The Whole Hog
Latest Articles by The Whole Hog
Fifty years ago today, on 4 April 1968, the great African American civil rights leader Martin Luther King was brutally gunned down in an assassination carried out by a white supremacist. Here, The Whole Hog recalls the work of a truly visionary activist, who has inspired numerous musical tributes, including by Ireland’s own U2.
U2 – and Bono in particular – have spawned an entire sub-genre of urban legends.
U2 – and Bono in particular – have spawned an entire sub-genre of urban legends.
The internet has produced many marvels. But it is an arena in which crime flourishes and break-ins can be either freelance or state-sponsored. No one knows where it is all heading...
Not so long ago, we believed that reason would triumph in the end. Instead, in many parts of the world intolerance, bigotry and religious obscurantism are on the rise.
There are times to remember and to forget. The great skill is in knowing which road to travel, as the ghosts of the past threaten to invade the present in a way that works against the most important project of all: avoiding catastrophe…
In Ireland, on both sides of the border there is change in the air. And in London too, the people have had enough of boorish toffs…
One year on from our historic and momentous 'Yes' vote on Ireland's same-sex marriage referendum, we look back at Labour's crucial contribution to making it possible
It may have been famous for its hats and its canal – but with the release of the Panama Papers, the Central American country is now best known as a place where sometimes ill-gotten gains are salted away...
That is just one example of the achievements of the Labour Party over the course of the past five years. It is about time that people gave them credit for what they did do...
"The trouble with Trump is that he is, by temperament, by experience, and by character, utterly unqualified to be president of the United States. He is a buffoon."
There have been hardly any applicants for one of the key positions in the civil service - suggesting the media's poisonous attitude towards public servants is putting suitable candidates off applying.
Let us mourn them all with dignity, solidarity and love, says regular columnist, The Whole Hog…
The clash of the opposing strands of Islam in Yemen has begun to escalate. The consequences for us all could be dire…
What do the revelations by Paudie McGahon that he had been raped by a member of the IRA and subjected to a kangaroo court as recently as 2002 say about the Republican movement?
From its initial vantage point on page three of the first issue of Hot Press, over the intervening 900 issues, The Whole Hog column has covered social, political and environmental issues around the world. In many ways it has been an exercise in observing the extraordinary capacity of humanity to get things wrong. And yet, there have been reasons to be cheerful, notably in the changes that have taken place in Ireland…
The future of the European idea is at stake, as the Greeks seek a write-down of debts. The progress of the ensuing negotiations will be watched avidly in Ireland…
The current wave of anti-government feeling is a complicated phenomenon. But lurking in there is the possibility that we may be entering a period of political fragmentation…
The current conflict in the middle east shows that global leaders have failed to learn the lessons of world war 1.
No? That Didn’t Come Naturally, did it? So Why is it that the Irish Have Such a Poor Self-image?
Bosnia made it to the world cup finals, in the process making light of the country’s historic troubles. but in the emerging Jihadist force, Isis, there is a threat which will give the relatively liberal Muslims of Bosnia - along with the rest of the modern world – much to fear.
In the past, they took a leaf from Ireland’s book. The way things stand, it might make sense for us to return the compliment...
Moral cruasaders are peering into every nook and cranny of our lives. Maybe it's time society started to push back against the all-seeing nanny state.
Whistleblowers are essential. But the chorus of self righteousness and condemnation from the media is another matter entirely...
What the ESB dispute and the prospect of a Christmas black-out says about class and politics in post-bailout Ireland...
From civil war in Syria to natural disaster in the Philippines, we are staggering from one crisis to another...
The recent NSA phone-tapping controversy underlines the enormously alarming levels of surveillance in our society...
A series of apparently unelated phenomena underline the extent to which conventional thinking on the inter-linked subjects of drink, drugs and sex is totally off the point...
The drowning tragedy off Lampedusa puts the reality of Irish emigration into a different kind of perspective...
Lab-grown food may have a role to play in tackling the problem of world hunger...
The debate about the future of the second house of parliament is underway. But the real issue is: how can we improve the nature of our democracy?
In recent times, several women in different parts of the globe have shown remarkable courage and resilience...
To paraphrase Bertie, the crash keeps getting crasher, with tiny Cyprus and its bloated banking sector feeling the chill winds of the global economic collapse. But who should pick up the tab for a nation awash with ‘hot’ money?
With revelations about horse meat in burgers, it seems increasingly likely!
Beginning in 2013, there are a slew of anniversaries on the way. Take note: living in the past is dangerous for your health...
With world leaders almost exclusively pre-occupied with the global financial crisis, they have overlooked the looming threat of even greater catastrophes – including food shoatages.
