100 Years ago today: The third Home Rule Bill…

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And John Redmond’s great victory over Edward Carson in the House of Commons. Ironically, it was to be his last. Amongst other things it would pass control of the RIC to an Irish Parliament. BOth it and Redmond were at the time incredibly popular everywhere in Ireland, except Ulster

Carson took to the towns and villages of Ulster, and Ireland was set upon a road to partition, independence for the south and Home Rule for the six north eastern counties, or Constitutional Ulster.

A leader in the Irish Times describes it as a moment “that heralded a temporary breach in the tradition of democratic constitutionalism whose line the founders, and spirit, of the new State would reconnect with a decade later.”

But it was mark the beginning of the end of an Ireland that – ironically perhaps – only ever existed as a unitary democratic state under the severely curtailed franchise of British rule.

It’s a sundering that has perplexed and confounded generations of Republican thinkers. Today, there are few in Irish politics who acknowledge Redmonds heritage as there own. Ironically, only Ulster did his constitutional nationalists withstand the comprehensive swing to Sinn Fein, and national revolution.

  • Harry Flashman

    In hindsight I wonder how many unionists would honestly say that knowing what we know now an acceptance of the really rather innocuous terms of the Home Rule bill with certain specific guarantees for the protestant minority and Ulster industry wouldn’t have been the best course of action?

    John Redmond was a thoroughly decent man, he would have been happy to remain loyally within the Empire, indeed within the United Kingdom, with a Home Rule parliament, similar to that enjoyed by Scotland today. He had the backing of ninety percent of the Irish nationalist people who fully supported him with only the lunatic fringe of the republican extremists to oppose him (and even then not entirely, it was not long before that Arthur Griffith would have accepted a dual monarchy).

    Did the Third Home Rule Bill in all honesty and with twenty twenty hindsight really pose that much of a danger that armed insurrection and the reintroduction of sectarian civil war into Irish politics after almost a century of constitutionalism was the only answer?

    Look at Scotland today, or even Canada or New Zealand, could not a peaceful prosperous united Ireland not have succeeded under a British crown but not necessarily ruled direct from London?

    The GFA is called Sunningdale for Slow Learners, I wonder what might have been if there had been a few quicker learners back in 1912.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail ardmajel55

    I agree with that and Carson himself didn’t want [and originally voted against], partition of the island and the setting up of NI, so why his statue is in front of Stormont I’m not sure.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “The third Home Rule Bill…”

    exchanges in the Commons. It seems that the Bill didn’t have the interests of Ireland at heart:

    PM Asquith: “I trust I have succeeded in making plain the proposals of the Government. These are the lines upon which we ask Parliament to proceed in taking the first, the most urgent and the most momentous, step towards the settlement of the controversy which, as between ourselves and Ireland, has lasted for more than a century, and of a problem—and I lay great stress on this—which, even apart from the special circumstances of Ireland, has every year, year by year, become increasingly vital to the efficiency of Parliament itself.”

    The intention was clearly to remove the Irish nationalist ‘king-maker’ role in the Commons.

  • Harry Flashman

    “The intention was clearly to remove the Irish nationalist ‘king-maker’ role in the Commons.”

    The Tories may soon wake up to the same realisation regarding the block vote of Scottish Labour MP’s today.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Harry, will they them realise the same about Wales, Yorkshire, Lancashire? It was a bad idea back then, and remains so today.

    The Easter Rising and the extremist Republican and British and Rome dominated state that emerged after did not come about overnight, Ireland would never have become a Canada or New Zealand.

  • Harry Flashman

    On the contrary DR, the Easter Rising (which remember was deeply unpopular with ordinary Dubliners who had relatives fighting for King and Empire in France) came about as a direct result of Ulster resistance.

    It was Pearse himself who said he admired the arming of Ulster and that it was incumbent of Nationalists to do the same. “The North Started It” was the cry of the Southerners, the Irish Volunteers was a direct response to the Ulster Volunteers. Because one million prods were left out, the Free State was free to “Romanize” in a way that would never have been possible with their inclusion.

    Ireland was loyal to the Empire in 1912, in a way that Republicans don’t like to mention now. Ninety percent of the Irish Volunteers followed Redmond’s call to the British colours, as did Redmond’s own brother. Ireland was held for Britain by the Irish Catholics of the RIC and the Irish regiments.

    Again I say with a few minor guarantees for civil liberties and business there is no way that Ulster’s protestants couldn’t have been easily and comfortably accommodated in a Home Rule parliament, heck they’d have ended up running the place and doing a damned sight better than the clowns who eventually did end up in charge.

    Look at Canada, the most ferociously loyal dominion of the crown, with hundreds of thousands of Orangemen, how did a lessening of the imperial bonds affect them? Do Canada’s protestants suffer in Canada today?

  • JR

    Had the home rule bill passed, there would have been no Easter rising, no President Eamonn DeValera, Michael Collins would have remained an accountant, Padraig Pearse would have died a school teacher. There would have been no war of indipendence, no Irish civil war, no troubles etc.

