Salmond Hammers Darling In Second TV Debate

Alba Gu Brath - Scotland Forever. Thousands attend Scottish independence rally, Edinbugh, Scotland, 2012 (Photo: Wings Over Scotland)

Well the verdict is in and it seems that Alex Salmond, the SNP first minister of Scotland, has emerged as the winner from last night’s second TV debate on Scottish independence. While the first contest was generally presented as a victory for Alistair Darling, the leader of the Unionist “No” campaign (partly on the basis … Continue reading

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United Parties In Catalonia, EU Citizenship In Scotland

An Chatalóin (Catalonia)

Despite the financial scandal erupting around its former leader and his family the ruling Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC) party has joined with other nationalist groupings in providing a united front to Spain’s opposition to Catalonia’s referendum on independence tentatively planned for November of this year. While the one-time doyen of conservative Catalan nationalism, the CDC’s … Continue reading

Better Together Star: Catholics Look Better Hanging From A Tree

British Unionism or British Nationalism the English Defence League

The British Unionist parties heading the “Better Together” or No (surrender?) campaign in Scotland’s upcoming referendum on independence seem to have all but abandoned their scruples when it comes to defeating the SNP-led Yes side. Their language and rhetoric has become increasingly vitriolic with oblique references to verbal and physical violence littering their speeches as … Continue reading

Scotland Votes No, Scotland Gets Tory/UKIP (DUP/UUP/TUV) Rule?

Scotland's First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond adresses independence rally, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2012 (Photo: Wings Over Scotland)

Some interesting polling in Britain which shows that the centre-left Labour Party is still in the lead over the governing centre-right Conservatives and right-left Lib-Dems. However despite all the adverse publicity of recent weeks and concerted media criticism the right-wing England-centred UKIP movement under Nigel Farage is not just holding its own with potential voters … Continue reading

Nimble Scotland Versus Lumbering Britain

Alba Gu Brath - Scotland Forever. Thousands attend Scottish independence rally, Edinbugh, Scotland, 2012 (Photo: Wings Over Scotland)

There are very few politicians that I actually admire. In general my opinion of those who enter party politics is pretty poor though growing up in Ireland, with its values-adverse, morally flexible and easily purchasable political classes, it is easy to see why. It’s not that Irish politicians are particularly corrupt in the sense of … Continue reading

The Wee Blue Book

Albain (Scotland)

Like myself many readers of An Sionnach Fionn are interested in the upcoming independence referendum in Scotland so I thought I’d post some links to the “Wee Blue Book”, the much anticipated pro-sovereignty fact-guide by the excellent website Wings Over Scotland. By all accounts it has already been a great success and certainly judging by … Continue reading

Hold Your Tongue

The National Library of Scotland, Early Gaelic Book Collection

Karen Matheson, the lead vocalist with the popular Scottish folk band Capercaillie, recounts something that was once very familiar to speakers of the two main Gaelic languages, Irish and Scottish. From the Herald Scotland: “WHEN Karen Matheson was growing up in the small Argyll village of Taynuilt, her mother refused to speak Gaelic to her. She herself … Continue reading

Saltire: Ionnsaigh, The First Scottish Language Graphic Novel

The Gaelic Chieftain, Maurice Harron

A quick break away from politics with news of the release of Saltire: Ionnsaigh, the first graphic novel in the Scottish (Gaelic) language, which is due to be launched at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August. From a report by the Stornoway Gazette: “The first in a series centring round Scotland’s first comic book superhero, the dark … Continue reading

Scottish Referendum Poll Shows Yes Vote Gaining Ground

Alba Gu Brath - Scotland Forever. Thousands attend Scottish independence rally, Edinbugh, Scotland, 2012 (Photo: Wings Over Scotland)

The latest TNS BMRB poll in Scotland is showing a small if significant rise in support for the pro-sovereignty Yes side in the run-up to the September referendum on Scottish independence. When “undecideds” are stripped out the anti-sovereignty No vote has dropped to 56% while the Yes vote has increased to 44%, a 3% jump since … Continue reading

Gaelic Medium Education Growing In Scotland

BBC Alba

Some positive signs pointing towards growing stability in the numbers of Scottish (Gaelic) speakers in Scotland. Despite the decline caused by centuries of political, social and cultural exclusion – in particular since the 1800s –  communities are remerging in urban regions like Edinburgh and Glasgow. From the Scotsman newspaper: “THE growth of Gaelic education throughout … Continue reading

