Share |
The truths they don't want you to read....

Saturday, July 28, 2007


With the Health system in the Western Isles facing a major reorganisation; with Harris Tweed in turmoil; with the population plummeting; with decisions on major economic developments being delayed; with the air traffic service undermanned and the airport staff striking; we get this.....

The Western Isles MSP, Alasdair Allan, has written to JK Rowling's publishers asking for an edition of Harry Potter in Gaelic. The series has been translated into 50 languages, but Scots Gaelic is not among them.

"This has left many fans in Scotland who wish to read Harry Potter in their native language disappointed," he said. The fact the books had been translated into two other Celtic languages, Irish Gaelic and Welsh, made it "even more surprising".

Good to see that he has the right priorities.

Update 29/7/07: Given the interest this has generated, I've added a poll.
Just for the sake of completeness, my firm has clients who are heavily involved in the promotion and support of the Gaelic language and culture, so I'm hardly anti-Gaelic.


Anonymous said...

If you search for "Alasdair Allan" at Google, you get Stalker's bizarre messages to JK Rowling.

He, he, he!!!!

Anonymous said...

I read this post several times before deciding on a comment.
Just what is your angle? Is it that with all these problems facing the economy the MSP should not be wasting his time on trivial pursuits such as the promotion of the Gaelic language (which should be thriving in the area he serves but is still in decline)?
What I would like to know is why has the publisher already provided Irish and Welsh language versions? Is it because they were subsidised by an agency that promotes the languages or is it because there is a market there which makes it a profitable exercise? If it is the former then maybe we should consider asking Bord Na Gaidhlig to look into the possibilities of supplying something similar in Gaelic (but only if it is considered to be a worthwhile exercise in the promotion of the language). If it is the latter then we should be ashamed that we are allowing our langauge to dwindle to the point that your grandchildren (as I'm sure your youngsters will one day provide!) will live in a world where the last Gaelic speaker finally passes - and the language with them (apparently there was an attempt to revive native Cornish but it came 80 years after the last speaker of the language had died. I hope that is not the future of Gaelic).
So is AA wasting his time pursuing an improvement for our native language and why can't he do that and still carry out the rest of the tasks you mention?
I make this point as a supporter of the Gaelic language and not, necessarily, in favour of the work of the MSP

don mac said...

It really does make me want to weep.

So, apart from modifying the BBC weather map, and 'rescuing' a little puppy, what have the ... etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to criticise him for probably using a 1st class stamp on the envelope instead of 2nd, thereby cheating us angry taxpayers again.

Harry Potter in Gaelic? And why not? I wonder if AA wrote any letters on other matters, or did you not bother finding out?

Trivial pursuit, Angus. Again.

Anonymous said...

So is AA wasting his time pursuing an improvement for our native language and why can't he do that and still carry out the rest of the tasks you mention?

I think the point is that he isn't carrying out any other tasks.
Self serving springs to mind

which should be thriving in the area he serves but is still in decline

The Gaelic language is the least of our worries of things in decline up here. How about focusing on the population, the birth rate, the number of jobs, the GDP etc etc then we'll worry about what language they speak shall we?

Anonymous said...

sunny side up:

"I think the point is that he isn't carrying out any other tasks."

Complete BS. Your comment is not credible and obviously springs from personal animosity towards Mr Allan.

"The Gaelic language is the least of our worries of things in decline up here."

The least of your worries, obviously. Don't speak for me.

Anonymous said...

if you google "Angus Nicolson" you get some very interesting results!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah SSU you're quite right! Why bother with something which makes our islands stand out and attracts tourists and boosts our economy. After all it was only the language of our ancestors and they're dead.
So lets just concentrate on the GDP and jobs (our native language never provided towards GDP or jobs, did it?) and in a few years we'll all be fluent in Polish!
Tha thu lan cac, tha mi a smaointean.

Anonymous said...

Have a look at Mr Allan's home page.

It's the kind of web presence that gives politicians a bad name.

At Least Mr MacNeil has avoided any kind of internet experieince.

Anonymous said...

Eyoop and PAF
You are both showing your true colours.
The Islands are for the Islanders, we don't mind the odd tourist who comes and spends some money here but we would rather wallow in self pity, open handed, receiving grants. We don't want those bloody foreigners up here, the English are bad enough let alone those Pols and Eastern Europeans, god forbid. They might actually make the place multi cultural.
If we all speak Gaelic that might deter them.
No wonder you obviously both voted for someone who was not going to move this place on one iota, so that you can all sit in your retirement with your kids coining it in on the mainland, with no intention of ever coming back and keeping your sheep happy.
How sad.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you are just another of the 'I've nothing against Gaelic but' brigade!
Well done Alasdair Allan, it's about time Bloomsbury translated HP into Gaelic!

