How it might have been (but wasn’t)

Another brilliant parody by Newton Emerson of Mary McAleese’s approval of the 1916 Rising. For our nationalist readers, here’s how it might have sounded if it had come from Buck House rather than the Aras:

The importation of 25,000 rifles by the UVF in 1914 is now recognised as the birth of unionism, writes Newton Emerson Queen Elizabeth has strongly defended the legacy of the UVF ahead of the 92nd anniversary of its historic gunrunning operation. “They were Northern Ireland’s idealistic and heroic founding fathers and mothers, your Davids to their Dáithís,” said the indefeasible sovereign yesterday.

The queen’s speech was cleared in advance by the British government, which hopes that the celebrations will reclaim the UVF’s reputation from present-day loyalism. Incidentally, the original UVF has no connection to the current UVF apart from its name, objectives, methods, philosophy, imagery, symbolism and politics.

And later, as she might have said:

“Some people cannot use the word ‘unionism’ without qualifying it by the word ‘narrow’,” said her majesty. “However it is the other lot who are narrow-minded – so there.” The queen added that many members of the UVF belonged to “an international Presbyterian brotherhood which brought them into wider contact with the world than even the most well-travelled papal nuncio.”

Those “out” in 1914 included Maj Fred Crawford, who organised the arms shipment; Bonar Law, who later became British prime minister; James Craig, who later became Northern Ireland’s first prime minister; and Sir Edward Carson, who went on to found the state. Addressing the first Stormont parliament in 1921, Sir Edward said: “From the outset let them see that the Catholic minority have nothing to fear from a Protestant majority.”

And finally:

They swore: “To stand by one another in defending, for ourselves and our children, our cherished position of equal citizenship in the United Kingdom.” Cherishing children equally is a unique aspect of British culture. “The apparent naivety of the words of the covenant and declaration has filled out into a widely-shared political philosophy of equality and social inclusion,” said her majesty. “Men, women, rich, poor, black, white – anyone could join, as long as they weren’t a Fenian.”

In recent years the celebration of Ulster Day has been largely the preserve of sectarian extremists; however, the queen believes that it is time for everyone else to isolate those extremists by celebrating Ulster Day right alongside them. “The UVF was opposed by the imperial British government of the day,” explained her majesty. “There is a tendency for powerful and pitiless elites to dismiss with damning labels those who oppose them. That was probably the source of the accusation that 1914 was an exclusive and sectarian enterprise.

“It was never that. Maj Fred Crawford’s friendship with the German arms dealer, Bruno Spiro, shows that the UVF was always an outward-looking internationalist movement.” Maj Crawford was awarded the CBE in 1921

.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Clearly Newton’s aim is to amuse rather than enlighten, but to call it ‘brilliant’? Switching Brand X with Omo is hardly top-notch humour.

    I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, though, and the repetition of our own views by another person is rarely going to be found wanting, is it Mick?

  • Cormac

    Ah, Newton. The world is a poorer place without the Portadown News!!

  • Mike

    The word ‘brilliant’ sprug to mind when I read this too – excellent and very amusing parody…

  • Each to their own Stephen. I don’t have to agree with something to recognise sustained wit.

  • Baluba

    *yawn*

  • Stephen Copeland

    I don’t have to agree with something to recognise sustained wit.

    Me neither. I just didn’t see any ‘sustained wit’. I saw a very tranparent attempt to ridicule McAleese by repeating her comments with translation to a different context. Its kinda ‘Humour 101’. My kids do it all the time. It gets tiresome very quickly, and is clearly designed for non-humourous purposes (as indeed is most parody, I admit).

    You want actual funny unionist humour? Link to the Shankill Moaner more often.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    I think Newton has made the jump to MSM pretty well and i’m glad it seems to be working out for him.

  • Shore Road Resident

    “a very tranparent attempt to ridicule McAleese by repeating her comments with translation to a different context”

    Well yes, but the ‘different context’ is more like an exact mirror-image context and that’s what makes the ridicule valid.

    Everyone has focused on how McAleese’s speech makes it difficult to condemn the glorification of the latter-day IRA. This points out very effectively that it also makes it difficult to condemn the equally dubious unionist ‘creation myth’.

    If Mary’s new friends in the UDA and UVF actually do decide to resurrect the tribal nightmare of ‘Ulster Day’ (which I remember well) how on earth could she object?

