Feeble little Celtic countries?

Last Thursday – St George’s Day, in case you hadn’t noticed – Henry V111’s latest historian David Starkey scorned the idea of making April 23 a proper national holiday on the BBC’s Question Time and added: “If we decide to go down this route of having an English national day, that means we become a feeble little country, just like the Scots and the Welsh and the Irish.

Welsh and Scottish MPs were among those who duly rose to the bait – proving Starkey had a point, maybe? Politics.ie noticed the row and drew the comment:

Chip on the shoulder victimhood never looks good, I think the Scots MPs complaining only play in to the ‘feeble’ portrayal. But, leaving that aside, is he right? Are we stuck in a 19th Century romantic nationalism?

Obviously blinkered English folk like the professional controversialist Starkey have no idea what a marketing opportunity has been created by St Patrick’s week as we must think of it now, not only with the diaspora but with home holidays looking more attractive. The Scots are now bringing up the rear with Scottish Homecoming, if you can stand the midges. English identity is a pallid thing, sidelined by self conscious official promotion of Britishness ( now faltering) and only now being rescued from the BNP. Too many English opinion formers went into a sulk when they discovered that the Celts wanted a bigger say in their own affairs. Perhaps the solution is to tell them we love them dearly and then they’ll feel more secure.

  • To me he seemed to come across as an answer to Dame Edna on this occasion. Not impressed.

  • Andrew

    In my opinion England is the feeble nation … we in Ulster have strong British cultural tradition unlike England where it is dying and almost non-existent.

  • pacman

    “we in Ulster” – presumably not Monaghan, Cavan or Donegal unless I’ve missed something. And presumably not almost half of Northern Ireland unless I’ve been in a coma.

  • Quagmire

    “we in Ulster have strong British cultural tradition unlike England where it is dying and almost non-existent.”
    Posted by Andrew on Apr 25, 2009 @ 02:08 PM

    You don’t speak for everyone in the province mo chara. To the English you are just a potato picking paddy. More and more people in Ulster are beginning to embrace their Irish identity as is their right. Indeed Ulster, all nine counties in case you are confused, is a predominantly Nationalist/Republican province.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7484182.stm

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7990990.stm

  • Rory Carr

    Reading Starkey’s comments over breakfast somehow brought to mind Denis Healy’s judgement of Geoffrey Howe’s attempts to attack his record as Chancellor in Parliament, “It was like being savaged by a dead sheep” and I winced at the efforts of those MP’s from the offended nations who felt the need to respond, for in attempting to make a defense they only help this dreary little man to sniff and preen even more.

    The point surely is that Starkey is right in the only place that matters – in his own opinion and nothing will ever shift him from that abiding sense of his self-righteous omniscience. Nor should anyone try.

  • Greenflag

    France has Bastille Day -the USA has July 4th . Are these ‘feeble’ nations ?.

    Starkey knows that God is an Englishman all the year round, and therefore doe not need a special day 😉 Anyway England has Queenie & Co -God shave her and keep her from all harm .

    Andrew

    ‘we in Ulster have strong British cultural tradition unlike England where it is dying and almost non-existent. ‘

    To which your Englishman wouuld reply if he could be bothered /dragged away from washing his car on a Saturday that

    ‘We in England have a strong financial and economic history unlike Northern Ireland /Ulster and if we did’nt share some of it with you lot ,your local economy would be dying and almost non existent.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    I didn’t see Starkey opinionating on this one. Anyway the dreamy Victorian visions of an England, green and pleasant and where ‘His’ feet might have walked as Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’ dillusion says is long, long gone….. and never existed in the first place.

    Regarding a Christian saint for England, St. Alban would be more apt than George the ‘Johnny foreigner’, but sure doesn’t it sum up the melting pot of cultures that England is and always was really.

  • Faux Cul

    Old Queen become Old Tart ?

  • Peter

    Re:

    In my opinion England is the feeble nation … we in Ulster have strong British cultural tradition unlike England where it is dying and almost non-existent.
    Posted by Andrew on Apr 25, 2009 @ 02:08 PM.
    ———

    So moron, if you were to be true, you would happy to be bankrolled by this such feeble nation would you?.