The murder of the U.S. ambassador in Libya is part of a wider battle being fought by a variety of religious faiths.
There are numerous reasons why people do or don’t go to college – but for those who choose the third level route , it’s important to enjoy the experience to the full.
If you were to believe the politicians, the moralists and the commentators you’d think Ireland was a horrible place to live. But it isn’t...
Whatever the result of the referendum on the European Stability Treaty, we need to renew the idea of Europe as a matter of urgency...
As the debate about the fiscal treaty referendum hots up, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that a new growth strategy is urgently needed.
There is a growing international consensus that a different approach to drug legislation is needed. Ireland is beginning to wake up too…
Another European referendum will inevitably result in a great deal of heated discussion about topics that have absolutely nothing to do with what we’ll actually be voting on. Isn’t it time we grew up?
Moves to enshrine children’s rights in the Constitution raise questions as to what exactly childhood is, how we should protect it – and when precisely does it end?
Like it or not, taxation is absolutely vital for enabling the State to provide decent public services. So why all the uproar? As with so much else, it’s a legacy of the Reagan/Thatcher reign of error...
One of the most worrying elements of the Presidential campaign was a blurring of the line between politics and entertainment.
Four of the Presidential candidates took the back road to nomination. The Whole Hog weighs up their chances.
With David Norris seeking to re-enter the race, one might have thought the Presidential campaign had hit a new level of intrigue. And then Martin McGuinness was announced as a candidate..
With the first of the UK rioters being dumped into an overcrowded prison system, the media continue to point fingers and call for their heads. In the search for a sensationalist headline, could they be coming for you next?
With the Dog Star hanging overhead, our friends in the media are liable to get a bit hot and bothered over almost anything during the Silly Season. This time around – Summer Drubbin’ for David Norris...
So now Bertie Ahern is telling Nigeria how to run its economy. Plus: there is an election looming in the North.
The scale of Ireland’s crippling national debt is now far beyond the scope of comprehension; roughly 90 grand for every man, woman and child...
Global catastrophes such as the Japanese earthquake and tsunami remind us that life is fragile and precious
We have just witnessed the most sensational election since the foundation of the Free State, with the decimation of the outgoing coalition parties, Fianna Fáil and the Greens. With the election of Luke “Ming” Flanagan, Richard Boyd Barrett, Shane Ross, Clare Daly and Mick Wallace – to name just five – the new Dáil will be a far more interesting place. But the challenges facing the incoming administration are no less daunting for that...
This week’s election is likely to leave our poltical parties jockeying for position. Despite the lure of office, some of them may be better off remaining in opposition.
The General Election the country has craved for so long is finally upon us. But will it represent the political sea-change Ireland so desperately needs?
But they have been behaving like kids in a romper room. Well, it looks like it’s time to go to the polls...
So much has changed since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It underlines how much we have to learn from our European neighbours...
The oil spill in the Gulf has uncomfortable echoes of the banking crisis
It is said that social networking has brought many of us closer together than ever before – but our rush to breathlessly document every element of our lives raises serious privacy issues
The tumultuous global events of 2008 demonstrate the utter precariousness of life. So let's live in the now...
Recent violent attacks, such as the horrendous killing of two Polish men, may have involved young people. But that shouldn't lead us to tar an entire generation.
The health nazis tell us that sharing a bottle of wine over a meal is binge drinking, but the statistics just don't add up.
40 years after the Viet Cong outsmarted the most powerful army on earth, a new generation of Vietnamese are welcoming western dollars.
The American Presidential primaries are fascinating to observe – but how will the ultimate outcome impact on the rest of the world?
The current moral panic over binge-drinking is borne out of a 19th century Protestant ethic. Plus, The Hog’s Six Golden Rules for having a good Christmas.
Young asylum seekers flee war and persecution to come to Ireland. So why are they treated so badly when they finally arrive here?
Why there’s more to the murky world of child trafficking than meets the eye.
Perfect weather has been promised for the next year’s Olympics Games thanks to a man called Zhang Qiang who is in charge of the city’s artificial rainmaking and prevention programme.
In which the Archbishop of Armagh takes the commentariat to task – and finds himself in unlikely agreement with Richard Dawkins.
Finding decent candidates to vote for may be hard work, but they’re out there. Somewhere.
With the countdown to the general election now officially under way, the most important aspect to remember amid all the hype is that the right to vote is both a privilege and a responsibility.
Striking nurses need to convince the public that their demands for extra pay and shorter hours will lead to a better health service. So far, they haven’t done so.
With Paisley and Adams agreeing to play ball, Northern Ireland looks like becoming an unstoppable force over the coming years.
