A pittance of time…

I’m a bit late starting the blogburst this morning, so here’s one I wanted to include before 11 o’clock today. The guy singing is a Canadian Irishman called Terry Kelly; the song is called A Pittance of Time.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • Ann

    Very appropriate mick.

  • and in similar vein is the Pogues moving version of “And the Band played Waltzing Matilda” but i’m hopeless at posting Youtube links.

  • joeCanuck

    Here you go Mike.

  • HappyPaddy

    Great song!! really sums up how i feel about it all. I don’t agree with war of any kind but lest we forget. Myself like many other Irish people have relatives who fought in WW1 and WW2 and only for them would we have the freedom we enjoy.

  • Two minutes silence is not a lot to ask to mourn the passing of a brutal Empire ;0)

    Britain marched into WW1 THE global superpower.
    Now they cant deploy a bridade sized force.
    They’ve ordered two aircraft carriers,but they cant afford the planes LOL.
    Poppy wearing in British TV studios seems to happen earlier each year.
    Whta is realy being mourned?
    Certainly not the cannon fodder of the Somme

    I am truly proud and thankful that my lot were in Frongoch not Flanders.

  • Honestly

    That song isn’t going to win any prizes like.

  • Earnan

    Did you know allied officers who knew that the armistice was coming on the 11th at 11, still ordered attacks up until the last hour? The feeling was the more land you could advance on and take the more prestige and chance of promotion you would get. Both British and American officers were investigated for these murderous, needless instructions but both governments thought it was better to let it lie as the public didn’t need to hear these things in the wake of celebrations. Not when they involved “heroes” like General Pershing.

    One black American battalion was basically wiped out in an attack within a few hours of the armistice. Of course, the rank and file had no idea that truce was so close .

    One more example of the utter lack of respect for life of Imperial elites.

  • “the utter lack of respect for life of Imperial elites.”

    Nail head hit.

    I say again Poppyfest is a wake for a dead empire.

  • Jimmy

    Re: HappyPaddy, post 4.
    Full respect to the Veterans, But
    What freedom is it, that we all enjoying exactly??

    Hardly have thought that the Veterans including my own family fought for the ‘idea’ of freedom that the Political elites backed by the new world order, the freedom to shop ethos,Machevelian moneterism,cronyism and indeed tactical regional wars at the behest of a Zionist agenda, that agenda that sends the youth of that false freedom back in body bags or badly maimed.
    Aldous Huxley rightly said,’We love or Slavery’. I respect totally the men who fought in those wars, but they were misled, Lions led by Donkeys indeed.

  • Jimmy:
    I think those who were leading were more viper than donkey.

    What are the real reasons for Britain’s Poppyfest?


  • Greenflag


    ‘I am truly proud and thankful that my lot were in Frongoch not Flanders.’

    So I guess I should remember only those of my ancestors who died in 1918-21 in Dublin and not those who served and died in Flanders ?

    What of those who like most Irish people only had relatives who died in Flanders ?

    RIP to all of them including the Germans , British , French , Russians etc etc all 20 million .

    And of course the war to end wars did’nt end wars .

  • RepublicanStones

    Unionists are quick to remind us of the Irishmen who served in the british army during the great war. What they either forget or ignore is that many of those same Irishmen were serving the exact same aim and ideal as those irishmen in the GPO. The only difference is in those they were prepared to kill. Is irish freedom an acceptable right when your prepared to kill Germans to achieve it? Does it become null and void when you instead turn your guns on those responsible for denying your freedom? One would think Unionists would be annoyed either way, after all the Germans were their friends who supplied them weapons.

  • Liam

    ‘One would think Unionists would be annoyed either way, after all the Germans were their friends who supplied them weapons. ‘

    lol, RepublicanStones, I once pointed out the source of arms to the early UVF in reply to a blog article on ATW about the collusion between republicans and nazis in the 40’s.

    I checked back to see what reply I got about 30 mins after posting and found I’d been banned from the site!

  • Greenflag

    the cannon fodder of the Somme died for empire.

    the 1916 insurgents fought against empire.

    The British generals wined and dined twenty miles from the senseless slaughter-empires are like that.

    Pearse and Connolly were in the front line.

    Your relatives in the British Army-post 1916-were on the wrong side of history.

  • Oilifear

    Phil Mac Giolla Bhain:

    “I am truly proud and thankful that my lot were in Frongoch not Flanders.”

    How bizarrely selective of you. So the vast bulk of Óglaigh na hÉireann (175,000 pro to 13,500 anti) that volunteered to take up arms in the Great War were not “your lot”?

    Well, today I’m proud of them (and their advisories-cum-brothers-in-arms from Ulster). Come next April 13th, I’ll be proud of “your lot” (no less mine for their decision).

  • Oilifear

    “Your relatives in the British Army-post 1916-were on the wrong side of history.”

    Please expand.

    Many died. Many died pointlessly. Many came back as trained, experienced soldiers as Redmond said they would. More capable of taking the armed struggle to the British army at home.

