Doon their thrapple

Scots language campaigners may have lost one of their immediate aims, to have a question in Scots included in the 2001 census. The answers could be all ower the place, the Scottish Office ruled (more or less). That is to say, reliability could not be guaranteed.

But the pressure will be kept up. Catherine Macafee, the Aberdeen University lecturer and key activist, has written to education authorities and others contrasting the Scottish Office decision with the declaration from officials that the Scots language is greatly valued in the corridors of power and that ministers "will continue to provide appropriate support to projects promoting the appreciation of the language".

Macafee ends her letter with an impressive trilingual flourish: "I hope that everyone trying to obtain funding for Scots from the Scottish Office in future will threip this doon their thrapple ad nauseam."

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