  • lah dee dah

    Another goodun’ Newt. Parody – according to my dictionary “composition in which an author’s characteristics are humorously imitated; feeble imitation, travesty”. And in so doing parody sometimes gives a different perspective on the original.

    The brilliance in Newton’s work is the incisiveness of the act. It cuts to the chase from start to finish – not a word wasted.

  • Jacko

    Good piece by the Newt.

    I see Ireland’s equivalant of Prince Philip or Laura Bush met the UDA leadership yesterday and “somehow” the Irish News got wind of it.
    The last time Mary made a gaffe re. “NI’s Prods are Nazis”, lo and behold a few days later she was on damage limitation. In a Prod estate being hugged by the local Godfather.
    Is Martin’s not-very-well-concealed little visit not too much of a coincidence.
    Another PR exercise.

    The loyalists say they won’t allow themselves to be used – aye dead on.
    A little flattery always does the trick.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Actually, I think Mary McAleese is the one being used here – first by Bertie Ahern, and now by Jackie McDonald. She means well I think but her weakness could well end in tears.

  • harpo

    A point about Mary’s original speech:

    Is this an indication that the country called the Republic of Ireland is scratching about trying to define its origins?

    Many countries have a day/days that commemorates the act/acts that defined the state that they became. July 4th in the USA for example commemorates adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Or Dieciséis de septiembre in Mexico. The most important commemoration to Mexicans. The Mexicans also have several others, such as Cinco de Mayo.

    So what is the ROI up to? Is it trying to match this sort of thing?

    The ROI already has St. Patrick’s Day as a celebration of Irishness, but it isn’t unique to the ROI. It’s all about general Irishness, as opposed to the modern state the ROI. So it is celebrated all over the world where the Irish ended up.

    So is the ROI looking for something that is uniquely theirs? And if so, why don’t they celebrate the obvious date? – when the Irish Free State officially came into being. Whatever day it was in December 1922. That’s when the 26 county entity started up.

    I have a theory as to why this will never happen – because there is still division in the ROI about the Irish Free State. Many wouldn’t want to commemorate that date. It isn’t a safe date that most people would agree about.

    To me that’s why they are pushing – via President Mary and others – the 1916 rising. It’s a safe event. Most Irish wouldn’t argue with it. But I’d ask, is that the best they can do? Choose an event that isn’t too controversial, unlike all the stuff that happened in 1921-23? The time when what became the ROI of today actually came into being.

    It has to be remembered that the 1916 rising made a declaration that never came into being. There is no Irish Republic of the 1916 declared model. So why commemorate it? Is the message ‘yeah we know we never actually followed through to fully achieve what they fought and died for. We accepted much less than what they declared. But never mind that. Let’s celebrate them anyway!’.

    If that’s all it is about – brave people who rose for whatever version of Irish indepenence was in vogue at the time – then why not celebrate 1798, or any of the other risings?

    I find it odd. The ROI at long last is searching for a history that most of the people of the ROI can live with.

  • Jacko

    Harpo

    You think 1916 is a safe date then, non-controversial?

  • willis

    C’mon then, dream up a safe “Oirish” date apart from 17th March. Well it’s obvious really. April 21!
    Why?

  • michael

    St Stephens Day. They could all agree on that.

  • SlugFest

    Why limit it to only one big day? In America, we’ve got two patriotic holidays: July 4th, which usually revolves around a large crowd at a BBQ and pool party, and Thanksgiving, which is a much more family-oriented day. Granted, the origins of Thanksgiving have been fairly whitewashed (by the white man), but then so has July 4th (quite a few atrocities were committed at the hands of the patriots, though you’ll never read of them in any American student history book).

    So why not go with the Easter Rising and the premier of Father Ted? Both commemorate the true soul of the Irish.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Slugfest: “Granted, the origins of Thanksgiving have been fairly whitewashed (by the white man), but then so has July 4th (quite a few atrocities were committed at the hands of the patriots, though you’ll never read of them in any American student history book). ”

    Anything akin to the Cherry Hill Massacre, where British auxilliaries, specifically “Native Americans” massacred about 250 colonists? How about the small matter of the massacre at Fort Griswold, where the surrendering Col. Ledyard and the remanents of the garrison in Groton Heights were cut down? I could go one, but you get the point.

    Fact of the matter is is that from the Boston massacre (which, off the cuff, is the only “popularly known” atrocity from that conflict) most of the “bad things” from back then have been swept under the rug for about a century, roughly the same time the US and UK have been allies.

