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A Country Emptied

Ian Jack: The Highland Clearances

7 March 2019
The Scottish Clearances: A History of the Dispossessed 1600-1900 
by T.M. Devine.
Allen Lane, 464 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 0 241 30410 5
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... no more/Sutherland no more/Lewis no more/Skye no more’, sang the Proclaimers, reprising the sentiment a few lines later as ‘Bathgate no more/Linwood no more/Methil no more/Irvine no more’. These were towns where big car plants and steel fabrication factories had recently shut down and sent their workers away. The song ends after a pause, with the ...

The money’s still out there

Neal Ascherson: The Scottish Empire

6 October 2011
To the Ends of the Earth: Scotland’s Global Diaspora, 1750-2010 
by T.M. Devine.
Allen Lane, 397 pp., £25, August 2011, 978 0 7139 9744 6
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The Inner Life of Empires: An 18th-Century History 
by Emma Rothschild.
Princeton, 483 pp., £24.95, June 2011, 978 0 691 14895 3
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... in the history of the British Empire, and they concern the very distinct and remarkable and sometimes shocking part which the Scots – the traders and the plebeians, the Lanarkshire industrialists and the Gaelic poor – played in the development of that empire. Scottish historiography used to resemble a half-reclaimed landscape: solid fields of ...

Why did we not know?

Ian Jack: Who is hoarding the land?

23 May 2019
The New Enclosure: The Appropriation of Public Land in Neoliberal Britain 
by Brett Christophers.
Verso, 394 pp., £20, November 2018, 978 1 78663 158 9
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... supremacy and a local hilltop was equipped with big guns pointing towards the North Sea. By the time of the Second World War, barrage balloons and anti-aircraft guns had been added to the defences, while a narrow-gauge railway ran around the coast to a pier that had been built to ship arms and other supplies to the fortified islands out in the ...

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