Successful union? Successful for whom?

A country with a falling population, reliant on charity (food banks) and dependent tourism is dying or being killed. The Tories are happy to “celebrate” the opening of food banks and the development of tourism because all of these are indicators of the demise of Independence.

Wee Ginger Dug


According to Boris Johnson and assorted British nationalists, the United Kingdom is the most successful union in the world. That’s a claim which begs many questions. Questions like, how are you defining a union exactly? Questions like successful for whom? What criteria are you using for “successful”? The number of foodbanks perhaps. The UK has been highly successful in the past few years at making people, even people in work, rely upon foodbanks in order to feed their kids. Or perhaps it’s based upon the least number of years without being involved in war or military action. That would be just a couple of dozen years out of the three hundred plus during which the UK has been in existence. Or maybe it’s based upon the number of Tory MPs who got their position on the basis of lies on the side of a bus.

Dunno about you, but I…

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A Unionist Perspective On The DUP And Brexit

Absolutely saying it how it is!


As a “small u” unionist, from a Protestant background, I was more than content with the situation in Northern Ireland after the Good Friday Agreement. We had peace, we were full-blown citizens of the European Union, and we were able to choose how British or Irish (or neither of those things) we wanted to be. What was there not to like about that?

Set against those positives, even the fact that our two major parties, the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin, proved incapable of sustaining a devolved administration was a niggling irritation rather than a running sore. Did we honestly expect any better of them?

Brexit, however, whether with or without a deal, and the DUP’s determined support for it, has shattered my sense of contentment. It has led me to realise that I will have to choose which union I prefer: the one with Britain, as part of…

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The second in our series on celebrated figures from history immortalised in song and covered by both Folk and Celtic-Punk bands. Today we turn to the great Irish hero of Fiach MacHugh O’Bryne one of the greatest leaders in Irish history.

Memorial to Fiach McHugh O’Byrne, Glenmalure, County Wicklow

The song ‘Follow Me Up To Carlow’ recounts the struggle of Irish clan leaders against British rule in Ireland in the 16th century. The central figure in the song is Fiach MacHugh O’Bryne (1534 – 8 May, 1597) who fought the British army for thirty years during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The song celebrates his feats in battle and though thought to be from the time it was actually written 200 years later by famed Irish poet Patrick Joseph McCall, who also wrote the great patriotic ballads ‘Boolavogue’ and ‘Kelly The Boy From Killane’ among others. The song ‘Follow…

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A short series exploring some of the figures from history immortalised in song and covered by all your favourite Folk and Celtic-Punk bands. You’ve sung the song but do you know the rich history behind the words? Today we celebrate Roddy McCorley, a young man executed back in 1800. He has been immortalised in both the written word and song and 200 + years after his death we are still here celebrating his life with the many versions of the great song written about him.  

The Rody McCorley Memorial, Toome. “I gcuimhne Ruairí Mhic Thoirealaigh, a chrochadh annseo as a bheith páirteach i nÉirigh-Amach 1798. Iad siúd a d’éag ar son na hÉireann go mairidh a gcliú go deo.” “In memory of Rody McCorley who was hung here for his part in the 1798 uprising. May the honour of those who died for Ireland last forever.”

Roddy McCorley was the…

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the urban prehistorian

A9 sign

There is something powerful about the A9, the lengthy road which runs from the urban central belt of Scotland through the misty mountains to the far northern shore of the mainland. It is a line of power, not just the power of access and travel, but also the power that will be carried by the newly constructed Beauly-Denny transmission line which connects the wind-generated electricity of the Highlands with the electricity-hungry consumers of the south. Then there is the power of the landscape – from the big forests of Perthshire, to the big mountains of Drumochter, to the big bridges across the firths north of Inverness.

New towers, part of the Beauly-Denny powerline alongside the A9 New towers, part of the Beauly-Denny powerline alongside the A9

But the A9 is also all about frustrating in-car experiences. Jenny Turner, in a recent piece in The Guardian, described the longest A road in Scotland in terms most drivers would be familiar…

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Presidential candidate likens Native Americans to jihadists

The Lakota Law Project Report

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 29:  Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., addresses the Republican National Convention in the Tampa Bay Times Forum on the night Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., republican vice-presidential nominee, delivered a speech to the crowd.  (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee announced his plans to run for president on Tuesday, May 5. During his speech, the Republican attempted to criticize current president Barack Obama and squandered hope of gaining Native American support in the 2016 election.

“When I hear our current president say he wants Christians to get off their high horse so we can make nice with radical jihadists, I wonder if he can watch a western from the ’50s and be able to figure out who the good guys and the bad guys really are,” stated the politician, who was once a Southern Baptist pastor.

This absurd comment came in reference to a speech made by Obama at this year’s National Prayer Breakfast. Whilst speaking about Islamic terrorism, the president reminded the audience that most, if not all, religions have dark aspects of their history.

“And lest we get on…

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Oh, Shut Up, Blair.

TheCritique Archives

by Martin Odoni

A former Labour leader, now widely recognised as one of the most dangerous sociopaths ever to occupy 10 Downing Street, has publically decided that his party’s defeat in Thursday’s General Election is because Ed Miliband dragged his policy platform too far to the left. “RECLAIM THE CENTRE GROUND!” cries Tony Blair, milking his ‘I-told-you-so!’ moment for all it is worth.

There is a gaping whole in Blair’s remarks. Ed Miliband was already in the centre ground with his manifesto. It was certainly to the left of the very neoliberal ground that Blair occupied while in office from 1997 to 2007, but to suggest Miliband was being too radically left-of-centre with his policies only highlights how worryingly narrow the range-of-thought in mainstream British politcal/economic public discourse has become. Miliband’s policies were the bare minimum of what was needed just to get the country away from the right wing…

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