Thursday, 2 November 2017

That Alliance Party post and the incredible stats.

Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw (centre) backs an Irish Language Act
Last night I wrote a post about the Alliance Party and its support for an Irish Language Act, contrasting this with its earlier position when it rejected the demand for an Irish Language Act.

There is a stats facility with blogspot and then enables the owner of the blog to see how many people have viewed each of the posts.

In the hours after the Alliance Party post went up it was viewed by a large number of people and then gradually that number tailed off, which is the normal pattern.

But after a while I detected something peculiar with the stats, not for the post about the Alliance Party and an Irish Language Act but for posts stretching back as far as 2010 and covering all sorts of issues, including politics, parades, protests, culture, identity, broadcasting, arts and museums.

After comparing these stats with the average normal level of views for very old posts and noting the level of viewing as well as the number of separate pages viewed, it seems that a small group of people have spent a significant amount of time over the past 24 hours reading through the older posts on my blog.

It is the first time that this has ever happened on such a scale since I started the blog and it ended as suddenly as it started.  It may have been totally unconnected with the Alliance Party post but on the other hand there might be a connection.  Coincidence or not, who can say?  And why would a small number of people trawl through so many posts?  Three thousand additional page-views in a 12 hour period, most of them during the night, is unusual.






Wednesday, 1 November 2017

When the Alliance Party damned an Irish Language Act as 'expensive' and 'divisive'!

Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw(centre) backs an Irish Language Act
Today the Alliance Party supports the introduction of an Irish Language Act and among the foremost advocates is Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw.   

On 30 August she lined up with other politicians for a photo opportunity to declare her support for an Irish Language Act.  In the photograph with her were Nichola Mallon (SDLP), Steven Agnew (Green Party), Gerry Carroll (People Before Profit), Gerry Adams (Sinn Fein), Ciaran Mac Giolla Bhein (Conradh na Gaeilge) and Niall Comer (Conradh na Gaeilge).  

Also that same day she was interviewed on the Radio Ulster programme Talkback and defended her party's support for an Irish Language Act.

Ian Parsley with his wife,  Paula Bradshaw MLA
However that was not always the position of the Alliance Party. 

The following letter from Ian James Parsley, then an Alliance Party councillor in North Down, appeared in the Irish News on 16 November 2006..

He was responding to a latter from Margaret Ritchie in the Irish News (15 November 2006) and in his reply he referred to 'a damaging and expensive Irish language act'.  Ian Parsley then continued:

Ian Parsley(Alliance)
Firstly, an Irish language act would place the language's development in the hands of officials and lawyers - and take it away from those who truly think and feel for the language and have led the process so successfully so far.  One of the most dynamic cultural movements in Europe would be reduced to a rabble of bureaucracy.

Secondly,, an (Irish language) act would inevitably bring with it huge cost.  That money will be taken from other budgets....

Most people, regardless of political background, will come to view the language as nothing more than an expensive way to divide up our people, rather than the source of cultural wealth, pride and unity it could be.

Ian Parsley rejected an Irish Language Act as damaging, expensive and divisive, which would involve 'huge cost' and that was his verdict as a prominent party member.  He was the party's policy director from 2007 to 2009 and also the unsuccessful Alliance Party candidate in the 2009 European election.

But that was in 2006 and today the Alliance Party supports an Irish Language Act.  Indeed Ian Parsley himself has written in favour of Irish language legislation and his wife, Paula Bradshaw, is an enthusiastic supporter.

I find that hard to understand because if an Irish Language Act would have been divisive, expensive and damaging in 2006, it would be just as divisive, expensive and damaging today, maybe even more so.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

A great Ulster-Scots soldier from Brookeborough


John Armstrong (1717-1795) was born in the village of Brookeborough,  three hundred years ago, on 13 October 1717.

His parents were James Armstrong (1680-1745) and Jane Campbell (1688-1775), who were married in 1704.  He had Scottish ancestry on both sides of his family.

He married Rebecca Lyon (1719-1797) and they emigrated from Ulster to Pennsylvania around 1740, along with her brother John Lyon.

There he was a surveyor to the Penn family, the proprietary owners of the colony.

He laid out the first plan for the town of Carlisle in Pennsylvania and was one of the first settlers.

Armstrong was also a militia commander in the Seven Years War and a good friend of George Washington.

Battle of Germantown
In the early stages of the Revolutionary War, John Armstrong was a brigadier general in the Pennsylvania militia and was then appointed to the same rank in the Continental Army.  He fought at the Battle of Brandywine and the Battle of Germantown and after the war he returned to Carlisle.

Rev George Duffield
(1732-1790)
John Armstrong was appointed to the Continental Congress as a delegate from Pennsylvania from 1779 to 1780 and he died in Carlisle on 9 March 1795.  

His sister Margaret Armstrong (1737-1817) married Rev George Duffield (1732-1790), the Presbyterian minister in Carlisle, and John Armstrong was an elder in the congregation.  

The Duffields were an Ulster-Scots family and George Duffield's father had emigrated from Ballymena to America.

A later Rev George Duffield (1818-1888), a direct descendant of the first Rev George Duffield, was the author of the well-known hymn Stand up, stand up for Jesus.



Monday, 16 October 2017

A false and flawed argument for an Irish Language Act

Ian Parsley & Paula Bradshaw MLA (Alliance Party)
On Saturday the News Letter published a letter by Ian Parsley in which he  set out the case for an Irish Language Act.

One of the key points was that this would bring Irish Gaelic in Northern Ireland into line with Scottish Gaelic in Scotland and Welsh in Wales.  

