Sunday, October 30, 2011

Real and imagined horrors for Halloween


First you, then the Sunday sailors, then the gay brides.

Last year it was multiculturalism and for some timid souls, that's a bogeyman that will never go away. It shouldn't be but as guising time and dooking time comes round once again, there are new fears to contend with. How many of them really stand the test though?

First of has to be...

Gay marriage. As someone who sees the 'institution' of marriage as outdated, unnecessary and generally about as relevant to modern society as the Scottish Labour Party then I fail to understand the clamour by some gay and lesbian people to be involved in a system of belief that generally despises them. However, should some people wish to believe that their love needs to be 'officially sanctioned' in some god's eyes then go for it. The point for some though is that this actually threatens the foundations of our society. How? One person's choice of sexuality or celebration of it has as much bearing on my life as their bowel movements. If I don't worry about someone's toiletry habits then why should their bedroom habits or love-life matter? Get over it or else choose other cherries from god's word to pick like... waging a war on tattoos, masturbation, menstruation, working on a Sunday or promoting incest (see Lot et al...)

Hey! Some people already wage a war on Sabbath breakers. The 'Tartan Taleban' would be a fitting term for them if only the word 'tartan' didn't conjure up an image of colour. For, in the dour world of Scots Presbyterianism, people shouldn't be free to work, play or even travel on the Sabbath. Hence the dire warnings of impending doom from the Bible bashing lobby over the new Sunday sailings of Cal Mac ferries on the Isle of Harris. The warnings are that allowing people to think for themselves and decide whether or not to travel, work, play or go to church will lead to a 'change of life' for Hebridean islands like Harris. There are some difficulties with this approach though. One, other Hebridean islands such as Barra, Tiree or Islay have not been overrun by sodomites, goat worshippers or Islamists despite Sunday sailings and indeed all three of these islands are as traditional as they were ten years ago. Two, I am not sure of where the Abrahamic god of the King James' Bible decrees that the Sabbath be kept holy in order to maintain a quiet and rural way of life in the Western Isles. If Sabbatarian travel restrictions are to be applied to Lewis or Harris, then why not to Glasgow, Edinburgh or even London?

No jobs in Caithness for Norse speaking Picts then?
Next up is Gaelic in Caithness. Incredibly, the past and present Gaelic culture of Caithness is a persistent problem to some Highland councillors there. First they objected to bilingual roadsigns, claiming that 'Gaelic was never spoken in Caithness' despite the last native speaker of the Caithness dialect of Gaelic being recorded by the School of Scottish Studies in the 1950s and the whole county being littered with Gaelic placenames. Not only that, but because of Gaelic in-migration from other parts of Scotland and local Gollachs learning the auld tongue, Caithness has a Gaelic present too. However, even the one Caithness councillor who now accepts Highland Council's Gaelic plan still claims that Caithness only has 'Norse and Pictish' heritage. This is very handy as it means they can just leave the dead languages in the past. Or are the Caithness councillors going to show us exactly what they're doing to advance Caithness' Norse and Pictish culture? And, virtually every part of Scotland could claim the same heritage. Furthermore, if the Picts adopted the Gaelic language - see the The New History of the Picts for more on this - which was probably very close to their own, why can't modern day beancounters and bigots in Caithness?

Its somewhat fitting that auld terrors are revived now and again, like zombies, to scare the populace. One of these is Gypsy travellers (see excellent article in Bella here). In an age where naked bigotry against blacks, Asians, Jews and gays has more or less been banished to a lunatic fringe, bigotry against Gypsies is still tolerated. Ordinary white English villagers took exception to some Gypsy travellers having redeveloped a derelict scrapyard and demanded that they be turfed out onto the roads whereby they could then be hounded by different authorities using slightly different laws. It seems as if some of the travellers may have broken the law on occasion. Something that never happens at any level of ordinary English society, be it the lager louts at the bottom of the pile or the fraudulent lying MPs at the top.

