Posts Tagged Scotland

The Onion of Bigotry: a History of Hatred

The Onion of Bigotry: a History of Hatred

Black Dingo Productions.
Running time 60 minutes

blackdingoJust at St John’s, St John’s Church, Princes St, EH2 4BJ (Venue 127)
1 – 25 Aug 2014

Production: Kielty Brothers
Performers: John Kielty, Gerry Kielty, Jordanna O’Neill, Stanley Pattison

This lively light-hearted rattle through Scottish history might fall flat on non-Scots or anyone not familiar with some of the highlights and lowlights of the country’s past. There are some great songs; how else could you manage to rhyme Reformation, Protestation and Excommunication? We learn that past kings called James had a rough time of it and we have to endure some excrutiating puns; Orthodox Sea, bloody big Hanover and ninety-five faeces anyone?

That said, this story does remind us that dreadful things were done in the past but offers a simple solution is a rousing chorus at the end. Your people did some dreadful things to mine. My people did awful thing to yours. But instead of indulging in more whataboutery let’s just get over it. Simple, eh?

**** Four Stars

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Federalism for Britain

Cover of Caledonian Voice.

Cover of English Voice

Federalism for Britain: The NLP Launches two papers for England & Scotland.

JULY saw the launch of two new publications by the National Liberal Party (NLP), English Voice (EV), and Caledonian Voice (CV).  As their titles suggest, the former is produced for England and the latter is aimed at Scottish readers and thus they will function as the national NLP papers for England and Scotland.  Both papers are currently produced in a double-sided A4 format with the front page comprising eye-catching mastheads and lead articles with the reverse giving readers a general introduction to the NLP, its policies and its New Horizon e-zine.  EV is currently available online while CV is available both online and in printed form for distribution door to door.

The common theme of the first issue of both publications can be summed-up as ‘Federalism for Britain’ and revives the concept of ‘The British Family of Nations’ which was a strong strand of de-centralist thinking within nationalism in the 1980’s which sought to strengthen local and regional identities and culture and devolve power away from central government and down to the ordinary people.  At the time this represented a radical departure from what had been hitherto orthodox nationalist policy which looked very much to a centralist British Government and a blanket British identity.  With the question over Scotland’s future within the United Kingdom and calls for England to have its own Parliament, EV and CV bring a nationalist view to these debates.

CV leads with The Independence Referendum…..Is there a Third Way? and puts forward the option of Devo-Max as alternative to both outright separation of Scotland from the rest of the UK and the status quo.  Devo-Max seeks to devolve as much power to Holyrood from Westminster as possible leaving only issues common to the whole of the UK such as defence and foreign affairs vested centrally.  The NLP’s distinctive stance in calling for the establishment of an English Parliament and the introduction of citizens’ initiative referenda along the Swiss lines are also highlighted:

“The NLP supports the creation of an English Parliament and encouraging people across the United Kingdom to become involved in open and accountable systems of government at both local and national level that enable ordinary citizens to participate in the decision making processes that affect their daily lives.  The NLP calls for the introduction of Swiss-style citizens’ initiative referenda to ensure that the majority can be heard on issues that the political elite would rather ignore”.

EV carries the bold headline DEVO-MAX FOR THE ENGLISH and pulls no punches when it lays out the anomaly of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland having their own parliaments or regional assemblies while England has none:

“DISCRIMINATION! That’s the only way to describe the way the Westminster establishment treats England and the English people. One of the main reasons England is discriminated against is because every other nation in Britain has some form of self-government. But England has none!”

 

EV then continues to point out other areas where England is disadvantaged relative to the other parts of the United Kingdom, such as the “West Lothian Question”, posed by the Labour MP Tam Dalyell back in 1977, which highlights how MPs from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales can vote on purely English matters in the House of Commons while under devolution English MPs could not vote on the same matters concerning those other parts of the UK.  EV puts forward the creation of an English parliament under Devo-Max as the way to address the imbalance with the rest of the United Kingdom.

Both English Voice and Caledonian Voice are produced to a high standard with impressive layouts that attract the reader.  CV has been produced in printed form with the aim of being distributed especially in small towns and rural areas that do not often see any form of political campaigning.  It will be interesting to see what the response is.  Readers interested in distributing CV door to door in their areas should contact the NLP’s office for details of how copies can be sent to them.  I understand that issue two of both papers should be out before the end of the year.

Both papers are also available via e-mail.  To get hold of them, e-mail natliberal@aol.com and ask for your FREE pdf copy of Caledonian Voice and English Voice.

Reviewed by Andrew Hunter

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On the Trail of William Wallace

Book coverOn the Trail of William Wallace

by David R. Ross.

WHETHER you are just starting out on your quest for knowledge about arguably Scotland’s greatest hero or are an old campaigner looking to gleam something extra, this is a must have book for your library.

It is written in an easy-going natural style that will hold you there until you have read through from cover to cover. The known chronological facts about Wallace are documented and others debated, but what really makes this book special is that unlike any other book on the subject, it takes you on a visit to the sites where Wallace walked and fought and died.

There are maps and detailed descriptions of sites from the past and present and sadly some no longer with us. There are also many beautiful line drawings of monuments, plagues and buildings connected to our hero.

