“Propaganda posing as historical truth”…

LOYALIST thinker Davy Adams takes Irish President Mary McAleese to task for her recent eulogy to the rebels of the 1916 Rising. Adams writes: “I agree with President McAleese that today’s Republic of Ireland is a modern, prosperous, democracy with, as she put it, a widely shared political philosophy of equality, social inclusion, human rights and anti-confessionalism. I disagree profoundly, however, with her on how it arrived at that point.”

Adams continues:

The President would have us believe that the liberal democracy of today flowed from the 1916 Proclamation. The truth is that prosperity flowed directly from Ireland’s membership of the European Union, and liberal democracy from the implosion of an institution given so much rope in the form of unelected and unaccountable power and influence, that eventually it hanged itself.

The 1916 leaders could not possibly have foreseen the first, or even begun to imagine the second, much less plan for either.

Adams concludes:

Last Friday, the President did not present a differing “analysis and interpretation” of recent Irish history but, rather, a history almost totally divorced from fact. Far worse, there was nothing in what she had to say about the “idealistic and heroic founding fathers and mothers” that could not equally be said in defence of the Provisional IRA and its actions (or, for that matter, its would-be successors in the Continuity and Real IRAs).

After all, they too were a tiny elite of extreme nationalists who took it upon themselves to drive out the British at the point of a gun.

They too, claimed to be wedded to the principles of equality and civil and religious liberty for all, while prosecuting a murderous campaign against their Protestant neighbours.

If we follow President McAleese’s uncritical analysis and reasoning to its logical conclusion, in intellectual terms, all that separated the modern IRA from the rebels of 1916 was the passage of time. To heap retrospective adulation upon the leaders of the 1916 Rising while denying it to the Provisionals, is to differentiate only on the grounds of the relative success of one and complete failure of the other.

Surely, it is not beyond the President and others to find a way of celebrating independence without glorifying the manner in which it was achieved. Until then, nationalism will continue handing a blank cheque to successive generations of “freedom fighters”.

While it would be interesting to find out if Davy applies the same logic to the glorification of aspects of loyalist history (comments welcome, Mr Adams!), the purpose of the President’s speech – to help smooth the way for the Taoiseach’s plans to celebrate the Rising – appears to have widened the political gap between unionists and the President, who has made past efforts to ‘build bridges’ with unionism.

With elections looming, the Easter commemoration is obviously an attempt by Fianna Fail to reclaim 1916 from Sinn Fein. What Fianna Fail is doing is hardly ideologically driven; just another “cute” move. But it’s harder to define how romanticising the past in a narrow nationalistic basis is more acceptable than the celebration of more recent terrorism.

Far too often, you hear people here say that if we don’t learn from the mistakes of the past, we’re doomed to repeat them. But if your history ends in a cosy view of 1916 or 1690, everything after that can be justified, as if the ideals and principles of those heroes then are somehow as applicable now as they ever were. I think it’s fair to say that in Irish politics (north and south) there has always been a need for historical authority. It is most clear in the various offshoots of the wider republican movement that lay claim to the legacy of the rebels, but is very evident within unionism too (the Somme, the Boyne etc).

By uncritically laying claim to blood sacrifice, both unionism and republicanism elevate the values of small groups in history that had very different motivations from today’s revisionists. I don’t think many people would seriously judge historical figures based purely on contemporary values, yet we use their actions to justify current political events. Those who can control the past, know they have a pretty big say in the present.

But could King Billy or Pádraic Pearse even have imagined today’s global political landscape? And is it possible to celebrate key historical victories without mytholgising how they were achieved?

Anyway, if President McAleese shortly finds herself inviting the Queen over for tea, let’s hope Willie Frazer doesn’t get an appetite for protesting in Dublin in the meantime. With the issue of Joint Authority being discussed as a fall-back option, the “historic” symbolism will no doubt be interpreted in a variety of ways!

  • Richard Dowling

    At last the debate begins.

  • Richard Dowling

    Bryan Sykes, a professor of human genetics, reckons “that
    DNA (the spiral of life) has the potential to link everyone in
    the world through the maternal line. (He) discovereed that
    almost everyone of European origin is descended from one of
    seven ancient women ” (source … Sunday Times Magazine).

    Now that people are asking what right the Brits had to be here,
    perhaps we should be asking what right ANY ONE of us has to
    be here in the first place. And how thankful we should be for
    the gift of life.

  • Jacko

    I think the point of the article is overt State endorsement of end justifying means. As summed up by this:
    “If we follow President McAleese’s uncritical analysis and reasoning to its logical conclusion, in intellectual terms, all that separated the modern IRA from the rebels of 1916 was the passage of time. To heap retrospective adulation upon the leaders of the 1916 Rising while denying it to the Provisionals, is to differentiate only on the grounds of the relative success of one and complete failure of the other”.

    Hard to argue against really – except by whataboutery avoidance of the issue.

  • Henry94

    I think the article is built on two seriously flawed points.

    The truth is that prosperity flowed directly from Ireland’s membership of the European Union,

    As Garret Fitzgerald has pointed out the fact that Ireland was in a position to join the EU as an independent state was key to the development derived from it. And Adams is mistaken to claim EU membership as the only reason for prosperity.

    The mass-emigration of the 80’s and the mass-immigration of today all happened under EU membership. The difference is economic policy.

    and liberal democracy from the implosion of an institution given so much rope in the form of unelected and unaccountable power and influence, that eventually it hanged itself.

    The 1916 leaders didn’t expect the end of the influence of the Church because they didn’t expect the start of it. And the power of the Church was in decline long before it was hit by the scandals.

    They may have hastened the process but they were not responsible for it.

    So much for the history. On the political point I think he is answering his own argument.

    To heap retrospective adulation upon the leaders of the 1916 Rising while denying it to the Provisionals, is to differentiate only on the grounds of the relative success of one and complete failure of the other.

    Had the IRA succeeded in driving the British state out of Ireland and establishing an all-Ireland republic then it is likely that such a republic would 90 years later mark that achievement.

    Of course it would only be worth celebrating if it was the kind of place were articles taking a different view were published.

    On that score the current republic has no problems.

  • Henry94

    Let’s also, in fairness, note the link between economic success and having had and removed British influence.

    http://www.macleans.ca/culture/books/article.jsp?content=20060213_121138_121138

  • Henry94

    Having quoted Garret Fitzgerald may I offer this from well know provo Kevin Myers whose article in Today’s Irish Times cuts the legs out from under the economic analysis (if that’s not too strong a word)of Mr Adams.