Lady killers. Unfortunately, a very real threat to half the population. Labour's very own loose cannon and London hardman Jim, er,  Ian Davidson may fantasise about giving female SNP MPs 'a doing' but other nutjobs take it all the way. This sorry state of affairs gives the usual right-wing tabloid brigade another opportunity to gie it laldie with the flamethrower of prejudice. Disappointingly for the Daily Star, Express, Scotsman, Mail and others most misogynists and murderers are home grown 'Brits'. Therefore, any attempt is made to disown the suspect. 'Look, he can't be one of us... he... er he's... a GOTH!' Or maybe he once attended a Gin Goblins concert. Listens to Marilyn Manson. Smoked dope? Defo. Or, as in the case of Chris Jeffries, he happened to be old, eccentric and in possession of a face that only a mother could love. Unfortunately for the moral crusaders of the Brit tabloids, looking like the bastard son of the Grinch and Archie MacPherson does not a murderer make. Fortunately, the cops eventually saw past the hatred and hysteria that was whipped up by scummy tabloid journos, who most folk would agree are themselves only one step above murderers and other such low life on the ladder of public esteem.

Lastly, as if the guy in the sky wasn't busy enough dealing with gay marriage and Sunday ferries, his self-appointed propagandists on earth are agonising over what do with the Occupy London protesters outside St Pauls in London, Some of the godly few in the Church of England have shown support for protesters who they view as embodying the principles of Jesus. Others in the church have taken a more traditional Christian view and called for God to smite them or else to manifest himself in the shape of the Metropolitan Police, wade in and introduce skull to righteous truncheon. The church has also suppressed a report that is critical of the greed and moral standards of bankers. Its only days since Gaddafi was killed at the hands of a mob apparently seeking vengeance for years of brutality - or else incited by French agents and oil-loving NATO types. Whatever, his spirit lives on in the wounds of those peaceful and unarmed protesters shot by rubber bullets in the past few days.

They said that the world would be a better place if Bin Laden was killed, Saddam seen to and Gaddafi gubbed. Thatcher sorted out the unions. Labour gave our schools and hospitals to the private sector. David Cleggeron said that we were all in it together. Despite all this, er, progress... fear still reigns.

Enjoy those pumpkins.

Monday, October 24, 2011

We are Hibernian


Poor Hibs need the support. Calderwood just ain't doing it and attendances have fallen to around 8K. However my loyalties and long gone family lie in the west of the city with a club not short of its own problems. The empty seats at Easter Road won't see my arse for a while. Despite being an armchair supporter of Hearts, my tribalistic quotient is pretty low and I'm a firm believer that fitba fans should follow their local team. Any glory hunter in Edinburgh, Kilmarnock, Ayr, Stirling, Inverness, Fife or Perth can easily get on a train with a one-way ticket to revel in the 'glory' and imagined cultures of the Old Firm in Glasgow. It doesn't make you part of the glory though.

Hibs too are a Scottish club with Irish roots like Dundee Utd and the now defunct Dumbarton Harp. However, unlike Celtic FC, Hibernian who pre-date Celtic by a few years, are a Scottish club who celebrate and remember their roots without letting it fester into a peculiar anti-Scottish racism.

We are Hibernian looks at the experiences and memories of a wide variety of Hibs' supporters, including one or two well kent faces from the worlds of of music, art and literature. Ask Santa for it.


Are we no in the book?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Colonel is dead - let the vultures descend



In the Corporation where I used to work, one guy used the word 'Colonel' as rhyming slang for a half-day. 'Halfie' rhymes with Gaddafi, see? Its funny the things that come to mind when you see endless mobile phone videos of an ageing leader of his nation being hounded by bloodthirsty liberators before being summarily executed against the conventions of warfare.


Sure, Gaddafi was an evil bastard who for much of his 42 year reign tortured and killed his own people. However, this didn't seem to matter when he shook hands with Blair, Sarkozy, Obama or Berlusconi or dined with Condoleeza. More importantly for short-term economic gain, his evil deeds were ignored when signing business deals. Even supplying him with weapons or sending the SAS to train his 'elite' forces was not beyond the pale.

It doesn't seem to bode well the 'emerging' democratic Libya that they kick it off by murdering one of their own. Though to be fair, the idea that the West sees suspects as innocent until proven guilty or that the West values liberty and democracy, does seem to be very flexible in its definition. And here, I'm thinking about Turkey's continuing Apartheid-like state and treatment of the Kurds. Or maybe China and its own massacre of freedom-seeking protesters. Or Russia and its slaughter of Chechnyans. I guess the morals of the US, UK and France do not stretch to reprimanding those nations that are bigger or richer than us.