It was almost like saying that it is the 'British' thing to do.

However it is a flawed and false argument as I set out in the following letter, which appeared in the News Letter today.


In his letter (14 October) in which he supported ‘comprehensive Irish language legislation’, Ian James Parsley stated that this would ‘bring Northern Ireland largely into line with equivalent jurisdictions, notably Scotland, in providing a legislative basis for promotion of Celtic languages.’  He also said that we should be ‘willing to learn from good practice in the rest of the UK’.

By referring to ‘equivalent jurisdictions’ and ‘the rest of the UK’ he was suggesting that Northern Ireland is somehow out of line with ‘the rest of the UK’.  However that is not the case.  There is no single approach across ‘the rest of the UK’ and so Northern Ireland cannot be out of line with ‘the rest of the UK’.

If we look across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, there are four ‘Celtic languages’ – Cornish in England, Scottish Gaelic in Scotland, Welsh in Wales and Irish Gaelic in Northern Ireland.

There is a Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act in Scotland and a Welsh Language Act in Wales but there is no Cornish Language Act in England, just as there is no Irish Language Act in Northern Ireland.  So Northern Ireland is in line with England, whereas Scotland and Wales are out of line with both England and Northern Ireland.  The ‘out of line’ with ‘the rest of the UK’ argument simply does not stand up to scrutiny and is disingenuous.

Ian Parsley takes a keen interest in minority languages, as does his wife Paula Bradshaw, the Alliance Party MLA for South Belfast.  Indeed she was the person who represented the Alliance Party at a Conradh na Gaelige photoshoot on 30 August in support of a standalone Irish Language Act. 

Both Ian and Paula have used this ‘rest of the UK’ argument in support of an Irish Language Act.  Are they not aware of the situation in England?

The Alliance Party is entitled to argue for an Irish Language Act but then others are entitled to point out that this argument is fundamentally flawed and thoroughly disingenuous.


Nelson McCausland

Friday, 13 October 2017

Another 'Nelson's View'


This blog is named Nelson's View but it is not the only Nelson's View.

I have just discovered that Nelson's View is also the name of a holiday cabin in Maggie Valley in North Carolina, just to the east of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  I own this Nelson's View but am disappointed now that I don't own the other Nelson's View!

Then there is a website called Nelson's View, which belongs to a professional photographer named Nelson Rodriguez, who lives in Florida.

So I look out at the rain and think about North Carolina and Florida .....


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Londonderry Burns Club

Robert Burns window in the Linen Hall Library
Last Friday I visited the Robert Burns cottage in Alloway, the place where he was born.  

Since then I have been thinking about the number of Burns Clubs in Ulster and one in particular has taken my attention, the Burns Club in Londonderry.

For more than fifty years there was a Burns Club in the Maiden City. It seems to have been formed in 1907 as the Londonderry Burns Club and Caledonian Society. and there are regular newspaper reports of Burns Suppers and other social and cultural events through until at least 1957.

There was also a charitable side to the Londonderry Burns Club and in 1928 the members presented a 'memorial cot' to the Londonderry City and County Infirmary.

This was one of a number of Burns Clubs in Ulster, where there was a particular affection for the poetry of Robert Burns and there were also clubs in Belfast and Larne.  The first to be formed in Ulster was the club in Belfast and the Belfast Burns Association still meets but the Londonderry and Larne clubs ceased to function some years ago.

At one time it was said that in many homes in Ulster there were but two books, the Bible and Burns.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

A worldwide web of the wealthy and powerful

Image result for jeremy shapiro and obama
Jeremy Shapiro 
A number of British newspapers have reported comments made by Jeremy Shapiro at the Cheltenham Literature Festival about the 'special relationship' between the USA and the United Kingdom.

Shapiro, who worked as an adviser to Barack Obama, said that the relationship was unrequited and that US officials would make jokes about it behind the scenes.

I could well believe that Barack Obama's administration took that view and I am sure we all remember how Obama turned up to support David Cameron's failed campaign to win the referendum to stay in the European Union.  That US president wanted to deny us OUR 'independence day'.

But what about the man making the claim?  The newspaper report state that Jeremy Shapiro worked as an adviser in the US State Department under Obama and now works as research director at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).

Image result for european council on foreign relationsI must admit that I had never heard of Jeremy Shapiro or the European Council on Foreign Relations so I decided to browse aroudn on the internet for some background information.

The ECFR is a private pan-European think-tank, which I would describe as internationalist liberal elite.  It is funded by private donations; so who is it that 'pays the piper', because very often whoever 'pays the piper, calls the tunes'?

It seems that the ECFR was established with the support of Open Society Foundations, Communitas Foundation and Fundacion Para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Dialogo Exterior (FRIDE).

George Soros - Festival Economia 2012 02.JPG
George Soros - multi-billionaire
Its partners and funders are foundations, corporations, governments and individuals.

FRIDE closed down in 2015 for financial reasons but Open Society Foundations is still very much alive and active.  It was founded in 1993 by the culturally-subversive George Soros and may be the largest 'philanthropic' organisation ever established, with branches in 37 countries.

Soros was educated at the London School of Economics where he was a student of the Marxist Karl Popper and today he is a business magnate worth more than $25 billion.  He is a multi-billionaire and uses his wealth to influence politics in many countries.  He advocates a federal Europe, opposes Israel,  backs euthanasia and has supported more liberal drug laws in America.

This is just a small insight into the worldwide-web of the wealthy and powerful and the organisations and institutions they use to promote their worldview.  It is a world about which most of us know very little and I suppose that is the way they want it.