Another example of missing the point… January 5, 2017Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Superficially Newton Emerson in the IT last week may seem to have a point here when writing about the controversy over cuts in Irish language placements in Donegal by the DUP Communities Minister. He writes:
DUP Communities Minister Paul Givan has cut £50,000 from Irish language summer placements in Donegal.
About 100 young people will be affected. The bursary, set up by Sinn Féin former minister Carál Ní Chuilín, was targeted at disadvantaged families.
There was just enough time for this to cause the last Stormont political crisis of 2016. Sinn Féin representatives denounced the cut as bigotry, motivated by a hatred of all things Irish.
And Emerson writes further:
I have not seen this proposed in the wildest corners of social media, let alone by any cultural or activist group. Considering the level of anger around the issue last week, it should have been realistic to crowd-fund £50,000 in a matter of days. The operation of the bursary makes it easily amenable to private donations. Yet the idea was not entertained, even as a protest gesture.
And in what I suspect is an attempt to say ‘a plague on all their houses’ continues:
A clue as to why came from Sophie Long, an election candidate for the loyalist Progressive Unionist Party.
“We can have a society where the Irish language and flute bands are both respected and supported,” she tweeted last Friday evening, adding: “DUP are a shame on unionism.”
The reference to flute bands recalls a £200,000 annual fund set up by DUP former culture minister Nelson McCausland in 2011, suspended by his successor Ní Chuilín in 2015, then reinstated by Givan this July.
And for Emerson there’s a certain lofty detachment about all this:
What actually happens is that everyone ends up marching around in circles, having sterile arguments about who has the better culture while their leaders tell them they are under attack.
A true commitment to self-reliance, as a permanent ideology, might break this cycle. But who would take a stand for that?
But I think he misses the point. The figures are not huge, though that’s 100 young people who won’t go to Donegal this coming year. But then it isn’t just about the figures, and nor is it about self-reliance, it is about a sense that the state is different in its approach to the past. And this works both ways in relation to Republicanism/Nationalism and Unionism/Loyalism, the sense that there’s at least an effort to some basic parity of… well, yeah, sure, esteem. That the old Stormont which studiously ignored any mention of cultural differentiation (examining its public documents promoting NI in the 50s through to the proroguement of Stormont is a useful exercise, almost nothing about marching bands, but then nothing too about the other cultural tradition/community sharing the same space) while presiding over deeply discriminatory practices has gone isn’t just a matter of it being gone. It is seeing that it is gone, that the current Stormont is different. That’s where Emerson’s argument seems to me to fall down.
And as one comment notes BTL, difficult to entirely take seriously the notion that self-reliance is the be all and end all when the very structural aspects of a partitioned NI appear to necessitate precisely the sort of inputs simply to keep the show on the road.