The story of William Wallace has continued to inspire patriots even over 700 years after his cruel end. This book will help his legend grow as more folk follow on the trail of William Wallace and feel his indomitable spirit touch them at each stop along the way.

Printed with acknowledgements to Scotland First http://www.scotland-first.org

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Macbeth

Macbeth

Icarus Theatre Collective

New Town Theatre

George Street, Venue 7.

 

SHAKESPEARE’S plays are often regarded as worthy but boring.  That’s what comes of reading them in school rather than watching them performed.  Given the right treatment, Hamlet, Julius Caeser and Macbeth can be as gripping as any Hollywood blockbuster.

This production fits the bill perfectly.  The high-octane opening battle sets the scene for this dark tale on intrigue and violence. Despite the limitations of a small cast of seven, the cast have the choreography so perfect that they can switch roles in seconds with quick alterations of costume. In a red dress, Sophie Brooke is Lady Macbeth; with a cloak over her head she becomes one of the Three Witches.  With other variations of her costume she becomes a Murderer or Rosse.  The action is fast-moving and unrelenting, so pay attention.

Five Stars alone are due to the designers of the simple set and the expressive mood-setting lighting and sound. You’ll find out what a bane-moon looks like.

Reviewed by David Kerr

***** Five Stars

www.icarustheatre.co.uk

ww.universalartsfestival.com

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BALLYCARRY – Voices from the Past

BALLYCARRY – Voices from the Past
Souvenir Booklet produced by Ballycarry Community Association. February 1992.

IN 1992 the Ballycarry Community Association arranged a historical exhibition of photographs, maps, documents and artefacts. BALLYCARRY – Voices from the Past seems to have been produced to accompany the exhibition. This booklet consists of 20 A5 pages, crammed with pictures, articles and poems. Most of the articles are a series of extracts from other publications about Ballycarry. It’s an absolute mine of local history information.

Unfortunately, it was produced on yellow – or buff – paper and printed in brown ink. Originally this may have looked ok, but time and age has made it virtually impossible to decently reproduce anything from it. (For instance, there’s a great picture of the post being delivered in Ballycarry – by a postman complete with pony and cart. There’s also a picture of Main Street that also features just a couple of horses and carts). However, don’t let this put you off – I’ve never seen so much information crammed into such a small booklet before. It completely deserves to be updated and printed on white pages with a card cover.

So what about Ballycarry itself? For those not familiar with the area, Ballycarry nestles in the hills of Co Antrim offering panoramic views of Islandmagee. Situated midway between Larne and Carrickfergus, its population (according to the 2001 Census) consisted of 981 people. In Ulster-Scots, Ballycarry is called Braid Islann and in Irish it’s known as Baile Caraidh.

However the ancient name of the area was Irewe – sometimes spelled Ireve. There are differing accounts of the origins of this name. Some say Irewe is Norse and means plaited or braided island. Others claim that in medieval times the letter ‘v’ and ‘w’ were interchangeable and that the name Ireve referred to arable land.

Whatever the origin of the name, one thing is for sure – 1,000 years ago the area was an important ecclesiastical centre. ‘The present old church ruins and St. John’s Parish Church and their cemeteries lie within the area of an ancient enclosure – an earthen bank, stone wall or thorn hedge – which marked the exterior of an important religious site. The name of this church site in the 12th century was Lislaynan or Lislanan, and its extent, identified from aerial photographs, makes it the fifth largest in Northern Ireland’.

Ballycarry has two other main claims to fame. In 1613 (a Scot from Drymen near Loch Lomond) the Rev. Edward Brice became the first Presbyterian minister in Ireland. He ministered here between 1613 and 1636. In the 1620s and 1630s Brice and other Scots ministers came under pressure to adhere to new canon laws of the Church of Ireland (in which they had technically been ordained, although they viewed themselves as ministers of the Kirk of Scotland).

Like the others, Brice refused to accept these Canon Laws and was deposed from the parish charge and forbidden to preach as a result. Although it is likely he continued to minister in private houses and possibly also in the open air, it was said that Brice died of a broken heart. He was interred inside the church where he had ministered, and in time a memorial stone was erected there too, by which point the Presbyterians had long moved to their own church on the Main Street, where the Old Presbyterian Church is sited.

Additionally, James Orr – the Bard of Ballycarry – became one of the most famous of the weaver poets in Ulster. Orr was born in 1770 and died in 1816. He ranks on an equal par with Robert Burns as a poet, and took part in the 1798 United Irishmen Rebellion, after which he fled for a short time to the United States. He was also a prominent Freemason, and his imposing memorial was erected by members of the Masonic Order in 1831.

If you’re ever planning to visit Ballycarry make sure you don’t miss the annual Broadisland Gathering – the most prominent and successful Ulster-Scots Gathering on the east coast of Ulster. Held on the first Saturday of September, it highlights the unique Scottish heritage of the village and has attracted visitors from as far all over the world.

FOR FURTHER information about the Rev. Edward Brice, why not view this site:

http://www.ballycarrypresbyterian.co.uk/history/presbally.html

FOR FURTHER information about James Orr – the Bard of Ballycarry – why not view this site:

http://www.libraryireland.com/CIL/OrrJames.php

FOR FURTHER information about the ruins of Templecorran Church, Ballycarry, why not view this site:

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~econnolly/books/silentland/silentland05.html

– Reviewed by John Field.

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