Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Ulster-Scots Agency to be Reformed


















The BBC has reported that the Ulster-Scots Agency faces "root-and-branch reform".

While admitting to a degree of scepticism about the agency handing out Santa hats to rugby fans at Ravenhill while failing in the course of its ten-year existence to post the modest corpus of Scots literature from Ulster on the Internet, the Blether Region hopes that this has nothing to do with a North/South understanding to bypass the cross-border bodies.

In the case of Scots, that could mean handing a goodly part of the agency's budget to an Ulster-Scots Academy and perhaps also giving the latter its linguistic remit. Essentially, such a change would entrench DCAL and thus DUP power over Scots language policy while sidelining the UUP and others. And why are there no voices being raised about spending by the Ulster-Scots Academy Implementation Group, some of whose members may well benefit from the agency debacle?

But, if the agency is to be reformed, how about changing the nomination procedures to get a) Scots-language academics and b) Northern Nationalists on its board?

The Santa hats and many other unworthy — not to say unworldly — initiatives can be ascribed to a paucity of good ideas, and that demands that the net be cast wider.

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