    But I don’t see how history has “sides”.

  • Redmond’s role as a recruiting sergeant for Britain did nothing to advance his home rule agenda.
    Of course many Irishmen in British uniform relaised that they were on the wrong side of history when the Rising took place.
    My old friend Tom Barry was serving the British Empire in Iraq (Mesopotamia) at the time of the Rising.
    The Rising was a wake up call for those who had followed Redmond.
    Had all the volunteers obeyed Redmond’s call then there would have been no Rising.

    No Rising means no war of independene.

  • Oilifear

    “Redmond’s role as a recruiting sergeant for Britain did nothing to advance his home rule agenda.”

    And there was me thinking Redmond’s home-rule agenda had advanced as far as it could go before the war even broke out (i.e. home rule had been achieved for the 26 counties in 1914).

    “No Rising means no war of independene.”

    We don’t know what would have happened if there has been no Rising. Partition would more likely have been genuinely “temporary”. Certainly, after the Rising, partition was permanent. “No Rising, no War of Independence” seems likely, but “no rising, no independence” is far from sound.

    One thing is certain, however. No Rising, no bullshit about the glory of not having taken to arms in the Great War. No Rising, no bullshit shame of Irishmen at having fought at Normandy 30 years later. I, frankly, could do without the Rising and the bullshit myths it inspires every bit as much as I could do without the gas and the stench of Flanders.

    Today is a day to reflect and to remember, and it would be shallow for Irishmen to only remember those Volunteers (nationalist and Ulster) that took up arms in the Great War. Those that didn’t have just an equal a place in the madness and the bloodletting. Their stories are intertwined. There is no such thing as “your lot” or “my lot”. All were Irishmen and all served and died for Ireland as they saw best.

  • Mick,

    This was a clever little post, and one that you have no doubt been planning for a while.

    It’s deviousness becomes more obvious when you read the comments on Sluggers Daily Blogburst, especially this one from Kensei:

    There is a narrative at work here that seems to want to drive Republicans into full participation into British ceremonies regardless of difficultie4s or honest reasons for not wishing to do so. Anything else elicits call of begrudgary, backwardness or indeed support for facism even though the relationship is tangential at best.” [Posted by kensei on Nov 11, 2008 @ 12:09 PM]

    So posting a cute little song, sung by a non-threatening Canadian, and better still, an Irish-Canadian, which sets out to make people feel ‘guilty’ for begrudging a “pittance of time”, just builds on the narrative that Kensei mentioned. After all, its not as if a unionist is telling you to join in the war-fest, its an Irish-Canadian, so what kind of heartless beast could have an objection, and its only a little bit of Britishness, so you’d hardly notice it, would you?

    Clever trick, Mick. But transparent.

  • Oilfear-you’re against the Rising-that much is clear.
    Redmondism was defeated-get over it.

  • Oilifear

    “…you’re against the Rising-that much is clear.”

    You make this statement as if it’s an argument. Not the Rising per se (maybe that wasn’t so clear), but Republican mythos doesn’t do much for me.

    “Redmondism was defeated-get over it.”

    Wasn’t around back then.

  • Earnan

    In 1915, some Irish emigrants embarking at Liverpool for the US were mobbed as shirkers by a crowd of English civilians and the crews refused to man the ship on which they were to travel.

    “Their crime is that they are not ready to die for England. Why should they? What have they or there forbears ever got from England that they should die for her? Mr Redmond will say, ‘A Home rule Act is on the Statue Book.’ But any intelligent Irishman will say ‘A Simulacrum of Home Rule’ with an express notice that it is never to come into operation.
    “This war may be just or unjust, but any fair-minded man will admit that it is England’s war, not Ireland’s.”
    -Most Rev Dr. O’Dwyer, in an open letter on the incident.

    This letter was of course suppressed in Dublin and most areas, but got out in Limerick.

    It’s tragic so many Irishmen wasted their lives in this war for nothing.

  • runciter

    What are the real reasons for Britain’s Poppyfest?


    That is an interesting analysis, Phil.

    One of the reasons that the poppy should be treated with caution is that its meaning is so slippery.

    It is claimed both as an anti-war symbol (http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/rebecca-oughton-13s-poem/) and as a testament to military valour (observer’s rant about opposing Hitler – http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/sluggers-daily-blogburst11/P0/).

    This mixing of muddled sentimentality and militarism is probably not healthy.

  • Harry Flashman

    “Redmondism was defeated-get over it.”

    Really? The Republicans wanted a 32 county Republic entirely separated from Britain, Redmond would settle for a 26 county government within the British Empire.

    After the War of Independence which situation prevailed?

  • Earnan

    The only offer on the table was for a measure of independence within the 26 counties that was far less than what was originally received after the Treaty. Look it up.

    You’re analysis is flawed and incorrect.

  • Harry Flashman

    “You’re analysis is flawed and incorrect.”

    No it’s not, what was achieved in 1922 was closer to what Redmond had already achieved than what Republicans wanted and just for the record the Republicans still have not achieved their goal eighty years later.

