“Additionality” adds up to one for you, one for me

Posted By: August 26, 2017

The fact that an Ulster-Scots language does not exist is neither here nor there.

Newton Emerson. Irish News. Belfast. Saturday, August 26, 2017

AS the Western world is gripped by statue-toppling hysteria, Northern Ireland turns out to be a beacon of reason amid the maelstrom.

We have had the argument over contentious civic symbols before, obviously – in the main at local council level. Having considered taking such symbols down, the consensus has instead emerged on putting balancing symbols up.

Explaining this on Radio Ulster, Sinn Féin Belfast councilor Deirdre Hargey referred to the principle as “additionality” – an ungainly term, yet as good a solution as is ever likely to be found.

While sovereign flags remain a special case, one side’s status need not detract in any way from another’s.

Unionists fearing a Republican Trojan horse should note how far Sinn Féin has been dragged on this issue since 2008, when it demanded the removal of a statue in Limavady of a local man who became prime minister of New Zealand, merely because he had been in the Orange Order.

Representatives of all hues might note additionality promises a whole new trip around the international peace circuit.

It is no surprise we have invented ‘additionality’ in Northern Ireland, given the conduct of the Ulster-Scots Agency.

Realizing that Irish language legislation would mean more funding for Irish, it put in a proposal for an extra £140 million over 10 years for Ulster-Scots.

This astonishing figure – well over the estimates for extra spending on Irish – makes perfect sense to the Ulster-Scots Agency because it would roughly match over the next 10 years the spending Irish has received above Ulster-Scots over the last five years.

The fact that an Ulster-Scots language does not exist is neither here nor there. In this form of additionality, one for me and one for you,  must all add up to the same for both.

Nor is such blatant clientelism the delusion of an eccentric quango. Ian Crozier, chief executive of the Ulster-Scots Agency and dispatcher of its detailed proposal, is a former DUP councilor, former special adviser to DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds and remains a DUP member. He knows this is how the system works.