The usual London-based right-wing tabloids gloated over the bloody death of Gaddafi. But surely they're fooled if they don't think there's a sizable percentage of 'Brits' who'd eagerly deal out the same fate to Thatcher, Blair, Cameron or Clegg. Barack Obama may still be a hero some deluded 'progressives' but for how much longer? Noam Chomsky has already observed that under Bush, troublesome international boat-rockers were merely tortured. Under Obama, they're just executed like Al Awlaki and Bin Laden. See interview here from Russia Today.

The US's arm continues to be a long one. Sometimes, it just holds a puppet as we saw with French aircraft targeting Gaddafi's convoy as it fled Sirte. How can the attack on a fleeing 'enemy' coincide with the UN resolution to protect Libyan civilians? And what of the Libyan civilians who supported Gaddafi?

If anyone seriously thought that Barack Obama would bring a change to international politics and the cessation of US aggression to protect 'US interests' then think again. Remember, Margaret Thatcher too broke a conservative taboo. Having a woman prime minster was a step forward. With Thatcher though we then took several steps back. Will having a black US president be another game of snakes-and-ladders?

Lastly, our enterprise in Libya has cost us some £300million. Will the ConDems of London spend a similar amount to protect public services and jobs during a recession? Aye right. Though, I guess that Cameron is banking on the carve-up of war-ravaged Libya giving a valuable boost to British companies eager to profit from 're-building'. Or, maybe that Libyan oil will flow just a little easier our way. Then, a 'victorious' and canny Cameron can boast of his exploits in defeating Gaddafi and 'creating' wealth for Brits in his attempt to become a UK Prime Minister that really is democratically elected.

Some interesting reading btw...

The Libya Secret: How West Cooked Up “People’s Uprising”

BEHIND LIBYA’S “SPONTANEOUS REVOLUTION”
What the media has so relentlessly characterized as the “spontaneous uprising” of February 2011 was hardly spontaneous. It began even before the Arab Spring itself commenced in Tunisia during December of last year—and it was orchestrated by the West.

In October 2010, Qaddafi’s protocol chief, Nouri Al-Mesmari, arrived in France, purportedly for medical treatment. But he had his family with him, and the declared reason for his trip was a cover story. He almost immediately plunged into talks with the French and their intelligence service. He argued that Qaddafi was weak. He pointed out breaches in Qaddafi’s national security shield that made it possible to take him down. (More on this can be found on the subscription-newsletter site “Africa Intelligence.”)
 And this from Asia Times Online: Why Gaddafi got a red card
The Sunni monarchical dictator in Bahrain stays; no "humanitarian" bombs over Manama, no price on his head. The House of Saud club of dictators stays; no "humanitarian" bombs over Riyadh, Dubai or Doha - no price on their Western-loving gilded heads. Even the Syrian dictator is getting a break - so far.

So the question, asked by many an Asia Times Online reader, is inevitable: what was the crucial red line crossed by Gaddafi that got him a red card?


'Revolution' made in France
 
There are enough red lines crossed by The Big G - and enough red cards - to turn this whole computer screen blood red.

Let's start with the basics. The Frogs did it. It's always worth repeating; this is a French war. The Americans don't even call it a war; it's a "kinetic action" or something. The "rebel" Transitional National Council" (TNC) is a French invention.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Liam Fox: lest we forget


Excellent and interesting piece here by radical political sudger Ian Bone on the serial liar Liam Fox. Is there absolutely anything we should trust about this chancer?


This article is now a few years old, but it has been updated.

