Monday, 16 December 2013

Why I Busk

Why I Busk
I began busking instead of signing on the dole. The weather was good, so I headed into town with my guitar and after three hours, came home elated by the response I got from Joe Public.  Two days later, I went back. 'This will tide me over for a month or two, at least until winter,' I thought. Nearly five years on, I'm still to be found, guitar in hand, 'The Music Man', as some folk call me.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Issue 12. In shops across Northern Ireland now. Only £1. Supporting grassroots Arts and Culture. Supporting Local Sustainable Small Private Enterprise. Independent. Alternative viewpoints on Politics and Economy. Supporting Free Speech.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Flag for Northern Ireland

The Flag for Northern Ireland?

From Issue 11 of The Ulster Folk
By Paul Stewart

It can be seen everywhere yet not everyone is conscious of it or even knows what it is: it was considered the one flag that represented this part of the world that everyone could accept. I’m referring to the Irish flag that is a red diagonal cross on a white background or Cross of St Patrick or Saint Patricks Saltire as it has come to be known.

It has its detractors, based mostly on disinformation, after all, equality and shared identify are surely a threat to those with a narrow sectarian agenda. Before passing comment it is better to understand a balanced view of what exactly it is. The Saint Patricks cross is often criticised for having been ‘made-up’ during the 1800 Act of Union and combined with the St Andrews Cross of Scotland and St Georges Cross of England to form the new Union flag.

Monday, 2 December 2013

John Lowry Workers Party General Secretary talks to David Thompson

"Workers Party General Secretary John Lowry talks to David Thompson about a wide range of issues, ranging from sectarianism and the past to internment by remand and state intervention in the local economy. He also says that it’s time to end the current power-sharing system of government and that legal safeguards mean there is no possibility of a return to the sectarian abuse of power seen in the past.” 

Queries on Scottish Referendum

By Willie Drennan: Editor of The Ulster Folk

On September 18th 2014, a referendum will determine whether or not Scotland will separate from the rest of the UK. While we need to respect the right of the Scottish people to vote how ever they choose on this issue, the rest of who would still remain in the UK after a YES vote, should probably start thinking what that would mean for us.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Three-way Sectarianism: only two colours

TEXT Willie Drennan
Until we face up to the fact that sectarianism in Northern Ireland is three-way and not just two-way, I don't think there is any chance of moving beyond our sectarian divisions. The Orange and Green varieties are well documented but the third strand of bigotry doesn't even have a colour: that's because the media is part of this more sophisticated form of social division and they don't want a colour.
Belfast is the focal point for all things sectarian in Northern Ireland and all three strands flourish in our capital city where the arts and the media strive to maintain dominance in defence of the status quo. In most societies, progressive journalists and practitioners of the arts challenge the abuses of power in government and are at the forefront of social change.  They form the type of alternative community that I would have felt part of while living in other countries. That's not really happening here, as someone at the top must have realised that: if you can't beat them [the artists], pretend to join them so that you can get them on board and control them.
Funding for the arts in Northern Ireland surely exceeds such funding in most other countries, if not all other countries, as all-Ireland, European and American funding have all donated in an attempt to compensate for 'The Troubles'. Much of this has been constructive and has initiated positive projects, but has come at a big price: artsy media types have realised that if you want a nice secure pensionable career you need to bow down, join the club and support the system. The end result is no voice for serious positive social reform, never mind the voice of revolution. No, no mad 'comic' Russell Brand-type revolutionaries this side of the Irish Sea as yet. 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Adverts for Christmas in the Ulster Folk

Dear Folks ,
If you are an artist, artisan, musician, crafts person , etc;  or have a small business that fits in with our theme of small sustainable local enterprise we are offering small advert rates for Issue 12 of our paper.  10,000 will be distributed to around 800 shops across Northern Ireland on Thursday November 28th. They will be in the shops until after Christmas.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

The State of our Local Economy.

Someone needs to write a book about the approach of our governments to the local and global economy. Well someone probably is writing that book as I write this rant, but until it’s out there and a best seller nothing is going to change very quickly. The most likely outcome of the G8  Summit in Fermanagh is that our wealthiest  nations will continue their policies of expanding the wealth and control of global chieftains at the expense of investment in, and promotion of local independent, but inter-dependent, sustainable enterprise. 

The State of our Democracy.

Since the last issue of The Ulster Folk the state of democracy has taken a turn for the worse. There is still no serious consideration by our present political to set up the most basic conditions for true democracy by facilitating an official opposition. All countries need this to ensure basic accountability and transparency in government: something seriously lacking at Stormont where they have postponed the next election for an extra year and given themselves a pay rise while the rest of the country is experiencing wage cuts.

Identity in Confusion?

The problem is the media and government agents want to label and stick everybody in one of their boxes. They want to categorise everybody into groups where they can be pigeon-holed  and controlled.

Willie’s Rantings: - The Twelfth Day

Growing up in Northern Ireland I looked forward to the Twelfth of July in the same way as I did Halloween and Christmas. As a child and a teenager, in pre ‘troubles’ time, I was aware that my Catholic friends and neighbours didn’t really celebrate the 12th, but the fact that they would watch the parade, occasionally help collect materials for the bonfire,  or dance a jig under the Orange Arch suggested to me that it wasn’t really a big deal.