GEORGE Orwell wasnae ane tae be feart o makkin bold, laidit statements. Nor was he a scriever kent for bein a fan o nationalism in ony shape or form. He especially wasnae keen on fit he cries “Celtic nationalism”, in ither wirds, the idea that the fowk o ony o the nations that mak up the United Kingdom (except England av coorse) micht like tae hae poo’er ower their ain kintra. In 1945 Orwell scrieved his essay Notes on Nationalism, fit, as the title implies, gies an interestin description o nationalism fae the perspective o an Inglisman at the end o the First Warld War. In the essay, Orwell maks a gye lot o generalisations, mony o whilk are arguably nae true, an could even be seen tae be offensive. Ae particularly questionable observation made bi the author is that it is anely nationalists fa pit ony amoont o importance ontae the uise o the Scots leid.

Mair than seiventy ‘ear aifter Notes on Nationalism was scrieved, aire’s still fowk fa will agree wi Orwell, that Scots, like Gaelic, is a leid jist for them fa are in favour o Scots independence. Ye see sic opinions aa the time in the comments section o mony a Scots airticle publisht online. An, tae be fair, ye can easy see fit why Unionists micht be sweirt tae forder the Scots leid – the mair oor leid is uised an promuived, the mair oor sens o national identity growes. Oor national leids, Scots an Gaelic serve as an undevaulin reminder o the fact that differences atween the Scots an the Inglis div exist, an that we are oor ain people, wi oor ain cultur, an oor ain leid. It’s nae wunner that this pits the fear o God intae them fa are dedicatit tae makkin shuir that Scotland bides tied up in the chynes o the union forivermair.

The trowth is tho, that the Scots leid is as muckle for supporters o the union, as it is for supporters o Scots independence, an there isnae a better example o this than the North-East. In 2014, Aiberdeen City an Aiberdeenshire baith votit agin independence, an currently the MPs electit tae represent aa three o Aiberdeenshire’s constituencies are Tories. Yet, the North-East (far mair than half the population spik Doric) is ane o the regions o Scotland far Scots is maist alive! If Orwell was richt, an Scots leid was jist for nationalists, that wouldnae be possible. Earlier in the ‘ear, fan it cam oot that MSPs wad be gien the opportunity tae tak Gaelic classes, it was in fact appluised that a spokesman for the Conservative party believed it was important for there tae be mair fonds pit intae the preservatioun o the Scots leid, an mair specifically Doric. Again, pruiven that Scots belangs tae aabody, even the Tories.

Oor ain leid is ower precious for ony kyne o political squabble tae get in the wye o it’s preservatioun. Aye, it was unner an SNP Government that we first saw the question “Dae ye spik Scots?” on a consensus in 2011. An aye, it was an SNP Government fa introduced a Scots Leid Policy in 2015. We hae a lot tae thank the SNP for as far as Scots leid is concerned. If it was a different party in poo’er would they hae dane the same? Despite aa this, we jist cannae ower-politicize the issue. We’re livin throu a pivotal era for the leid, fit has been teeterin aboot on the edge o oblivion for a fyle uptae noo. Ower the past puckle o ‘ear Scots has seen a revival, but for this tae continue successfully, the pro-independence and anti-independence sides need tae, dare Ah say it, unite.

The Scots leid community itsel can, at times, be dour an frichtsome. Nae sae muckle in real life situations, but ower the internet mony a keyboard warrior has been kent tae put doon fowk fa mebbe arnae as confident as theirsel in uisin, an particularly scrievin in Scots. The argument that’s usually gien for this is that these fowk are tryin tae help ithers impruive, but it can be affa aff-pitten, an hae a completely coonter-productive effect. As weel as myndin that Scots is for them o aa political beliefs, it cannae be forgotten that ye dinnae hae tae be a Scot for Scots tae be yer leid. Them fae ither pairts, or even them fa grew up here but jist wernae brocht up wi Scots are jist as entitilt tae lairn, spik, read an scrieve in Scots as them fa hiv been daein it since the day that they cam intae the warld. They should be walcomed intae the Scots leid community wi open airms, raither than met wi hostility. If we cannae gie a liftie tae them fa are willin tae hae a crack at uisin Scots in a positive mainer the leid will perish, an it will be oor ain fault.

Fan push cams tae shove it has tae be said that a leid cannae belang tae jist ae group o fowk if it is uised bi anither. A leid belangs tae the people, tae onybody fa spiks it, nae jist them wi ae political belief or opinion. Aire will aye be nationalists fa support the continuatioun o the uise o the Scots leid, an nationalists fa are nae for it, jist like aire will ayeweys be supporters o the union that spik broad Glesgae or Dundonian ivery day, fyle ither unionists would nivver let a Scots wirdie slip aff their tongue. Ye see, George Orwell was mebbe an incredibly talentit novelist, but he wasnae richt aboot awthin, an he definitely didnae hae his facts richt fan it cam tae the Scots leid.