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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Ulster-Scots Scam

DUP Minister Edwin Poots (the lad who looks like the FA Cup, on the right) has gone back on the St Andrews Agreement by refusing point-blank to introduce an Irish Language Bill for Northern Ireland.

Now, I don’t speak Irish and don’t intend to learn it. And I’m pretty disgusted at the amount of money pissed away on it in the Republic, where children for generations have been tortured by being forced to read about Kerry islander grannies with depression in a language that almost no one uses in day-to-day situations.

And don’t get me started on the jobs ring-fenced for Irish speakers, the subsidised TV station, the civil service sinecures and the ridiculous legal and police profession language requirements.

But it is a real language, and part of the heritage of this island, so if people want to learn it, they should be permitted to. And if it was part of the St Andrews Agreement to introduce the same sort of protection for Irish in the North, then that’s the deal and it ought to be introduced.

However, I’m prepared to back the Pootster on this one if in turn he’s prepared to put a bullet into the merry scam that is Ulster-Scots. Ulster-Scots is a random collection of some antiquated dialectal words masquerading as a language in order to line the pockets of those who propagate it.

It has existed for less than 20 years, yet draws down millions in state funding North and South. Kill off the Ulster-Scots scam, Edwin, and I’ll support your plan to cancel an Irish Language Bill.

You'd be hard pushed to find a bigger linguistics bore than me, frankly. I love languages and linguistics. But Ulster-Scots is not a language at all. While Irish is an actual language with thousands of years of recorded history, Ulster-Scots is simply an excuse to extort money from the EU, and the Irish and UK governments.

Let’s look at some examples of this alleged language:

Here’s a nice poem.

And here, for those non-existent people who don’t speak English in Northern Ireland, is some crucial information about water charges in Ulster-Scots.

Someone made a tidy bit of state funding out of ‘translating’ that little number. And this is how the scam goes.

A Scottish comedian on the television one time described Ulster Scots as a mixture of "English and Buckfast", and now I reckon you can see why.

Ulster-Scots, according to its own proponents, is a photocopy of Middle Lallans, a Scottish dialect of English once used by poet Rabbie Burns. It’s a fine literary tongue, but nothing to do with Northern Ireland, where between zero (the number of native speakers the EU found when they came looking) and 2% of people speak it.

In fact, there is a local dialect in Northern Ireland. Middle Ulster English is the language of the North, the rich dialectal linguistic and literary heritage that has been underfunded and ignored while chancers, perverts, bigots and buffoons defraud the Exchequer to the tune of millions for their taxi rides and their trips to sexually abuse American kids.

In case you didn’t know the fine people behind the Ulster-Scots scam, let me introduce them to you: Former Ulster-Scots Agency chief exec Stan Mallon got busted for trying to line up sex with a 14 year old in the United States. He claimed, risibly, that heart tablets made him want to have sex with a child. That makes him a pervert in my book.

Current chief exec George Patton was formerly Worshipful Brother George Patton of the Orange Order, and was prominent in defending the disgraceful scenes at Drumcree. That makes him a bigot in my book.

And John Laird himself is responsible for no end of lunacy, from taking taxis to Dublin from Belfast at taxpayers expense because 'wearing my kilt could get me attacked on the train' to organising Lambeg drumming sessions in the House of Lords. He's a definite loon in my book.

The establishment of Ulster-Scots is the result of fake mythology by Ian Adamson which has been discredited, that was created as an origin tale for Ulster Unionists in order to provide a separateness from the rest of Ireland.

Funding sought for Irish under the GFA led to John Laird and his merry gang of chancers, perverts and bigots abusing that situation to pay for their taxi bill.

They've now been left with a task of manufacturing a language out of a Scottish dialect (not a local one, of which there is one, lying around unfunded and unloved) in order to justify their stipends.

The net result is a ton of money lost to exchequers North and South (ie us, the taxpayers, covering John Laird's kilts and taxi bills) with no justification whatsoever.

