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Sruth, Di-ardaoin, 26 latha de’n Og-mhios 1969
National lltod(Scotland) Bill
21st MAY, 1969
Mr Russell Johnston: It js
designed to allow district coun¬
cils which wish to do so to make
contributions to the funds of the
National Mod, even if the
National Mod is not held
within their areas. This is a
power which they do not at
present have, although both
town and county councils have
Mr Peter Doig: The Bill is
an unworthy reason for in¬
creasing public expenditure,
particularly since I can think of
many ways in which our pre¬
cious public money could be put
to better use. Frankly, I am
astonished to hear a group of
hon. Gentlemen who have con¬
sistently criticised public ex¬
penditure now trying to justify
the spending of public money
for a flimsy reason such as this.
I am therefore am unable to
support the Clause.
I doubt whether more than a
tiny percentage of the people in
my constituency would be in
favour of spending the rate¬
payers money on a proposal of
this kind. We have a so-called
Highland Society in Dundee; I
suspect that it has only a few
members. Occasionally I receive
letters from the Society, but
figures are never quoted, this, in
itself, usually indicates that the
numbers are small. I have no
doubt that if its membership
were large it would be shouting
the fact from the housetops.
I cannot believe that at a
time of financial stringency we
should agree to a proposal of
this kind. Ait all times we must
make the best possible use of all
money, especially public money
We must be selective in de¬
ciding how the nation’s money
is spent and I cannot support a
suggestion that it be spent in
the way proposed.
Mr Ian MacArthur: The
hon. Gentleman regards this
ancient tongue, this heritage, as
clumsy. I regard it as some¬
thing of rare and special value
which we should try to pre¬
serve. I do not suggest that we
should impose the speaking of
Gaelic on people, because that
would be nonsense. However,
when we have, as we must have,
a special regard for the survival
of this tongue—after all, we
teach it in our schools—we
should help the continuation of
a folk tradition in every way we
can. The Mod is one way of
doing it.
Mr Michael Noble: I do not
accept the view of the hon.
Member for Dundee, West that
Gaelic is of its own accord a
dying language. It has cer¬
tainly become very much less
important in the life of most
Gaelic speaking areas than it
was in the past. In my constitu¬
ency, in Argyll, thirty years ago
perhaps 65 per cent or 70 per
cent of the people understood or
spoke Gaelic. Today it is a
much smaller percentage, but it
is still an important part of
their lives, and many of the
young people are learning the
language and learning it with
I do not believe that this in
any way detracts from their
learning as children. Children
in countries which have move
difficult languages—for example
Jugoslavia and Norway—have
to learn three or four languages
to enable themselves easily to be
understood as they travel round
the world. We in Britain are
luckier than some peoples, be¬
cause most people understand
English in some form and we
can get by more easily, but it is
an important part of the train¬
ing of children’s minds to learn
different languages, and I see no
harm but great benefit flowing
from Scottish children two or
three langauges, of which Gaelic
could be one.
I find it difficult to be en¬
tirely enthusiastic about the
prospects of attracting tourists
to Scotland, in particular to the
Highlands, if all that we can
present to those who come to
our very beautiful part of the
world is—though certainly
different, and imposing and
wonderful—scenery, and if in
the evenings the only thing they
can do is to go to cafes and
listen to rock and roll or pop
music; in that case they might
just as well be in any other part
April 1969
Dunoon Branch
Larbert Branch
Mrs Duras, Poolewe Hotel, Poolewe
Brora Branch
Stornoway Builders Ltd
Lochaber Branch ...
Total donations received under £2
Carried forward £242 19 8
May 1969
An Comunn
Ayr Branch
Glasgow Branch
Aberfeldy Branch
Kinross Branch
Lochearnhead Branch
Dundee Branch
Glasgow Islay Association
Wester Ross Association
Gourock Highland Club
Perth and Angus Branches
Total of Donations under £2 ... 2 12 10
Total for May 1969 £117 12 10
Total carried forward for April 1969 242 19 8
... £360 12 6
Total donations April/May 1969
of the world. It is only by keep¬
ing the tradition of Gaelic, and
so on, that it is possible to pur
on, as happens in many parts of
the Highlands, a ceilidh in the
evening—often quite small, but
of great interest and attraction
to tourists. It is different, it is
something they perhaps cannot
hear anywhere else, and it is in
itself an attraction.
