April 28th, 2008


Dublin Review of Books

Jeff Dudgeon alerts me to the Dublin Review of Books, "a free quarterly online journal whose main object is the publication of clear and thoughtful analysis based on recently published books". Various articles to browse through at my leisure, many from the perspective, more visible in intellectual discourse than in election results, of the Irish Left. I particularly enjoyed two pieces from the current issue:

Tony Brown on Irish Euroscepticism. I know Tony as a very nice guy involved with the Institute of European Affairs in Dublin, where I have spoken a couple of times. Here he lets his passion out, exposing the mendacity of the anti-EU cause in Ireland. I recommend it especially to British friends to see how the issue plays out in the neighbouring jurisdiction. However, it should also be noted that the anti-EU forces have lost every time in Ireland, if sometimes only on the second round. (Also I notice that the article, despite being in the Dublin Review of Books, doesn't actually cite any, er, books. But it's still very much worth reading.)

Brendan O'Leary on Paul Bew's Ireland: The Politics of Enmity 1789-2006. Again, an author I know on a subject I know; I first met Bew at the departmental parties our family would host, long before he got my father's old job in Belfast let alone his recent peerage, and O'Leary has greatly flattered me in print. O'Leary's article here attempts to forensically dissect Bew's new blockbuster on the recent history of Ireland, but ends up making me want to buy and read the book, to see what I think of it myself. O'Leary feels that Bew attaches too much strength to the importance of indigenous factors and not enough to external (ie British) influence on events: I'm not sure all of his points are totally convincing, but he makes them very entertainingly. (A minor irritation is that you have to download O'Leary's footnotes in a standalone Word document; in this day and age, that is simply unprofessional.)

Anyway, a site to keep watching. Lots more that I enjoyed browsing through, but as I said, these were the two articles that particularly grabbed me.