Etc Etc - Both Political Cultures Must Be Given Centre Stage

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), October 12, 2004 | Go to article overview

Etc Etc - Both Political Cultures Must Be Given Centre Stage


Byline: BY ROBIN GREER

THE Irish political observer Eoghan Harris recently made a very astute observation as to why unionists have made such a poor job of explaining themselves to the rest of the world.

Unionists, says Harris, see the Irish question as a court case they had to win whereas nationalists see it as a story to be put on stage.

To which an Ulster Unionist top dog of my acquaintance added: "Yes, a play that never ends."

I was reminded of this sitting in the Lyric Theatre last week, watching a version of G B Shaw's John Bull's Other Island.

Harris was doubtless referring to the metaphorical stage of the world's media and political talking shops, but nationalist propaganda has long found welcome in the local theatres.

Actually, John Bull's Other Island is not a nationalist rant, but it does feel as though it is never going to end.

Shaw had a wider vision, the play lampoons English liberal dogooders with green mists in their eyes and the superstitious and self-effacing nature of the Irish that prevented social and economic development on the island for so long.

Why though did the Lyric promote the play with a cartoon that relates to historical nationalist accusations of British oppression?

Why also the accompanying exhibition of political cartoon by two artists who contributed to Red Weekly and Socialist Challenge, An Phoblacht, and Labour and Ireland?

Some of the cartoons were very good and thought provoking, others verged on the offensive. …

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