New Voice: Debating the Referendum in Gaelic / Guth Ùr: A’ deasbad Neo-eisimileachd tro Mheadhan na Gàidhlig

Published: 25 June 2014
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Tha deasbad mun reifreann làidir air feadh Alba, ach chan ann tric a chluinnear bhon dà champa oifigeil tro mheadhan na Gàidhlig.  Tha deasbadan mun chuspair tro mheadhan na Gàidhlig air a bhith gann san fharsaingeachd: thachair am fear mu dheireadh san t-Sultain 2013.  Tha Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann ag amas air cothroman a mheudachadh airson Gàidhlig a bhruidhinn, agus b’ e cothrom sònraichte a bha seo deasbad mun reifreann a chumail tro mheadhan na Gàidhlig.  Thathas an dòchas gum brosnaich an deasbad seo muinntir an Oilthigh, na coimhearsnachd, agus nas fhaide air falbh deasbad a chumail a’ dol sa chànan.

Chum an t-Oilthigh an deasbad air 14 Cèitein.  Bha riochdairean a’ deasbad bhon dà champa oifigeil.  Bha an Dr Alasdair Allan, BPA dha Na h-Eileanan an Iar agus Ministear airson Ionnsachaidh, Saidheans agus Cànain na h-Alba, a’ riochdachadh Bu Chòir.  Bha Alasdair Moireasdan, a b’ àbhaist a bhith na BhPA dha Na h-Eileanan an Iar, a’ riochdachadh Nas Fheàrr Còmhla.  Bha Angela NicEachainn, craoladair agus neach-teagaisg, sa chathair.

Chaidh iarraidh air an luchd-èisteachd ceistean a chur a-steach ro-làimh, agus thagh an neach-cathrach grunn dhiubh seo.  Chaidh iomadh chuspair a thogail, nam measg cumhachd ath-nuadhachail, àite nan Eilean ann an Alba san àm ri teachd, àite na Gàidhlig ann an Alba às dèidh an reifreinn, peinnseanan, ìre mi-chinnt às dèidh an reifreinn, agus sealbh an fhearainn. 

Thòisich Alasdair Moireasdan (Nas Fheàrr Còmhla) an deasbad, le bhith ag ràdh gum bu chòir do dh’Alba a bhith a’ seachnadh ‘poilitigs a tha a’ moladh sgàradh’.  Thuirt e gur e eaconamaidh Bhreatainn aon de na h-eaconamaidhean as làidire agus as sùbailte san t-saoghal, agus nach maireadh sin às dèidh neo-eisimeileachd.  Thuirt e gun robh na h-aon trioblaidean aig daoine air feadh Bhreatainn, agus cha robh e airson a ‘chùl a chur riutha’.  Mhol e soirbheachasan an RA, a’ dèanamh iomradh air sochairean sòisealta, soirbheas na h-iomairt airson còraichean bhòtaidh do bhoireannaich, agus an t-seirbheis slàinte. Thuirt e gun deach na rudan seo a dhèanamh airson ‘maith na dùthcha gu lèir’.

Thuirt Alasdair Allan (Bu Chòir) nach robh e idir ann gus am pàrtaidh poilitigeach aige fhèin a riochdachadh, agus nach e luchd-poilitigs an fheadhainn as fheàrr airson Alba a ruith, ach muinntir na h-Alba fhèin.  Thuirt e gum bu chòir do smachd eacanomach a bhith le Alba, ‘gus an dèanamaid dùthaich nas beartaiche agus nas cothromaiche’, agus nach biodh cumhachd dha-rìribh aig muinntir na h-Alba an dùthaich aca a ruith, ach nan bhòtadh iad airson neo-eisimeileachd.  Thuirt e nach eil ach buaidh bheag aig Alba air taghaidhean Westminster.  Mhol e gum biodh eaconamaidh agus comann-sòisealta na h-Alba nas làidire às dèidh neo-eisimeileachd, agus gum biodh barrachd smachd aig muinntir na h-Alba air cùisean san àm ri teachd.

Ged a bha tòrr dhiofaran eadar an dà neach-deasbaid, bha iad ag aontachadh gum biodh e cudromach ge b’ e dè thachras aig 18 Sultain, gum biodh a h-uile pàrtaidh fhathast a’ cumail taic ris a’ Ghàidhlig.  Bha an dithis ag aontachadh gum biodh sianal Gàidhlig (mar a tha ann an-dràsta) fhathast a’ craoladh san àm ri teachd, Alba neo-eisimileach ann no às.

Chaidh an deasbad a chlàradh, agus tha bhideo dheth air loidhne aig a’ cheangal seo: http://edin.ac/1n18GVb

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The independence debate is going strong across Scotland, but the two official camps seldom communicate through the medium of Gaelic.  The scarcity of debates through the medium of Gaelic has been notable, with the most recent being held in September 2013.  The University of Edinburgh aims to promote opportunities to use Gaelic, and this timely opportunity was taken to hold a debate about the referendum through the medium of Gaelic.  It is hoped that this will encourage those in the University community, in Edinburgh, and beyond to continue to debate this important issue in the language.

The debate took place on 14 May.  Both official camps were asked to provide a speaker for the debate.  Dr Alasdair Allan, MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar and the Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages, represented Yes.  Alasdair Morrison, former MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, represented Better Together.  Broadcaster and educator Angela MacEachen chaired the event.

Audience members were asked to submit questions for the two speakers beforehand, and the chair asked a selection of these.  The questions asked spanned a variety of topics, including renewable energy, the place of the islands in Scotland in the future, the place of Gaelic in Scotland after the referendum, pensions, the level of uncertainty after the referendum, and land ownership.

Alasdair Morrison (Better Together) began the debate, saying that Scotland should avoid politics that are divisive.  He claimed that Britain’s economy is one of the strongest and most flexible in the world, and that this would not last following independence.  He said that there are common troubles shared throughout the UK, and that he did not wish to turn his back on those living elsewhere in the UK.  He praised the UK’s achievements such as social services, votes for women, and the health service.  He said that these things had been achieved for the good of the country as a whole.

Alasdair Allan (Yes) said that he was not there to represent his political party, and that politicians are not the people best equipped to run Scotland.  Rather, he claimed that it is the people of Scotland who are best equipped. He said that Scotland should have economic power, which would give the opportunity to create a wealthier and fairer country, and that the power for the people of Scotland to make their own political decisions would not be possible without a vote for independence, as Scotland has very little influence over Westminster elections.  He suggested that the economy and society of Scotland would be stronger following independence, and that the people of Scotland would have more control over what would happen in the future.

Although there were many differences between the opinions of the two debaters, they agreed that it was important that all political parties continue to support Gaelic, whatever the outcome of the referendum.  Both agreed that there would continue to be a Gaelic television channel (as there is now) in the future, despite the outcome of the referendum.

The debate was recorded, and a video can be viewed at the following link: http://edin.ac/1n18GVb

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