A new addition to the Gaelic family?

12th December 1997 at 00:00
A pre-Christmas cocktail of the Free Church, Tory party, Gaelic education and dragon-chasing inadvertently shook Edinburgh education committee last week.

Alex MacDonald, church representative and native Highlander, is not normally the most vociferous opponent of Labour hegemony but he raised his voice above the educational pulpit in defence of the native tongue.

The council has been taking severe flak over its allegedly insidious undermining of the Tollcross Gaelic primary unit. Complaints have flooded in via the Internet from all over the world.

The Rev MacDonald motioned that, should pupil numbers increase, "staff provision will be expanded, if necessary, by mainlining the costs".

Brian Meek, veteran Tory, Herald sportswriter and master wordsmith, leapt in. "Mainlining does not appear in any dictionary, I know. Perhaps Reverend MacDonald could explain what it means?" He declined, and Meek later enquired: "Is mainlining perhaps a Gaelic word?" Thanks be to Chambers, we can reveal that "mainline (slang)" is "to take narcotics intravenously".

Perhaps MacDonald intended to use the word "mainstreaming" in councilese - or maybe not. The costs of mainlining in the city of Trainspotting are severe, we hear.

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