    Twice – under Sean Lemass and later, though admittedly under pressure from the IMF, Charles Haughey – we decided to put our house in order, and we did so because we had the power.

    Scotland has no such power. It is committing suicide, even as it chooses to be powerless. In three years’ time, there will be more pensioners in Scotland than schoolchildren, when its population falls beneath 5 million, as the population of the Republic approaches or even passes that figure.

  • “all that separated the modern IRA from the rebels of 1916 was the passage of time.”

    1916 Rebels were drug dealers too? Interesting.

  • willis

    The 1916 rising did not come out of a clear blue sky. The notion that a small band of fanatics went against the wishes of a nation is risable. Equally it is nonsense to say that Pearse and Connolly had the same view of church and state.

    Wind back to the events of 1912-14. If the wishes of the “nation” as a whole had been followed, Ireland would have been making a peaceful transition to independence.

    Neither McAleese nor Adams are right. And both are right.

  • 1916 was an assertion of the right of Ireland to national self-determination. This was countered by the claim of unionists to from a distinct national-geographical unit, but the main force of this right is uncontested by anyone I am aware of today. The recent campaign by the Provisional IRA specifically denied the right of unionists to national self-determination, and whil it fits technically with the ideas of the 1916 leaders, the context of all-Ireland subjection had changed. Many present that Easter Monday accepted partition subsequently.

    Secondly 1916 was a direct and immediate cause of the independence of the Free State and subsequent republic (which was supposed to make the 1916 republic concrete to defeat the claims of the IRA), which Irish people north and south of the border have just cause to be proud of. The state has fostered a prosperous and stable liberal democracy, and heightened the esteem in which the Irish nation has been held across the globe.

    Pluralism in modern Ireland does not entail dehistoricisation, and I find it frankly weird that people suggest that the state should regard its origins with shame and false amnesia. Commemoration does not mean that we need endorse all of Pearse’s eccentric views, but rather that we trace the connection (which does not imply total identification) between where we were then and where we are now. This is relatively uncontroversial in France and the US which both celebrate technically illegitimate and violent events. And rather than surrendering 1916 to a narrow nationalist outlook, it means that a more pluralist nationalist tradition can make sense of our history. History is not simply ‘what happened back then’, but how we make sense of what happened in relation to our perspective. We revise our sense of ourselves in light of our history, but we can’t help but make sense of history in terms of our selves and the perspective we view it from.

  • sebbo

    In the first election post 1916, and the last to involve the whole island at once, Sinn Fein got 70% of the vote. Hardly a tiny elite of extreme nationalists.

  • sebbo

    Sorry, sorry having stats problems!! It was 70% of the seats in 1918 but only 47% of the votes. Still it eas more than twice as much as any other party. My point remains that this is not a tiny elite of extreme nationalists

  • Cuculain

    “Surely, it is not beyond the President and others to find a way of celebrating independence without glorifying the manner in which it was achieved. Until then, nationalism will continue handing a blank cheque to successive generations of “freedom fighters”.

    I wonder if the American freedom fighters, the forefathers, were honored by present day US Presidents or the French for their ‘revolutionists’? There is not much in comparison with Ireland, I suppose, as the problem was that neither of the main protagonists, including Churchill would believe the “truth” because there was a huge reliance on propaganda. How can children of the modern day believe the truth now?

    British propaganda was an effective weapon to suppress Ireland. During the years of the Boer and Great War how many Irish men was enticed to leave home for an days pay and clean uniform. Leaving a family with hardly a voice or vote to defend their rights. Even today people believe that the independence war of the 1919-21’s was a sectarian war which was far from the truth. The Republican flag represents harmony and peace of both traditions, green Irish and the orange Unionists. Not many people believe this or are school teachers still colour blind and see gold?

    Symbols will still be used as arguments and reasons to fight, only last week cartoons can inflame people but when justice or the holders of justice is consistently tinged with self denial, dishonesty and secrecy then many more pacifists will be persuaded by propaganda.

    Recently, the Secretary of State of Northern Ireland threatens the control of Justice. Where a High Court judge would determine whether sensitive information given to the any inquiry should be secret, now that power lies with one British Minister.

  • pip

    sebbo, so basically you’re admitting that the majority of people in Ireland did not support the south of Ireland separating from the UK. And even that was after most protestants in the south fled or were chased into the north.

    That ain’t democracy, that the tail wagging the dog.

  • Pip

    By the way, given that the election was held in 1918, many thousands of Irishmen who fought in the Great war would not therefore have had the opportunity to vote, either because they were killed in WW1 or just not home yet….I think you have more embarassed yourself with those statistics that vindicated urself – pratt.

  • taicody

    The hijacking of history for propaganda purposes, is the curse of the Irish (under which I include the “loyalists”).

    Over the past 40 years, it has allowed people to legitimise their acts of violence; to mask their dysfunctionalities and to stay trapped in the ghettos of their minds.

    Truth, like light, blinds. Falsehood, on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight that enhances every object…Camus.

  • Mike

    sebbo –

    “Sorry, sorry having stats problems!! It was 70% of the seats in 1918 but only 47% of the votes. Still it eas more than twice as much as any other party. My point remains that this is not a tiny elite of extreme nationalists”

    The IRB Military Council and those it presuded to follow it into the Easter Rising were precidely that, a tiny elite of extreme nationalists.

  • sebbo

    sebbo, so basically you’re admitting that the majority of people in Ireland did not support the south of Ireland separating from the UK. And even that was after most protestants in the south fled or were chased into the north.

    er, no. This is Sinn Fein. There were also constitutional nationalists. Both wanted the whole of Ireland to be an independent country.

    The IRB Military Council and those it presuded to follow it into the Easter Rising were precidely that, a tiny elite of extreme nationalists.

    I suppose by the same token any leadership group is a tiny elite. You ignore the fact that there was widespread support for Irish Independence by Irish people throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After the executions of the leaders of the 1916 uprising that support swung behind Sinn Fein.

  • darth rumsfeld

    er, well dead people could not have voted at any time pip-or is this a hint at great irish electoral traditions by you? Soldiers on active service could and did vote. But as in Europe as a whole, the trauma of the War and its aftermath produced atypical politics and freak returns, with extremism to the fore-Communists in Limerick for example. That’s not to discount the will of the people, merely to say it wasn’t their settled will.

    sebbo should have concentrated on the large number of uncontested seats and asked himself why. In most of these SF were returned, giving Unionists no chance to exercise their franchise- but more significantly the IPP.

