What’s in a name?

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Written by Ruairidh Tait on in Highlands and Islands, Grampian and Tayside, Fife and Central, Lothian, Borders and Dumfries and Galloway, Strathclyde and West

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A name. It’s something we all have, something we find hard to give and often something we are excited to hear. But there’s more to a name than just a few letters.

Names are the topic of many conversations all around the world at the moment, given the recent hype from the press following an outburst from Katie Hopkins on TV a few weeks ago. Even bigger than that is the arrival of the royal baby. As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge await his or her arrival, the world is on edge as guesses are made on the name of the future royal.

But what is in a name? Is it really possible to read into a child’s life given their name, as Hopkins suggests? According to Ms H, children the Tylers, the Charmaines, the Chantelles, the Chardonnays are likely to be the ones who don’t do their homework, are late to class or aren’t from a family classy enough to be friends with the Hopkins children.

I wonder if Ruairidh is good enough for her? Or does my name have the lazy bug linked to it? It’s certainly different, though she probably doesn’t like that.

The former ‘Apprentice’ star created a great feeling of anger on social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter after she spoke her mind about children’s names, explaining how much of a difference they can make on who her own children can hang around with.

So for Will and Kate, Tyler should probably be a big no no as they prepare to pick a name for their soon-to-be-born child. But for the royal duo, it is rumoured that their freedom is limited with the expectations placed upon them to pick a family name and keep up tradition.

Realistically, though, names are very important. It is how we recognise individuals. If you hear a name being mentioned, you automatically associate it with a particular person, be it a friend or family member or maybe even a colleague. So, in favour of Katie Hopkins, a judgement may be made on a name given to an individual and such judgements can have a big impact on that person.

If you hadn’t already noticed, I am slowly moving from naming children and individuals to something much more relevant and important to us as young people.


Too often young people in Scotland are referred to as ‘yobs’, ‘rebels’ and ‘neds’ – stereotypes used against ordinary teenagers without a second thought for the positive things they might be involved in.

The term ‘yob’ alone is often seen in newspapers and online when there is talk of the few negative stories relating to young people. But is this really fair? Use of such stereotypes, and branding young people with such general terms appears to be tarring us all with the same brush.

On the Truth About Youth project, we are challenging these negative perceptions of young people in Scotland and we are doing that by sharing the positive stories of Scotland’s youth. You can get involved too by following us on Twitter (@TAYScotland) or by liking us on Facebook (/TAYScotland). Together, we can make a difference to the way young people in our nation are thought of.

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