Press coverage of the deaths of both Tania Corcoran and Derek O’Toole was equally misguided and unpleasant.
Climate change has overtaken terrorism as the number one fear of electorates in western countries.
The decision by Sinn Féin to endorse the PSNI as the legitimate police force for Northern Ireland heralds a new dawn in politics in Ireland.
What the boy-racer phenomenon tells us about modern Ireland.
Is it right that people should be held to account for past transgressions –even if they were not illegal at the time?
Ten more years and Planet Earth reaches the point of no return. What are we going to do about it?
The Points Race would appear to be dead, as the population bubble tails off. But what can we expect in its place?
Sadly, the mighty cedars are bleeding in the heat. And no one is shouting stop...
Would a surge in immigration diffuse sectarian antagonisms or inflame race-hate?
Charlie Haughey caused as much harm as good. But in the final tally, he was typically one of us.
There was a lot of heat and very little light in the debate about Ireland's sex laws. And as a result, the new act has created a whole new set of problems.
Ireland’s treatment of asylum seekers tells us a great deal about our national mindset
Could new broacast regulations become a crank's charter?
The recent Easter Rising commemration must encourage us to re-examine the events that lead to the foundation of state.
Or how the Easter Rising still frightens the horses.
The men that gods made mad.
Why virutal reality will force us to reappraise our attitudes towards 'exploitative' pornography.
When you look into the techno abyss, it looks into you.
Technological advances are profoundly changing the very nature of what it is to be human.
Annual article: The Whole Hog looks back on a year of strife and upheaval.
Annual article: A year in Irish politics reviewed.
Annual article: A year in industrial relations reviewed.
Annual article: A year in the world of religion reviewed.
Annual article: A year in developments in Northern Ireland reviewed.
Annual article: A year in the world of disease reviewed.
Annual article: A year in the world of war reviewed.
Annual article: A year in world politics reviewed.
Annual article: A year in the world of enivronmental issues reviewed.
Annual article: A year in the world of wealth reviewed.
Annual article: A year in the world of health reviewed.
Annual article: War, famine, pestilence, plague and death...it’s been a cheerful 2005. Here is the Hot Press summary of the events that shook the world.
The Anti-Happiness League never went away, they just migrated from church to state.
The Catholic right has an unexpected ally, liberals aghast at the unsavoury sight of binge-drinking young Irish women.
The Ferns Report into sexual abuse of children by the clergy exposes the heinous hypocrisy of the Church.
The Irish football defeat may have been a loss but there's more going on in the world than the cup.
The IRA’s decommissioning marks a genuinely immense watershed in Irish politics.
The anarchy and chaos in post-Saddam Iraq has exceeded the doomsayers’ worst expectations.
Youth is wasted on the young, especially if they don’t suck the marrow out of every minute.
There might be a light at the end of the tunnel, but it isn't necessarily the one you're expecting.
Will the IRA's promise to end violence be matched in deed?
The freedom which western democracies are determined to preserve is the very thing that leaves them exposed to terrorist outrages.
Ireland can help heal the rift at the heart of the EU – but only if we get over our obsession with Tony Blair.
With Fianna Fáil and the PDs at each others throats, signs are that the coalition is heading for a divorce. Just look at the way they are treating the lovely Mr. McDowell.
Why ASBOs are far more likely to penalise the working class as opposed to the well-heeled of Irish society.
In the final installment of his analysis of the likely ramifications of ASBOs, The Whole Hog concludes that the measures are likely to chiefly penalise the most vulnerable members of society.
Five key reasons why Anti-Social Behaviour Orders are a bad idea.
With financial aid seemingly making no difference to the continent’s ongoing troubles, a rethink of development policy is long overdue.
The Hog assesses the fallout from the Tsunami in South East Asia.
Surely it’s time we celebrated our, er, celebrity?
Dramatic new plan to revive Dublin hurling unveiled by our special correspondent.
Sorry? Did someone say they’d found ice on Mars? And all these years we thought that David Bowie had been getting excited about something else. There, indeed, is the rub. After all this time and all that money, we might have hoped for a discovery that was a little more, well, let’s say...unpredictable.
Even cannibals can find soul mates on the internet.
Once every four years we wave them off to do us proud. And this year it was to the home of the Olympics, to the birthplace of the modern athletic movement and the playhouse of the gods, to Athens.
We heard in January that 5% of primary school pupils in Ireland are non-nationals. Of the children delivered in the Coombe Maternity Hospital, 22% were non-nationals.
Meanwhile, the Gardaí themselves have problems. Early in January, retired Circuit Court judge Anthony Murphy told RTE’s Prime Time that “there have been occasions when the Guards have committed perjury in my court.” His view was that “if there was a confession and nothing else, the man walked.”