    If the SDLP were unable to stand in 4 of the seats at last year’s General election because of fear, intimidation, or some othjer “community pressure”, we’d be a lot more sceptical about the SF mandate. We’re told these were all SF strongholds, but of course the only way to have proved that was to let the peole speak. Joe Devlin faced down the IRA in Belfast, to prove my point.

  • smcgiff

    POBLACHT NA H EIREANN
    ___________________________
    THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT
    OF THE
    IRISH REPUBLIC
    TO THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND
    IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.
    Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and, supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.
    We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the last three hundred years they have asserted it to arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades-in-arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.
    The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and all of its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.
    Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.
    We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God. Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, in humanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.
    Signed on Behalf of the Provisional Government.
    Thomas J. Clarke,
    Sean Mac Diarmada, Thomas MacDonagh,
    P. H. Pearse, Eamonn Ceannt,
    James Connolly, Joseph Plunkett

    Above is the 1916 proclamation. To my mind it is a very interesting document placed in the context of the 1916 world. It seems to be inclusive within an Irish context (note the call for universal suffarage), while excluding Britishness.

  • Jacko

    In terms of popular endorsement, there is no comparison between the 1916 leader and the founding fathers of the United States.
    In the first, there is a claim that endorsement came after the act (a strange way to view democratic mandate, act first then ask permission of the people) and only after the executions had created an emotive groundswell.
    In the second case, each American leader was elected to represent his state at national congress where decisions on whether to rebel or not were taken.

  • DK

    Someone correct me, but hadn’t Ireland already achieved (peacefully) home rule in 1914, but it just missed a final rubber-stamping due to the outbreak of the great war?

    In that context, what was the point of the 1916 rising – was it purely an attempt to jump the gun and get home rule before the end of the war, or did they think that Britain would lose and a losing Britain would be less willing to give up Ireland?

  • Crataegus

    I have severe difficulties with celebrating acts of violence, but it is not as clear cut as that. The 1st world war was a complete waste of life opposing Hitler in WW2 was to oppose something vile.

    The problem with 1916 is it all depends on your view of the state of public opinion at that time. It was a period of heightening tension, a Home Rule Bill shelved at the start of WW1, arms arriving in Larne and Dublin, Casement’s dalliances in Germany, the scuttling of the Aud, and MacNeill placing advertisement in a Sunday newspaper halting all Volunteer operations (heeded for 24hrs), but all the time this was set against the backdrop of WW1. Imagine the British perspective.

    It must be remembered that through democratic parliamentary politics Redmond had won an initial stage of Irish self-government in the Third Home Rule act of 1914 which eventually became the Government of Ireland Act 0f 1920. So one has to ask what did the rising actually achieve other than bitterness and division?

    It is my personal view that Ireland would have been self governing without the rising and much suffering and division may have been avoided. The consequence North and South was 50 years that none of us can be proud off. Let’s find some men of peace to celebrate and give no present or future hot head an excuse to take up arms.

    When you take up arms it must be because you have exhausted all other routes, or are horrendously oppressed and IN ADDITION have established overwhelming support for that cause. Often uprisings are wilful men forcing their views on a public who are at best ambivalent but the spiral of destruction unleashed feeds on itself and draws others in.

  • “Someone correct me, but hadn’t Ireland already achieved (peacefully) home rule in 1914, but it just missed a final rubber-stamping due to the outbreak of the great war?”

    Correct. It was awaiting Royal Assent. Strangely when a World War broke out, the crown’s priorities shifted a little.

    Crataegus, totally agree – self-governance was well on the way regardless of the 1916 rising, which was a waste of life and the demonstration (and subsequently source) of much hatred.

  • andy

    this may be a stupid question – but if the home rule bill was about to be given assent but was delayed by WW1 – why didn’t it just come to pass in 1918 after the war finished?

    and where does the curragh mutiny fit into this?
    was it a refusal to put down an anti-home rule ulster revolt, or was it a refusal to carry out orders which would have lead to home rule?

    ta

  • Crataegus

    Andy

    70 Officers threatened to resign (Unionists) rather than impose the 1914 Home Rule Act in Ulster. Asquith backed down, but I think this has to be seen against the real problem for the British at the time. Franz Ferdinand was assassinated 8 days after the Curragh incident. Interestingly the Germans supplied arms to the UVF, Casement etc. Once again Ireland being used by European powers against Britain. I think the Easter rising was a major mistake but who knows with ‘what if’ history. Certainly the outworking over the next 50 years, North and South, were disastrous.

  • Ciarán Irvine

    It is my personal view that Ireland would have been self governing without the rising and much suffering and division may have been avoided.

    This is the fundamental crux of the whole 1916 debate.

    People who decry the rebels claim that Ireland was just about to get real meaningful Home Rule which would have lead inevitably and peacefully within a short space of time to proper independence, and therefore any rising or rebellion was completely unnecessary and tantamount to murder.

    Everyone else thinks this is just wibbling. The British had been stalling on Home Rule for 40 years at that point. They had unilaterally shelved the 1914 Act, had unilaterally introduced the concept of Partition, had gone out of their way to discredit Parnell, had lied to and betrayed Redmond, had spent 40 years stalling, negotiating in blatant bad faith, introducing random preconditions and insisting on random constrictions of the powers any Home Rule parliament would have – in effect rendering Home Rule meaningless. This was the largest and most powerful Empire in the world at that time. There was no way in hell they were going to allow Ireland, right next door, so simply walk away from the Empire. They knew rightly that the precedent would inexorably lead to the dismantling of the entire Empire itself in short order.

    The simple proof of this is the aftermath of the 1918 election. Did Britain turn around and go “Alright, fair enough, we’ll be off then?” Did they hell. They dug in, sent in the troops, fought the Tan War, and imposed Partition by force – and the Free State created in the Treaty was a feeble enough creature, politically powerless, diplomatically subservient to Britain, economically dependent and (or so the Brits thought at the time) likely to collapse by itself within a few years, leading to Ireland being re-absorbed and stabilising the Empire forever.

    To be blunt, I think anyone who seriously stands up and proclaims that the British were a couple of weeks away from cheerfully and peacefully granting full sovereign independence to Ireland in 1916 need their head examined.

  • DK

    “To be blunt, I think anyone who seriously stands up and proclaims that the British were a couple of weeks away from cheerfully and peacefully granting full sovereign independence to Ireland in 1916 need their head examined.”

