DECISIONS on how money is spent by public forestry bodies impact us all, so it’s a surprise they aren’t debated more often on the Forest Machine Operators Blog. Not so, recently.

Inspiring much chatter this month was the news that Scottish Forestry had published its first-ever Gaelic Language Plan, which it said demonstrates its commitment and support for the native language.

The new plan was produced after a consultation period which sought views on how the agency could help promote and protect the Gaelic language. 

Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the principal public body responsible for promoting Gaelic in Scotland, worked with forestry officials in the production of the plan and Scottish Forestry’s chief executive Paul Lowe was quoted sounding very enthusiastic about its value.

Forestry Journal: Brian PullarBrian Pullar (Image: Bites)

On the Blog such enthusiasm was largely absent.

“I’ve just read in Forestry Journal that Scottish Forestry has just published its first plan in Gaelic,” said one member. “Why? Can they not find anything else more important to waste money on? 

“When I checked, 1.1 per cent of the Scottish population spoke the language. Unreal. Only a government organisation could be that wasteful.”

Asked what was wrong with the Gaelic language, he replied: “Nothing at all, it’s great to see regional languages. But when the industry is in such a state, perhaps they could concentrate on some more pressing matters.

“It’s just the waste of money I can see. How much do you reckon it cost to produce? A fortune, I would guess.”

One contributor responded: “Another instance of PC bollocks costing a fortune that nobody really cares about, unless you are in the 1.1 per cent minority.”

Another said: “And most of that 1.1 per cent probably speak English as a second language anyway.”

Forestry Journal: Dave FunnellDave Funnell (Image: Bites)

Said another: “That 1.1 per cent live on islands with no trees.”

And another: “I can’t imagine it actually cost that much to do a version in Gaelic, but it would be more appropriate to do a version in Scots which is spoken by 30 per cent of the population.”

To which the original poster, somewhat surprised by the support, replied: “I thought I’d get a furious comment in Gaelic. Perhaps the 1.1 per cent aren’t listening.”

To those from outwith Scotland, the story did not seem so outrageous.

Forestry Journal: Matthew RawsthorneMatthew Rawsthorne (Image: Bites)

“Try Wales,” said one. “Our government has enforced everything be published bilingual for 10-plus years. More of us speak Welsh than Gaelic based off that figure, but I don’t give a shit what language my council tax reminder is in.”
Said another: “Come to Ireland and you’ll see money wasted.”

And another: “Oh, I bet! Mind you, Forestry England is pretty good at it too.”

Perhaps it really is the same all over. And perhaps, in the grand scheme of things, the cost of a Gaelic language plan is nothing to get upset about.

Said one member: “All the folks getting angry about this had better not find out the price of nuclear weapons.”

Forestry Journal: Marc MackenzieMarc Mackenzie (Image: Bites)

Well... yes. Indeed. In most things, Forestry Journal tries to remain objective, but we’re willing to put our heads above the parapet right now and declare, in no uncertain terms, that if Scottish Forestry ever proposes the purchase of nuclear weapons ... we’ll be against it.

Elsewhere, one harvester driver was curious to know what waterproof jackets others recommended. Some wondered what a harvester driver, with all the luxurious comfort of a dry, heated cab, would need with such a thing, but he explained: “To grease up and change chains, etc. Are the expensive ones worth the money?”

Forestry Journal: John MurchieJohn Murchie (Image: Bites)

Recommendations ran the gamut from the Solidur H20 (£100–150) to Flexothane (£40–80) to a Site waterproof from B&Q (£23–33), all seeking to maximise functionality without losing sartorial elegance (very important).
Or, as one member suggested, you could save your cash and: “Just grease up when it’s dry.”

Said the original poster: “Wouldn’t have done much greasing in the last nine months.”

We imagine not.

To keep up with the latest chat, visit the Forest Machine Operators Blog on Facebook.