    As a matter of fact Starkey was WRONG!.

    Scotland, Wales and N ireland are not feeble little nations, they are in fact weak, feeble AND irrelevant REGIONS of the EU.

    The only thing to be decided is wether the ROI and NI join together to be a one ‘United’ EU Region ruled from Brussels or remain separate Regions, thats right, your not nations and your not Independent!, all without a bullet being fired, im not gloating really, the EUSSR rules all of us at the moment, but £ngland has the Political and financial power to resist and get out of this Dictatorship, your feeble Regions do not, which no doubt is why all of your Vichy Brussels Governments are all completely pro EU.

    There is a very old saying, the truth hurts, and absolute truth hurts absolutely, and its not £ngland’s fault.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Good thread Brian, very though provoking.

  • Provoke a THOUGHT

    So does that mean you agree or disagree UMH considering Ulster is part of one of those aforementioned celtic countries?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    …and I totally agree with Peter.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Provoke a THOUGHT

    There’s no such this as a Celtic country. The invention and ethnic abuse/use of the Celtic identity should be one more reason why we should avoid it and expose it as the tool for war mongerers.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]So does that mean you [b]agree[/b] or [b]disagree[/b] UMH”[/i]

    Provoke a THOUGHT, you watch too much of RTE’s Q&A’s? do I have any other say other than yea or nea?

  • Provoke a Thought

    ‘expose it as the tool for war mongerers’

    So the celtic countries waged war and invaded the saxon England and not the other way about????

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]So the celtic countries waged war and invaded the saxon England and not the other way about????”[/i]

    Why use the word Celtic to descibe the period you mention, when it has no historic reference to the battles fought. It was created afterwards as a Nationalist propaganda tool just in the same way the Nazi’s used ethnic propaganda to create a German Nation.

  • picador

    What is ‘British’ culture anyway? I never quite understood. Eastenders? Coronation St?

    The ‘British culture’ that exists in Northern Ireland – i.e. the in your face ‘Britishness’ of the loyal orders – would be very foreign indeed to someone say from … Britain (west of Scotland excluded).

    But maybe Mr Starkey is right, about some of the Celtic nations at rate. Most people seem happy to abandon indigenous languages and traditions for dumbed-down British tabloid ‘culture’.

    The Welsh however are mounting a fair bit of resistance.

  • Greenflag

    Peter ‘but £ngland has the political and financial power to resist and get out of this dictatorship,’

    Has it ? What dictatorship . All of the countries of the EU are democracies . None was ever forced to join the EU at the point of a gun . The same cannot be said for many of the former countries of the British , French , Spanish , Russian or Japanese Empires .

    ‘So the celtic countries waged war and invaded the saxon England and not the other way about’

    Naw the so called celtic countries became too fat and happy under Roman rule and civilisation (apart from Ireland ) and thus when the Romans gapped it they were easy meat for the barbarians from the east who in turn were fleeing from the even more barbaric tribes further east .

    Nowadays it’s the same story except it’s writ is rising economic pressure from the east rather than just a bunch of ‘farmers ‘ on the run for their lives from the 5th & 6th century Huns .

  • Dewi

    “There’s no such this as a Celtic country. The invention and ethnic abuse/use of the Celtic identity should be one more reason why we should avoid it and expose it as the tool for war mongerers”

    ….as opposed to “British” which has of course an historical legitimacy…(perhaps not…)

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]….as opposed to “British” which has of course an historical legitimacy…(perhaps not…)[/i]

    Being british is not the same a being a Celtic in a celtic country. British is not about having one particular ethnic identity.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Good to see the UMH back, and getting all mixed up as usual about convenient historical labels etc….

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    BTW…..and that should be contrived convenient historical labels etc.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Thanks for the return welcome Greg, but I’m not the one mixed up about ‘Celts’. See, it’s now cuffed and soon to be sentenced to life along with war mongerers like Pearse and Hitler..

  • Joe

    Yawn. England is powerful, the rest of ye aren’t. That’s about the size of this argument. Weak.