    Obviously NOT in 1916 when there was a war on, but they were prepared to in 1914 – as the passing of the home rule act showed – and business as usual would have continued in 1918.

    You would probably have had to have had partition though – self determination was the big thing in 1918.

  • Nathan

    If Bertie and the boys do decide to go ahead with a state-led military parade, then I’d be interested in how it will all pan out.

    As someone with video footage of the 50th anniversary that took place in Dublin in 1966, I would be interested to whether there will be a repeat performance of hero-worshipping and militarism. Or will the occasion be sanitized as far as possible.

    Moreover, if there is to be a military parade, then I’d also like to know who the Irish government will be nominating to compose the official cantata in commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. Back in 1966, a respected member of the southern protestant community, Brian Boydell, composed A Terrible Beauty was Born and the footage said it all – he composed the cantata with enormous pride. Sadly, he’s no longer with us so I wonder who will be composing the official cantata in the forthcoming parade. Knowing Bertie and the Boys, they’ll probably scrap the cantata and come up with a piss poor, make-shift substitute.

  • Crataegus

    Ciarán

    I don’t think the British would have been at all honourable, but I do think there would be an independent and united Ireland now and that a lot of grief would have been avoided. Britain in a war of survival with Germany how do you think there are going to react to Irish uprising? The 1914 Home Rule Act was passed and let’s face it the last thing the British were going to risk at that time was potential civil war on their doorstep. In Ireland there is a tendency to view England simply as the enemy but in reality the situation in 1916, on this island, was a lot more complex.

    Perhaps I am just an aging idealist but I really dislike violence it usually creates more problems than it solves.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Darth: “er, well dead people could not have voted at any time pip-or is this a hint at great irish electoral traditions by you? Soldiers on active service could and did vote. But as in Europe as a whole, the trauma of the War and its aftermath produced atypical politics and freak returns, with extremism to the fore-Communists in Limerick for example. That’s not to discount the will of the people, merely to say it wasn’t their settled will.”

    At the risk of sounding like I agree with you, I would put into evidence the Daley family of Chicago, where “Vote early, vote often, its the Chicago way” has to be the city slogan and the dead walk twice a year — Halloween and a little later, on election day.

    As for the actual vote you discuss, that you dislike or discount the results is of little to no import, Darth. The price of living in a society that relies upon democratic institutions and trappings is you then must live by these trappings. That you discount as not being “the settled will” is neither here nor there. The votes were cast, the results tallied and posted.
    Res ipsa loquitur.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    DK: “You would probably have had to have had partition though – self determination was the big thing in 1918. ”

    Sure it was… just ask the Chinese… or the Vietnamese… or the Indians… or the Irish.

  • harpo

    ‘this may be a stupid question – but if the home rule bill was about to be given assent but was delayed by WW1 – why didn’t it just come to pass in 1918 after the war finished?’

    Andy:

    That isn’t a stupid question at all. In fact the outcome of the 1918 election makes it even more important. In the 1918 Westminster election it was clear that there were 2 lots of people on the island, each entitled to the right to self-determination.

    Given that Irish nationalist attitudes had hardened, wouldn’t it have been smart to enact legislation immediately in early 1919, once Sinn Fein set up that First Dail? HMG could have proposed what it ended up proposing anyway in late 1920 – Home Rule for Southern Ireland, with Northern Ireland remaining in the UK on existing terms.

    The Dail would probably have said ‘no thanks – that isn’t sufficient’ and the WOI may have taken place on the same basis, but at least the basis of a political deal would have been out there. So that a truce and negotiations could have happened earlier, maybe in late 1919/1920 instead of in late 1921.

    Thus some of the WOI could have been avoided. Maybe no Black and Tans would have been required. Who knows, maybe there wouldn’t have been much of a WOI if the Dail had been presented with Home Rule legislation immediately after coming into existence. There may have been divisions between those in the Dail who would have accepted Home Rule as opposed to those who wished to hold out for the full Irish Republic.

    Even if they had started off with a statement of ‘no thanks, here’s what we want’ that would have been the basis for immediate negotiations to start. If HMG had then shifted to something like the actual 1921 Treaty during the negotiations, at some point there would have been division in the Dail between those who wanted to accept and those who wanted to hold on for the Irish Republic.

    I’ve never seen any explanation as to why HMG didn’t immediately enact Home Rule in early 1919. Maybe they thought it would have been pointless, since the Home Rulers had been superceeded by Sinn Fein.

  • Mike

    Ciaran –

    “The British had been stalling on Home Rule for 40 years at that point…”

    Hang on. ‘The British’ weren’t some sort of monolith. Liberal governments had supported Home Rule. The Conservatives (and Liberal Unionists) had opposed it.

    “They had unilaterally shelved the 1914 Act”

    ‘Unilaterally’? Firstly, the UK government was the only agency with the power to suspend the coming into force of the 1914 Act – there was no other agency for them to act ‘bilaterlally’ with them in this sense. Secondly, the Conservative opposition agreed with the Liberal government. Thirdly, this had support of Irish Unionists. Fourthly, I would be pretty sure this had the acquiescence of the IPP leadership too.

    “had unilaterally introduced the concept of Partition”

    Again, what’s this ‘unilaterally’ about again, and who are ‘the British’ in this instance? Ulster Unionists proposed the exclusion of some counties from Home Rule, and were supported by the Conservative leadership. Some Liberal MPs (e.g. Agar-Robartes) and then the Liberal government took it up as a way out of the Ulster question.

    “This was the largest and most powerful Empire in the world at that time. There was no way in hell they were going to allow Ireland, right next door, so simply walk away from the Empire. They knew rightly that the precedent would inexorably lead to the dismantling of the entire Empire itself in short order.”

    And how many dominions and colonies achieved full independece over the next 30-50 years?

  • Ciarán Irvine

    Crataegus: Perhaps I am just an aging idealist but I really dislike violence it usually creates more problems than it solves.

    Ordinarily I would be in full agreement. But in the far-off hyper-militaristic Imperial age we’re discussing, I don’t think fluffy tree-hugging would have got anyone anywhere. It was a very different world back then. Democracy didn’t really get going as an international moral force till after WWII and the defeat of fascism. IMHO, of course 🙂

    Mike – the other party was, of course, the Irish, in the forms of the IPP and the Unionists. Carson was most upset by the whole Partition concept and only reluctantly and eventually accepted it, because the Brits were not for turning. The IPP were lied to and betrayed in 1914, Redmond being told that if he agreed to this and called on Irishmen to enlist, then he’d get full Home Rule “later”. 1918 proves that to have been a lie.