  • SlugFest

    Dread,

    I can’t give you hard numbers (would have to look it up in my dusty history books at home), but one of the most shocking, yet fairly unknown, incidents happened on Tybee Island, a barrier island off Georgia. The revolutionaries came in and slaughtered virtually the entire population of the island. The victims were all slaves from Africa, and were told by the British that if they joined with them they would be freed. Looking at things from their point of view, would you blame them for joining up with the British? I certainly wouldn’t.

    Yes, such atrocities are often swept under the carpet in any war. But the point i was trying to make is that the victors of any war (or new nation) often whitewash the blood that’s on their own hands, and point out only the blood on the hands of their foes.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Slugfest: “I can’t give you hard numbers (would have to look it up in my dusty history books at home), but one of the most shocking, yet fairly unknown, incidents happened on Tybee Island, a barrier island off Georgia. The revolutionaries came in and slaughtered virtually the entire population of the island. The victims were all slaves from Africa, and were told by the British that if they joined with them they would be freed. Looking at things from their point of view, would you blame them for joining up with the British? I certainly wouldn’t. ”

    No, I wouldn’t, but, looking through the lens of the Colonial slave-owners eyes, I can see why they took issue — her come the British, confiscating property and *arming* them? Given the views and mores of the era, the outcome should have been obvious. That, combined with the fact that Georgia was, historically, very much a Loyalist/Tory region, makes me wonder how much was pro-Independence and how much was just plain fear of slave revolt.

    Slugfest: “Yes, such atrocities are often swept under the carpet in any war. But the point i was trying to make is that the victors of any war (or new nation) often whitewash the blood that’s on their own hands, and point out only the blood on the hands of their foes. ”

    With victory, come the spoils — the foundation of the British Empire, Slugfest. Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably selling something. That said, I would caution you that in any sort of “civil war,” which, arguably, the American War of Independence was, a great deal of bad blood not specifically related to the political issues at hand get worked out. With civil war, you get your basic banditry, brigandage and, as an added bonus, you get the British rousing the “Native Americans” and “Tories” to do most of their dirty work — outsourcing those deed that wouldn’t look good in the dispatches, if you will.

  • Shore Road Resident

    My god, is this what I think it is?
    A commenting system that catches out party drones with multiple identities talking to themselves?

    If so, I am mightily impressed.

  • Stephen Copeland

    … A commenting system that catches out party drones

    Sorry to disappoint you, SRR, but:

    (a) none of those comments were from the real Stephen Copeland (i.e. me). Mick could confirm this via some IP-recording techno-wizardry if he wanted to.

    (b) I’m not a “party drone”, as I am not a member of the party you’re thinking about

    (c) Mick’s commenting system is fucked, as he can confirm. So your hard-on is in vain!

    Stephen Copeland (the real one)

  • lib2016

    from lib2016

    Maybe it’s just my prejudices showing but I honestly see Newt as having missed the point entirely. We can all feel sorry for unionists being on the wrong side of history but the fact is that there is no equivalence between colonialism and anticolonialism.

    Pearse, Connolly and the rest were the good guys while Craig, Carson and the unionists however well intentioned were trying to hold back Irish democracy by whatever means they thought necessary.

  • Shore Road Resident

    So Cormac, would it help you with your sophisticated analysis of Irish history if the Protestants wore black hats and the Catholics wore white hats?

  • lib2016

    from lib2016 to Shore Road Resident,

    Presumably you believe that colonialists and anticolonialists were both right? 😉 Or to put it another way I can respect your right to be a unionist without losing sight of the wood for the trees.

  • Shore Road Resident

    If you want to show some respect, you could stop thinking of unionists as ‘colonists’.

  • lib2016

    The problem there is that I’m then told that I don’t respect the celebrated ‘settler’ identity of the Ulster Scots.

    The British and Irish people, including Sinn Fein, have come to an agreement to sort their problems out peacefully and democratically and the unionist identity problem needs to be sorted out.

    This isn’t meant as an attack on your identity anymore than Hume’s post-nationalist speech was an attack on my Irishness. It is a fact that the Irish commitment to European identity means that we have to redefine ourselves in the modern world. Hume as always, leads the way but none of our identities is fixed in stone.

  • Shore Road Resident

    The ‘Ulster-Scots’ indentity is a load of nonsense, I’ll give you that.
    But it’s equally nonsensical to describe a people who have lived here for over 400 years as ‘colonists’ and to describe their own act of national self-determination as ‘colonialism’. The politics of the students union raises its republican head again, I’m afraid.