July 09, 2015

Culture Night - A middle class 12th

A cartoon of Belfast's Culture Night by Ian Knox
Newton Emerson wrote that the annual Culture Night shows how many extremely middle-class people there are in Belfast. Culture Night is, in his words, "A sort of middle-class Twelfth." He also wrote:
"Inching down the jammed streets [in the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast for Culture Night] I was taken aback - as I am every year - by how many extremely middle-class people there are in Belfast, where public gatherings are otherwise of the less salubrious variety. Credible estimates have put Culture Night’s crowds at 50,000 - one-fifth of the city’s population and more than the total number of Alliance voters across Northern Ireland. Most would not have looked out of place at an artisan food fair in Richmond-Upon-Thames. Disappointing this constituency for want of Culture Night’s £30,000 grant reveals the priorities emerging from Stormont’s budget deadlock. While real arts events like film and music festivals are targeted, there is not threat as yet to our dreary calendar of paramilitary-run and identity politics jamborees. In the blatant bribery schemes for bonfire and parade organisers or to cultural abominations like the £3.6m award to the two Orange Order ‘interpretative centres’."
Brian Feeney wrote:
"The threat of violence such as inflicted inflicted on the Alliance party since 2012 is sufficient warning to prevent any middle-class liberal unionists from becoming involving in politics."
Mick Fealty wrote:
"Both nationalist and unionist politicians who have taken up middle positions have long been subject to the kind of death threats and physical attacks the Alliance party is being subjected to."

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