Oh dear, a bit of a flurry on social media in the last 24 hours about the Scots Language Centre charity (SLC) whose first objective, according to its entry on the Scottish Charity Regulator web site, is
to promote, support and assist the interests of the Scots language.
Absolutely nothing wrong with that of course.
The problem seems to be the nature of some of the material they publish or promote. You can see the full current stooshie (Scots – row or fracas) if you search ‘Scots Language Centre’ on Twitter but it can be summarised in this tweet from Ruth Davidson (I know, I know, wicked Tory and all that):
and the fact that some photos of pro-Yes and pro-SNP images (in Scots of course) have been removed from their former prominence on their web site or Flickr feed. The SLC is also closely involved with the Scottish Government’s promotion of the Scots language. This post is being written in haste to catch the moment so I won’t waste time on following up these issues but trust me you can find all the relevant material on or through Twitter.
This is more about who’s involved with the SLC and their political views.
According to their web site SLC have a council of seven people and a staff of six. The rest of this post looks at the publicly available and known links they have to either the SNP or the (former) Yes campaign. If no comment is made about anyone there is no easily-available information about their political views, if any, and I make no assumption about them.
Information online reveals a political affiliation for two of the seven SLC council members.
James Forbes, a secondary school teacher of modern languages is, or was in 2012, ‘a member of the Scottish National Party’ according to the Edinburgh News (their article, not relevant to the SLC, is about a General Teaching Council Scotland disciplinary hearing).
Kate Howie is an SNP councillor in Perth and Kinross . She is the only politician on the SLC council.
Katrina MacLeod is the SLC’s education liaison and audio-visual development officer. Her Facebook page sports a Yes sticker and includes this exchange (note the comment by Michael Hance)
Steve Byrne’s job title is not stated on the SLC web site but it is clearly to do with music given his background. Recent tweets on his Twitter timeline make clear his political inclinations and include approving retweets of tweets by SNP politicians Mhairi Black, Marco Biagi, Angus MacNeil and Tommy Shepherd.
Poet Sally Evans’ job title is also unstated on the web site but I assume it is to do with her involvement in poetry and the written word. In 2013 she had an article on the National Collective web site that said, amongst much else
A poet’s job is to serve their country and the world with words … Scottish culture is subservient to English culture in the London publishing model.
Well, she’s a poet and she should know it. But I thought poetry was much more about holding up a light to the human condition than serving a country.
More to the point of this post, her Facebook page is headed
and includes this recent item
So that’s two out of seven council members who are also SNP members and four out of six staff who express clear nationalist/pro-independence and in two cases anti-Labour views. Of course everyone is entitled to express their political views and all these people do so outwith the confines of the SLC web site. I don’t know how those proportions compare with charities generally but they are clearly higher than the population overall. And charities don’t generally promote the material mentioned at the beginning of this post, which has led to the suspicion that this particular one may be going beyond its charitable purpose.
Perhaps we need some clarity from the SLC themselves to decide whether they are indeed a wee bittie oot o’control.
Footnote – This post was prepared using publicly-available information on the web. I’m happy to correct any factual errors if alerted to them, or to add additional information if available.