    Had the first dail been made up of politicians, Protestant and catholic rather than Republican revolutionries the Island as we know it would be very differeant.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “Amongst other things it would pass control of the RIC to an Irish Parliament.”

    Craig outlined the contemporary problems facing the RIC:

    I will ask hon. Members opposite to restrain their laughter for a few days until they see the return which has been promised to me by the Chief Secretary for Ireland, county by county, of the outrages that have taken place since that Act was taken off the Statute Book. They will then see whether I am right or wrong in saying that appalling murders and outrages have taken place in the south and west of Ireland.

    What are the facts so far as the north is concerned? Have hon. Members realised this fact that in Scotland it requires twelve police constables to 10,000 of the population to maintain law and order; in England it requires fourteen constables to 10,000 for the same purpose; in the very heart of Ulster, in Antrim, Down and Londonderry, it requires the minimum number of twelve constables for 10,000 of the population. If you take a pair of compasses and mark Ireland away from that loyal centre you will discover that this proportion goes on increasing until you get no less than forty-four police constables to 10,000 of the population in the County of Clare to maintain law and order, and forty-eight constables per 10,000 of the population in the county of Galway.

    Such activities would have reinforced the Unionist resolve to resist Home Rule despite the possibility that Home Rule might have led to a decrease.

  • tacapall

    DR Carson like Paisley and Adams had the luxury of a ballot box in one hand and a rifle in the other, however Unionism is the master of illusion when it comes to using the threat of violence to get ones way, somehow able to always brush that fact under the carpet while pointing at others.

  • SK

    The Home Rule demanded at the time was essentially a weaker version of what Wales has today. Were it not for Ulster Protestants seeking to subvert democracy, thus radicalising an Irish population who came to believe that violence (akin to that threatened by Carson) was their only option, then the union flag would still be flying over Dublin Castle today.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    tacapall and SK, the statistics given by Craig illustrate the violence that existed prior to 1912:

    Craig: Look at it as you will; take any standard you care to set yourselves, and you will find that in the northern provinces you have as quiet, law-abiding, peaceful people as you have in any part of England or Scotland.

    Could this more peaceful setting explain Mick’s ‘constitutional nationalists withstand the comprehensive swing to Sinn Fein’?

  • SK

    Nevin, take a gander at the British Army recruitment levels from what is now ROI during the Great War, and tell me that the majority of Irish people wanted out of the United Kingdom prior to the events of 1916.

    Events that were a direct consequence of Ulster Protestant intransigence.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    SK, you seem to be assuming that Unionists and Nationalists signed up for the same reasons. Surely that wasn’t the case.

  • Drumlins Rock

    SK, I think there was an underlying mood that would not have settled for a “welsh” style devoloution, havn’t time debate it today but suspect this issue will be debated in great detail over the next few years, maybe this is something Slugger could facilitate?

    A “what if ?” conference, change a few details and then see what could have developed, at the end of the day we can’t apply hindsight, but it is a good way of working out the thinking at the time.

  • SK

    Where did I assume that?

    They each signed up because they believed a demonstration of loyalty would serve to further their own respective aims.

    But it was a demonstration of loyalty nonetheless.

  • SK

    “SK, I think there was an underlying mood that would not have settled for a “welsh” style devoloution, havn’t time debate it today but suspect this issue will be debated in great detail over the next few years, maybe this is something Slugger could facilitate?”
    __________

    Redmond- who had the support of the vast majority of Carson’s countrymen- was satisfied that Home Rule would have been enough alright.

    Frankly I’m surprised that unionists feel the need to celebrate the events of 1912 in the way that they do. If anything, they should be embarrassed by the fact that Ulster Protestant intransigence led to the ultimate fracturing of the Union.

  • Alanbrooke

    Sir Harry,

    one hundred years on the HR Bill is looking like a missed opportunity for all sides. If you get the chance historian Niall Ferguson has just published a series of counter factual histories, one of which is based on the HR bill passing. The conclusions drawn however point to an Ireland which still has a tortuous 20th century. Nonetheless I can’t see how we’d be any worse off than the mess we got ourselves in to in the last 100 years. It’s really only now we’re starting to climb out of it.

  • Harry Flashman

    OK in what way, assuming a bit of horse trading on religious guarantees (which I think were included in the bill anyway) and economic protections (ditto) would the protestants of Ulster have suffered in a devolved Home Rule parliament, that saw the majority of loyal Irish nationalists finally happy with their place in the UK and in which physical force republicans were regarded as oddballs and posed an even smaller threat than the dissidents do today?

    Ireland, undivided, prosperous, free from all the bitterness following the dreadful events after 1914, run by content, middle class, socially conservative professionals, small businessmen and farmers enjoying full, free and unfettered access to the trade of the Empire with memories of the glorious role played in the recent war by Irish nationalists on behalf of the Empire (as had been the case in the Boer war) would have been a very comfortable place indeed for the Ulster protestants.