    And how many dominions and colonies achieved full independece over the next 30-50 years?

    How many would have got anything at all until after WWII if it wasn’t for the (incomplete perhaps but real) success of the Irish rebellion?

  • harpo

    ‘The IPP were lied to and betrayed in 1914, Redmond being told that if he agreed to this and called on Irishmen to enlist, then he’d get full Home Rule “later”. 1918 proves that to have been a lie.’

    Ciarán Irvine:

    So you’re saying that Redmond was lied to? I don’t think that is correct. In 1914 the IPP represented the majority of nationalists and so the Home Rule deal was negotiated with them. But due to the events between 1916 and the 1918 Westminster election, the IPP was more or less wiped out in that election.

    Do you really think it would have been practical to enact the Home Rule legislation in late 1918/early 1919, just to fulfil a promise to a party that didn’t represent the nationalists any longer? What would have happened in that case? Would the First Dail simply have said ‘thanks for Home Rule – we are now the parliament of Southern Ireland as your nice legislation says’.

    What you ignore in order to engage in Brit-bashing is that the more likely response would have been exactly what happened when the 1920 bill was passed. The Dail refused to accept it and the WOI went on.

    If Home Rule had been presented to that First Dail in early 1919 they would have truned it down flat. What you want to ignore is that the stakes were higher by the end of 1918, as reflected in the result of the 1918 election. Nationalism had moved on to a demand for the Irish Republic on the 1916 model. Home Rule was a non-starter.

    Enacting Home Rule in early 1919 would have been futile. Too little, too late. The game had moved to a new level, and accusations that Redmond was lied to are nonsense. It’s simply Brit-bashing to accuse HMG of lying. If 1916 and the conscription crisis had never happened Home Rule would have been enacted after WW1 – probably in 1919. But circumstances changed, and reality changed.

    If Home Rule had been offered to the Dail in early 1919 it would have been turned down, and people like you would be complaining today – ‘look at those idiot Brits thinking that simply enacting Home Rule would deal with the new will of the nationalist Irish people’. The proof of this is that the next attempt at Home Rule was turned down in 1920. Irish nationalists had moved on, and HMG recognized this.

  • Crataegus

    Ciarán

    The lesson in the back half of the 20th century is you don’t need empire to control a country all you need is debt and a corrupt government. Much more cost effective.

    Harpo

    “I’ve never seen any explanation as to why HMG didn’t immediately enact Home Rule in early 1919.”

    One possible reason is because of the 1916 rising and being seen to respond to the threat of force. It is one thing to acquiesce by agreement another to be seen to be moved by threat. I think the threat of violence was a negative factor.

    Good post.

  • Mike

    Ciarán –

    “the other party was, of course, the Irish, in the forms of the IPP and the Unionists. Carson was most upset by the whole Partition concept and only reluctantly and eventually accepted it, because the Brits were not for turning.”

    That’s just wrong as a reading of Irish history and Ulster unionism in particular. Ulster uninists demanded exclusion from Home Rule in 1912-14 – that’s what the whole Ulster crsis was about. The big debate was about whether it should be four, six or nine counties. I don’t see how you can possibly read the history of 1912-14 and come to the conclusion that the government somehow invented this idea of dividing Ireland and forced it on Ulster unionists – it was Ulster unionists who were demanding exclusion and forced it on the government.

    What Carson, Craig etc pointed out in 1920 was that the Ulster Unionists had not asked for a parliament in Belfast, oly that they not come under Dublin rule.

    Carson in any case would hardly have been as supportive of exclusion/partition as the mass of Ulster Unionists since he was a Dubliner.

    “The IPP were lied to and betrayed in 1914, Redmond being told that if he agreed to this and called on Irishmen to enlist, then he’d get full Home Rule “later”. 1918 proves that to have been a lie.”

    The armistice was signed in November 1918, and the peace treaties in January 1919. Meanwhile in December-January 1918 Sinn Féin (who compltely rejected the concept of Home Rule as emobied in the 1914 Act) won a massive majority in the South and set up their own ‘government’ declaring an independent Irish republic.

    How exactly was the government supposed to enact Home Rule?

    “How many would have got anything at all until after WWII if it wasn’t for the (incomplete perhaps but real) success of the Irish rebellion?”

    Canada, Australia and South Africa would have got pretty much the same degree of independence I would say.

  • harpo

    ‘One possible reason is because of the 1916 rising and being seen to respond to the threat of force. It is one thing to acquiesce by agreement another to be seen to be moved by threat. I think the threat of violence was a negative factor.’

    Crataegus:

    My personal view is that your reason doesn’t stand up. The 1916 rebels weren’t asking for Home Rule. They wanted full independence, and now. If Home Rule had been enacted in early 1919 it would have been a snub to the 1916 rebels. It would have in effect ignored their escalated demands and delivered what had been agreed back in 1914.

    Maybe that would have been the smart thing to do – enact what what been agreed in 1914, and ignore the 1916 rebels and Sinn Fein and their Dail. Hoping that nationalists would swing away from Sinn Fein and back to the IPP. The IPP could have said ‘look – we delivered what we promised’ while the Dail was promising independent republics that had little hope of coming into being. That could have been tested in elections to set up the Home Rule parliaments.

    HMG could then have said ‘we delivered what we promised, but look at these crazy nationalists, there is no pleasing them’ if the new election results still showed backing for Sinn Fein and their Dail.

    In a way not enacting Home Rule in 1919 meant that the rebels of 1916 did have some impact on HMG. With the rise of Sinn Fein I think that HMG took the view (my words) ‘sh*t – that third Home Rule bill isn’t going to satisfy these Sinn Fein buggers, so there’s no point trying to enact it.’ And HMG left it for a while to see how things would work out with this new Dail and the violence of the WOI.

    That led to the fourth Home Rule bill in 1920. But of course it too was unsatisfactory to the Dail. Showing that the Dail would have turned down the third bill if it had been enacted in 1919.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Harpo: “In a way not enacting Home Rule in 1919 meant that the rebels of 1916 did have some impact on HMG. With the rise of Sinn Fein I think that HMG took the view (my words) ‘sh*t – that third Home Rule bill isn’t going to satisfy these Sinn Fein buggers, so there’s no point trying to enact it.’ And HMG left it for a while to see how things would work out with this new Dail and the violence of the WOI. ”

    To take a parallex view, HMG refusal to enact Home Rule in 1919 legitimized the 1916 Rising. By reneging, the Crown demonstrated that they had no intention of allowing Home Rule and all that had gone on before was farce.

