The Other Civil War

There was a civil war in Ireland between 1922 and 1923 but we rarely speak about it. It was such a destructive bitter conflict that the wounds were too deep to discuss. However there was another civil war happening at the same time that is even less discussed. This split was just as bitter, but instead of being centred on the Treaty it was based on something much deeper. It was a split between rich and poor, haves and have-nots, landlords and peasants. It is a story of Soviets, White Guards, sabotage, strikes, land seizures, violence and burnings. It was nothing short of a second civil war. Continue reading “The Other Civil War”

Irish Soviets 1919-23

Workers throwing out the boss, hoisting a red flag and proclaiming a Soviet are not something that you would normally associate with Irish history. That sort of stuff is normally presumed to have happened in Europe but not Ireland. Most history books describe all Irish people as being united with the sole aim of driving the British out. Yet Ireland was caught in a wave of Socialism similar to that in Italy and France. During the War of Independence over 100 Soviets were set up in Ireland. Although it is now forgotten, many thought Bolshevism was a greater threat to British rule than Sinn Fein. Continue reading “Irish Soviets 1919-23”

1919 Limerick Soviet

Ireland is probably the last place in the world that you expect workers to host a red flag and seize control of a business let alone an entire city. That sort of stuff is usually considered too continental for our liking. Yet this is exactly what happened in 1919. A soviet was declared and the workers seized control of essential supplies. They even printed their own money. Nor was this some irrelevant backwater but rather Ireland’s fourth largest city. Continue reading “1919 Limerick Soviet”

Review Of The Casual Vacancy

If you like epics, you’ll like The Casual Vacancy, author J.K. Rowling’s first book after the Harry Potter series. It is a story of a town rather than an individual. Rowling paints a broad canvass of many different intersecting lives set in a small English town. The plot revolves around the aftermath of the death of local councillor Barry Fairbrother. An election is held to fill his seat on the local parish council. It is set in a small town racked by division and conflict, between parents and children, husbands and wives, rich and poor. Then someone starts posting secrets onto the internet. . . Continue reading “Review Of The Casual Vacancy”

Government Did Not Cause The Recession

We are in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Economists and commentators alike are united in blaming the banks and the lack of restraint on them for driving us over the cliff. Yet there is a myth common on the internet that it was the government that caused the recession. Allegedly it was the government that forced the banks to lend extra and fueled the boom. There are three parts to this argument. It is claimed the government caused the recession by guaranteeing to bail out banks if they got in trouble, by forcing banks to lend more through the Community Reinvestment Act, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and by keeping interest rates artificially low. These arguments are unable to explain the timing of the crisis, its magnitude and the fact that it’s global effect. These claims simply do not stand up. Continue reading “Government Did Not Cause The Recession”