Friday, 3 September 2010

The Ulster-Scots Academy — Phoenix or White Elephant?

The BBC reports that the comparatively tiny DCAL budget is facing huge cuts over the next four years. Along with libraries and museums, the arts in particular are facing a bleak future, despite lower per capita spending than elsewhere in the UK. The revelations came at a meeting of the Statutory Committee.

"[A] senior civil servant, Edgar Jardine, said that the minister Nelson McCausland had identified the Ulster Scots Academy as a priority project which should not be cut.

The Ulster Scots Academy project all but collapsed under previous DCAL ministers."

It seems that the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure is intent on pressing on with the controversial academy project, despite lack of agreement among stakeholders (especially academic linguists) and lack of demand on the ground. Most Ulster Protestants evince the same scepticism towards Government spending on language as Mr. McCausland does to spending on the arts. Where they differentiate between spending on Irish and spending on Ulster Scots on any but the most chauvinistic grounds, it is generally to the detriment of the latter.

A recording of the Committee meeting will be available on the Internet for the next few days.

It is an ironic truth that, in being especially resolute in the stances that he has adopted, Mr. McCausland has distanced himself from the settled will of those whom he was elected to represent. How long before the sharks start circling?

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