I know many, many Ulster people, from dissident Republican to Loyalists, and none of them give a crap about this nonsense except for those who are directly employed in the Ulster-Scots industry. And it is an industry. No one sees this as an 'integral part' of anyone's culture. It was invented to get funding for sinecures via the Good Friday Agreement.

Now, there is a case for doing something to highlight the Scottish heritage in Northern Ireland. Just as there is a case for highlighting Irish heritage in Scotland. And I'm also enormously in favour of people finding out what their actual heritage is in Ireland. It's vastly more complex and interesting than what they think it is, I tend to find.

But the Hamilton Montgomery plantation (and yes, it WAS a plantation, not a settlement) has bugger all to do with this linguistic sleight of hand that funds Lord Laird and his pervert, bigot and loon cronies. Those people who came to Ulster from Scotland at the time of the plantation spoke English in a Scottish dialect.

Some of that was passed down, some of it wasn't. But using some obsolete words does not a language make. If I say Gadzooks does that make Elizabethan English a viable current language separate from modern English?

Ulster-Scots didn't exist until Lord Laird saw an opportunity to graft a language onto Ian Adamson's Cruithin mythology in order to extort money from the British and Irish exchequers to fund his taxi bills. But it's no more a language than Scouse or Nortsoide Dubbalinese is. In fact it’s much less, because it was entirely fabricated.

This is not some 'Ulster Unionist' claim for parity of linguistic esteem except insofar that a tiny coterie of wideboys led by Laird decided to make use of the GFA to make a tidy profit by creating sinecures for perverts and bigots.

Furthermore, while hiring perverts and bigots to run the show has done them no favours, it is the sheer fact that Ulster-Scots was invented, and is based on a lie that it is a long-lost, suppressed language of the Ulster people, that truly discredits its continued funding.

So come on, Edwin. Show some real political bravery and cancel the funding of this pathetic farce.


Twenty Major said...

Is that poem for real? It's a joke, right?

Cerandor said...

Hmm. I'd say there's a book in that story. Nice to get the details on it.

boro said...

jaysus thats an impressively long rant there jc!

Jones said...

Let me tell ya, UlsterScots should not be mentioned in the same sentence as a language such as Irish steeped in history and tradition! But Irish language I'm afraid has as much use as a meat seller at a vegetarian meeting? SOD here and soon the rest off Europe if I had my way! Just a pipe dream

hope said...

Focus on the informants comrade!

JC Skinner said...

Mr Jones, while one has to admire the tenacity of your attachment to conspiracy theories the world over, nevertheless the Irish language is not one.
As an expression of Irish culture and history, it deserves to be preserved and receive a modicum of funding.
Ulster-Scots on the other hand is a sick joke.
Sadly, 20, that poem is genuine. Genuinely bonkers too, but also a genuine expression of Ulster-Scots as promoted by the loons who made this crap up.
Cerandor - interesting. I might look into that one day.
Boro - why I thank you. This one has been brewing for years!

Sammy Morse said...

Hey JC, wanna get together and form a Mid Ulster Dialect Society?

JC Skinner said...

Yer on, big man! Whadda bout ye, anyways?

Anonymous said...

SDLP West Brit; hating your own langauge....

JC Skinner said...

My own language is English, you loon. No one in my family has spoken Irish in at least five generations. My nipper is the first.
And it's spelt 'LANGUAGE' by the way. Obviously English is not your language, Mr Anon, otherwise you might be expected to spell the word 'language' correctly!

rick said...

yea, i read that water charges thing, i cant believe some1 actually got paid to write that translation. i had never seen it written or heard any1 speaking it before and i've lived in NI all my life. When i heard they were getting funding, i didnt mind because i thought that it might have been an actual language, but after reading that water charge booklet i couldnt imagine that my taxes gave them 15 million pounds....£15,000,000 to set up colleges and promote the language. thats absolute madness!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Go to the ulster Scots Agency site and notice that there is an accent greve over the e.