The legend of King Arthur is a gift that keeps on giving

Although it may be a fabrication, the story has powerful resonance

The legend of King Arthur is a gift that keeps on givingKing Arthur is back in the news, thanks to an archeological dig in Herefordshire, England. The dig site in question is Arthur’s Stone, a Neolithic-era burial chamber that’s somewhere in the vicinity of 4,000 years old. It’s technically a dolmen with a capstone resting on nine uprights. And with an estimated weight of around 25…

Lessons from Boris Johnson’s departure and the contest to replace him

The diversity quotient of the leadership candidates is striking, at odds with the conservative caricature

Lessons from Boris Johnson’s departure and the contest to replace himCanadians with a general interest in politics will be watching the current developments in the United Kingdom. They might even feel a touch of envy. Less than three years ago, Boris Johnson bestrode the British scene like the proverbial colossus. Thwarting the dogged opponents of Brexit – including many in his own party – he…

The final act of Boris Johnson’s political career

Johnson got careless and arrogant after only three years in power, assuming he was above the law

The final act of Boris Johnson’s political careerWhen U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson reflects on his political career, there will always be a certain fondness for the Dec. 12, 2019, general election. His Conservative government earned a majority of 80 seats, the party’s largest since 1987. The party also had a net gain of 48 seats and its highest percentage of the…

Fenians used Canada as an Irish revolutionary pawn

There were five failed armed Fenian incursions into Canada between 1866 and 1871

Fenians used Canada as an Irish revolutionary pawnUniversity of Toronto historian David A. Wilson has an interesting new book called Canadian Spy Story: Irish Revolutionaries and the Secret Police. It’s a detailed examination of a mid-19th-century episode that had the potential to turn Canadian history upside down. And Wilson makes a credible case that the danger wasn’t entirely farfetched. Following the conclusion…

Why all Canadians should be monarchists

Queen Elizabeth represents continuity with the past, including the best developments in Canadian history

Why all Canadians should be monarchistsWith the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation upon us, this is a useful opportunity to ponder the monarchy in Canada. Some will assert that the concept of royalty was long ago outmoded. Others oppose what Queen Elizabeth II represents – colonialism and the British Empire. It can also be argued that with an ever…

Catholic Ireland’s conflicted interest in the monarchy

Dublin cinemas planned to screen the Queen's coronation but opted not to after receiving threats

Catholic Ireland’s conflicted interest in the monarchyNews stories about Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee put me in mind of a book by Irish author Mary Kenny. Called Crown and Shamrock, it’s described by historian Roy Foster as a “characteristically breezy, racy and insightful” look at a complicated relationship. Kenny is five months older than I am and what she writes of Ireland…

Irish lead the way in the push to decolonize

Language and culture played a big role in helping the Irish survive and fueled their cultural renaissance

Irish lead the way in the push to decolonizeDecolonization is a word we often hear in Canada. In essence, it means to remove the colonial. That can mean different things to different people, and misconceptions often cause fear. Perhaps finding a relatively successful example of decolonization in process can help us understand the concept. Ireland was one of the first countries colonized by…

A love letter from Canadian LGBQT artist to the Queen 

She led me to the intersection of the many roads I could walk, in a bigger world with room for us all

A love letter from Canadian LGBQT artist to the Queen I began my life in Nova Scotia, the most British of Canadian provinces. As a young boy in the 1960s who preferred pink over blue, there was an enormous sense of not belonging, of living in a world that had not yet carved out a place for a child like me. In the accepted definition…

The last children of Anglo-Saxon England

For the upper class of England, the Norman conquest was wipe out time

The last children of Anglo-Saxon EnglandHarold Godwineson, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England, died on the battlefield at Hastings in October 1066. It wasn’t a pretty ending. Whether he was killed by an arrow through the eye (the traditional story), trampled underfoot, or hunted down and (literally) cut to pieces by invading Norman knights remains a matter of speculation. For…

Thatcher didn’t blink in defence of the Falklands 40 years ago

The "Iron Lady" proved her metal

Thatcher didn’t blink in defence of the Falklands 40 years agoOn April 2, 1982, Argentina invaded the Falklands – the archipelago of islands that constitute a British Overseas Territory in the remote South Atlantic. Although initially shaken by the event, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher quickly regained her footing and dispatched a naval task force to rectify the situation. During the weeks it took for…
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