Scots and Ulster-Scots Are Not Languages

Now don’t get me wrong. This isn’t one of those articles complaining about people who don’t use the standard or official form of English (I don’t do that myself). My aim isn’t to mock and insult everyone who speaks differently than me. Nor I am someone who thinks English should conquer the world and crush all other languages underfoot (I even speak Esperanto!). I support language diversity and think it’s good when people maintain local words and accents, as a world where we all spoke the same bland accent would be very boring.

However, sometimes the support for local languages goes too far. For centuries local dialects and languages were suppressed and discouraged in favour of English and other major languages. As if to compensate, the pendulum has swung the other way and all forms of local speech are studied, celebrated and supported. However, I feel the pendulum has swung too far and now some local differences are being exaggerated and put on a pedestal where they don’t belong. Continue reading “Scots and Ulster-Scots Are Not Languages”

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Why I Hope There Never Is A United Ireland

For generations the goal of Irish nationalists has been a 32 county United Irish Republic where the whole island is free of British rule. In theory all Irish political parties support this, even if there isn’t much they can do about it. With the centenary celebration of the 1916 Rising (and the War of Independence soon to come) there has been a celebration and an examination of national pride. In Northern Ireland, higher birth rates means that the number of Catholics is catching up with the number of Protestants and may soon over take it. This has led to a number of people to suggest that a United Ireland may soon happen.

However, the thought of a United Ireland doesn’t fill me with patriotism and I don’t see it as something to rejoice. If I was ever given a choice, I would vote against it. This might seem treasonous from someone who was raised as an Irish Catholic but the thought of a United Ireland fills me with dread and were it to ever happen, it could bankrupt the Republic of Ireland. A United Ireland would lead to crippling taxes, drastic reduction in services, widespread unrest and a return to the violence of the Troubles. Continue reading “Why I Hope There Never Is A United Ireland”

If You Can Understand Nationalism Then You Can Understand Feminism

A lot of people these days don’t see the need for feminism. To many it’s just a lot of whinging and moaning about superficial things that don’t matter too much. Others see it as an issue that belongs in the history books, important in its time but not today. Don’t women have equal rights today? Hasn’t the movement run its course? A recent survey found that 85% of people support gender equality but only 18% consider themselves feminists. Basically, most people just don’t understand feminism (for a long time neither did I). However, I think there is another ideology that is more easily understood and can be used as a guide to explaining feminism, especially to people who wouldn’t otherwise see where Feminists are coming from. Continue reading “If You Can Understand Nationalism Then You Can Understand Feminism”

How To Steal An Election – A Guide To Gerrymandering

Winning elections is hard work and some people would rather skip the inconvenient issue of getting a majority of votes and would instead rig the system in their favour. One way of doing this is known as gerrymandering and was widespread in Northern Ireland for decades (and one was one of the causes of the Troubles) and is common in America to this day (where it is surprisingly accepted as a political fact of life). Continue reading “How To Steal An Election – A Guide To Gerrymandering”

A Catholic Majority In The North?

The results of the 2011 census show that the population gap between Catholics and Protestants has narrowed significantly. In fact, at current rates, the Catholics will be a majority after 2016. This has the potential to significantly destabilize Northern Irish politics. The fragile peace established by the Good Friday Agreement could fall apart. Republicans are excited with dreams of a United Ireland and Unionists are terrified with similar nightmares. However there is the lurking threat of a return to violence and a second wave of Troubles. Continue reading “A Catholic Majority In The North?”

Religion As A Cause Of War In Ireland

In my last post I argued that religion was a major cause of war. Now I want to discuss this in an Irish context. In fact the history of Ireland is basically the history of Protestants and Catholics warring among each other. There are numerous incidents where Catholics or Protestants were killed solely because of their religion. Continue reading “Religion As A Cause Of War In Ireland”