    Harpo: “That led to the fourth Home Rule bill in 1920. But of course it too was unsatisfactory to the Dail. Showing that the Dail would have turned down the third bill if it had been enacted in 1919.”

    Arguably, by that point, it was too late — the rebels had been legitimized and the lines hardened.

    Both points, yours and mine, are matters of perception — the same inputs from different perspectives. The tragedy is we both may be right.

  • Anyone want to give a discourse on the peaceful foundation of the UK and its flawless evolution since, particularly on its western fringes?

    Partition was being forced earlier, 1916 didn’t cause the partition of Ireland(the only crime committed in my eyes), those who prospered from Irish freedom in the south will i’m sure at least show some gratitude

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Cladycowboy: “Anyone want to give a discourse on the peaceful foundation of the UK and its flawless evolution since, particularly on its western fringes? ”

    **bitter chuckle**

    What, you mean like Cromwell or the Ulster plantation? To Hell or to Connaught?

    As for its “flawless evolution,” the lack of a written Constitution, particularly the lack of an American-style “Bill of Rights” leaves the UK open to all sorts of mischief.

  • harpo

    ‘As for its “flawless evolution,” the lack of a written Constitution, particularly the lack of an American-style “Bill of Rights” leaves the UK open to all sorts of mischief.’

    Dread Cthulhu:

    I’m sure the US is so glad they have that written constitution and bill of rights. Lord knows what might have happened if they didn’t and some clown was elected and decided to over-ride half of both documents in the name of homeland security.

    Yep…those documents ensured that nothing of that sort could ever happen. Didn’t they?

    No mischief in the US, is there? No extraordinary rendition. No holding prisoners offshore. No invading other countries at your whim. No support for friendly dictatorships around the world. No CIA backed coups against democratically elected governments.

    No sir…thank goodness for those 2 documents. Lord knows what might have happened if they had never existed.

  • Jacko

    harpo

    Even more pertinent, didn’t those two documents really ensure that black Americans got a fair deal right from the start.
    Just like the fine words of De Valera and his clerical script writers made sure that the Fethard on Sea carry-on didn’t take place in the Republic that cherished all of its children equally.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Its amusing, the selective hearing and memory of some — picking and choosing their examples to make some ephemeral political point wholly unrelated to the discussion at hand. For the record, at no point did I suggest the United States was “peacefully founded,” or even imply it was “evolved flawlessly.” I would think that even a casual student of world history would avoid such a foolish mistake.

    Cladycowboy’s, however, did put forth the thesis, suggesting the UK’s “peaceful foundation” and “flawless evolution.” Do you honestly endorse the veracity of these two statements, Harpo? The foundation of *ANY* country has a mound of corpses beneath, whilst a casual perusal of its history will disabuse the honest reader of the second proposition. Off the cuff, I can think of several: the Suez Crisis, the Mau-Mau unpleasantness in Kenya, the support of white mercenaries in the Congo, Chamberlain’s tissue spine and Maggie’s iron fist. The UK was built on an Empire, bought with the blood of the son’s of England and those who had the misfortune to fall under her sway.

    I cheerfully concede the Constitution is not a perfect document — the Founder’s acknowledged that themselves, a part of their genius, by making it amendable. Regardless of the excesses that have been done in its protection, ultimately, the American body politic and its people return to it. The British “Constitution” on the other hand, is whatever Parliament happens to think it is that day — enough MP’s agree and, to paraphrase Pharaoh, so it is unwritten, so it is undone.

    Oddly, you miss more egregious examples of its failure – Roosevelt’s internment of Japanese immigrants and American citizens of Japanese descent, his attempt to pack the courts under a scheme that would allow him to name seven new Justices, Kennedy’s mis-use of the FBI to illegally wire-tap, infiltrate and, on occasion, torture KKK members to break up the Klan. Frankly, I find much of the railing against Bush boring, mainly since its all been done before — Internment / concentration camps were an English invention, as I recall – the Boer War (and didn’t that conquest add to the UK??). England was at least a junior partner in Echelon, as I recall, and suffers many of the same issues you point out in the United States. The only difference is I’m not suggesting the U.S. is perfect, as, apparently, some here believe the UK to be.

  • Crataegus

    Dread

    “I’m not suggesting the U.S. is perfect, as, apparently, some here believe the UK to be.”

    I doubt if anyone is under that illusion.

    I don’t mind commemorating people who died in a struggle or war provided we remember all who died for most are your ordinary blokes caught up in events beyond their control. I think we need to be very careful before we make heroes of people who resort to violence. It sets a poor precedent, but all countries seem to need their myths and heroes, helps build cohesion I suppose.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Crataegus: “I don’t mind commemorating people who died in a struggle or war provided we remember all who died for most are your ordinary blokes caught up in events beyond their control. I think we need to be very careful before we make heroes of people who resort to violence. It sets a poor precedent, but all countries seem to need their myths and heroes, helps build cohesion I suppose.”

    The Rising of 1916 was, frankly, a cock-up, soup to nuts. Dumb as sack of hammers. From a tactical perspective and occurred primarily because some of the leaders were a trifle too poetical in their world-view, leading some to theorize that a “blood sacrifice” was necessary to, essentially, manufacture a rallying cry, a mythic image to inspire those who followed. Were De Valera and the others military leaders, they would have been court-martialed and cashiered.

    It is, however, impolitic to criticized the martyred dead, just as it is impolitic to eulogize the dead of the defeated.

    Dread: “I’m not suggesting the U.S. is perfect, as, apparently, some here believe the UK to be.”

    Crataegus: “I doubt if anyone is under that illusion.”

    No, they’re not… well, at least most are not. That said, there are a few sufficiently disengenuous as makes no odds. I know its meant as verbal chaff — conversational slight of hand to distract, but could they at least picked a defensible redoubt, as opposed to this ridiculously whiny flavor-of-the-month stab in the dark?

  • Crataegus

    Darth

    I am drawn to your rather poetic summation of Easter 1916.

  • Crataegus

    Sorry should be D R E A D long past time for bed!*!*!

  • Brian Boru

    Sebbo, on the 47% of the vote in 1918 point, the only reason SF did not go over 50% was because of the Home Rule-SF voting pact in Ulster, where HR stood aside in Fermanagh while SF stood aside in West Belfast etc. The majority did support independence.