We know we’re on safe ground calling former Tory leadership candidate and now Snooty Cameron’s Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox – MP for Woodspring – a liar because the Courts have already decided he is one. In 2004 he was successfully sued for libel by Labour MP Martin Salter and ordered to pay £60,000 damages.
But we can now exclusively reveal that Liam has also been spectacularly “economical with the truth” in carefully constructing – in romantic soft focus – an “Indiana Jones meets Cassanova” public image for himself.
Peter Hennessy wrote in the Daily Telegraph in 2005 that “Dr Fox has been dogged by persistent rumours about his sexuality – as is often the case with Tory ‘bachelors’ in their 40s. “But,” went on Hennessy, “He has now put this to rest by announcing his engagement to Jesme Baird.”
It’s amazing how Tory leadership contests – William Hague anyone? – bring out the need in candidates to propose to their “long-term” girlfriends to squash those gay rumours and keep up the family man image for the blue rinse brigade.
Now we don’t give a flying fuck about Dr. Fox’s sexuality – that’s his business. But the politically convenient proposal to Jesme fits in a pattern of using women – from Natalie Imbruglia to Mother Teresa – to further his political career.
Famously – because it was peddled to many newspapers – Liam Fox was “once linked to the singer Natalie Imbruglia”, was “romantically linked to Natalie Imbruglia”, was “seen out with Natalie Imbruglia”, “lists among his friends Natalie Imbruglia” and on and on. How did this unlikely pairing of the former Neighbours rock chick and Liam come about?
Well, according to Liam, he was sent a pre-release copy of Natalie’s first album and sent back a few helpful thoughts on the tracks he’d heard – as you do! Natalie was so delighted to be given such unsolicited singing tuition from someone she’d never heard of that she immediately gave him credits on the album.
From these notes – carefully brought to press attention – Dr. Fox was able to construct his subsequent image as romantically linked to Imbruglia and “sexiest MP” and “ladies man”. The truth is that the whole story was contrived by a go-between with Imbruglia’s management and it’s doubtful if Dr. Fox met Imbruglia more than once. According to his latest spin “he still remains in touch with her” which must be very gratifying to her husband!
But Natalie was a mere wayside halt for Liam the Lothario! He is also friends with “Cindy from Eastenders” and – wait for it – Mother Tersesa!! Yes folks, “Liam lists among his friends Cindy from Eastenders and Mother Teresa”. There is no suggestion by Liam – even the Liar has limits – that he was “romantically linked” to Mother Teresa or that she was his “former love interest”. So how did yet another unlikely friendship develop? Did she send him a prayer and ask for his advice on it?
No. It materialises that Liam wrote her a letter – unsolicited again – and… wait for it… “she replied”!!! In Liam the Liar’s book that’s friendship!!! He never even met this imaginary friend. Never mind. Liam now has Natalie and Cindy on one arm and for added gravitas Mother (call me Teri) Teresa on the other.
But there’s more. We are told Liam goes to Stringfellows and – wait for it – “is friends with tennis players”!!! Who’s that then? A couple of old blokes knocking it about in Yatton?
Teasingly we cannot be told who these “tennis players” are – but – nudge, wink – we are led to think it might well be Maria Sharapinova or Andre Aggassi who Liam hangs out with. Certainly not little Jimmy from Easton-in-Gordano anyway. In fact the only people Liam doesn’t boast about meeting are his constituents!
But there’s more to Liam than posing in Stringfellows with supermodels. According to his admirers at The Sun – who can spot a fellow right wing nut job when they see one – “Liam enjoys daredevil pursuits”. Even more he enjoys telling us about them… Often. His PR tells us “Liam went sky-diving with Tesco check-out women” and has “been wing-walking on planes”. Blimey! Indiana Jones or Zorro or wot? Surprised he didn’t pick up the Holy Grail while he was at it!
