Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Criticise Gaelic broadcasting and the "Gaelic Mafia" rears its ugly head!

My last article was about the recently-launched BBC Alba, a development which I regard as fundamentally positive - because it provides a suitable widely-available channel for those who wish to view it to watch programmes in the Gaelic language, but at the same time should relieve other channels (for example BBC2) of the need to broadcast in that language, in my opinion, except in exceptional cases.

Whilst I accept that some may hold different views on this matter, I object very strongly to comments from two of the three persons who chose to comment upon what I write that if I didn't like Gaelic-language broadcasts on BBC2, even now that BBC Alba is widely-available, I should move to England; the 3rd commenter in particular over-stepped what I consider acceptable limits in writing:

If you don't like Scottish telly, in Gaelic or English, then move to England.

- of course this goes way beyond what I wrote. I like a lot of television in Scotland, but even if I didn't to basically be told to move elsewhere just to accommodate the wishes of a pretty small minority of the population (estimates are that there are 50-100,000 speakers of Gaelic in Scotland, in other words between 1 and 2 per cent of the population), speaks volumes about the attitudes of at least some of those who use Gaelic, although I hope and believe not many share these kinds of absolutist 'take it or leave it' views. I have just as much right to live in Scotland (just of course has any other citizen of the UK, whichever part of it they consider 'home'), and to state my views plainly and unequivocally, just as they do. But this is my blog and I will not be told in comments in it that I need to move from my homeland just to accommodate their small-minded prejudices. If they want to express such views, then they should start their own blogs or other means of publication to promulgate them, but I do not propose to allow my blog to be used to promulgate such small-minded and nasty views. Naturally I exclude from these remarks the comment made by the first commenter - he and I differ radically in how we see Scotland's [political] future, but his comments here and his writings in his own blog have always been expressed in a civilised manner, even when as on this particular issue our views do diverge quite a lot.

NB/ I am not permitting comments on this article (this is only the second time in over nine years I have taken this action - the only other time I have felt the need to close comments on an article here was also caused by unpleasantness in comments by Gaelic-speakers discussing the usage of Gaelic on road-signs in Scotland and who seemed unable to discuss the matter rationally without resort to abuse).