Holyrood Awakening

I woke up this morning to discover that I’d spent ten quid before I even got out of bed. This is my personal contribution to the building of the new Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh which opened today, three years late and ten times over budget.

Why I should be stumping up towards the place, I’m not quite sure. I thought the whole point of devolution was that you take responsibility for your own affairs. It seems a bit like me buying a house and expecting everyone else on the street to contribute to the mortgage.

Anyway, next I heard first minister, Jack McConnell, saying that the important thing was to heed the lessons learned in the parliament project, and I wondered if this wasn’t a case of the horse having bolted since they can hardly be thinking of building another one. Can they? Must check my wallet.

As always, this ‘iconic’ is being hailed as a tribute to the people of Scotland. Of course, it’s no such thing. It’s a posh club for the politicians to preen themselves and who would rather the people stayed at once removed, thank you very much.

I was intrigued enough to have a look at some images of the building (described as a fancy bingo hall from the front) but didn’t have much joy on either the BBC or Scottish Parliament sites. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough, but most shots were of the interior.

What I did learn though is that the site has worked really hard to make itself accessible with the pages available in many languages and even offering a sign-language information video for those who want it.

Very commendable I say, but when did Scots become a language? Gaelic, yes, but from what I could make out, Scots is nothing more dialect, words written phonetically the way they are spoken. Most people speak with a dialect, but what we see in our minds eye is the words in English.

Assuming we ever get regional government, I wonder if the north west website will have dialect versions? I use the plural because dialects vary across a region — we’d need broad Lanky, Scouse, Manc and goodness knows how many other main and sub-dialects.

And surely that’s where Scots falls down — I don’t believe for one minute that everyone north of the border speaks English in exactly the same dialect. But I have the Scots Language Centre to tell me I’m wrong.

To finish on a related subject, my book-reading resolution continues and I’ve just started Accomodating Brocolli in the Cemetary by Vivian Cook. I don’t claim to be a perfect speller, but I do try. If you want to see how you fare, have a look at his (sex presumed from the spelling) online test.

Hopefully it will do for spelling what Eats, Shoots and Leaves did for punctuation.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

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