Friday 23 May 2003

Down with the neds?

Ever since Socialist MSP Rosie Kane made her newsworthy appearance in the Scottish parliament we have been breathlessly waiting for her first contribution to the Trotskyite revolution. Would she demand the immediate nationalisation of the whisky industry? Perhaps a call for the toiling masses to storm the Bank of Scotland? How we underestimated Ms Kane. She has identified a great evil in the land and has called for action:
Jack McConnell has been challenged to stop members of the Scottish Parliament using the word "ned" to describe young people in trouble with the law.

Rosie Kane, the newly elected Scottish Socialist MSP, says the word stigmatises young people and has called for the parliament to outlaw the use of it.

The First Minister's office tells us that:
The word "ned" is defined in recent editions of the Oxford English Dictionary as Scottish slang, referring to a "hooligan, thug or petty criminal".
But with all the experience of a former social worker, the new MSP
claims the slang expression, which is often believed to derive from the Scots expression "ne’er-do-weel" or "dae nae guid", is actually a term used in probation officers’ official reports for "non-educated delinquent".
So "ned" is official government terminology after all. I can foresee the parliamentary advocates of "social inclusion" insisting on a less robust term for their clients. Perhaps "ned" could be used to mean "Newly Elected Dimwit."