What would a Festival of Britain and Northern Ireland say? “Politics and ceremonial are not separate subjects, the one serious, the other superficial. Ritual.. is itself a type of power”

Ulster 71 Exhibition BBC Image  The headline quote is from David Cannadine in “Rituals of Royalty etc..”  in “Traditional Societies”, ed. Cannadine and Simon Price, CAP 1987 p3, quoted by Gillian McIntosh (below)  Anniversaries like death and taxes are always with us. Perhaps they’re even sent to challenge  us.  Politicians are tempted to lay on  bread and circuses to show up the better face of things. Could it really work for Brexit?  The Irish Times believes not. The paper has …

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The need for an agreed history…

“History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake”. Oh Mr. Daedalus, if only you had been in Northern Ireland in 2018. History is everywhere in our political reality, and also somehow nowhere. It is slippery and vague, not unlike the content of a nightmare the moment the dreamer jolts awake. I turned 18 a few weeks before I voted for the first time, and that vote was on the Belfast Agreement. It was, to me, …

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