  • picador

    That’s another essential part of British identity, particularly beloved of our unionist fellow countrymen – waging war!

    Pray tell, UMH, what were the Saxe-Coburgs and their continental cousins up to while Pearse & Co were in the GPO?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Picador, Pearse was a war mongerer. Ever read what he said about WWI, he said “but bloodshed is a cleansing and a sanctifying thing”… “The old heart of the earth needed to be warmed with the red wine of the battlefields.”

  • Ulsters my homeland

    He was also a religious nutcase, cause he said regarding WWI, “Such august homage was never before offered to God as this, the homage of millions of lives given gladly for love of country.”

  • picador

    Pearse’s ‘war-mongering’ was like a Sunday school picnic compared to the family fued mounted by the King, the Kaiser and the Tsar.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    How did Pearse adopt such sacrificial ideas about death. Surely this would have been seen as a sin?

    Can any Catholics state if the last rights absolve from sins undertaken by the individual?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    [i]Pearse’s ‘war-mongering’ was like a Sunday school picnic compared to the family fued mounted by the King, the Kaiser and the Tsar.[/i]

    Picador, because they are all related, why should we intern the whole family?

  • picador

    UMH,

    War-mongering is the part of the glue that holds ‘Britishness’ together. Don’t diss it.

  • blinding

    Starkey is starkers and a little englander to boot

    A little englander that does not realize how little england is today and as its debts go bigger it gets littler.

  • C

    “In my opinion England is the feeble nation … we in Ulster have strong British cultural tradition unlike England where it is dying and almost non-existent.”

    Can only agree with the criticisms of this post which betrays the many paradoxes and irrlevencies of this claim to Britishness in NI, or alternatively Ulster-Scots, or whatever the latest quest for an identity that forces a disconnect with anything Irish. Whenever I have left the North and have been in the company of those of a Unionist persuasion, I have never witnessed them object to being referred to as Irish and actually some seem to enjoy it – maybe a repressed secret desire that they have. Anyway, whatever they may feel themselves, outside of the six counties that is how they will almost always be peceived.

    As an Irish nationalist, I am not overjoyed at the way Irishness has been celebrated in recent years in the North – especially the drunken shambles that has become St. Patricks Day in Belfast. Unfortunately cultural celebrations here have become an excuse for the louts to have a day out. Some seek to add a veneer of decency by slipping on an ill-fitting suit or a gaudy uniform but this is hardly a cultural celebration…despite what the various spin-doctors on either side may attempt to achieve in re-branding. Belfast has a long way to go before either Paddy’s Day or the Twelfth (I mean OrangeFest) draw a fraction of the numbers who head for Dublin from across the world…

    As for Starkey’s comments, he is a professional sh*t-stirrer who realises all too well that a cultural celebration of Englishness would be as big a flop as ‘Cool Britannia’…What would it consist of a free St George’s Cross flag with Hello! Magazine and later that night the conclusion of a gripping storyline in a double-bill of Corrie!!!

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]War-mongering is the part of the glue that holds ‘Britishness’ together. Don’t diss it.[/i]

    Well for those who think like that, I’m truely ashamed.

    Picador, I have shown what war-mongering is using quotes by Pearse. Pearse is the ultimate war-mongerer, who seems to find pleasure in death.

    That is a war mongerer!

  • picador

    UMH,

    Don’t knock Pearse. He gives a stirring graveside oration.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Pic,

    Yip, a master of words.

    Can’t say the same for that fella who announced the dissident Easter message

    was that Oulster-Scots he was using or English?

  • Sarah Lavender

    ‘Starkey is starkers and a little englander to boot’

    I would have to agree, although I would consider myself a little englander too, but in the traditional meaning of the phrase, rather than its modern connotations, i.e. I would like to see England as a proudly democratic little nation governing itself but nobody else.

    St Georges Day is small fry compared St Patrick’s Day but I was pleased to see a serious number of English flags flying well down our way on Thursday. Its definitely gathering momentum year on year. And that’s a good thing, not a feeble thing. It means that England is starting to get over its adolescent bout of angst and self-loathing.

