With a Conservative / Liberal coalition government in place at Westminster, hands-off government is in vogue in London. Not so in Belfast.
Here there are few more hands-on Executive members than Nelson McCausland. His conception of the work of a culture minister is more in tune with a 1930s dictatorship than a liberal democracy in 2011.
Fresh from telling the Ulster Museum which history it should reflect in its collection and how much swearing should take place in the theatre, the minister intensifies his ‘Kulturkampf’ by demanding that Belfast Festival change its programme.
No such difficulties for McCausland’s chosen projects. It’s a golden age for the Ulster Scot and only two days ago his department published a document promoting marching bands. Talk about the silo mentality and ministers’ fiefdoms!
The latest intervention by McCausland asks for more pro-Israeli views at the Belfast Festival at Queens and “some southern gospel music”. I wonder how exactly the minister would define his remit. He seems to think its his job to tell people what their culture is.