A PETITION calling for the appointment of a Minister for Scottish Languages to help protect Scotland’s unique linguistic heritage has been launched.

Oor Vyce and Misneachd – grassroots activist groups for Scots and Gaelic – argue that the post is needed to address “pressing concerns” around preserving and developing the languages.

“As a new government team is now in place, we see no clear accountability for Scots or Gaelic, and this lack of clarity does not provide our communities with confidence that concerns around preserving and developing our unique linguistic heritage in Scotland will be sufficiently addressed,” said a spokesperson.

“While we heard some warm words around Scots and Gaelic and a lot about protecting minority rights during the SNP leadership campaign, we now need those words backed up with action and the rights of Scotland’s linguistic minorities advanced. Both languages require immediate action to prevent further decline.”

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The campaigners point out that during the SNP leadership election campaign, Humza Yousaf vowed culture would be more of a priority for the Scottish Government if he became First Minister.

He said he would ensure culture had a greater role in education and economic growth, tackling climate change and social justice and helping “minority communities” celebrate their heritage.

Yousaf said he would bring arts and culture into the heart of policymaking and also indicated his recognition of Gaels and minority language speakers as “minority communities”.

“The rights of, often very small, minority communities are a central theme of politics in Scotland presently, and it is extremely frustrating for Gaelic speakers, and Highlands and Islands based Gaels more widely, to be treated as an afterthought at best by our own government,” said Màrtainn Mac a’ Bhàillidh of Misneachd.

“Whether that is the lack of recognition for Gaelic and Scots in Humza Yousaf’s new cabinet and ministerial roles, or the imposition of damaging HPMA areas which threaten to end the small-scale indigenous fishing industry on the West Coast, and the residual Gaelic-speaking communities it supports.

“Or whether it is the lack of action on the rural housing crisis, land reform and crofting reform, or the Government’s enthusiastic embrace of tourism as seemingly the sole purpose of the Highlands and Islands.

“The Gaelic language, and the health and sustainability of the island communities in which the language is rooted, need to be much more of a priority for the Scottish National Party if they wish to be seen as a national party.”

The Scottish Government consultation report on future support for Gaelic and Scots and on a promised Scottish Languages Bill is due in the coming months.

The campaigners said it was “vital” that the report brings together groups from across the two communities to provide Scots and Gaelic with a louder voice within Government.

“We need a Minister for Scottish Languages who can provide accountability and work with wider Scottish society to help advance the rights of Scotland’s minority language communities,” said a spokesperson.

“Oor Vyce and Misneachd are committed to promoting and protecting the use of Scots and Gaelic in Scotland and we believe that the appointment of a Minister for Scottish Languages is a crucial step in ensuring that our linguistic heritage is preserved for future generations.

“We urge Humza Yousaf and the Scottish Government to take immediate action to appoint a Minister for Scottish Languages to address the urgent issues facing Scotland’s linguistic heritage.”

The petition can be found HERE