I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Andreas Hess

Peeling the Onion

Let us look at Trump – so we don’t have to have him again.

A Different Kind of Republic

While it is part and parcel of a ritual reaffirmation of identity, republicanism in Ireland has no practical significance in everyday life: it does nothing to alleviate burning problems in areas such as housing, health, transport or pollution. The concept once had other, more fruitful, meanings.

For the dark times ahead

In the early 1930s Bertolt Brecht fled Germany for Prague, then spent some time in Paris before escaping to Denmark, Sweden and eventually Finland, before finally travelling via the Soviet Union to the United States. His experience as a mid-twentieth century refugee is far from irrelevant today.

‘Noble’ Nations, ‘Plebeian’ Nations

A comparative survey of the history of Catalonia, in its relations with Spain, and Scotland, in its relations with the United Kingdom, is erudite and eloquent, yet it fails to provide a balanced or convincing account of the recent rise of nationalist movements in either territory.

Between Memory and Hope

America’s founding generation, it has been said, was divided between the party of memory and that of hope, between those who saw the need for periodic revolution to start the world anew and those who wished to avoid the cruelty and violence of the Old World that had been left behind.

Muddling Through

The surface noise of democratic politics can make leaders slow to recognise a crisis. The knowledge that previous crises have been overcome encourages delay; delay encourages drift; fear of drift encourages precipitate action; precipitate action encourages mistakes; mistakes encourage caution. And so the cycle wobbles on; we survive but don’t really go anywhere.

Democracy’s Sphinx

A new study of Alexis de Tocqueville emphasises his French intellectual background and makes the case that his classic analysis of American democracy may be understood as well, or even better, if it is considered primarily in terms of the old European society for which it was written.