Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

History and ideas

Despite the Haass setback we are not the prisoners of the past but masters of our own fate

Tue 31 December 2013, 10:22am

Tweet The issues of the Haass process are only the tip of the iceberg. Indeed it might be said that the talks were unlikely to succeed without rigorous challenge and examination of the beliefs and assumptions the parties brought to the table.  Behind the tortuous details of flags, parades and the past are the competing […] more »

Drama shows best how much Northern Ireland has changed

Wed 15 May 2013, 3:00pm

Tweet The distinguished  Arts commentator Mark Lawson has an interesting blog post in the Guardian pegged to the new BBC2 thriller series “The Fall,” set in Belfast and launched on Monday night.  He uses it to discuss the impact of  ”British ” in  the  BBC. He rightly observes the big change, that it’s now  Scotland with its independence  debate where the  […] more »

What is history for again?

Sun 17 February 2013, 11:26am

Tweet A growing row over Michael Gove’s proposed new history curriculum for England may well spark a bout of Brit bashing in Slugger and other places. Anything that seems to encourage the “great man theory ”( History p 165 et seq)” of British history will be dumped on, but not only on this side of the […] more »

We need fresher thinking than this

Thu 3 January 2013, 11:17pm

Tweet Two New Year articles worth noting which struggle with the abiding theme. Given prime billing in the Irish Times, Robin Wilson laments the anti-democratic and physical force elements in both of our traditions as we move further into the decade of commemoration. His historical sweep of a century reinforces his determinist case against the […] more »

Essex, Bacon and the early treachery of (Irish) politicians…

Fri 19 October 2012, 9:45am

Tweet I used Google Plus to interview an old friend from schooldays to talk about a series of lectures he’s holding next week in the Linen Hall Library on one of the least considered and probably most pivotal moments in the history of Ulster. Dr Hiram Morgan looks at that critical period that led under […] more »

Eric Hobsbawm: a tarnished or triumphant reputation?

Tue 2 October 2012, 8:57am

Tweet How is it possible to be a major historian and an apologist for communism?  It may depend on the breadth of your horizons.  Without tackling the question head-on, Eric Hobsbawm who died yesterday at the age of 95 explained himself  in his own terms on this fundamental point in the introduction to Age of […] more »

Garret FitzGerald

Thu 19 May 2011, 9:13am

Tweet How sadly ironic that Garret FitzGerald should die at the moment when his main mission in politics has literally been crowned with fulfillment. In Towards a New Ireland and throughout his career he championed his big idea, uncomfortable to unreflective nationalists, that unionists were as Irish as they were and had to be understood in their […] more »

Tony Judt

Tue 10 August 2010, 6:35pm

Tweet Tony Judt, the great historian of modern Europe, is dead from a terrible neurological disease.  The news commands attention out of our usual box.  Judt was not afraid to preach a social democratic humanism to fill the vacuum left by the end of ideological conflict.  He was that rare thing for an Englishman- a […] more »

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