You see, nothing undramatic ever happens to Liam. Even his medical interests are dramatic. Asked a simple question on mental illness Liam replied that he “had a friend who killed his wife during the last world cup”. Why did he feel the need to add the world cup detail? Does it add anything we need to know rather than making Dr. Fox seem even more exciting ‘cos his mates top their wives during penalty shoot-outs?
During his time as a junior hospital doctor in Glasgow Liam claims to have worked a 94 hour shift during which he performed nine caesareans with no sleep at all. Often this goes up or down a few hours but remarkable, all the same, to have performed nine non-elective caesareans in casualty in so few hours. But it was even more dramatic. He was working there at the time of the notorious Glasgow ice-cream wars and dealt with the horrific casualties. Whether this was at the same time as the caesareans is not clear – but, by golly, you wouldn’t put it past the fellow! Dr.Kildare meets Quincy!
And Dr. Fox has a remarkable record of saving people in dramatic circumstances. In the last year alone he has stumbled across four collapsed and dying strangers who he has had time to revive before getting his PR to phone the media to announce the latest miracle to an astonished world.
Good Samaritan, Indiana Jones, Quincy, Dr. Kildare, Simon Cowell, Peter Stringfellow, Zorro – Liam Fox is all of these. Of course we could also add hypocrite.
Dr. Fox’s wife-to-be works for the Roy Castle Lung Foundation and Dr.Fox has railed against the health effects of smoking. But did that stop the good doctor meeting his tennis chums at Wimbledon one year in a hospitality box sponsored by… Imperial Tobacco?
More worryingly he is also a right-wing ideologue in hoc to George Bush and his bunch of neo-cons and aims to re-create the American religious right in Britain.
Research in Dr. Fox’s private office is financed by Atlantic Bridge a UK-US think tank funded by Pfizer (the American pharmaceutical giant named as one of the ten worst companies in the world, accused of fraudulent and deceptive practices – how very appropriate!).
Atlantic Bridge – with the good doctor Fox at the helm – aims to recreate the golden age of the Thatcher-Reagan conservative axis across the pond.
During the last election Fox had seconded to him a leading Republican election strategist from George Bush’s team. Fox has been in Washington with Karl Rove, George Bush’s right hand man through whom he managed to get his George Bush photo opportunity for his leadership bid.
This is enough, presumably, to make George Bush a “close friend” to Liam’s way of thinking – but “not dating” officially just yet!
Incidently, Fox’s Thatcher admiration – she’s with him on Atlantic Bridge – knows no bounds. At her 80th birthday party the ever-pushy Dr. Fox tried to take over the lead singing of Happy Birthday to Thatcher from David Davis. Tory Blair had to step in to separate the squabbling brown nosers and lead the singing himself!
The cunning Fox is also leader of the Cornerstone Group of Tory MPs that calls for abortion time limits of 12 weeks and is against equal gay rights. After some hesitancy – caused by Fox’s pivotal role in the mendacious sacking of their euro-sceptic chum Howard Flight before the last election – the Cornerstone group rallied to Fox’s cause.
Who else might join them? Well Liam the Liar has this to say about his pal Lord Archer the perjuror, “the Tories would consider sympathetically any application by Lord Archer to rejoin the party”. It was Fox who warmly welcomed Archer at Thatcher’s birthday shindig – also finding to time to welcome the 90 year old Jack Profumo! What a nest of charlatans!
Like Archer, Fox has trouble distinguishing fact from fiction in his biography. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph he said, “Both my grandparents were miners”. Did they allow women down the pits then or do they just not count? He continued that “20 years ago it would have been impossible for someone from my background to be Chairman of the Tory Party”. The interviewer pointed out that Lord Tebbitt was Chairman 20 years ago. “Well 30 years ago no one from my background could become a Tory Prime Minister”. But Ted Heath’s dad was a builder pointed out the interviewer again. “Well 40 years ago…” countered Fox.
For Liam the Liar the truth is sure as hell inconvenient!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gaelic Scrabble agus...