One campaigner in the local elections was told by a succession of potential voters that the trouble with this country was ‘too much law and not enough order’. Certainly a lot of people exercised themselves on the subject.
A goat called Elvis is the guy with the big cojones.
In Iraq it gets more like Vietnam everyday.
The Whole Hog (with a little help from his friends) reflects on 12 months in which (among others) organised and disorganised crime were on the increase, German cannibal Armin Meiwes was sentenced to eight years in prison, Cian O’Connor’s Olympic win was tainted, Bertie declared himself a socialist, and the pictures of kidnap victims pleading for their lives in Iraq terrifyingly became the images of the year.
Ireland’s no longer a Mediterranean culture trapped in North-West Europe. It’s now the new Sweden.
Our columnist analyses the legacy of the recently deceased Palestinian president
The recent flooding highlighted that our extant plans for coping with such emergencies are woefully inadequate.
Why the Gardai need to get their act together.
The lack of a Presidential election has its up side. meanwhile it’s time to re-examine our approach to such health issues as alcohol. but will Minister Harney see the light?
Our columnist descends from the mount bearing the ten commandments of student life.
The hostage crisis in Beslan, which ended last week in terrible carnage, has brought the conflict in the former soviet union into sharper focus than ever before. the emerging picture is a chastening one, as the prospect of a descent into chaos looms ever larger.
we can’t change the world, just the bit we ourselves are responsible for
The horrors perpetrated by both sides in the Iraqi war demonstrate that now, more than ever, we need to discover our shared humanity.
With every passing day, the wrong-headedness of the US war in Iraq and of their Middle-East policies in general, is getting clearer for all to see.
Alcohol is to 2004 what sex was to 1954
The interfering church has been usurped by the finger-wagging nanny state – and the puritan song remains the same.
The bombing in Madrid was an outrage against one of the world’s great cities. But al Qaeda do not represent the majority of Muslims.
Europe will be hardest hit by imminent climate change which will have a drastic effect on many parts of the world. we’re talking the next ten to twenty years, folks – even the Pentagon says so. Words: The Whole Hog
How Dublin made a mess of the Chinese new year.
How Dublin made a mess of the Chinese new year.
A country that can produce both Keith Wood and Liam Keane needs to take a good, hard look at itself.
With our forty shades of illegal activity in all sorts of recreational activity, isn’t it time we woke up and smelt the coffee? or even the cocaine?
Whilst the old authoritarian ethos of the church is losing its grip on Irish society, a new order of conservative moralism has arisen to take its place.
Paying taxes for services that work is one thing. but what about the services that don’t work?
Hurricanes, landslides and the government ban on smoking… life is getting increasingly unpredictable!
The reactionary element amongst the government’s reforming health professionals need to lighten up and let it all hang out.
Unintentionally funniest meeja moment of the year came when Eoghan Harris attacked Fintan O’Toole and Robert Fisk in the Sunday Independent directly beneath the logo “War On Terror”
In times of intolerance we must be able to overcome our fear of both our own shadows, and those of others
The impact of September 11th was so corrosive that we have now almost forgotten the year’s other bookend, Foot and Mouth disease
As Nelson Mandela says, you don’t need to make peace with your friends, you need to make peace with your enemies
The political year just ending in the Republic was one of the most uneventful in living memory. 2002, an election year, can only be better
Earlier in the year, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was remembered by Peter Silverton in the Observer magazine
If September 11th casts a dark shadow on the future, an event in February may do just the opposite
Life goes on in the Middle East, as awfully and dysfunctionally as before
Once upon a time (in the ’60s and early ’70s), women in Kabul wore mini skirts. Afghanistan was cool then
The IRA made a start on decommissioning and it broke the mould
America caught a cold and the Celtic Tiger got pneumonia
It’s hard to escape the feeling that Ireland in the 21st century is still caught between the competing forces of the unborn and the undead
Why it’s worth making Christmas a happy one for you and yours
Those who dwell in the past face an uncertain future
Even pro-life proponents have given up on trying to stop Irish abortions
The Whole Hog looks in despair at the genocide in East Timor
THE WHOLE HOG has had enough of the priggishness and hypocrisy of our attitudes to politicians' finances.
The Whole Hog looks, with foreboding, at developments in the North
As I write, the May public holiday is drawing to a close.
The future of the world is at stake in more ways than one . . .
Bertie and the builders . . . Pee Flynn . . . Massacre in Kosovo . . . Beer and sex enhance performance!
In trying to explain the Irish to an Icelandic friend recently, I said that hope springs eternal from our well of despair.
The whole hog on the northern deadlock
In the past I have expressed the angst of a columnist.
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