Scotland

Ulster Unionism’s on defensive over Scotland – but threats won’t win argument

On September 18, Scotland will hold a referendum on independence. A ‘Yes’ vote would bring to an end the 1707 Union, leaving behind a rump United Kingdom, comprising England, Wales and a Northern Ireland constitutionally marooned from its nearest – both geographically and emotionally – UK neighbour. Clearly, Northern Ireland has a lot at stake in September’s plebiscite. Nationalists and unionists alike […]

Getting away ‘Scot-free’ from alcoholism

Edinburgh, Scotland – Scotland has become the first place in Europe to prescribe a new drug that reduces cravings for alcohol. Earlier this month, the Scottish Medicines Consortium, a body that approves drugs for use in the National Health Service, gave the go-ahead for doctors in Scotland to prescribe nalmefene, a drug made by Danish firm Lundbeck […]

Scots rally for independence from UK

Edinburgh, Scotland – In 1992, on the same evening the Conservatives won a fourth successive UK general election, a small group of campaigners started a vigil for a Scottish Parliament at Calton Hill in Edinburgh. Their constant watch lasted five and half years, until Scots had a chance to vote “yes” to devolution in 1997. Thousands […]

Should Scotland’s famous arts fest join the independence debate?

August in Edinburgh in synonymous with the arts. This August over 25,000 performers have descended on the Scottish capital, offering everything from stand-up comedy and one-act plays to jazz, opera, and poetry readings as part of several separate festivals that are collectively known as the “Edinburgh festival.” But while the cobbled streets of Edinburgh’s Old Town will be littered […]

Scotland’s Epic Media Fail

EDINBURGH, Scotland — When parliament opened here in 1999 with new powers thanks to the devolution of control away from London, it was expected to herald a golden age for Scottish journalism. Back when Scots were ruled directly from Westminster, they already bought more newspapers per person than the rest of the British population. Circulation […]

Aye or nae? Scottish teens will vote on independence

Most days after school, Sean Garcais and his friends ride their BMX bikes in North Kelvin Meadow, a patch of scrub land in the west end of Glasgow. They build ramps, try new tricks. Sean and his friends are like 15- or 16-year-olds anywhere else in the world, but with one difference: Next year they will all have […]

Among the Orangemen

Ian Wilson, a former Grand Master of the Orange Lodge in Scotland, addressed the annual Orange parade in Broughshane, Co. Antrim, on 12 July. After describing Martin McGuinness’s handshake with the queen as ‘a humiliating surrender’ for Sinn Fein, Wilson turned his anger on a ‘more cuddly and user-friendly’ nationalist: Alex Salmond. ‘The ultimate aim […]

The Great Migration

This feature on Irish migration to the UK was the lead story in the Sunday Business Post‘s Agenda magazine on 16 January. Standing at the edge of the McNamara Suite in the London Irish Centre, it’s difficult to believe you’re in cosmopolitan Camden town, and not a function room somewhere in Tipperary or Waterford. Well-thumbed […]

Time for a Default?

“There is no reason why Ireland should trigger an IMF or EU-type bailout”, Irish Minister of State for Europe, Dick Roche, told the Today program on BBC Radio 4 this morning. But despite such government protestations, the scale of Ireland’s sovereign debt crisis is such that it seems only a matter of when, not if, […]

Campaign for Spending Increases Starts Here (A Hack Gets Political!)

Journalists are supposed to stay well away from Politics (and the capital ‘P’ is no typo). The fourth estate’s putative duty is to ask awkward questions, to speak truth to power, to avoid political biases, etc. etc…. But what happens when a cynical hack wakes up one morning and realises that the government he lives […]

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