    Time for one of the oldest nations in Europe to start growing up. Its not about ‘romantic 19th Century-style nationalism’ its about building a better brighter more confident England. Starkey and the rest of the backward looking Brits still yearning for their imperialistic past can carry on rattling their cots as long as they want. The rest of us will leave them behind.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    How many people in Scotland actually fought for their ‘Celtic’ identity/freedom?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    How many people in Wales actually fought for their ‘Celtic’ identity/freedom?

  • Dewi

    “How many people in Wales actually fought for their ‘Celtic’ identity/freedom?”

    Can’t quantify but we kept the Normans out for 216 years = 215 years and 364 days longer than the English….

  • blinding

    Sarah Lavender

    You are the type of little Englander that England needs and you are right that the days of the old English/British empire has passed.

  • Sarah Lavender

    ‘but we kept the Normans out for 216 years = 215 years and 364 days longer than the English…. ‘

    I think it helped that the English and the Welsh were keeping them busy over here, so it took ’em a while to get round to it.

    Actually I don’t think the English ever stopped fighting the Normans – we just changed the enemy’s name from Norman to the Upper Classes…

  • picador

    UMH,

    I can’t say I paid much attention to the dissident Easter message but I’m sure it brought cheer to (not) manys a fanatic heart. Better yet if it was in gud braid Oolster Scots.

    Did ye no see the BBC History of Scotland series? Very interesting it was. As ever it went wrong for the Gaels when they made an alliance with the King of England.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    pic,

    “[i]can’t say I paid much attention to the dissident Easter message [/i]

    and why not pic?

  • picador

    Having read the Sunday Tribune I knew what would be in it. They are intent on setting us free whether we like it or not.

  • blinding

    Just as a point of curiosity could the union survive a rise in English Nationalism.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Dewi,

    re. “How many people in Wales actually fought for their ‘Celtic’ identity/freedom?”

    Not as many as fought in Ireland – and talking of relative Welsh/Irish numbers (ie the Lions) – I shall be sending round the boyz to get my fiver.

    And just to rub salt in your celtic wounds – I think you said “I will be amazed if Ryan Jones is not in the test team”. He is probably second sub behind Croft now.

  • 6countyprod

    Starkey has a point. Compared to the ‘Big Guns’ of this world, we Celts are unarguably an interesting bunch of people, but we’re pretty insignificant, nonetheless.

  • A dirty gobshite

    Fuck me lads, if us Celts want to remain significant I propose that we begin to hijack passing ships off our coasts. Let us take to the sea and rise proud again!

    I invite John O’Connell to verify the fantastic opportunity which this proposal entails. John..

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Granuile, aka Grace O’Malley sails the high seas again!

  • picador

    Fuck me lads, if us Celts want to remain significant I propose that we begin to hijack passing ships off our coasts. Let us take to the sea and rise proud again!

    Alan Titley – not your average gaeilgeoir – suggested just such a thing in his Irish Times column this week.

  • a dirty gobshite

    Fuck me, who’s Alan Titley? Let’s show those Somalis how it’s really done!

    John, I await your blessing and words of sage wisdom before advocating and taking a definitive course of action

  • percy

    “Just as a point of curiosity could the union survive a rise in English Nationalism”

    Very much doubt it!

    Interesting thread revealing UMH insecurities, don’t recall Pearse being part of the thread, but I suppose you have to attack something, when you’ve nothing.

    Highly entertaining, in a kinda boring troll digging deeper sorta way. ie comic value.

    can’t wait for the next installment from UMH

  • picador

    Girty Dobshite

    The third most dangerous man in Munster – after Wayne Dundon and Roy Keane.

    Alan Titley

  • Dewi

    Feeble little English historians. I like them for breakfast.

  • Dewi

    …and Sammy if u observe clause 11.2.3a it’s the ratio on the plane that counts. With O’Leary’s injury I reckon Wales are still favourite.