Anonymous said...

OK PTTI you seem to believe the we cannot develop Gaelic as an asset to our economy as well as introducing more modern methods of economic improvement like wind farms and wave energy - if we're not too late.
I have nothing against anyone coming to the islands to seek work no matter where they come from but I do get annoyed at people born and brought up here who cannot or will not see that our language is an added value selling point for tourism as well as an important cultral link for those who have been educated to leave the islands.
If I am showing any colours it is that I am Gaidhealtachd to the core.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I thought that such utter contempt for Gaelic and its speakers was confined to the Central Belt and beyond, but there you go.

Apart from the sheer stupidity and lack of logic in your comments, 'power to the islands', people like yourself, bitching about islanders relying on grants, should take a good hard look at the system of Renewables Obligations Certificates (ROCs) the windfarm developers are falling over each other to get hold of. You won't find these guys knocking their 'grant system'. And you know who's going to pay for it? You, me and every other Joe Bloggs in this country.

Anonymous said...

just a couple of points, its not fair to knock AA for asking for a gaelic translation its probably what he should be doing,
I agree Gaelic is a big selling point for these Islands and should be promoted, but Gaelic never was the Scottish National Language.
As the Western Isles only became part of Scotland less than 900 years ago what language was spoken then

Anonymous said...

Eyoop and PAF You really are showing your true colours. It is people like you who give the SNP a bad name. You are racist xenophobic bigots who believe if you are not Scottish or maybe even Islanders you have no right to be here. Also you must look at our ancestors who left these islands to far of places like Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and England. I just wonder if you are part of the Gaelic Mafia who have made their riches from robbing the tax payers through their pro-gaelic schemes.

ps.PAF tha mi a smaointean gu re thu'sa tha lan cac agus cha ni SSU.

Angus said...

I write as a monoglot, as a result of the educational system in the Western Isles in the early 70's.

Most of the debate about this issue was covered in excellent style when Bloomsbury decided in December 2006 not to publish the book in Gaelic.

The points which need to be made, and discussed are: -

* Welsh and Irish have their own translations because they are both languages with official status. Irish is a language of the EU, and any Welsh speaker can demand to interact with the Government in Welsh.
* By publishing in these languages, Bloomsbury get the books in schools and libraries
* If you want Gaelic to survive it must get official status
* Is any political party promising secure status for Gaelic?
* Should we not be encouraging Gaelic culture, rather than swamping it with imports?
* Should the campaign not be for Bloomsbury to bring Gaelic culture to a wider audience, rather than the other way around?

Simply put, the letter is nine months late and ill thought out, and will not help to secure the language.

Is it better to translate the Simpson's into Gaelic (and lose most of the jokes) or spend the money on indigenous industries?

How can Gaelic be saved? Not through silly stunts; only by putting it on a par with Welsh. (And it may even be too late, as school rolls plummet)

Mr Allan should target his support for Gaelic towards demanding that his party deliver a Gaelic Language Act, otherwise he is wasting his time.

Anonymous said...


I see you've widened your racist comments to those in the Central Belt as well.

Speaking as an incomer and someone who has many young friends both incomers and born and bred locals, many of us find the Gaelic language is used as a way to exclude those who don't speak it rather than inclusive.
Examples include:
English conversations quickly switched to Gaelic in the supermarket isles, potentially exciting jobs, based in the Isles aimed at Gaelic speakers only.
This is one (of the many) reasons that us youngsters want to / and do leave the Islands for the much more accepting ways of the mainland.
I know that you will find this as an excuse to slander me and call me stupid (yet again) but you are just blind to reality.

Anonymous said...

I'm more annoyed that my English version of Harry Potter still hasn't arrived, one week after it was released. No doubt, it's the extra cost and time for it to make it across the minch! Why does everything take so much longer to get here?

Anonymous said...

@Power to the Isles

You feel excluded by people daring to speak Gaelic in the supermarket.
I bet you really freak out when you go somewhere like France where quite a lot of people prefer to speak in their own language rather than cater for every whim of monolingual anglophones.
Wise up and stop being paranoid - Gaelic is still around, thank goodness and it has a right to live and be spoken. It is not only a language of the Islands but a language of Scotland.
And why are so many jobs aimed at English speakers only?
If Gàidhlig makes you so paranoid then I suggest you go and see the doctor.