Mr Robert Maclennan: I do
not agree with my hon. Friend
the Member for Dundee, West
(Mr Doig) that by fostering a
language which is not the prime
language in Scotland we are in
some way making communica¬
tion more difficult. This conten¬
tion by my hon. Friend does
not stand up to scrutiny, be¬
cause, for the most part, there
are very few people who speak
Gaelic only. At the last census
of the language taken in my
constituency there was only one
person who could understand
Gaelic only. If we allow the
Gaelic language to die we shall,
on the contrary, create a prob¬
lem of communication. We shall
create a problem of communica¬
tion with our own history, and
we shall find it less easy :c
Mr John P. Mackintosh:
Now and in the near future
we want more work of the
kind An Comunn is doing
with people living in the
Highlands deciding what they
want and helping themselves
through money collected
through their own local
authorities and bodies of this
kind. The less that is done by
Princes Street Highlanders
and well wishers from outside
the better.
I hope that An Comunn,
which is beginning to speak
for a certain part of the
Highlands, will continue to
do this, and will appreciate
that economic development
underlies and underpins lin¬
guistic and cultural develop¬
ment, but that this develop¬
ment is necessary if people
are to have a viable com¬
munity. Local political de¬
velopment plus language
and recreational develop¬
ments must all go together.
If they realise this, this
offers a change with the work
of the Highlands and Islands
Development Board, and all
the other activities in the
area, of producing a viable
community which will not
need outside assistance and
the interest of antiquarians,
but will have a life and
vigour of its own and can
look after itself.
The Under-Secretary of
State for Scotland (Mr Bruce
Millan): On behalf of the
Government, I welcome the
Clause. It has a fairly narrow
effect, but an important one
in itself, and an important
effect in outlining our sup¬
port for the Gaelic language,
which has been the gist of
the speeches we have heard
in support of the clause.
Compared with what other
countries spend on minority
languages we have very little
to congratulate ourselves on.
We spend very little on the
furtherance of Gaelic.
Plans For ‘Vintage’
Highland RaUway
A plan to open a “vintage
railway” on the five-mile route
between Aviemore and Boat of
Garten would take two years to
go into operation after the go-
ahead was given, a spokesman
for the Scottish Railway Pre¬
servation Society said at the
Questioned at a display of
old railway equipment at Fal¬
kirk, he said negotiation with
British Rail were still in pro¬
gress for the land and the dis¬
used track.
The proposal to open the
railway, seen as an added tour¬
ist attraction, has been backed
by the Highlands Development
The SNP Inverness-shire
Constituency has announced
the prospective candidate for
the seat at the next election.
She is Miss Athole Came¬
ron, a primary school leacber
from Abernethy, near Perth.
A lifelong Nationalist, Miss
Cameron is at present secre¬
tary of the National Organi¬
sation Committee of the SNP
and Convener of the Primary
and Nursery-school sub-com¬
mittee of the Party’s Educa¬
tion Policy Committee.
Miss Cameron is also or¬
ganiser for East Perthshire
Constituency Association.
She is in addition vice-
chairman of the Kinross
Branch of An Comunn Gaid-
healach. She was formerly
secretary of Perth Gaelic
Miss Cameron was brought
up in Glen Lyon and has a
deep concern for the educa¬
tion problems associated with
remote communities. Her
other interests include WRI
activities, community drama
— as actress and producer —
Scottish history and Gaelic.
Miss Cameron’s official
adoption meeting will be held
in Inverness Town Hall on
Friday, 4th July.
Board, who are involved in the
The society, the only organi¬
sation in Scotland actively en¬
gaged in the preservation of all
forms of railway history, are
gradually building up a stock of
vintage locomotives, coaches
and wagons with an operating
branch line in view.
At present, they have three
steam locomotives suitable for
passenger traffic and five
coaches, including a Caledonian
“ Grampian” in chocolate and
cream, are available for passen¬
Doubts on the viability of the
Border railway project have
been expressed by society offi¬
cials, mainly on labour costs for
track maintenance and the fact
that the Waverley route would
need additional expense on its
numerous bridges and tunnels.
The absence of such natural
hazards and the fact that main¬
tenance work would be carried
out by volunteer members of
the society make the Aviemure-
Boat of Garten plan a much
more viable proposition, said
the spokesman.
Lisidh Dhomhnail Bhig
Chaneil mi faicinn de tha
“ Unisex ” dol a dheanamh
airson a leithid co-dhiubh.