In the Belfast Telegraph, Eamonn McCann picks up on the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust’s criticism of the “simplistic view” of culture and identity evident in the OFMDFM’s Cohesion, Sharing and Integration proposals. [added link]
From the Belfast Telegraph article
Policy could be aimed at bringing reality into alignment with existing aspirations, imagining what might be and asking: why not? The CSI document seems designed to bring aspirations down to the mundane here-and-now, asking: why bother?
Conventional politics are constructed around a communal identity, and that the DUP and Sinn Fein have gotten where they are today by presenting themselves as robust advocates of their ‘own’ community’s interests over the other side.
The CSI strategy might have been designed to confirm the present pattern of political allegiance. The message of the CSI document is that there’s no need to see politics any other way than the way they always have been seen.
As Brian said in April, there are alternatives to “to hell with the future and long live the past”.
I’ve quoted the poet Michael Longley before. Here on “identity”.
Longley: “It’s how we interact with one another, civilization. On the one hand, I’m interested in how we avoid tearing one another to pieces. Peace is not that, peace is the absence of that, peace is the absence of war: the opposite of war is custom, customs, and civilization. Civilization is custom and manners and ceremony, the things that Yeats says in “A Prayer for My Daughter.” We have a vocabulary of how to deal with one another and how to behave, a vocabulary of behavior, as well as things to say to one another . . . and out of that come laws and agreed ways of doing things . . . and that in daily life are a bit like form in poetry.”
The question is, what “custom, customs, and civilisation” do the First and deputy First Ministers’ parties want all of us to share?