A SCOTS language campaign group is calling on the Scottish Government to use its upcoming Scottish Languages Bill to create a Scots Language Board.
Oor Vyce, a group consisting of activists from academia, the arts, media and politics, is arguing that the Scottish Government should emulate parts of existing Gaelic policy to put in place a similar public body for Scots.
Gaelic currently has Bòrd na Gàidhlig, a public agency created in 2006 by the previous administration to secure the status of Gaelic. The board has an annual budget of more than £5 million.
Oor Vyce says that a board comprised of experts and stakeholders would be better placed to create “a national, strategic approach to Scots” and insulate the language from changing political circumstances.
The Bill is currently open to public consultation on the Scottish Government’s website. The consultation closes on 17 November.
Jack Capener, Oor Vyce’s founder and political officer, said years of work by campaigners had culminated in the Scottish Governement consulting on the Scottish Lanaguage Bill, and “this reflects the reflects the renaissance that the language is currently undergoing”.
Capener added: “Now we need to ensure that this Bill doesn’t just tinker around the edges. Scots needs a national strategy to bring the existing bodies under one umbrella and push for a common vision.
“Only a Scots Language Board can bring Scots from an afterthought on the fringes of ministerial briefs to the central task of an accountable group of experts.”
According to the 2011 census, Scots is spoken by around 1.5 million people in Scotland. The language varies by region, with local dialects including Doric, Shetland, Orcadian, Glasweigian and Galloway Irish.
“Scots isn’t just an important part of our heritage and history, but fundamental to the everyday lives of so many Scottish people. Protecting and promoting it is about respecting Scots speakers’ human right to have their language reflected and represented in the world around them.
Oor Vyce is calling on those with an interest in the future of Scots to respond to the Scottish Government’s ongoing consultation and make clear their views on what steps should be taken to promote and protect the language.
Capener urged the public to respond and pointed to the group’s resources.
He said: “The public can visit our website to copy and paste our stock responses for use in the consultation form. By adding all our voices together, we can show the Scottish Government that there’s an overwhelming appetite for a Scots Language Board.”
Currently, Scots language policy falls under the remit of the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.
The SNP‘s manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Parliament election committed the party to “taking action on Scots”, following a 2019 SNP conference motion which made it party policy to implement a Scots Language Board.
You can visit Oor Vyce’s website by clicking HERE.