FOR SALMON READ COD THROUGHOUT?Borders sign returns amid complaints
says the headline in to day's Berwickshire And the stirring story runs:Dismay at use of Gaelic
WELCOME: The new sign on the Scotland/England border at Lamberton with its welcome in Gaelic. Picture by Michael Reilly.
y"It is cod Highlandism"
Quote By : Councillor Michael CookBy Kenny Paterson
THE 'Welcome to Scotland' sign has finally returned to the A1 Lamberton crossing - but authorities now face fresh complaints about what language Scotland's pleasantries have been given in.
East Berwickshire Councillor Michael Cook has described his 'dismay' that the new sign, finally replaced after the last one fell off its brackets five months ago, has a Gaelic translation on it.
While he was pleased a sign of sorts was back in place, along with the missing saltire flag, Mr Cook believes the decision to include Gaelic on signs at all cross border roads creates a false notion of what Scotland is as a country. He also fears it could be hampering attempts to keep tourists from bypassing the Borders as a holiday desination.
Mr Cook told the Berwickshire News: "There were four issues of concern I had - the missing Saltire flag, the LGV's parked all over the place, the missing sign and the wording of the 'Welcome to Scotland' sign.
"The Gaelic wording on the sign I have to say I am dismayed about. It is wholly inappropriate, whether intentional or accidential. It creates a bogus idea of what Scotland is as a place and is supportive of this idea that Scotland has a purely Gaelic history.
"It is 'cod Highlandism', and promotes this American view that we all wear kilts and speak Gaelic."
Transport Scotland, the agency responsible for delivering the Scottish Executive's transport programme, said the presence of Gaelic on the sign was part of the Executive's 'First Impression's of Scotland Initiative', announced in May 2005.
A spokeswoman added: "The A1 is a cross-border 'gateway' route used by many visitors to the country as they pass through the Borders to access other parts of Scotland. This sign is reflecting the hertiage of the whole of Scotland - not just one area - and it is widely recognised by many that Gaelic is an important part of the country's heritage."
Yet, the opinion that the A1 should be used by visitors to bypass the Borders to visit the rest of Scotland and that Gaelic is a symbol of 'Scottishness', were rejected by Councillor Cook.
He added: "Here (the Borders), as with other parts of Scotland, we want people to stop and explore our fantastic culture, history and environment. Persuading people not to charge off up into the Highlands, after a brief visit to Edinburgh, is problem enough, without a government agency encouraging that by caricaturing Scotland as a one-trick Highland pony.
"Gaelic is well-promoted in the north and west of Scotland. To promote it right on the Anglo-Scottish Border at the expense of other equally valid influences is to sell huge tracts of Scotland short.
"Gaelic is simply one of Scotland's languages, albeit a significant one. What is appropriate for those areas imbued with Gaelic history and culture is not appropriate in the very south-east of Scotland. There are more Polish speakers here than there are Gaelic. More importantly, while there are some Gaelic place-names, the identity of this area was forged in circumstances very different to the frame of reference which applies in the Highlands or other parts of Scotland."
However, tourist officials dismissed CouncillorCook's belief that Gaelic signs will put off visitors from entering Berwickshire. Pamela McMahon, area director for VisitScotland Borders, said: "When people arrive in Scotland they usually have their itinerary planned, so the signage is unlikely to influence them on where they will go.
"If they are arriving with a flexible itinerary they are more likely to be influenced by the range of things to see and do in an area, or the type of activity/experience they are looking for, rather than being influenced by the language used on a sign."
The strength of the new sign has also been questioned, especially when faced with the strong winds that often arrive from the North Sea at the exposed Lamberton crossing point. Some have suggested that the design of the new sign will see it highly suspectable to being blown off its brackets again, in similar circumstances to the accident that occured in March this year.
BEAR Scotland, the company who took over the maintenance of the A1 from AMEY shortly after the accident occured, said the sign was due to be replaced at the end of August. However, it would seem media pressure persuaded the company to fasttrack the erection of the signage to early last week.
A BEAR Scotland spokesperson said: "Given the key location of the sign, we urged the manufacturer to make and deliver it as quickly as they could.
"We are pleased that they have managed to do so, which has allowed us to erect the sign ahead of the original timetable"
I assume Mr Salmond (not a Tweed man despite his monicker) will be
delighted at this symbol of Scotishness,Hieland Cod or not. He has the Gallic judging from the few well chosen words he used when introducing the Blue Paper on Independence.But the Borderers will not be too impressed-a knowledge of the Garlic
is not their culture but as the area is only a short break destination the notice is aimed at the more romantic tourists hurrying north for the real Scotland of Whisky, mendicant pipers and Australians dressed as Wallace
Labels: Borders, Gallic, Merse