    “sebbo, so basically you’re admitting that the majority of people in Ireland did not support the south of Ireland separating from the UK. And even that was after most protestants in the south fled or were chased into the north.”

    Most Protestants actually stayed behind in the Southern state after it’s existence. There was a large outflux of Protestants in the years leading up to partition. Why was this? In general it was simply that Unionists had an inkling there was going to be partition and wanted to live in the Six counties most likely to be in the new NI. There is a chronic lack of objectively-sourced evidence of some mass ‘pogrom’ of Protestants from the South of Ireland. Indeed Census data indicates that at the birth of the Southern state, Protestants were 8% of the population or 240,000 people. Some of these in the border counties decided to wait for the Boundary Commission report to see if it would hand their areas to the North. When the report was suppressed as the Irish govt would not accept losing parts of Donegal in return for miniscule parts of Armagh and Fermanagh, many of these Protestants left too. In some instances, their departure was accompanied by violence. However, this was not the experience of the majority of the emigrants and to insist otherwise is to fly in the face of historical fact.

    The fact that the Northern Catholic % rose from 31% to 41% in spite of massive discrimination and pogroms e.g. Bombay Street, illustrates that population trends are not always consistent with the treatment of a minority group. The Southern Protestants started off at 8% at independence and it took until 1970 for them to reach 4%. This is because of the Catholic church’s rules on mixed-marriages, whereby Protestants marrying Catholics had to sign a document promising to raise the children as Catholics. Most Protestant marriages were to Catholics down here, owing to the fact that outside the border counties and Dublin, the Protestant population was very thinly spread and as such there were fewer available Protestant partners.

    Current trends indicate that the Protestant decline in the South is being reversed very quickly. The 2002 Census revealed that 4% of the population were Protestants, compared to 2.2% in 1996. Since then, we have seen the rise of Evangelical churches, and recent data indicates that of the 30,000 members, 43% are former Catholics, indicating that many people are converting due to the scandals in the Catholic church. At the present rate, it is likely that the Protestant % of the population is set to return to its former level in the long run.

    “Many present that Easter Monday accepted partition subsequently. ”

    Hairierarea, that is not the same as accepting the permanance of partition.

  • Brian Boru

    More specifically, the data indicates that 33% of the decline of the Protestants in the South was in the years 1911-27, while it took until 1970 for them to fall to 4%. Details here:
    http://www.wesleyjohnston.com/users/ireland/past/protestants_1861_1991.html#decline_roi

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Darth

    I am drawn to your rather poetic summation of Easter 1916.

    Posted by Crataegus on Feb 09, 2006 @ 01:48 AM”

    Don’t remember furnishing one, old chap, but in an effort to oblige

    He stabbed his own land in the back
    His politics were totally cack
    If only P. Pearse
    Had been in the hearse
    And O’Donovan Rossa mourning in black

    Jim Connolly really was Scots
    Though for Karl Marx he had the hots
    His citizen army
    Was totally barmy
    Militarily competent- not

    And then there was ould Thomas Clarke
    Whose bite was as weak as his bark
    Honed his political skills
    selling Rothmans and Wills
    And turned out for the Krauts , for a lark.

    DeValera-namely Eamon
    thought his chance of a pardon had gone
    But -oh, what great luck
    Through a maternal f***
    He was a Spanish or Cuban or American son

    I’ll get me sash

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Sebbo, on the 47% of the vote in 1918 point, the only reason SF did not go over 50% was because of the Home Rule-SF voting pact in Ulster, where HR stood aside in Fermanagh while SF stood aside in West Belfast etc. The majority did support independence”

    In 1918 both Fermanagh South and Belfast Falls were contested by Sinn Fein and the nationalists -each winning one seat. Try again !!!

  • Brian Boru

    “In 1918 both Fermanagh South and Belfast Falls were contested by Sinn Fein and the nationalists -each winning one seat. Try again !!! ”

    OK but there was a pact between the 2 not to contest certain seats and but for that, the SF vote would have been over 50%. The HR party anyway was not in favour of permanent partition. The question of whether NI would get 4 counties (the Unionist ones) or 6 (Tyrone and Fermanagh were Catholic) was not completely settled in 1916 or by the time of the election in 1918.

  • T.Ruth

    Should Queen Elizabeth,Head of State of the United Kingdom, wish to visit the Republic of Ireland, it is the case that certain protocols will be observed-those relating to the visit of foreign Head of State.
    It should be the case that when the President of the Republic of Ireland visits Northern Ireland she should be willing to observe the appropriate protocols.She should be accompanied by a Northern Ireland Minister and the appropriate local officials including mayors and local Members of parliament for the constituency visited should be invited to be present at any engagements.I was present recently when she visited a location in South Belfast and I was upset that a truly moderate politician Alistair McDonnell was not present.
    Mary MacAleese must be aware that her visits without observation of basic good manners on her part are offensive to Unionists and her reported refusal to enter PSNI stations to change cars does raise a question in Unionist minds. Friendship is a two way process and is about mutual respect. It becomes increasingly difficult following the Nazi remarks and the latest defence of blood sacrifice Republicanism to detect the necessary political maturity in Mrs. MacAleese’s makeup.
    T.Ruth

  • darth rumsfeld

    OK but there was a pact between the 2 not to contest certain seats and but for that, the SF vote would have been over 50%. The HR party anyway was not in favour of permanent partition.

    Oh dear. How can anyone say how people would have voted- and what about the pressure from the church, as well as the more enthusiastic IRB/IRA members on the IPP? Please tell us where this pact was activated.
    The IPP opposed partition- but it suported the Government of Ireland Act’s provisions on Home Rule- i.e. not independence, but devolution within the United Kingdom. The vicious election campaign of Joe Devlin is a case in point of the clear differences between the two parties. One last try, then bow out gracefully.

  • Brian Boru

    T.Ruth, she was not calling you Nazis. She did not use the word “Protestant” once in those remarks. She said that the Nazis had given to their children an “irrational and unreasonable” hatred of the Jews “in the same way” that “people” in NI had given to their children an “irrational and unreasonable” hatred of Catholics. She did not say “all Protestants”. She said “people”. Now I don’t believe she meant all Protestants, and she was referring to hatred as an emotion, rather than actions consequent on that hatred. In that context her remarks should be considered factually correct if she means “some Protestants” rather than all. Given her long-standing attempts to build bridges with Loyalists and Unionists I think her bona fides on this should be accepted.

