In your Morning View editorial (‘Ulster-Scots will not disguise a standalone Irish language act,’ February 13) you are correct to assert that Ulster-Scots is in no way equitable to that of Irish in any political trade off.
This is made clear in your view: “But no-one should be under illusions that standalone Ulster-Scots laws, for which there is no public demand, will disguise a standalone Irish act.”
There has been much talk of an Irish and Ulster-Scots, with a focus on language. However, with this, enforced by a law, to afford the two ‘equal’ status, comes with it culture.
Nonetheless, there has been little or no talk of Britishness, or Anglicanism (which is more than a ‘religious faith’, it is a way of life and at the core of Britishness in its purest form).
Why? Because Britishness is rejected by republicanism. It is seen as an ‘Imagined Community’, to quote the title of the book by Benedict Anderson.
Nonetheless, today, Britishness is what holds us together. Take that out of the equation, you create the conditions for separatism.
It was at the centre of the Plantation, amongst lowland Scots.
Counties Armagh, Londonderry and Fermanagh are examples of there being a high proportion of Anglicans (or English settlers) who came over during the various phases of the Ulster Plantation.
Most unionists identify themselves as British and speak English as their first language (as do most people in NI, regardless of religion).
While some would not dismiss Ulster Scots, they do not believe that it needs legislated for never mind Irish.
The rejection of a ‘deal’, talked up over the weekend by the DUP, is the correct approach, and one I hope is maintained.
However, it was always going to be an impossible sell to unionist voters because they believe in individualism and freedom, not communitarianism.
Legislation is there to be enforced and regardless of the attempts by the DUP to assure the unionist community, unionism, at its core, does not believe in any form of language and/or culture act.
Unionism, to include the Orange Order, has been self sufficient without the support of government or legislation for centuries.
Why should Irish or Ulster Scots be treated any differently if they are legitimate forms of identity?
Richard Holmes, Ulster Unionist councillor, Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council