Language And Politics In Scotland

Sign of Albain or Scotland

The University of Edinburgh has carried out an interesting study on attitudes in Scotland towards the indigenous Scottish (Gaelic) language amongst supporters and opponents of independence. Unsurprisingly “Public Attitudes to Gaelic and the Debate about Scottish Autonomy” (PDF document) finds that in broad terms pro-sovereignty voters are more likely to have favourable views about Scottish … Continue reading

Electronic Irish

A lot of people seem unaware of the two best online resources for historical texts relating to Ireland, both of which are entirely free to use. The first is “CELT, the Corpus of Electronic Texts”, a collection of hundreds of manuscripts and books in digitised form mainly written in Irish and English (of various periods) … Continue reading

A Message To Scotland

When the children’s author JK Rowling announced her financial support for the anti-sovereignty side in Scotland’s forthcoming referendum on independence she lamented the alleged online campaign of abuse against British Unionist supporters by their Scottish Nationalist rivals. While using her own troll-like language to mischaracterise some of those who believe in a free and self-governing … Continue reading

Cardiff, Edinburgh, Sydney

Activists fighting for Welsh language rights have set up a symbolic Occupy camp outside the Senedd, the offices of the national assembly or Cynulliad in Cardiff. Wales Online reports that the young people are: “…insisting that the Government change six language policies including Welsh-medium education for all. The action by Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg is part of … Continue reading

Harry Potter To The Rescue!

It says much for the fantasy politics of British nationalism that a decision by the English-born children’s author JK Rowling to boost the already hefty warchest of the Unionist “No” campaign with a donation of one million pounds is being heralded by the right-wing press in Britain as “the most significant” celebrity intervention in the referendum … Continue reading

The Threat Of The Gaelic Ail-Caoíde

Talking of petty bigots whose anachronistic opinions are derived from centuries of colonial supremacism here comes another tirade against one of the indigenous languages of these Celtic Isles. Drew Cochrane, editor of the Largs & Millport Weekly News, spouting some ripe Daily Mail-style rhetoric for his Anglophone (and -centric) readership. Funny how people who complain … Continue reading

Demand For Scottish Medium Education Outstrips Supply

From Glasgow’s Evening Times newspaper: “Christine and Iain Agnew are keen to support Scotland’s language and so sent son Archie to a Gaelic nursery school in Anniesland. But the four-year-old has now been denied a place at Glasgow Gaelic School. Christine, 39, said: “My son has been going to a Gaelic nursery for the past … Continue reading

Ireland And Scotland, Our Democracies, Our Voices

The recent polls in Ireland and Scotland make for interesting reading in the run-up to the European and local elections (though only the former contest is being held in our fellow Gaelic neighbour). While the percentages for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are within a whisper of each other both parties are expected to do … Continue reading

Féile na Bealtaine

Some appropiate links for Lá Bealtaine, traditionally the first day of summer by the indigenous calendars of the Irish, Scots and Manx (and probably for the Celtic peoples as a whole). The Dos Bhealtaine or May Bush is up already, the branches and flowers cut from the caorthann or rowan tree in my garden. The ribbons are red and … Continue reading

Big Boost In Funding For Scottish Language Broadcasting

Some more good news for the Scottish language (Scottish Gaelic) with the announcement by Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, that a further £2.1 million pounds (2.5 million euros) will be made available to MG Alba, the state-funded media organisation. The group funds Scottish language television and radio programmes in cooperation with the BBC and various … Continue reading

The Forge In The Forest, Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a British artist whose distinctive, sometimes surreal style will be familiar to many readers of Fantasy and fantasy-tinged Science-fiction even if his name is not so much. Since the late 1970s his exquisite illustrations, executed most frequently in pen and ink, have graced the covers of countless publications, notably the Fighting Fantasy and … Continue reading

Europe’s Democratic Tide

Quick post to highlight a couple of interesting articles touching upon Scotland’s independence campaign, the first from Conn Hallinan at Foreign Policy In Focus examining the rise of national self-determination across Europe, while Paul J. Carnegie looks specifically at the Scottish case for CounterPunch. Both are well worth reading.