Anonymous said...

Gaelic unlike Welsh is not a national lanquage,

Anonymous said...

Angus, you pose some excellent provacative questions to which the answers are: -

* Good point, which everyone else has missed
* Money talks, minorities walk
* Absolutely agreed
* Doesn't appear on any agenda/manifesto
* Yes
* Yes, absolutely

The whole thing is a patheitc attempt to get headlines, cause he can't get them any other way.

Let's see him pledge to ensure that Gaelic is given secure status by the Executive.....

Anonymous said...

Angus Nicolson Avatar. Harry Potter!
Are you Harry Potter!? I smell a conspiracy to give the book more publicity. You ARE HARRY POTTER!

Anonymous said...

Anon 4.29
I'd love to see a school pic of Angus to see if he looked like HP.
Anon 9.37
Is there a vein sticking out on your forehead as you write your commentary replies? Only someone suffering from an extreme anger syndrome could fail to spot sarcasm. Now why should I give the SNP a bad name when all I have done is try to promote Gaelic and Angus is right we need to give the language (which was spoken in two thirds of Scotland at one time) special status.
C'est moi non plus!!
Agus tha thu ceart! Tha mi lan cac agus tha mi falbh do'n rum beag leis paipear naidheachd! Chi mi thu a rithist.

Anonymous said...

...tha mi air ais agus mionach agamsa falamh!
So there's this XENOPHOBIC BIGOT standing in the local, his companions are of various nationalities - Scots, English, Canadian (i.e. Canadian teuchtars) an Aussie, 2 yanks, a German and a guy from Edinburgh - and most likely of various religions but this could not be confirmed because even though he was a XENOPHOBIC BIGOT he did not care enough to ask. What really mattered was that they were having a really enjoyable evening.
Not much of a joke?
But then it was never a joke it was an account of a night out this month that I (the XENOPHOBIC BIGOT) had with some friends and aquaintances. Hmm....not really the behaviour of a XENOPHOBIC BIGOT.
Who is let down by this behaviour?

And I do not believe it is true that PTTI got annoyed once in Paris when a French waiter refused to understand him no matter how loudly he shouted.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 9:37, your comment isn't worth an answer.

'power to the islands' 10:09 am, playing the 'racist' card doesn't quite work, does it? For instance, how do you know I'm not what you would term an 'incomer', but one who loves the Gaelic language? Why don't you call yourself a Lewis resident instead of an 'incomer'?

I don't care whether you're originally from Barvas, Bradford or Botswana, people resident here are islanders and entitled to vote or opine as they see fit. It doesn't mean I have to agree with every point of view or hold back from expressing my own views, in Gaelic or English.

"Potentially exciting jobs, based in the Isles aimed at Gaelic speakers only"

Well, maybe that's because these jobs require the applicants to be able to speak Gaelic as part of the work?!

You are being a tad paranoid, as 'Beò ann an dòchas' suggests. If you are so paranoid about being excluded from conversations or from being talked about in Gaelic, then learn the language and then you can either confirm or remove your fears. You might even get one of these potentially exciting jobs.

People are critical of others in all languages, English not being exempt. Just check out and read houseofjohnson's comments (which are many and, mostly, senseless).

You must have an awful time of it if you think everyone's who's speaking Gaelic within earshot is talking about you or excluding you!

'Slander' you? Nonsense.

But yes, your comment at 10:09, in my opinion, is stupid. But that doesn't necessarily mean I regard you as stupid.

Steaphan MacRisnidh said...

Are you trying to say that he isn`t allowed to take 5-10 minutes to write a simple letter in support of the Gaelic language? How much time do you think it takes to write a letter? Oh, I forgot, his pen might explode and stop him getting on with the more important stuff.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see Angus that you care to either mouth off or allow to mouth someone who finds a certain English persons comments objectionable on It is plainly clear that to allow such comments made about an individual you agree with them. This makes you no better than he for which Houseof johnson has every right to call you a racist in your own right

Angus said...

Anon 4:06 above, if you are HoJ then you should read the postings very carefully.

I try to allow everyone except the most offensive, as the worst tend to reflect badly on the writer more than anything else.

As someone who is married to an English lady, I laugh at your suggestions of being racist. I have opposed racism (whether it is anti-English or based on the colour of someone's skin) since I was at school, and I will continue to do so.