  • Pearse was devoutly enamoured with the concept of blood sacrifice, seeing self-immolation as a necessary requisite for materializing his nationalist aspirations. While lauding of warfare certainly tends to offend our modern sensibilities (most of us are all too acquainted with the horrors it entails), the political orthodoxy in pre-war Europe held it up in an elevated regard. It is unfair to isolate Pearse’s political views from the political context in which they were expressed. While many statesmen of the Allied Powers were afflicted with a vindictive bloodthirst, Pearse esteemed the martyrdom involved in war as of greater worth than the killing of one’s enemies. It must be remembered that the rationale for his surrender was “in order to prevent the further slaughter of Dublin citizens, and in the hope of saving the lives of our followers”. Pity such laudable sentiments were not shared by the notoriously inclement General Maxwell.

    Religious imagery is an inextricable component to Pearse’s thinking. His devotion to the humble circumstances surrounding Christ’s redemption for mankind provides an illustrious animation to his nationalist convictions: “One man can free a people, as one man redeemed the world”. By drawing parallels with the crucifixion of Christ, Pearse is not simply bestowing religious legitimacy on his cause; he is positively sanctifying it. To Pearse it is axiomatic that his endeavours will end in death, but by invoking the words of his Divine Lord (“Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends”), he represents this as a holy and even amative pursuit.

    My own persons views on the man are quite conflicted, but I regard UMH’s imputation of fanaticism to be a bit simplistic. I think a balanced person would concede that the primary motivation for his beliefs was a zealous, if perhaps misguided, patriotism, and in many ways his devoted loyalty to what he regarded as a noble cause can be appreciated by persons of very disparate ideological persuasions.

  • Danny O’Connor

    When I think of English culture,it seems that the English don’t know where to position themselves- in order to be politically correct.
    History ,Colonialism,slavery,war etc has left them feeling uncomfortable as if the NEW England is now so multi-cultural that tradition is being obliterated.
    The country of Shakespeare,Morris Dancing and Colliery brass bands etc……is in danger of allowing the BNP to do for Englishness culturally what Sinn Féin did Irishness,ie – to alienate a large section of the population.
    when I think of the danger of this -look at how many young men who are increasingly joining the extremes,because the centre won’t take the bull by the horns.

  • percy

    great comments CO, I see Bobby Sands in there somewhere; there’s something about oppression that makes you want to run at those holding the guns, even though you know you’ll die.

  • I think Starkey’s “feeble” comment are more indicative of English anger at Scottish politicians and bankers for the current economic crisis than an honest appraisal of Scotland’s performance as a country.

    Scotland, Ireland and Wales punch well above their size on the world stage and one would hardly tag them “feeble”.

    That said, considering how much Scotland has contributed to the world in terms of science, economics, arts etc., plus its justifiable pride in its rich history, it makes one wonder why they never rowed away from the mother ship and set sail on their own.

    Did being British make them achieve less or more as a nation? Do Starkey’s comments reflect a growing English disgust that Scotland is a grown man who is too lazy to leave his mother’s breast and hence is not deserving of an Englishman’s respect or his financial support?

  • Sarah Lavender

    “Just as a point of curiosity could the union survive a rise in English Nationalism”

    Currently polls in England show that 60 – 70% favour devolution for England whilst about 20 – 30% favour independance. So in the short term I think we’re looking at devolution rather than a break-up.

    Devolution to England is, however, frought with difficulties because of our relative size compared to the other nations. It isn’t impossible though, to ensure that a Federal UK parliament limits the impact that big England has on the other nations, and it would certainly have less impact than it has now.

    Having said that, I’m part of the 20 – 30% who favours independance, and I do think the union will break at some point in a couple of decades or so.

  • Looks like Starkey is afraid that his series on the monarchy won’t make it much past its restoration, much less the Act of Union, given the current economic meltdown.

    What better way to reverse the trend than fire up all the Celts!

  • fin

    Trowbridge, You are 100% correct, a few weeks ago he tried to pick an arguement with women, but it didn’t get off the ground.

