Friday, 23 August 2013

Reactionary Whitabootery

The Belfast Telegraph is carrying an opinion piece by Ulster-Scots Agency Chief Executive Ian Crozier in response to its recent front-page exposé of, and associated editorial on, the Government Ulster-Scots voicemail service, which has received not a single call during its decade-long existence. Although the Blether Region suspects that the original article may have had something to do with the Ulster-Scots Agency's closeness to the Bel-Tel's rival the News Letter, its criticism is sound.

Mr. Crozier makes the point that "Ulster-Scots" didn't ask for the phone line.

Well, that all depends on how one defines them. If the term refers to members of the speech community, then he is entirely correct; there was never any groundswell of opinion that Ulster Scots should be promoted in lock-step with Irish in contempt of the two speech varieties' different stages of development. If "Ulster-Scots" includes (English-speaking, evangelical, British-Israelite, fellow-DUP) activists such as Nelson McCausland, however, as it so often does in public discourse, Mr. Crozier's statement falls down flat, since the phone line was instituted in direct response to the Part II recognition of Ulster Scots under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, recognition that came about because of activist pressure and their false and thoroughly sectarian analogies with Irish. Indeed, those same activists have since been campaigning for Ulster Scots to be recognised under Part III. Why? For the simple reason that Irish is recognised under Part III, and what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

It is just that kind of reactionary whitabootery that has led to a lost decade of development for Scots in Ulster.

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