Thursday, 8 March 2018

Drumming Up Support: Artists For Brexit

Drumming up support for 'Artists for Brexit.' Painting by Stephen McLean

'Artists for Brexit', a brand new arts movement, was created recently in a Wetherspoon's pub in London. It's not the first time inspired artists have created new collaborations in a pub, but I have a notion this gathering of individuals just might merit a mention in future annals of history.

Not all that long ago it was the poets, painters, songwriters and playwrights who were at the forefront of social and political change. Artists and artisans were there at the forefront in Renaissance and Enlightenment periods: since the early 19th Century, bohemian cliques were always assumed to be lurking in the wings to question and challenge the status quo.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Brexit, Borders and Common Travel Area

by Willie Drennan

Why is nobody talking about The Common Travel Area?

The debate around Brexit rages on with much focus once again on Ireland. There are cries that Brexit is a threat to the Belfast Agreement (Good Friday Agreement) and even to peace, as they claim a hard border is inevitable.

Prior to the Referendum many politicians and commentators and politicians explained that a hard border across Ireland would not be necessary, primarily because of the Common Travel Area that was set up in 1923 between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

On the issue of customs, should the EU insist on imposing tariffs, the various technological methods that can be used to monitor transfer of goods are also well documented. So in other words the UK government sees no need for a hard border in Ireland.

The threat of a hard border is clearly being used by the EU, Irish political elite and diehard Remainers as part of their concentrated attempt to stop Brexit.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Arts, Business and Cyber-Lynching

By Willie Drennan

Cyber-Lynching is the new term for a crowd of folk getting together on social media to have a collective go at somebody they feel deserves punishment. No doubt an online lynch mob will be after me very soon for even making reference .

For now it's the Chair of the Arts Council, with his speech at the Arts and Business NI annual awards in Belfast on January 24th, who is getting cyber-lynched.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

The Legacy of Rabbie Burns 2018

By Willie Drennan

January 25th 2018 will mark the 259th birthday of the immortal Robert Burns, and such is his legacy that we can’t help but ponder what he would make of the state of the world today.

It was certainly the case during the Scottish Independence campaign in 2014 that campaigners on either side were selective in their quoting of Burns to claim he would have voted for their cause. Songs such as ‘Scots Wha Hae’ were presented as confirmation of his Scottish credentials while ‘Does Haughty Gaul Invasion Threat’ was considered proof of his British credentials.

Indeed there is much in the works of Burns for both the Scottish and British patriot. He didn’t see anything contradictory in that. Also for the internationalist there were songs like, ‘A Man’s A Man For A’ That’.