The Forces Of Darkness Gather

There is truly nothing more astonishing in this world than a British nationalist politician who is completely oblivious of his own nation’s history of imperial misdeeds and crimes around the globe. Or worse, actually believes that such things are worthy of veneration because they were committed by the nation of Britain and are therefore above approach … Continue reading

Gaelic, The Pluralist Language

The people of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man are united by one thing above all others: the indigenous languages they share in common. The Gaelic tongues, Irish, Scottish and Manx, are not just national, they are international. And so is the world-view of those who speak or support them. From the Irish Times … Continue reading

Rising Poll Numbers For Yes Vote In Scotland

Another poll, another rise in support for Scottish independence (and the SNP) with this year’s momentous referendum half-a-year away. From the Scotsman newspaper: “SUPPORT for Scottish independence has reached its highest level for more than six months, according to a new opinion poll. When asked how they would vote if the referendum was held today, … Continue reading

The Partition Of Québec

The one thing that stands out when you examine the ideological underpinnings of British nationalism (or Unionism) and Canadian nationalism (or Federalism) is the commonalities they share when it comes to dealing with those territories Britain and Canada “acquired” in times past. For the British (or rather the English) the island nation of Ireland – … Continue reading

Congratulations To Wings Over Scotland

Wings Over Scotland, the influential news and current affairs website, launched an appeal early this morning for funding to keep it going in the lead-up to the referendum on Scottish independence. The Reverend Stu, editor-writer of WoS, asked his readers to pledge £53,000 (€64,000 or $88,000). By this evening, just eight hours later, that goal had … Continue reading

The Scots, Second-Class Europeans?

The Scottish blogger Wee Ginger Dug has done some fantastic journalistic work recently analysing and translating political and media commentary from the Iberian peninsula in relation to Scotland’s upcoming independence referendum. He has pretty much demolished all of the second-hand claims coming from British nationalist sources insisting that Spain would block the Scots’ path to … Continue reading

The Self-Determination Spring

Despite (or perhaps because of) all the controversy surrounding the proposals by the Parti Québécois to restrict the display of overtly religious symbols in public workplaces the formerly lacklustre PQ government in Québec is now riding high in the polls. Unsurprisingly rumours of a snap election are circulating in both the Francophone and Anglophone media, albeit … Continue reading

Germany’s Ultra Left – Getting It Wrong Again

An update for you on the controversy surrounding the banning of the bilingual Scottish punk band Oi Polloi from a music festival in eastern Germany organised by a Left-Wing socio-cultural collective. The reason for the ban? Because Oi Polloi performs songs with lyrics in Scottish Gaelic as well as English and for some on the … Continue reading

German Music Festival Bans Gaelic-Punk Group?

Some surprising news from Scotland’s well-known anarcho-punk band Oi Polloi, a bilingual group who produce songs with both English and Scottish Gaelic lyrics. They have issued a statement on their Facebook Page claiming that the organisers of a music festival in Germany have objected to the band playing Scottish language songs and cancelled their planned gig. … Continue reading

The Hollow Pax Anglia

In the ongoing war for hearts and minds in Scotland over the question of independence it seems that the British nationalists, the so-called Unionists, are not just losing the struggle but are losing the plot too. We recently had the first truly significant rise in polling numbers from those favouring Scottish sovereignty over continued union … Continue reading

Galloway To The Gaels – You Are A Nonpeople

George Galloway, the politically promiscuous left-wing face of British nationalism in Scotland, on the identity of those men, women and children in our north-eastern neighbour who speak the Scottish or Scottish Gaelic language. Yet another reason for anyone with a modicum of self-respect to vote for independence in that Gaelic nation: to escape the influence of … Continue reading

England, Wales And Southern Scotland

Not so long ago I set a rather large cat loose amongst some red, white and blue pigeons when I drew attention to the whispering campaign being engaged in by some Unionist politicos favouring a “partition of Scotland” should this year’s referendum on Scottish independence go against the authorities in Britain. So far a number … Continue reading

Glasgow’s English Problem

Around eight or nine years ago a friend of mine was travelling in a taxi in Dublin on her way home from work when her father phoned her. She was talking with him for a few minutes when she was interrupted by the actions of the taxi driver who turned up the volume on the … Continue reading

  • blog awards ireland Nominated: Best Politics Blog 2013, Best Personal Blog 2013, Best Blog Post 2013
  • blog awards ireland

    Nominated: Best News/Current Affairs/Political Blog 2014, Best Mobile Blog 2014, Best Blog Post 2014