    Having lived in London for many years I’ve seen the sharp year on year increase of people hanging the St George flag on their house or car and ofcourse pubs cashing in on the Saints day.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Any discussion relating to the violent behaviour of the Celts is not complete witohut an exmaination of the Welsh martial art Llap Goch. http://www.llapgoch.org.uk/

    Dewi – bore da, are we to add contemptuous backsliding to the many attribute we associate with your Nation. I put it to you Sir – that you are indeed such a backslider. Shame.

    re.Lions
    What you said a week ago. forgive me – but ain’t got much time: Very sorry to digress Sammy but: i) A fiver on more Welsh players than Irish in thr Lions squad tomorrow and: ii) A fiver on more Welsh players than Irish in first test starting line -up?

    What you said yesterday. …and Sammy if u observe clause 11.2.3a it’s the ratio on the plane that counts. With O’Leary’s injury I reckon Wales are still favourite.

    p.s. I will call the grippers off until after the test team is announced.

  • Greenflag

    exile 1,

    Scotland, Ireland and Wales punch well above their size on the world stage and one would hardly tag them “feeble”.

    Well perhaps on the boxing stage ? We in Ireland have at least one world boxing champion and in Dublin we have that young Taylor girl (even if her dad’s English ) who has great hopes of an Olympic Gold ?

    And then there’s the Lions rugby Team representing all the four ‘home countries ‘ on their upcoming tour to South Africa – captained by Irishman Paul O’Connell and is made up of 14 Irish , 13 Welsh , 8 English and 6 Scots

    I guess I have to agree that the Scots are the feeblest . Not since the Battle of Bannockburn have the Scots put up much of a fight against the Sassenachs apart from that Bonnie Prince Charlie escapade 😉

  • Dewi

    “made up of 14 Irish , 13 Welsh , 8 English and 6 Scots”…see above – it’s down to 13 Irish…and was only ever 2 Scots.

  • a dirty gobshite

    Hijack hijack hijack! Then we need to withdraw Tom Jones, Hugo Duncan, the Scottish brogue and Riverdance from the world stage just to show little Starkers how much of a blow it would be to the world to have less Celtic culture.

    I will reserve implementation of such a policy until I have I the blessing of Mr. John O’Connell. John, I invite you to take the floor.

  • Starkey is the same asshole who didn’t want to repeal the act of settlement whereby catholics can ascend to the english throne because it would break with tradition; major league bigot.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Catholic Observer.

    re. Pearce as a Vampire. Taken from the ‘Unpublished Joyce’.

    The fellah Pearce was indeed a great man for the blood and could often be seen in his early years in the bejaysus of the evening leaning polewards in O’Donoghues and compiling sphericals of the red stuff for the propulsion of it in the close proximity of and in conjunction with the mouth-nasal-phlegm that the Dublin Volunteers kept for such occasions as per the Green Book and spitting it through the open window so that it would rest slimewards on the underside of the passing constabulalies eye socket before taking himself off towards the cathedral to find some unsupecting full-blooded-strumpette upon which he would greedily refill for the enticing repitition of his rebellious habits

  • Rory Carr

    Stop, Gobshite, stop! Some things are beyond a joke. Without Hugo Duncan there would be no point in the world going on. It would be akin to a cultural nuclear winter were the world to be deprived of such talent.

    All together now:

    “Diddley-ay-dey-di-dey”, (or something like that).

  • Greenflag

    dewi ,

    ‘was only ever 2 Scots. ‘

    My mistake Dewi must have been an earlier wishful thinking press release by the Daily Haggis ;?

    The question is why only 2 . The Scots have one of the best kickers – Patterson ?

    Anyway the South Africans will be no pushovers .

    I’m sure that Sakkie van der Britbasher will relish the prospect of kicking Irish , Welsh and Scottish ass with a little extra oomph reserved for the rea ends of our English team mates eh ?

  • Brian MacAodh

    what does pearse have to do with this thread?

  • Anton

    Did anyone see Question Time last Night.(1st March) I thought the attitude and the remarks of David Starkey were extremely rude and offensive. Not only did he offend the French, women and other members of the audience but he also tried to humiliate the host. His arguments had a cold logic but the same cold logic has often been use by tyrants and dictators in the past.