Readers' letters: Now police are to teach us Gaelic!

“Perhaps there will be a handbook with useful phrases like the Gaelic for ‘I’ve got you bang to rights’.”

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 8:00 am
Police Scotland van with dual Gaelic branding

Now police are to teach us Gaelic!

Time was when Calum Steele, General Secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, would complain about the underfunding of his service and the shortage of police personnel.

How times change. Now, Police Scotland is sufficiently well resourced to assume new interests and responsibilities.

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For those who imagined that these consisted of upholding the law, apprehending criminals and maintaining order, it may come as a surprise that Police Scotland is also charged with devising a Gaelic Language Plan 2021-26, to ensure that ‘Gaelic is used more often, by more people and in a wider range of situations’.

The plan is to have a ‘development and implementation group with representation from across the organisation’ to ‘increase community messaging and liaison through the medium of Gaelic’.

Police Scotland is to ‘seek opportunities to increase the visibility of Gaelic nationally through procurement and branding’ and to ‘integrate Gaelic into a range of campaigns’.

Gaelic should be nurtured in the areas in which it is currently, and has been recently, a living language. In most of southern Scotland this has not been the case in the last 700 years, at least.

Conceits like calling Edinburgh's Kingsknowe 'Cnoc an Righ' at its rail station are artificial constructs that add nothing to life or culture.

Currently, 1.1 per cent of Scots are Gaelic-speaking, and for the last 40 years no-one who speaks Gaelic has not also spoken English.

By all means provide Gaelic teaching for those who want to learn. But to expend the restricted resources of our national police force on committees and campaigns to extend the use of Gaelic is entirely inappropriate.

Jill Stephenson, Glenlockhart Valley, Edinburgh.

What’s in a name?

All through lockdown my local Tesco Metro at Holy Corner was an absolute godsend. Well stocked, reasonably priced and cheerful staff. Business was booming and no wonder. Recently I noticed a price hike in some items I regularly purchase there. When I asked the staff they said it's because they've changed to a Tesco Express.

It's now cheaper for me to buy these items at Waitrose, which I find incredible as I'd always thought that was the priciest grocery shop in town. And, yes, I do shop at Aldi but, not having a car, there are times when local is my only option.

Call me naive, but I thought Tesco might have wanted to continue to 'be there' for its local customers, particularly older folk with limited options to shop around. Silly me. They just want to milk a cash cow. This pensioner will be shopping elsewhere!

Rona Connolly, Bruntsfield.

Child mental health

The latest figures from the Scottish government indicating the number of children admitted to a mental health or specialist services for an eating disorder in Lothians has increased is deeply alarming.

Our mental health services were already in a state of crisis prior to Covid-19 due to greatly increased demand and a lack of resources. For those with eating disorders this situation has worsened with the pandemic, with further delays in accessing services, as well as a loss of key support structures.

The figures reinforce our call for early intervention and greater investment in services, especially community-based support, to ensure those requiring it get the care and support they need. It is vital that the Scottish government and organisations working in this area undertake a mental health ‘crusade’.

Scottish Children's Services Coalition, Edinburgh.