 According to John Angus MacKay of Bord na Gàidhlig, only 'the chattering classes' continue to deride Gaelic with snide comments in the media. Chattering in the Queen's English or Caithness English even, will only get you so far though. Some of those who chatter in Gaelic are now letting their actions do the talking. As the late Iain Noble would say, 'S e am beul a labhras, ach an gnìomh a dhearbhas'.

Yon language activist and ICT-whizz at Akerbeltz has been at it again. Not content with providing the world with Mozilla Firefox in Gaelic, he has now given us online 3D Scottish Scrabble. I've yet to download it and play it but I've got no doubt that this will be a cool way for the Tocasaid offspring to practise their Gaelic phonics. Check it out here, go to the bar on the left entitled program download:


More installation info here on Foram na Gàidhlig:

The most interesting thing is that all this is the work of one committed Gaelic speaker and activist. Unfortunately, the investigative journalism of the Daily Express or Edinburgh Evil News doesn't stretch to finding out about Gaels who don't use tax payers' money.

It was a similar community-minded initiative that gave us Google in Gaelic too:

http://www.google.com/webhp?hl=gd

Gaelic has no 'word' for chili-con-carne nor for karaoke

In a slightly different language domain, I hear that Oi Polloi have finally finished work on another full length recording of several brand new raucous punk rock songs all written in the Scottish language. Again, tax payers' money doesn't seem to have played a part in the band getting together and using their Gaelic. As of yet, they have still to provide a Scottish-language update of their classic singalong anthem, 'Fuck Everybody who Voted Tory'. Perhaps Bord na Gàidhlig could help out here? 'Dùisg!' is due out next year. From Wiki:

Oi Polloi started singing in Scottish Gaelic in 1996, recording the Carson? EP, (released 2003), then recording and releasing the full length LP "Ar Ceòl Ar Cànan Ar-A-Mach" in 2006. They use the language in day-to-day communications. They see the use of Gaelic and other endangered languages as important to maintaining the biocultural diversity of life. They toured Europe with Seattle-based punk band Mill a h-Uile Rud, who sing only in Scottish Gaelic, and Les Ramoneurs de menhirs, who mostly sing in Breton. The band are currently in the process of finishing their second full-length Gaelic LP Duisg!, set to be released on Mayday 2012.
Lastly, it should be stated that I am actually in favour of more of that precious tax-payers' money being spent on our indigenous language. It is refreshing that the powers that be have finally made a commitment to increase the number of pupils entering Gaelic-medium education. There is a mountain of evidence to show that kids not only have the ability to acquire at least 2 or 3 languages from early childhood but that they benefit from it. Plus, its not rocket science to see that educating kids to be literate and conversant in 2 or 3 languages is better value for money than teaching them only one. Linguists will also tell you that there is also no such thing as a 'useless' language even though some tongues are lesser spoken than others. Using that argument, you might as well say that Dutch  is also a 'minority' tongue as it is to some extent as rare as Gaelic on the world stage. Further, if Dutch, Danish and Swedish speakers also speak excellent English why should they bother with their native tongues?

The multi-faceted value of bilingualism has finally been given some time of day in Edinburgh Council's education department who say that Edinburgh's Gaelic school will open in August 2013. There is the small matter of an increased grant from Riaghaltas na h-Alba to cover the alleged damage caused by vandals to the 'mothballed' Bonnington School. This leads me to ask, does Edinburgh Council not insure its properties like ordinary people have to? If you too would like answers to this, why not ask for them at:

 or

Next...the Republican National Mod opens in Stornoway...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Auld Songs for Scottish Studies: Fichead Bliadhna


Surely it is a human right for children to be educated about their own nation and culture, especially if part of their indigenous culture is a marginalised one. I have long wished for Scottish education to come up with something like 'Scottish Studies', if only to counteract the ignorance that regularly surfaces in our media regarding Scotland and her history and culture. This naked and shameless ignorance was this week displayed by two of our politicians - one a Tory and the other claiming to be a Scottish nationalist.

Gaelic was never spoken here...
Jackson Carlaw, a candidate for the leadership of the Toxic Party in Scotland and SNP MSP Paul Wheelhouse - that's him above with more hair than historical accuracy - both claimed that Gaelic was 'never' spoken in the south of Scotland. No evidence was offered for this probably because all evidence points to Gaelic being spoken throughout the Lowlands at one point or another. For example it was spoken in parts of Galloway until the 1700s with the last Gaelic speaker of Carrick reputed to be a Margaret McMurray who lived until the time of Robert Burns' birth. It survived on Lomondside, Stirlingshire, Aberdeenshire and Perthshire until recent decades. Despite this Wheelhouse oiled the wheels of the Scottish-cringe bandwagon and Carlaw gleefully hauled his rotund frame aboard with his usual baggage of ignorance and bigotry to deride Scotrail for having the nerve to put Scottish language on their station signs. And all this... in Scotland!

Can't these tax-paying rebellious Scots be crushed or something? Or else, could some lackey burn down their houses again and hoof them off to Canada? Certainly, Carlaw is regarded as something of a 'loose cannon', even amongst Tories, and has form on the racist front.

...nor here.
Whatever, its a topic that's been oft covered here. Most of the opposition to Scottish kids learning about Scotland has unsurprisingly come from Labour and Tory. Is the 'Union' so worth saving that it means that ordinary Scots will be impoverished because of tribal party loyalty? Paul Wheelhouse proves though that ignorance and stupidity is not the preserve of one party.

This auld sang is very apt. Runrig again. It lays bare the attitudes of the Anglicised education system in Scotland until at least the 1970s. The process that started in the 1600s when Inglis was renamed 'Scots' and Scottish as 'Gaelic' reached its nadir during a century of clearance aimed primarily at the Celtic or 'Erse' speaking population. The bitterness of those in power towards the 'barbarity' of the indigenous Scots language and its speakers continued after the Clearances with Gaelic speaking children variously having skulls hung around their necks, being belted or caned or just being ridiculed. As a policy, it was very effective. Even in areas of Scotland that were Gaelic speaking within the past century, some locals will confidently tell you that 'Gaelic was not spoken here'. Even some older Gaels still wonder at why people would actually want to learn Gaelic.

