whiles it’s e’en places we’v niver haurd o (maist fowk haesnae haurd o the island whaur A’m steyin, Réunion). As for ither times, thay can shaw differs an aw, whither it’s times we can mind wirsels, times we can project wirsels intae (sae the naur futur) or times remote fae wir ain experience.

Sae, aw in aw, we arenae alane in wir ain cultur nor in wir ain pynt in time.

Tae some stent, we’re mindit on ither times an places ilka day, but we’re aften mindit o the same times an the same places, whan thare a fair braider spectrum o existence available. The focus is mainly on recent epochs an dominant kintras, yer superpouers o the day: wir attention is a fair feck mair aften focussed on modren-day Americae as on New Guinea or the Mbuti; though, sae we’ll see later in this airticle, it isnae acause thir ither fowks dinnae hae things tae shaw us. Haud on readin . . . “Cultural diversity outthrou time an place”