THE Scottish Government an MSPs hae lang gied it big licks in public as faur as shawin interest in oor native leids is concerned.

Ae Tory MSP declarit in parliament that he wid be leal tae the Queen, the stannart oath fir MSPs, in the Doric. In thae langsyne deys when “Scottish” Labour were mair nor the reality-tele-roasters an reid-Tories they are the dey, they signed through the guid, forrit-lookin Act fir the Gaelic Leid, pittin Gaelic oan a mair solid fittin an gien it bield fae the forces that hud seen it faa intae sic a steep decline. Ye’d be forgien fir thinkin that Labour MSPs didnae ken that Scots existed, sic hus been their undeemous ignorance o the issue.

The SNP stertit oot fine eneuch. Siller kept comin in fir the Centre fir the Scots Leid, wha’ve biggit up a usefu kist o resources fir aabody ettlin tae spreid the leid. But the government havnae done near eneuch.

The European Chairter fir Minority Leids maks it clear whit the Scottish Government’s obligations are in relation tae Scots. It maun “gie the means tae teach an study Scots at aa stages” an “gie fowk fae ootwith Scots spikkin areas wha’ve flitted tae Scots-majority airts the chance tae learn the leid”. The Scottish Government is daein, at best, the absolute bare minimum.

The Act fir the Gaelic Leid rummles oan. New polis caurs bein brandit wi baith Gaelic an English merkins, new cooncil offices, new scuil signs an aahin else official aa owre Scotland maun noo be bilingual. This is a braw step forrit. The legislation means that cooncils et al are thirled tae its effects twal years an mair efter it wis screivit intae legislation. Sae ye may hae a change in government, or a switherin at the high heid yin levels aboot the worth o Gaelic, but the signs are aye pit oot, an gaelic fit by fit maks its wey back tae the mainstream consciousness o Scots identity. Aye, ye get a wheen monoglot widos breengin oot fae the shaddas tae ding doon the promotion o Gaelic, but there’s naethin they can dae. The Act fir Gaelic is in place an nae government wad daur repeal it, richtly feart fir the stooshie that’d erupt gin they ettled tae.

Scots maun hae this same support. An it absolutely isnae getting it. The SNP hae been a bitty sleekit oan this. In 1997 their manifesto supportit an Act fir the Scots Leid comparable wi the ane the Gaelic has the dey. In 2003, they rampit up the ambition an set oot their desire tae hae an Act fir the Scots Leid. Fifteen year oan an whaur are we? The stoor is cleared awa, an aa thae promises made sae bauldly cannae be seen onywhaur. The crack ye get noo fae the SNP is aa aboot “Plans fir the Scots leid”, an “encouragements tae teach bairns aboot it”. Couthie wirds tae swaddle the leid-bangers.

Scots is in a richt strang position the dey. The gressroots is baith productive an secure. Noo’s the time fir government tae be getting aff their dowps an helpin us wi the darg, no cooryin awa aneath a blanket o empty press releases.

We, the spikkers, screivers an readers o Scots in the modren age, hae pit the leid in a guid place. Scots has aye been pairt o fitba coverage an patter, but noo thenks tae a wee airmy o screivers an readers an users, its acceptit an widespreid in aahin fae online political rammies, mercatin campaigns an social media phenomena sic as memes an Scottish Twitter. It has tane its richtfu place at the hert o oor folk culture, the folk culture o modren Scotland.

Whit’s mair, official Scotland has tane tent o the leid. The National hus furthset Scots airticles fir ages noo. Bella Caledonia the political blog does the same. A few zoomers sprauchlin glaikitly aboot the comments section ablow aside, sic airticles as we’ve pit oot hae been read by tens o thoosans o fowk, inspirin mony tae tak their mithir tongue oot the hoose fir the first time in years, or tae use Scots on social media, or just tae use it mair when bletherin wi their pals. Folk culture seein itsel reflectit in kenspeckle publications gies it the smeddum tae gang forrit wi mair vigour.

Staunin heid an shooders abuin aahin we dae here is the recent projeck fae Matthew Fitt, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stane. The tale o a wee speccy laddie wha gangs fae a bairnhood o vicious abuse tae a kenspeckle career as a student at Hogwarts scuil o Carlinecraft an Warlockry is gien new life in Scots.

Whiles the original English version left us a bitty cauld wi its jokes, or gied us characters that wernae sae easy tae relate tae, noo, whilst the tale is aye set in England, it’s populatit wi fowk sic as Hagrid, the unco Dundonian wi a dug cried Fang an a hellish drouth fir the bevvy. We aa ken somebdy sic as this, sae suddenly aahin Hagrid says an does is gied the additional humour an empathy that gangs wi familiarity.

Fitt maks ilka page oot o the mair nor three hunner jouk wi laughter, terror, colour an virr. The baddies are gey roch, the goodies are sound, their a glegness tae the jokes an a pouer in the descriptions that gars ye loup through the page an really inhabit the story.

This buik is the croon oan the heid o the modren Scots publishin scene, an shaws aabdy just whit strength there is in the leid. The seeds plantit by MacDiarmid’s rebels were gied watter by the likes o Billy Kay an are noo bein brocht tae maturity by Matthew Fitt an the airmy o screivers ahint him.

Sae this is ma message tae the Scottish Government: aa the real darg has aaready been done. The gressroots has fund its voice, an its been jyned in chorus by a wheen official voices, sae its time youse took tent o this an got a firm Act fir the Scots Leid thegither. Naethin short o this will dae. Aahin else is empty blethers.

I’ll gie ower the final wirds tae Fitt hissel, spikin recently at the Scots Trad Music Awards. He gied the government baith barrels.

“The Scottish Government just doesnae staun up enough fir oor Scots-speakin weans: look at the figures. Scots speakers mak up one-third o the kintrae, there’s wan-point-sax million o us. A third o aa weans speak Scots, an hou mony o them bide in our puirest communities? An yet the ainly provision the Scottish state ever offers the twa thoosan bairns an weans is bawbees an sadly platitudes an tokenism. It isnae fair, it isnae equitable an it begs the question: Whit kind o democratic Scotland are you runnin here?”