This post is an English translation of the original post “Barrachd air a Mhòd“.
This year’s Royal National Mod came to a close last weekend in Paisley. It was certainly successful, with close to 3,000 participants, the highest level since the 2009 Mod in Oban. It’s good to see that the festival is doing so well in a town that doesn’t have much of a connection with the language. I’m full of optimism that the next Mod, in Inverness, near my hometown of Dingwall, will go just as well.
I like the Mod as an event, but Gaelic needs to look for more time in the Scottish cultural timetable than just one week in October. The Mod is by far the most valuable festival to Gaelic in terms of national attention and perhaps we should revitalise this connection or set up another festival to show off Gaelic culture to the world. This will show that there is more to Gaelic than just singing alone. Of course, songs and poetry are a big part of our culture but we need to capture the attention of another generation of Gaelic speakers, and I’m not quite sure that the Mod can do that on its own. Perhaps a National Gaelic Day would be able to do this, even if it was only on a small scale in schools and public organisations. At the moment, there is only a few scattered days around the year that are loaned to the language with companies or schools giving the language a little attention. A single national day would be much more beneficial, and more people across the country would develop an interest in the language because they have seen people use it. That’s what I would recommend to bring a little progress in Gaelic’s visibility in Scotland.
It’s an important time for the language at the moment. We are still waiting for official Government figures from the 2011 Census that will definitively show the path that the language is taking. With next year’s Scottish independence referendum, I’m worried that the news about Gaelic will be swept under the rug and little will be done to help the language regardless of what Scotland’s population chooses in the vote. The Scottish Government has done a lot in the last ten years to help the language, such as the 2005 Gaelic Act, but I’m worried that they won’t be as eager to help us if they are busy building a new nation or trying to return to the usual politics.
As I said in my blog about the referendum, it’s going to be an interesting year ahead in Scottish politics, but I hope that the Gaels won’t forget completely that our language is more priceless than our independence, but far more fragile.