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What's in a name but pointless trivialities?

Published 03/05/2016

I wish to draw attention to the attitude of Michael Gillespie on the definitions of 'statelet' and 'state' (Write Back, April 28).

More specifically, I would like to draw attention to the mistaken belief that pedantry has any kind of intellectual content.

As any scientist will tell you, the importance of a definition is only as great as whether it is appropriately used.

The question for us all is not whether Northern Ireland is a province or a country or a statelet, but what is the point of this minor linguistic war about definitions and the names of places? Do they really feel that drawing attention to trivialities will somehow finally provide an antidote to the poison in both our politics and our communities?

The definition of 'statelet' doesn't provide any argument for any point of view. It cannot. Does it further the cause of federalism? No. Does it provide an emotional impetus towards federalism? No. Does federalism deserve a better argument than this? Yes.

If Michael Gillespie needs his hand holding about a shared future, he should go and hold the hand of a Scottish man; they seem to be able to manage to do it (at least without as much massive stupidity occurring at every point).

Questions of 'statelets'/'countries' be damned: I want a full-blooded culture to be proud of; one that can have proper arguments about things that matter.

I want to feel that the place I call home is really engaging with the rest of the world and fighting the good fight, rather than what I fear may be the case when I hear arguments like this: a tiny little insignificant outpost, devoid of any real importance and consumed with endless arguments about the correct names of places and political ideas.


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