  • Greenflag

    Phil Mac Giolla Bhain

    ‘Your relatives in the British Army-post 1916-were on the wrong side of history.’

    So those Irish -North and South who fought against the Nazis in WW2 were also on the ‘wrong side ‘ of history ?

    Where exactly is the right side of history ? Does it change depending on the result of a war /wars ? Hundreds of millions of people have died in wars throughout the ages . Which of the 7 to 11 million who died in the 30 years war 1618 -1648 died on the right side of history ? Which were just ordinary German Catholics and Protestants who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time ? Which of the 20 million who were killed in WWI and the 55 million who died in WW2 died on the right /wrong side of history ? How many of the 100,000 who died in the Hiroshima bomb were on the wrong/right side of history ? Does it matter when you are dead which side you were on ?

    How do ordinary people know whether or not they are on the right side of history ? In 1914 90% plus of people everywhere were barely literate.
    Are the Chinese now on the right side of history and the Americans on the wrong ? How about the Croatians or Serbs or the Russians and the Scots ?

    I don’t believe that World War 1 was fought in defence of freedom and against German imperial tyranny even if many at that time and since thought it was . Coulters piece about Irishman North & South fighting to defend ‘freedom ‘ against the expansionist German imperialists is cringeworthy for those who recall that in 1914 the British Empire covered a quarter of the planet whereas the German Empire covered a few small islands in the Pacific and the Namib desert.

    If these World War commemorations have any purpose then it should be as a reminder to all the ‘ordinary’ people that ‘war’ should always be the weapon of last resort and not rushed into to ‘alleviate ‘ the tribulations of political leaders.

    Harry Flashman with whom I don’t always agree 😉 got it almost right this time . Redmond actually was in favour of a 28 county ‘solution’ and was prepared to accept that 4 of the Ulster counties could opt out of the Home Rule solution. Redmond saw that as a practical move at the time as it would avoid a divisive conflict which would have driven both sides further apart. Redmond believed that North and South would have been ‘reunited ‘ within the Empire in time without conflict . But then Redmond could not foresee the end of Empire from his time perspective. Neither could Arthur Griffith .

    As Harry Flashman put it the UI of Republican dreams is no closer today than it was in 1920, or in 1969 . The ‘piling up’ of the dead 1969 to the present in NI has pushed the political dream of any UI even further away than ever. History apparently does’nt care who is on it’s right side or not . A sister of Fortuna is history .

  • Earnan


    Now that statement, “what was achieved in 1922 was closer to what Redmond had already achieved than what Republicans wanted”, I won’t take issue with.

    If Redmondism won out, it is unlikely that Ireland would have been independent by 1937. (Their ability to stay nuetral in WW II showed that they were independent, even if not technically a complete Republic by then)

  • Harry Flashman

    Well now we’re into the realms of “what if?”, I dare say a Home Rule parliament in Dublin after quarter of a century of self rule would actually have already thrown off much of the old imperial baggage and would have been not much different from the Free State of 1937 and ‘Republicans’ of the nature of Fianna Fail would already be well in control but without the dreadful bitterness engendered by the Civil War.

    My point is that Redmondism was not, as Phil asserted, defeated by the Republicans in 1916, on the contrary the victory of the Free State in the Civil War was a victory for Redmondism in all but name.

    Indeed I would go so far as to say that ‘Redmondism’, ie constitutional evolutionary development, has been the hallmark of 26 county Irish politics to this day and that physical force Republicanism has long been a minority interest and usually easily defeated in southern politics.

  • There is no such thing as a ‘permanent physical force’ tradition, in any country. Even the Bolsheviks ruled like Tsarist bureaucrats. Mexico’s Party of the Perpetual Revolution (or whatever) is not constantly revolving.

    Fianna Fail is the party of the republican tradition, and Fine Gael that of the Home Rule tradition. Fianna Fail has convincingly won in the south, and Fine Gael is a perpetual minority party (though who knows in the near future). Fine Gael are the heirs of Redmond, and FF the heirs of Pearce (though not Connolly).

    Redmondism, as best exemplified by John Bruton, Garret Fitzgerald, etc, is generally unpopular in the south, and only gets occasional goes at power. The usual governing party is the anti-Redmondite FF.

  • Earnan

    Also, what Redmond had accomplished would not have been accepted by the Irish people. In fact, it was not. Home Rule had become such an emotional issue that partition was not going to be accepted by the masses. When Redmond suggested he would be open to it, he lost the support of most of his party and never regained his status again. Enter Sinn Fein.

    But in the end, a 26 county partitioned country was inevitable, given the strength of the British Empire.

  • Greenflag

    ‘But in the end, a 26 county partitioned country was inevitable ‘

    As will a repartitioned NI sooner or later .

  • Earnan

    I have to agree with you, Greenflag.

    Now you just have to convince the rest of these people.

  • Harry Flashman

    “partition was not going to be accepted by the masses”

    But it was, and still is.