    They would certainly have played a more respected and appreciated role in the political life of Ireland than they were subsequently to do in the United Kingdom where, let’s be honest, they were usually regarded as a nasty little embarrassment.

  • Drumlins Rock

    SK, Home Rule = Rome Rule.

    They believed it at the time, it turned out to be true, do you honestly think it was purely partition and counter action to Unionist that created that? There is a strong case that even the eventual SF election victory was manufactured in Rome.

    I am proud of my ancestor who signed the covenant, I have copies of their signatures here, I am proud of my relative who joined the UVF and later fought and died at the Somme. They kept one part of the country in the Union, I am 100% certain without their efforts Northern Ireland would have become the poorest region of a poor country, ripe for Hitler to pluck at a later date, but thats another story. See what happens when you play “What If? ” .

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “But it was a demonstration of loyalty nonetheless.”

    SK, the 1914-18 war postponed the conflict between Unionists and Nationalists. Nationalists, as you can see from the policing statistics, were radicalised prior to 1912.

  • tacapall

    DR thats the thing about democracy its all worked out by fractions and percentages of a whole, in Unionists case it seems the lower percentage or fraction can disregard the higher percentage or fraction and form a new equation based on the same principles but deny others that same advantage that they enjoyed. The majority of Ireland wanted home rule the minority did not and decided to show two fingers to the majority.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “John Redmond’s great victory over Edward Carson”

    Certainly not a victory of principle, just the consequence of horse-trading by the Liberal Party to get into power. Had it been a matter of principle, a Home Rule Bill could have been introduced after the 1906 election.

  • lamhdearg2

    MY TWO CENTS.
    Eire would have settled for what was in the home rule bill in the same way it settled for its “free State” , and having the popluation of free Ulster involved would not have stopped the drive for the banana republic it became.

    One thing mick mentions in this thread but get little discussion (one wonders why) “But it was mark the beginning of the end of an Ireland that – ironically perhaps – only ever existed as a unitary democratic state under the severely curtailed franchise of British rule”
    a nation once again, no, a nation there never was.

    if, maybe, what if,
    If your granny had had a **** she may have been your granda.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    There is a strong case that even the eventual SF election victory was manufactured in Rome.

    Really?

  • SK

    “SK, Home Rule = Rome Rule.

    They believed it at the time, it turned out to be true, do you honestly think it was purely partition and counter action to Unionist that created that? ”

    _______

    With respect, DR, “Home Rule= Rome Rule” didn’t out to be true because Home Rule was never enacted. The Irish Free State was a very different beast to what the Redmondites were asking for. A HR parliament, ultimately answerable to London and with a significant Protestant influence, would not have been in a position to invoke “Rome Rule” any more than Wales is today.

    But we didn’t get Home Rule. What we got instead was the Irish Free State, governed by a more hardline element who only came to prominence because Home Rule had been undemocratically blocked.

    I understand that the unionist narrative hinges upon portraying Ulster Protestant threats/intransigence at the time as acts of heroism, but I personally think your admiration is misplaced. The communities in Ireland acted as a valuable counterweight to one-another. They needed eachother. And once they were seperated at the behest of your heroes, the net result was two badly-run shitholes that are still trying to get their respective acts together.

    The denial of Home Rule is perhaps the greatest Irish tragedy of the 20th century.

  • SK

    “SK, the 1914-18 war postponed the conflict between Unionists and Nationalists. Nationalists, as you can see from the policing statistics, were radicalised prior to 1912.”

    _______

    Nevin,

    That’s an erroneous conclusion. The Dubs were throwing rotten fish at Republicans as late as 1916.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Had it been a matter of principle, a Home Rule Bill could have been introduced after the 1906 election.

    The Lords would have blocked it. Home Rule only became feasible as a result of the Parliament Act.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    SK, you seem to be ignoring the pre-1912 mayhem that required the presence of up to four times as many police officers.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “Home Rule only became feasible as a result of the Parliament Act.”

    Well, presumably they could have introduced that too.

  • SK

    Nevin, no I’m not. I simply disagree that agitation in the late 19th/early 20th century constitutes ‘radicalisation’.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    SK, ‘appalling murders and outrages’ are more reflective of radicalisation than agitation.

  • SK

    If that were the case, why didn’t this radicalised population grab a rifle and join Dev in the post office? Why didnt the rest of Ireland spontaneously rebel long before the jackeens took their chances in 1916?

    The legacy of the Land War would be enough to explain the policing ratios alluded to by Craig in 1912. But as I said, agitation does not equate to radicalisation. Unless you consider Parnell to be a terrorist too?

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    SK, I merely drew attention to the use of violence and the radicalisation prior to 1912. Where’s the evidence of Parnell’s use of terror or violence of any sort?

  • Harry Flashman

    The police figures indicate local agrarian unrest in poverty stricken rural areas and is no more indicative of Republican radicalism than the tensions in collieries and mill towns in provincial parts of Britain at the same time.