    On the protocol thing, I suppose being from Belfast originally, she wouldn’t really see NI as “foreign” from an emotionally point of view, whatever the constitutional realities. I think she should be let off on this and nitpicking is most unwelcome. It is hardly a hanging offence (whatever some ppl might wish!).

  • darth rumsfeld

    Perhaps she just recognises that-uniquely- she is the head of one state, but also the subject of another.
    Her Maj is obviously too polite to point it out, though Mary is obviously embarassed at a subconscious level that she is flouncing about as a dignitary. neatly encapsulates the semi-detached state of the RoI though

  • Jacko

    Mary McAleese really has no judgement at all.
    For her to try and draw any sort of parallels between Catholics in Northern Ireland and Jews in Nazi Germany was grotesque.
    It was a prime example of nationalist mopery, where things have become so exaggerated in the collective mind that they are now virtually saying to Holocaust Jews and black South Africans “Ye think that’s bad – you should hear what happened to us”.
    The convoluted nonsense above can’t hide the fact that she compared Protestants with Nazis.
    As she well knows, there have always been religious bigots ON BOTH SIDES here in NI who will spread their poison to their children. I’m seriously beginning to wonder if she is a sad product of such a home.

  • Crataegus

    Jacko

    It was a very unfortunate remark and it gave a window into her own upbringing and inherited value sets. Shows how deep the problem is that such a well educated person should revert to this. I am sure she deeply regrets the statement. The sooner people here simple treat each other as individuals the better. The branding and associated stereotypes do no one justice.

    Darth

    Next stop Poet Laureate for the Assembly if and when it reopens. You should have plenty of time to hone those couplets.

  • Brian Boru

    “Oh dear. How can anyone say how people would have voted- and what about the pressure from the church, as well as the more enthusiastic IRB/IRA members on the IPP? Please tell us where this pact was activated.”

    Well effectively there was a pact in that HR did not contest certain constituencies.http://www.politics.ie/wiki/index.php?title=1918_Westminster_Election

    Of course, the collapse in support for the IPP is attested to by the fact that whole branches were dying out.

  • Brian Boru

    I understand her family were actually burnt out of their homes so I think her omission of references to bigotry from her community too should be forgiven in that context.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Well effectively there was a pact in that HR did not contest certain constituencies.http://www.politics.ie/wiki/index.php?title=1918_Westminster_Election

    tut tut Brian
    If you and I want something, and I pressurise you, intimidate you and create a climate of fear against you,so you give in, is that effectively a pact too?
    And because there were several Unionist seats uncontested by Sinn Fein in Stormont elections was that a pact?

    The uncontrovertable fact- Sinn Fein didn’t get 50% of the Irish vote, nevermind 50% of the electorate- and of course, it was a UK election, with a thumping anti SF result.

    Altogether(sing) King Brian is in the altogether, the altogether ( and fade)

  • Brian Boru

    Well Darth rumsfeld, if tolerating being part of the UK in any form had any support among Irish Catholics in 1918, it most certainly had not by the time the Black and Tans had and the Auxiliaries had been let loose on helpless civilians. They burned down the centre of Cork, fired indiscriminately at the crowd and players in Croke Park, nailed people to trees, and turned up at houses demanding the right to “kill someone”, which they then did. An eyewitness account of one such incident is here http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/war/easterrising/ram/ra12.ram

    I concede that 1916 only got majority support after the fact, because the British executed not only the rebels but also people who played no role in it, like Francis Sheehy-Skeffington among others. It gave Irish nationalists a necessary wake-up call of the barbarity of British rule.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “It gave Irish nationalists a necessary wake-up call of the barbarity of British rule.”

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    All together now, with apologies to John Cleese-
    “Apart from the roads, the sewerage, the education system, sport,civil government, the common law, Maynooth, the trifling matter of participation in the largest economy in the world at that time… What have the barbarians ever done for us? ”

    Funny how until relatively recently at any one time up to one quarter of the entire Irish population was living in the United Kingdom, sending back money to support another substantial proportion of the population.

    ..the Rising started out as a josh
    Fanatics conned by Pearse’s tosh
    At the will of the Hun
    They took up the gun
    Always friends of the irish, those Bosches!!!

  • Crataegus

    I can understand what the British did in 1916. Much of it was stupid and inexcusable but they were in the middle of a horrendous war. I can never get my mind round the Black and Tans and the even worse auxiliaries. Ill disciplined paid terrorists on 10 shillings a day. Many of them were back from France and I suppose their view of normality was somewhat askew. The blame must lie with those who sent them and who declared martial law in W. Cork etc. Mayhem and a downward spiral of murder and barbarity which has influenced attitudes adversely to this day.

    The lesson to learn here is violence begets violence. So back to the initial premise what if the Easter rising had not happened? In my opinion Ireland would be like Canada, Australia or New Zealand and a lot of suffering would have been avoided. It’s a bit like the recent armed struggle; did it really serve any point?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Darth: “Funny how until relatively recently at any one time up to one quarter of the entire Irish population was living in the United Kingdom, sending back money to support another substantial proportion of the population. ”

    Do we *HAVE* to have another go-round re: the long term impact of British mis-rule of the Irish economy, or can we just consider it done, Darth?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Crataegus: “The lesson to learn here is violence begets violence. So back to the initial premise what if the Easter rising had not happened? In my opinion Ireland would be like Canada, Australia or New Zealand and a lot of suffering would have been avoided. It’s a bit like the recent armed struggle; did it really serve any point.”

    Hardly. Too much bad blood — too much violence and history prior to 1916 for that to happen.

    I always find it interesting, those who repeat the old turnip about “violence never settles anything.” Had Chamberlain had the steel in his spine to stand by the Czechs, a great war would have been averted by a small one. War is not simple violence. It is diplomacy by other means. Just as one neither uses an axe or whispered pleadings to housebreak a puppy, diplomacy should not be limited to all-out war or whiny requests and promises of collaberation. Sometimes, the sword is necessary, but only in judicious measure, something the British in Ireland never understood.

    Si vis pachem parabellum, Crataegus.

  • Yoda

    In my opinion Ireland would be like Canada, Australia or New Zealand and a lot of suffering would have been avoided.

    Apart from the small matter of being thousands of miles away and never having been annexed under the Act of Union as part of the UK…

    BTW, have you ever seen the misery that the aboriginal peoples in the countries you mention live in?

    Apples and oranges.