Ireland and Upper Clyde (E425)
While Ireland has been an independent country for a very long time, old ties between Britain and the Republic have remained tight. Millions of Irish people live in Britain, can vote in British elections, and travel freely back and forth without let or hindrance. But the strains are now starting to show. The Irish government hybrid of once fierce enemies Fine Gael and Fianna Fail is in clear trouble, and beset by all kinds of scandals. We asked Chay Bowes, a campaigner and entrepreneur based in Dublin, to tell us more.
Glasgow’s Upper Clyde Shipbuilders’ “work-in” back in 1971-2 was the opposite of a strike. The British government had ordered the men to down tools, but the workers insisted they work on to save their jobs in an industry that was in slow decline. The movement’s leaders – Jimmy Reid, Jimmy Airlie, Sammy Barr, and Sammy Gilmour – led 8,500 workers in a protest about under-investment in Scotland’s shipyards and, in doing so, captured the country’s imagination. Now, to mark the work-in’s 50th anniversary, a new musical, ‘Yes! Yes! UCS’, telling their story, is about to go on tour across the UK. We invited playwright Neil Gore and actor/musician Janie Thomson aboard Sputnik to fill us in.