It’s with some sadness that I learn, via Mick, of the sudden death of one of the pillars of our local blogosphere. I refer of course to Horseman, the anonymous genius behind the gloriously named Ulster’s Doomed!, who passed away on Monday. I never knew the man, but he’d been a fixture for so long you got a strong sense of the voice and the mind.
Horseman was idiosyncratic in some ways, being strongly nationalist but also of a right-of-centre, anti-statist bent. His particular interest was in demographic shift, and the way in which unionism has gone in little more than a generation from a secure majority to a bare majority and would appear to be heading towards a mere plurality – something that in itself has been a major background factor in changing the rules of the political game here. Sometimes mocked as a one-trick pony, he did have a good trick that he did well, bringing intelligence, rigour and wit to his chosen subject, an area that in other hands could have been dry as dust. I’m sure that when the results of next year’s census come out, many of us will feel the lack of Horseman poring over the numbers – perhaps someone might feel inspired to take up his work, though it would be tough going to match the master.
So, farewell then, Horseman. We’ll miss your acerbic graphs and mordant spreadsheets. By way of tribute, here are links to a few of my particular favourites from the Ulster’s Doomed! back catalogue, a greatest hits if you will. You could do much worse than head over there and rummage around in the archives yourself.
Is unionism a cargo cult? (17 April 2007)
A political generation (18 November 2008)
Belfast City Council (23 November 2008) – part of a series of district profiles, and you know how we like those…
The Glorious Revolution and Mary Stuart (13 February 2009)
UCUNF and the Irish language (27 May 2009)
Who votes for Alliance, and why? (12 June 2009)
Scotland (26 June 2009) – check out the pic!
Allister’s speech as a word cloud (9 November 2009)
1930: the County Mayo librarian case (8 December 2009)
O’Loan sent to detention (25 May 2010)