John Laird is interesting and engaging, if a tad eccentric. In this feature piece for the Belfast Telegraph he puts together an interesting series of ideas in support of the growing Ulster Scots movement in Northern Ireland; not least its relation to the rapid globalisation process:
“The politics of European integration, globalisation and, in the more distant past, imperialism have resulted in the revival and reassertion of other, older loyalties and identities.”
This makes good sense. Globalisation has set a series of local challenges for people to find a cultural belonging, whilst maintaining serious commercial engagement with the wider world.
However he then does what most commentators habitually do with regard to Northern Irish demography and politics; he assumes that most Ulster Scots are 1 protestant and 2 unionist, then compounds the problem by conflating them into a coherent resistance to the ‘undesirable’ outcome of a united Ireland.
Perhaps the argument’s greatest weakness is the simple incongruity of ‘locking out’ a group of (Catholic) Ulster Scots who have as strong an ‘ethnic’ claim to the term as many of those within the current movement.
Update: here’s a good FAQ on the language.