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Burns Night: a kitsch memorial worth celebrating

Let’s be honest, Burns Night is terribly sentimental and garish. The pipes, the haggis, the emotional recitations and reflections, the kilts, the flags — all these things are an evocation of an invented Scottish tradition, one which isn’t apparent in the ordinary lives of most of us Scots. It is also deeply ahistorical. Robert Burns, […]

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The New Jacobites: The SNP vs. The Monarchy

On 16 April 1746, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s forces were defeated at Culloden, thus ending all real hopes of the Stuart monarchy being returned to the throne. Alas, the Hanoverian usurpers were secure in their power, and were succeeded by the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1901. Because the monarchy is fairly adept at surviving, […]

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The Kurds deserve support, not intransigence, from the international community

On Monday the 25th of September, 93% of Iraqi Kurdistan voted for independence from the central government in Baghdad. This impressive result, on a high turnout of 72%, has been the cause of international anxiety. The USA had warned the Kurds against holding such a referendum; Turkey, Iraq and Iran were furious. Now that the […]