    Under a Home Rule parliament the RIC would have dealt with it in precisely the way they had always done, and still wearing a big British crown atop the harps on their helmets.

    The Third Home Rule Bill was a huge opportunity to finally achieve a contented and peaceful island of Ireland within the United Kingdom.

    That chance was blown with appalling consequences down to this day.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Well, presumably they could have introduced that too.

    I doubt it somehow. Without the budget crisis it would have been a lot harder to square the King, or the voters for that matter.

  • HeinzGuderian

    ‘The Third Home Rule Bill was a huge opportunity to finally achieve a contented and peaceful island of Ireland within the United Kingdom’.

    For how long Harry ? How long before militant republicanism raised its ugly head and demanded an ireland without the United Kingdom ?
    What then for the population of Ulster who wished to remain as part of the United Kingdom ?

    I think we can all imagine the answer to that.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Here’s a rather curious observation from Redmond:

    Twenty-six years afterwards, to-night, another Prime Minister, with magnificent power and eloquence, has again extended the hand of friendship to Ireland; but under what happier auspices!

    If everyone was so happy, why rock the boat? Unfortunately for Redmond, the PM had already given the game away: the Liberals desire to remain in government, it being in the gift of Irish nationalists.

  • JoeBryce

    Harry Flashman is exactly right. We all took a terrible wrong turning.

  • New Yorker

    I also agree with Harry Flashman on the HR bill. In 1912 the Brits lost their nerve, in 1916 the Irish lost their heads.

  • Alias

    Dixie Elliot posted a quote from “The Politics of Irish Freedom” by Gerry Adams that was subsequently deleted from latter editions to spare Mr Adams’ blushes:

    “No Irish nationalist could support any treaty which institutionalizes British government claims to a part of Irish national territory. Indeed, the term – ‘constitutional nationalism’- used by Mr.Mallon and his colleagues to describe their political philosophy is a contradiction in terms. The only constitutional nationalist in Ireland today is Sean McBride. He puts his nationalism within a framework of Irish constitutionality. Mr. Mallon, however, puts his within the framework of British constitutionality. Irish nationalism within British constitutionality is a contradiction in terms.”

    In that context, Mr Adams is Mr Redmond, the GFA is the Third Home Rule Bill (enacted), and the Shinners are the Irish Parliamentary Party.

    And who would offer NI as a model for anything other than subsidised dysfunction?

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Asquith, UK PM: Look, first of all, at the effect of our present system upon purely domestic legislation and administration. It inflicts every year a double injury upon each of the component parts of the United Kingdom. For the moment I leave Ireland out of the account. In the first place there is no time or room to deal with their separate needs. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that when the, season annually comes round for compiling the King’s Speech, the practical question for those concerned with its composition is what is the least instalment of that which is admittedly overdue by which England, Scotland, and Wales can respectively for the Session be bought off. That is what it comes to, and further, not only is our local legislation hopelessly in arrear but under our existing arrangements it is constantly coloured and twisted and warped by the voices and votes of those who have no direct concern in the matter. Local experience, local sentiment, and local interest are over-ridden and set at nought. You will never get—I am speaking the lesson that has been taught me by a quarter of a century of Parliamentary experience—the separate concerns of the different parts of this United Kingdom treated either with adequate time or with adequate knowledge and sympathy until you have the wisdom and the courage to hand them over to the representatives whom alone they immediately affect.

    Asquith in the following quote seems remarkably naive:

    These words, as the House will see, are chosen specially to exclude the possibility—I have never thought it myself even a possibility—of legislation on the part of this new Irish Parliament to make any attempt to give effect to either of those recent Papal pronouncements which go by the name of the Ne temere and Motu proprio decrees, in other words, to establish any privileged status of clerical persons before the tribunals of the country, or in any way to interfere with the validity of mixed marriages between persons of different religious beliefs.

    Ulster Unionists of various creeds, in their 1893 Convention and later in their 1912 Covenant, recognised that other sects would barely get a look-in in mainly Nationalist and Catholic Ireland. Carson quoted Cardindal Logue’s response to safeguards against denominationalism:

    No matter what obstacles the Nonconformists of England may have inserted in the constitution of the University to keep it from being made Catholic we will make it Catholic in spite of them.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “A moment that heralded a temporary breach in the tradition of democratic constitutionalism whose line the founders, and spirit, of the new State would reconnect with a decade later.” .. Irish Times

    A decade later the founders of the new state had fallen out and were about to rush headlong into Civil War. Just a few days ago Martin McGuinness and Pearse Doherty were eulogising the Drumboe Martyrs:

    MMcG: Charlie Daly, Seán Larkin, Daniel Enright and Tim O’Sullivan were put to death on this spot by Free State forces.

    So much for the IT writer’s hyperbole and detachment from historical events; violence is always someone else’s fault.

  • JR

    DR,

    “I am proud of my relative who joined the UVF” Do you not think it is a bit hypocritical to glorify one man who joined a paramilitary organisation and villify others?

  • SK

    ““I am proud of my relative who joined the UVF” Do you not think it is a bit hypocritical to glorify one man who joined a paramilitary organisation and villify others?”

    Get with the program! It’s only terrorism when it’s Republicans that are threatening the British government.

  • Alias

    “It’s only terrorism when it’s Republicans that are threatening the British government.”

    True, and, conversely, they’re only ‘peacemakers’ when they’re acting in service of the British state.

  • Drumlins Rock

    The UVF remained Legal throughout. so far as I know they never undertook any actions within Ireland, they had the full blessing of virtually the whole establishment and the people on the ground. Yes I am proud.

    wheras as the scum of the “modern” IRA, UVF, INLA, UDA are insults to all those on both sides of a centuary ago.

  • Red Lion

    When Northern Ireland was set up i wish we had had direct rule from London in the same way Scotland and Wales were ruled at that time, and no Stormont parliament.

    Now that was a missed opportunity

  • lover not a fighter

    Was the Unionist/Loyalist rejection of the Home rule bill the best example of successful terrorism in Irish history !

  • JR

    Dr,
    So its ok to take up a gun and join the parimilitaries when the estblishment is backing you. It’s ok then for the gun to take precidence over democracy? You are proud of your ancestor who brought the gun into Irish politics but not of those who used them? Still sounds hypocritical.

    The election results of the time do not back up your claim that the UVF had the support of virtually everyone on the ground.

  • lamhdearg2

    A lot of this “loyalist/uvf anti democracy” crap can be countered with the fact that it was Eire that was breaking away, Ulster chose to stay as part of the U.K. . Ireland an island like britain is not and has never been one single country with democracy applied, except while under the auspices of the U.K..

  • Jimmy Sands

    Actually Ireland’s first election with universal adult suffrage was after independence. The UK would not embrace democracy until 1928.

  • SK

    “A lot of this “loyalist/uvf anti democracy” crap can be countered with the fact that it was Eire that was breaking away, Ulster chose to stay as part of the U.K.”

    ________

    Home Rule was no more a “break away” from the UK than devolution was for Wales.

    Back to the drawing board there, lamhdearg.

  • Harry Flashman

    Heinz

    “For how long Harry ? How long before militant republicanism raised its ugly head and demanded an ireland without the United Kingdom ?”

    Militant Republicansim was very much a minority interest in Ireland in 1912, a very small minority. In the previous century there had only been two outbreaks; in 1848 and 1867 and they involved less violence than might be witnessed at a dock strike in Liverpool or a coal strike in South Wales around the same time.

    Both outbreaks were immediately suppressed without difficulty by the fine Catholic country boys of Her Majesty’s Royal Irish Constabulary. The “Royal” being added to their title by a grateful Queen Victoria for their efficiency in dealing with the Fenian Rising, in the same way as later she was to create the Irish Guards in recognition of the gallantry of Irish regiments in the Boer War. There’s still a beautiful arch at the entrance to Stephen’s Green in Dublin in memory of the Irish soldiers who died in that war. Victoria was well served by her loyal Catholic Irish subjects.

    However let’s accept the worst case scenario and imagine the wholly unlikely Easter Rising breaking out in a Home Rule Ireland, what would have happened?

    Precisely what did happen, Irish policemen and Irish soldiers backed up by reinforcements from England would have brutally suppressed it after a week and the rebels would have been jeered and spat at by the loyal Dubliners.

    At this point a bit of sense would have taken hold, Prime Minister Redmond would not have executed the leaders, he’d have stuck them in Kilmainham Gaol for a couple of decades to cool their ardour and he would have received the wholehearted support of the vast majority of the Irish people.

    The following year he would have urged more recruitment to the colours but would not have considered conscription. The prosperous Catholic middle class who were profiting handsomely from the War would not have demurred. The war would have ended and nary a Unionist in Ireland would have a single word of complaint about life in their Home Rule nation.

    Twenty years later Prime Minister Costello would allow the Royal Navy full use of the southern ports and would have been happy to participate in the war against Hitler and encouraged full participation short of conscription and as happened anyway a hundred thousand Irishmen would have fought the Nazis.

    Any problems so far?

    And the protestants of Ulster? They’d have ended up like their kin in Canada and Scotland (and their own ancestors in eighteenth century Ireland and the US) by the end of the twentieth century they’d be chafing at the bit at the outdated connection with England, they’d be to the forefront of the independence for Ireland movement.

  • lamhdearg2

    jimmy, but a form of democracy, a sort of rolling democracy, but your point proves my point,even if in a differant way, ie, how where the loyalists being anti democracy, if democracy did not exist.

  • lamhdearg2

    sk, maybe they (the free ulstermen) could see what was to come 1937-49.

  • lamhdearg2

    harry, with respect, “At this point a bit of sense would have taken hold”, pure suppostion.

  • SK

    Lamhdearg one minute: “sk, maybe they (the free ulstermen) could see what was to come 1937-49.”

    Lamhdearg the next: “harry, with respect….. pure supposition.”

    Right so.

  • lamhdearg2

    sk, “Maybe”. i say “maybe” maybe, meaning perhaps or possibly, get it.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail ardmajel55

    SK. In fact the only moral difference between the gunrunners of 1912 and the provos was the British caved into to the threat of ‘terror offered by unionists in 1912, otherwise each are as guilty of intent to murder thousands to get their way.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “Any problems so far?”

    Harry, you’ve overlooked what did happen between the Regulars and the Irregulars after the Irish Free State came into being. Read Martin’s references to the treatment of the ‘dissidents’ at Drumboe.

  • JoeBryce

    Harry Flashman’s is a plausible counterfactual.

  • Mick Fealty

    Harry’s point IS a counterfactual. the lack of ‘vision’ at the time indicates there were profoundly thwarted ambitions on both sides.

  • Red Lion

    Yeah, i just wish N

  • Red Lion

    Yeah i just wish Northern Ireland had been ruled directly from Westminster since partition, we’d all be happy little West Brits in the six

  • Harry Flashman

    Nevin, as has been pointed out already there would have been no Civil War, Troubles, Easter Rising, or any manifestation of armed militant Irish republicanism, certainly nothing in the scale that eventually occurred, if Home Rule had been peacefully accepted in 1912. It was the Unionists who reintroduced the gun to Irish politics after a century of constitutional, parliamentary Irish nationalism.

    If the Ulster leaders had said they would accept Home Rule but subject to their terms and conditions they could have written their own price ticket so delighted would Nationalists have been to have accepted them in a united Home Rule parliament.

    As I’ve said it was the last great chance to end the “Irish Question” once and for all on decent and fair terms. The Ulstermen allowed their genuine concerns to be exploited by a despicably opportunist Tory opposition, Tories who despised them and used them for their own ends before selling them out.

    Carson recognised this, it’s time that modern day Unionists recognized that, rather than a great victory, they actually blew it big time in 1912-14.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail ardmajel55

    So that’s not one but two centenary events from 1912, touted by some unionists as successes, [with the Titanic] when in fact both were actually failures.

  • Reader

    ardmajel55: So that’s not one but two centenary events from 1912, touted by some unionists as successes, [with the Titanic] when in fact both were actually failures.
    We have so much in common, don’t we? The big dates in the republican calendar are also failures.

  • tacapall

    Reader well you do need a culture and I suppose if bad workmanship floats your boat as something to be proud of then the Titanic was a gigantic success in proving that ignorance is bliss.

  • Reader

    ardmajel55: So that’s not one but two centenary events from 1912, touted by some unionists as successes, [with the Titanic] when in fact both were actually failures.
    Do you actually believe Harry’s virtual history, or do you really believe he is wrong, and that you would have a 32 county republic by now?

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Harry, I hope I haven’t conveyed any sense of victory in my interpretation of events surrounding the repeal of the Union as it was viewed by both Nationalists and Unionists from the early 19th century onwards. The encounter between O’Connell and Cooke illustrates two questions, not one: the Irish and the Ulster.

    Cooke was in the Conservative camp. A significant number of Liberals linked up with the Conservatives in Ulster to form Ulster Unionism when Gladstone opted for the Home Rule route, a route desired by neither of the key protagonists: Irish Nationalism and Ulster Unionism.

    “opportunist Tory opposition”

    Why not refer to some of the actions of others as opportunist too?

    Some have attempted to portray the OO as a monolithic body yet when you look at land reform up here on the North Coast you’ll see that the rural lodges were in favour and the urban ones against; a lot of these actions are down to perceived self- or group-interest.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail ardmajel55

    Reader. The easter rising combined with unionists mishandling of the Carson campaign led to the creation of the Republic and the deprived the British of asll but 15% of the island when they wanted all of it.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail ardmajel55

    Reader, to your second post, the Home Rule would [if it hd been allowed to prevail as Harry points out] have lasted for who knows how much longer since Britain was easing it’s way out as it was no longer expedient for them to hang on to Ireland so in the end, they were serving their own interests as always notwithstanding what unionists here wanted. The british planted unionists here for their own selfish reasons, and will desrt eventually for the same reason.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    [aside]McComb’s account also sheds some light on Conservative and Liberal Presbyterian iconography:

    The text of Cooke’s challenge floats in mid-air, surrounded by the insignia of the Order of St Patrick, including the ‘Brian Boru’ harp and a shamrock with the motto QUIS SEPARABIT; on each side shamrocks may be seen mingled with Scottish thistles and English roses.

    St Patrick and the shamrock now seem to be making a reappearance in this ‘multi-cultural’ array.; perhaps the ‘Erin go bragh’ of 1892 will soon join them.

  • Harry Flashman

    Prior to 1921 Nevin the Unionists had absolutely no problem recognising themselves as Irish. Carson was an Irishman to his core and spoke with a pronounced Dublin brogue all his life.

    That is why the Unionists would actually have had no problem adjusting to and indeed taking a leadership in a Home Rule Ireland. I submit that within a century, like their protestant kin in Scotland (as opposed to the unionist Catholics of Scotland), they would have been calling for independence as their ancestors had done before.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Harry, the iconography tells a very different story which you chose to ignore; Irishness was part of the Unionist identity but it was set within the context of the UK, not the island of Ireland.

    There was co-operation when it came to land reform; the Ulster Custom showed that tenant farmers there already had a potentially better deal than tenant farmers elsewhere. That co-operation rapidly diminished when Gladstone, in order to limit the influence of Irish nationalists at Westminster, promoted Home Rule. Perhaps matters would have proceeded differently had Unionists and Nationalists sat down together to agree a programme for political reform.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Harry,we all know what happened to the ‘protestants of eire’ under dev……..the cry of Home Rule is Rome Rule was spot on,and your revisionist history is,at best,little more than wishful thinking.

    The problem so far is your failure to recognise the two distinct tribes on this island.
    There are three distinct tribes on the Mainland,who are lauded for their diversity. Yet these childish notions of ‘Ulster protestants,clambering to be irish’,is laughable.

    If Ulster Unionists had accepted Home Rule,it would have been akin to turkeys voting for Winter Fest…….” We know when all is said and done,we perish if we yield.”

    The dark eleventh hour
    Draws on and sees us sold
    To every evil power
    We fought against of old.
    Rebellion, rapine hate
    Oppression, wrong and greed
    Are loosed to rule our fate,
    By England’s act and deed.

    The Faith in which we stand,
    The laws we made and guard,
    Our honour, lives, and land
    Are given for reward
    To Murder done by night,
    To Treason taught by day,
    To folly, sloth, and spite,
    And we are thrust away.

    The blood our fathers spilt,
    Our love, our toils, our pains,
    Are counted us for guilt,
    And only bind our chains.
    Before an Empire’s eyes
    The traitor claims his price.
    What need of further lies?
    We are the sacrifice.

    We asked no more than leave
    To reap where we had sown,
    Through good and ill to cleave
    To our own flag and throne.
    Now England’s shot and steel
    Beneath that flag must show
    How loyal hearts should kneel
    To England’s oldest foe.

    We know the war prepared
    On every peaceful home,
    We know the hells declared
    For such as serve not Rome –
    The terror, threats, and dread
    In market, hearth, and field –
    We know, when all is said,
    We perish if we yield.

    Believe, we dare not boast,
    Believe, we do not fear –
    We stand to pay the cost
    In all that men hold dear.
    What answer from the North?
    One Law, one Land, one Throne.
    If England drive us forth
    We shall not fall alone!

    Ulster by Rudyard Kipling.

  • Harry Flashman

    “Irishness was part of the Unionist identity but it was set within the context of the UK, not the island of Ireland.”

    I don’t ignore it, their Irishness was of course within the context of the union, through all Ireland sporting bodies, all Ireland churches, Irish regiments in the army, but the point I am making is that they were unashamedly Irish and very proud of their country, they no more thought that being Irish and being British were incompatible than being English and British.

    Within a Home Rule Ireland that Irishness would have developed in the same way as it has done in Scotland to the extent where Scottish protestant former Unionists are now almost entirely in the Nationalist camp with only the Clyde’s Catholic Unionists desperately clinging to Labour.

    Heinz, Dev would have been nobody in a post-1912 Home Rule Ireland which John Redmond would have bestrode as the greatest Irish Nationalist leader since O’Connell but who would have remained an essentially loyal Prime Minister in the same way that Jan Smuts was in South Africa.

    My notion of protestant Irishmen as nationalists is childish? Didn’t seem that way in 1792 or 1798, or in 1776 in America or in Scotland and Canada today. Remember fifty years ago Scotland was a Conservative and Unionist majority country, where did that go? Canada was the most forthrightly loyal dominion in the Empire, now it barely acknowledges its connection to Britain.

    Nothing is set in stone, if anything the Ulstermen’s present day, almost paranoid, devotion to the Union is the anomaly. Protestant Irishmen used to have a much more robust and self confident approach to their independence.

  • Ulidian

    Harry Flashman

    The events of the late 18th century (in Ireland & what is now the USA) had nothing to do with “nationalism” – they related to basic democratic rights. Canada is thousands of miles away – it’s obviously going to evolve in its own way. As for Scotland, how many of those who are currently in the “nationalist camp” actually support independence?

    Your last paragraph is very dubious – most “Protestant Irishmen” here support & have always supported devolution, whilst some would actually prefer an independent state.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “they no more thought that being Irish and being British were incompatible than being English and British.”

    Indeed, Harry, but, from a religious perspective, that lay within what might be called the Reformed tradition.

    Cardinal Logue and the actions of the Vatican had made it very clear that the Catholic tradition would prevail, irrespective of anything that might be included in Home Rule legislation. This sentiment is clearly expressed in the Third Home Rule bill exchanges and in the deliberations of the 1892 Ulster Unionist Convention – not forgetting the earlier tussle between Daniel O’Connell and Henry Cooke.

    Irish nationalism centred on the shamrock whereas Ulster unionism embraced the shamrock, the thistle and the rose. You appear to over-emphasise the shamrock and ignore the Irish nationalist antipathy to the rose and ignorance of the thistle. Thomas Sinclair, the Liberal unionist who suggested the Covenant and whose ancestors promoted reform in the Ulster convention of 1793, appears to have leant more to the thistle than to the other two.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “Protestant Irishmen used to have a much more robust and self confident approach to their independence.”

    Indeed, Harry, but you need to examine the nuances. Those in the forefront in north Antrim back in 1758 would have been ‘New Light’ Presbyterians, the sort of folks who would have supported George Washington a generation later. Changes in the franchise, in the position of the Church of Ireland, etc meant that they were even more opposed to Catholic centralism/hegemony than to the Episcopalian form.

  • Harry Flashman

    It’s all “might have” and “perhaps” but I still stand over my original claim that the Third Home Rule Bill was a huge missed opportunity that killed constitutional Irish nationalism within a United Kingdom framework stone dead with appalling consequences that have lasted until today.

    Don’t tell me forward looking, self confident Unionists couldn’t have negotiated a deal safeguarding their interests, were Unionists really such delicate flowers that they would have melted in a devolved assembly in Dublin?

    Would being proud, assertive leaders in a peaceful and tolerant united Ireland within the UK not have been a much more appealing role to play than the parochial, narrow-minded, and frankly universally despised role they ended up playing in their stunted runt of a statelet which became a by-word around the world (perhaps somewhat unjustifiably but the reputation stuck) for bigotry and intolerance?

    Given what we know now I can’t help but think many Unionists privately regret decisions made back then.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “killed constitutional Irish nationalism within a United Kingdom framework stone dead”

    Harry, it was self-inflicted; it was a deal between a Liberal government and (mainly catholic) Irish nationalism, each for their own selfish reasons.

  • Harry Flashman

    It was a fair deal between the democratically elected government of the UK and the democratically elected representatives of the majority of Irishmen. A pleasant change from the previous half dozen centuries of Irish history in which the government in London conspired with a minority of Irishmen to disenfranchise, despoil, discriminate against and frequently dehumanise the majority of their fellow countrymen.

    I’m not a moper as anyone who has read my posts will know, but a little bit of generosity on the part of the pro-British minority in Ireland to their nationalist fellow-countrymen was way long overdue by 1912. The Nationalists sought only a devolved administration in Ireland, a meagre request given Irish history, they would have been happy to include guarantees to their protestant fellow countrymen, guarantees that were sadly lacking when the Unionists did eventually get their own truncated home rule.

    It was a reasonable settlement, it didn’t remotely threaten the interests of protestants in Ireland, the hysterical over-reaction of the Ulstermen threatening armed insurrection against the British parliament and enticing the army to mutiny in the teeth of a world war was shameful and not something that should ever be celebrated.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Harry, it was an expedient deal that didn’t involve the other main ‘stakeholders’, the Conservatives and the Ulster Unionists. Nationalists were a larger minority in Northern Ireland than Unionists would have been in a Home Rule Ireland so there’s no need to play the ‘hysterical’ card. History has recorded an absence of trust before, during and after 1912.

  • Harry Flashman

    You still haven’t come up with anything tangible to tell us how Unionists/protestants comprising a quarter of the population with a substantially disproportionate amount of the wealth of the country and the backing of the police and armed forces of the UK would have suffered in any way in a devolved assembly similar to that existing in Wales.

    There’s a certain amount of backward looking projectionism going on as Unionists look at how they treated their Catholic/Nationalist fellow countrymen in a Home Rule Northern Ireland and claiming they would have been treated badly in a Home Rule parliament in Dublin.

    It seems to show a huge lack of confidence in their own abilities and strengths that they were so terrified of such a minor piece of legislative devolution.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Harry, all of the reasons were given at the time. They can be found in the deliberations of the 1892 Ulster Unionist Convention, the exchanges that I linked to in the House of Commons and in the wording of the 1912 Covenant. I’m not sure what the relevance of recent developments in Wales have to do with events in the UK in 1912.

  • Harry Flashman

    So beyond a hatred and illogical fear of their fellow countrymen there was no reason for them to throw their rattle out of the pram then.

    They blew it, big time.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “They blew it, big time.”

    Harry, that would seem to be a fitting epitaph for 1916. ‘Hatred and illogical fear’ is your caricature; you can read the Unionist aspiration in the 1912 Covenant.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Nationalists and Unionists promoted their own self-interests in 1912; fifty years later I met a man who adopted a different tack: Ray Davey (1915-2012).