Intertesting piece from Alan Bairner, a Scottish academic writer on sport and politics in, who reflects on the sometimes uncomfortable mix of national and social politics, whilst sitting with the Irish contingent of cricket supporters at the first Ashes test in Lords earlier this year.
The saying “You can choose your friends but not your family” applies equally well to your compatriots. In the case of Ireland, it was for this very reason that James Connolly wrote in Shan Van Vocht (1897): “As a socialist I am prepared to do all one man can do to achieve for our motherland her rightful heritage independence; but if you ask me to abate one jot or title on the claims of social justice in order to conciliate the privileged classes then I must decline.” Connolly recognised that national self-determination can be a first step towards social justice but there are always enemies closer to home.
I’m also indebted to him for a great Scots quote: “Here’s tae us. Wha’s like us? Gey few and they’re a’ deid!”.
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