This was Runrig's 'Another Brick in the Wall' and it was born of first-hand experience. Even to some Scots, we are just Porridge Wogs. Fichead Bliadhna...
Ruith's a mhonadh
Ruith nam beann
'S mar sin dhan sgoil aig deireadh samhraidh
'Nar clann
Aig coig bliadhna dh'aois
'S gun facal Beurla 'nar ceann

Seo do leabhar
Sea do pheann
"Dean do leasan," thuirt iad riumsa
" 'S gunn eirich sibh suas anns an t-saoghal
'S gheibh sibh an adhart ann

Fichead bliadhna'airson firinn
B'fheudar dhomh feitheamh
'S b'fheudar dhomh lorg
Fichead bliadhn' de bhreugan
Thug iad eachdraidh air falbh bhuainn

Dh'ionnsaich sinn a leithid ann
Canan's bardachd, bardachd Bheurla
Ceol na Gearmailt
Eachdraidh na Spainnt
'S b'e sin an eachdraidh mheallt

Bhon sgoil do'n oilthigh chaidh sinn ann
A' leantail foghlum, tuilleadh foghlum
Mar amadan air deiradh streang
Seorsa de dh'fhoghlum 'nam cheann

Fichead bliadhna'airson firinn
B'fheudar dhomh feitheamh
'S b'fheudar dhomh lorg
Fichead bliadhn' de bhreugan
Thug iad eachdraidh air falbh bhuainn

Ach dh'eirich mi suas anns an t-saoghal
Fhuair mi deise, 's fhuair mi leine
Fhuair mi aite ann an suilean dhaoin
Fada bhon mhonadh mi'n drasd

Carson a chùm iad eadchraidh bhuainn
Innsidh mi dhut, tha iad gealltach
Mas èirich clann nan Gaidheal suas
Le ceistean sireach is cruaidh

Fichead bliadhna'airson firinn
B'fheudar dhomh feitheamh
'S b'fheudar dhomh lorg
Fichead bliadhn' de bhreugan
Thug iad eachdraidh air falbh bhuainn

Nuair a thoisich mi air lorg
Cha do chreid mi mo shuilean
Obair olc

Freedom of the moor
Freedom of the hill
And then to school at the end of summer
Children,
Five years of age,
Without many words of English

"Here is your book
Here is your pen”
Study hard that's what they told me
"And you will rise up in the world
You will achieve"

Twenty years for the truth
I had to wait
I had to search
Twenty years of deceit
They denied me knowledge of myself

I learned many things
The English language, the poetry of England
The music of Germany
The history of Spain
And even that was a misleading history

Then on to further education
Following education, more education
Like puppets on the end of a string
Our heads filled with a sort of learning

Twenty years for the truth
I had to wait
I had to search
Twenty years of deceit
They denied me knowledge of myself

And I did rise in the world
I found my suit, I found my shirt
I found a place in the eyes of men
Well away from the freedom of the moor

But why did they keep our history from us?
I'll tell you they are frightened
In case the children of Gaeldom awaken
With searching and penetrating questions

Twenty years for the truth
I had to wait
I had to search
Twenty years of deceit
They denied me knowledge of myself
"Many a thing I have seen in my own day and generation. I have seen the townships swept, and the holdings being made of them. The people being driven out of the countryside to the streets of Glasgow and to the wilds of Canada, such as them that did not die of hunger and plague and smallpox while going across the ocean. I have seen the women putting the children in the carts which were being sent from Benbecula and the Iochdar to Loch Boisdale, while their husbands lay bound in the pen and were weeping beside them, without power to give them a helping hand, though the women themselves were crying aloud and their little children wailing like to break their hearts. I have seen the big strong men, the champions of the countryside, the stalwarts of the world, being bound on Loch Boisdale quay and cast into the ships as would be done to a batch of horses or cattle in the boat. The bailiffs and the constable and the policemen gathered behind them in pursuit of them. The God of life and He only knows all the loathsome work of men on that day."