Ian Parsley has been to Denmark, and is impressed with the Scandinavian economic model in practice. His picture of the Opera House in Copenhagen hardly does it justice, but it is a fine example of audacious public art, paid by private subscription and subsequently donated to the state. Nothing in Belfast even remotely compares. It is, as Ian notes, hard for foreigners to comprehend (and difficult to replicate), though the country’s communitarian mores are captured in the highly influential educational philosophy of Nikolaj Gruntvig’s summed up in his line: “Only willing hands make light work.” Northern Ireland’s two untrusting tribes, it would seem, have some way to go before constructing build a healthy, inclusive and progressive society.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty