Editing the Past

David Capener is a writer based in Belfast, an Editorial contributor at Archinet and a reporter for World Architecure Community. He blogs at www.futurecrowds.com

All history is biography. It is the story we tell ourselves to make sense of the world; our place in it, and, those we share it with. Stories shape our world and the storyteller shapes the story. One of the ways our stories find expression is through the manifestation of symbols — flags, images, colours, statues. By pledging allegiance to a certain flag, adopting a particular colour or memorialising a hero in the form of a statue we embed ourselves in a story.

We only truly understand the power of the stories we live in when they collide with other stories; sparks fly, and the world that gave us sense and meaning is challenged. From minor disagreements with friends in a pub, to a senseless act of violence perpetrated by a white supremacist in Charlottesville, driving his car at speed into a crowd of peaceful protesters; the power of stories runs deep — we are narrative creatures.

By now we are familiar with the story —the removal of a potent symbol; a confederate statue in Charlottesville. A lone confederate statue in a town square is an edited version of history. Those who edit history do so to create a narrative which works in their favour. Removing this statue from the town square is no less an act of editing history than those who put it there in the first place. The statue told a lopsided version of the past — the defeated so-called ‘hero’ fighting for the continuation of slavery in the southern states. Perhaps a better solution would have been to tell the whole story. Imagine the symbolic power of a confederate statue, a black slave and a Union solider.

To forgive is not to forget but to remember. To remember is an act of imagination; to imagine a future world that learns form its past mistakes and builds on its success. To remember is to be part way along the journey to understanding the stories of those we might oppose — even though, like the neo-Nazi sympathisers in Charlottesville, we might find those stories deeply abhorrent.

As I walk with my children through the grounds of Belfast City hall, we look at the statues —I tell them a story. My storytelling requires that I provide information about the story of our nation that is not immediately apparent. Queen Victoria, opposer of the slave trade, but ignorer of the scores who died during the Irish famine. The ‘famine Queen’ takes her place in a redacted storyline. Eliza Ward, murdered saving the life of her boss in the city hall cafe, rightly has a plaque, and the Titanic memorial statue sculpted as the female personification as death, but Queen Victoria remains the only woman among men; all white; predominantly Unionist, or from a Protestant background.

According to Belfast City Council’s website the grounds around the City hall “contain a wealth of memorials to the history, people and events associated with the City.” This is true, but only in part. The city has never been predominantly male, Protestant or Unionist and between the famine years of 1845-51 the population of Ulster fell by 340,000, with harrowing accounts of emaciated families queuing at soup kitchens — the governments inadequate response to the crisis.

An Irish famine memorial alongside the statue of Queen Victoria would presumably be telling a better, more accurate version of the story of our City. Why not add a statue of one of the first women elected to the Northern Irish parliament, Julia McMordie, next to the statue of her husband MP RJ McMordie? What about non Unionists? Activists? Peacemakers? Or, perhaps an empty plinth like the one in Trafalgar Square which can host different statues reflecting the diversity, not just of our past, but of our present.

We edit the past to the detriment of the generations who will follow us. The ability to tell the stories of our pasts (intentionally plural), however difficult, can help us navigate the complexities of the present. This is not an easy path to navigate, but a path that gives us no choice except to journey along it. How we decide to make that journey matters.

,

  • Celtlaw

    The Confederate statues should never have been erected to begin with. They were placed in acts of defiance of the central government of the United States – to glorify the fight to expand slavery into the West, the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. Statues in cemeteries to the valor and courage of the average Johnny Reb would be the exception; in truth, these folks owned no slaves and were being used as pawns by the Southern planter class. (P.S. Washington and Jefferson were not Confederates; they were founding fathers.)

  • runnymede

    ‘The city has never been predominantly male, Protestant or Unionist ‘

    Surely it has been both predominantly protestant and unionist in the not so distant past. But perhaps not all three at the same time.

  • Salmondnet

    The presentation of the American “civil” war as primarily about slavery is also a highly edited version of history. It was essentially a war of imperialism, about the rights of the states versus the power of the federal government and, above all, of the rights of individual states to opt out (or the absence thereof), In passing. I wonder how long it will be before the EU seeks to withdraw the latter.

  • Zorin001

    https://www.civilwar.org/learn/primary-sources/declaration-causes-seceding-states

    The prevelance of slavery to the revolt looks like it varied between states, Mississippi in particular put the slavery issue front and centre. It’s in all of them though to one extent or another.

  • Brendan Kelly

    Afternoon shadows – old men in the square -and statues – a place for pigeons to sit.

  • Croiteir

    Another example are the people who erected the window in City Hall to the republicans in Spain – most Irish supported the nationalists – thankfully. However that does not fit the contemporary narrative

  • 05OCT68

    Renaming the the park Emancipation Park is more potent than removing the statue of Lee.

  • 05OCT68

    Are you comparing Britain with the Confederacy & the fight against Federalism?The Lisbon treaty gave us article 50, ratified by parliamentary vote in all EU countries bar Ireland which took a referendum sorry two. An article to bar any country leaving the EU would have to be ratified by all members. Your last sentence is EU paranoia.Why would Europe forward a mechanism to leave the union (article 50) where one didn’t exist previously only to reverse it?

  • Korhomme

    The Confederates also had an economic argument; that the abolition of slavery would mean that cotton production would no longer be economically worthwhile.

  • Gopher

    At the end of the day over 300,000 Yankees died freeing the slaves and 250,000 Rebs fell defending the institution, having a statue to the Confederate dead is hardly editing history. Next week if one decides that a war memorial to the great war in every town and village is “editing” History because they were Men, white and fought for a soveriegn (insert appropriate insulting epithet) I suggest your talking absolute and complete nonsense. I also imagine one does not give a rats ass about statues but is just on the wind up. The American Civil War was horrific, the South which was completely devasted due to the trinity of practical realism of Grant, Sherman and Lincoln were at the end of a complete logistical shoeing. Off course they needed a narrative, a “Lost Cause” or “States Rights” anything to deflect from the truth that they brought disaster upon themselves and as a people they are not isolated in doing this., after the war the Union needed to heal so everyone was quite content to trumpet the spirit rather than the cause the war was fought in. Now the idealogues want to “march through Georgia to the sea” once more, there is absolutely no need, Sherman has already done it and they never have forgotten.

  • Starviking

    “Queen Victoria, opposer of the slave trade, but ignorer of the scores who died during the Irish famine.”

    Funny that she was a strong supporter of the British Association, eh?

  • Granni Trixie

    People construct meanings on objects. But As someone who has lived in Belfast all my life I can honestly say that I have no consciousness as to the historical meanings of statues about the place until some people seem bent to make them yet another site for playing the conflict game.

    I do remember however that once in the early nineties I approached someone curating an exhibition of symbols of Ni for the Ulster Museum to ask was there going to be something included representative of the peace movement, indeed I suggested cushion doves made by Women Together or logos from the Peace People,Pace or Corymeela. She said she already had the South African dove And wouldn’t listen to my case. (In passing, she was a well known member of the DUP). So it’s not only Orange and Green who may feel they lack representation.

    Our two tribes narrative inhibits anyone’s story that doesn’t fit in.

  • Roger

    yip, UKNI is that sort of place.
    I love it though.

  • Roger

    I have to confess, I don’t know much about the British Association.

  • Starviking

    It’s easily findable.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I used to walk through George square in Glasgow almost daily, for years.

    It’s packed with statues and other than the cenotaph and Scott monument I haven’t the foggiest who they are/were.

    I just figured it was something that the Victorians and Edwardians liked to do.

    Our generation on the other hand seemingly likes to get upset about them.

    They’re now more like giant political chess pieces so why not bedeck empty plinths with statues of pawns?

  • Neiltoo

    Easier if you look for the British Relief Association.

  • Starviking

    Cheers! I’d like to blame the jet lag, but…

  • Nevin
  • Oggins

    How about statues of prawns instead ?.

    I think a lot of people get their knickers in a twist in general about names and statues. Yes it is a broad sweeping statement, and their are scenarios where certain names and statues should be changed, but I believe the author has it it right.

    Each statue and street has multiple stories. We should were possible expand on this.

    The other side is that a lot of people are blinded but their views and refuse to accept their are other narratives.

    So instead of tearing down statues and starting again. How about we just give them a system upgrade, expand on all the facts, where viable

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    There is a ‘preserved in aspic’ quality to statuary in public places that often speaks nothing of where we are now. People who were influential in their time may not have left a palpable legacy a few decades later. It’s not dissimilar to graveyards like Highgate or Père Lachaise where the boldest mausoleums commemorate people that we’ve never heard of. Those whose names have endured can have contrarily relatively modest memorials.

    There has been a trend in public statuary to display the collective who have made a contribution i.e. Louise Walsh’s ‘Working Women’ or Leicester’s seated needle worker. I certainly would advocate something along those lines commemorating NI’s peace makers.

    I’m not sure that 3d portraits of influential individuals in public spaces is as honest as memorialising a movement or a collective of people. Bringing about positive change in or even after a lifetime is perhaps memorial enough.

    Ozymandias

    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    `My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
    Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away”.

  • Oggins

    I think the point is more related that the head of State should and could of done more. Millions were starving in an Island full of food.

    It is also worth noting that when she visited Ireland Dublin Castle spent more money on her visit, that she herself did from her own pocket to the famine relief. I believe her contribution would of been around 60/70k in today’s monies. Not exactly major funds from a head of State.

    To also add to that when the Ottomans tried to send over £10kin aid (600k today’s money) British administration restricted this as they didn’t want a foreign monarchy donating more than the Queen. The same administration tried to block ships of food from arriving as well.

    Do I believe QV was responsible for the famine, hell no, it was the government and landlords that were at fault.

    What QV didn’t do enough of, or very little evidence of doing so was to protect ‘her subjects’ that suffered. If there is evidence for this please share.

    In a personal note I prefer the term, the great hunger, an gorta mór. As mentioned in the first paragraph, there was substantial food in Ireland at the time. A famine is when there is a lack of food, which was not the case.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Agreed. I often get the sense that NI needs to memorialise conflict and stifle the memory of peace builders who made an obvious and positive change. Carson’s statue at Stormont is instantly readable as a powerful, uncompromising and almost frightening political orator even if the viewer has no idea who he was. But there’s no sense of the nuance of the man. That statue borders on misrepresentation.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    However, it implies that African Americans are fully emancipated. I’m not so sure they are.

  • Roger

    Will add that to my weekend reading. Thanks.

  • DaptoDogs

    Exactly, the great tragedy of Sherman is, he should have left it as the Romans left Carthage.

  • Tochais Siorai

    The level of support in Ireland for those who overthrew a democratically elected government in Spain should be a source of shame. Thankfully, the contemporary narrative recognises that to some extent although needless to say, the Irish Catholic church has never apologised for being a cheerleader for Spanish fascism.

  • runnymede

    well said

  • runnymede

    Actually famines are almost always about income distribution and poverty, rather than actual food shortages.

  • Oggins

    Definition of famine, ‘extreme scarcity of food’.

    I think my point is still valid.

  • runnymede

    Perhaps I should have written ‘famines’. I refer you to the acknowledged expert on the topic

    ‘Starvation is the characteristic of some people not having enough food to eat. It is not the characteristic of there being not enough food to eat. While the latter can be a cause of the former, it is but one of many possible causes’

    http://staging.ilo.org/public/libdoc/ilo/1981/81B09_608_engl.pdf

  • Oggins

    No need for smartness, I am no expert, just stating the facts.

    You point only highlights that an gorta mór was not a famine, as my original point. I agree starvation, which tied in with the English translation of an gorta mór as the great hunger.

    Do you are now agreeing that it wasn’t a famine? Actually not sure on the last point, I think your trying to prove me wrong but by doing so have actually re-enforced my point.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Is this not also a question of ‘fashion’ also?

    For example, most of these monuments were dedicated at a time of imperial pomp and arrogance and enshrined ‘their’ type of people.

    Following WWII this appetite for erecting statues could be seen as having waned somewhat, aside from war memorials (in the west anyway, it went the other way in communist countries methinks).

    Let’s imagine for a moment that the appetite never waned then perhaps we would have a great many statues from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s taking in a whole range of vogues and ideas.

    As it happens the only people who seemed to really care about such thing (or thought such things were an appropriate expenditure of public funds) were the Victorians and Edwardians, hence we are left with statues reflecting their ideas.

    Being annoyed at being underrepresented in something that we’ve never really participated in is a bit petty and as a result people are aiming to take-away and destroy rather than contribute and catch up.

    So yes, this post has a point; fill in the gaps (with non-outright offensive statues) rather than doing away with the gap-borders altogether.

  • Barneyt

    I think the issue is that statues were erected well after the event and also as a counter action to events occurring. I am uncomfortable about removing confederate figures and banning flags etc, particularly if they are of a time and most of us accept the wrongs of the past. However if the past is edited incorrectly to convey a new meaning at a time when it can cause offence, it should be removed.

  • eamoncorbett

    Put the whole lot of em where they belong , in a museum and their adorers can adore at their leisure, at least they won’t be taking up public spaces.

  • eamoncorbett

    Sit or ?

  • William Kinmont

    Ditto just remember the traffic cone on yer man on the horse

  • Starviking

    I’m going to give a reply which covers your points, but is addressing a more general condition, one which Irish-related discussion lack in spades: lack of context, lack of depth.

    I’m also going to assume that things you have stated as historical facts are so.

    On the issue of the capababilities of a head of state, it must be remembered that Queen Victoria was a Constitutional Monarch, and so greatly limited in what she could do. She was also 23 years old, so lacking in the wisdom of experience. She donated £1000, was told it was not enough, and doubled it to £2000.

    The BRA, with her very public support, raised £500,000.

    The Ottoman Sultan was an absolute monarch, what he said goes. Seeing that his donation was backed by the whole state, it doesn’t seem so overwhelming compared to Victoria’s. On the rejection of his £10,000 offer, sadly diplomacy is a very real factor in real-life, and such a donation might have caused diplomatic problems far in excess of any benefit to Ireland.

    Also, Victoria is unlikely to have been involved in any contact with the Ottomans, so she would have been unaware of any backroom dealing.

    As for her visit to Ireland, she wanted to visit, and I cannot see how that is a bad thing – keeping Ireland in the spotlight. As for Dublin Castle spending more money on her visit than she donated to famine relief, so what? You’re comparing apples and oranges – it’s a governmental body, with access to large funds.

    Queen Victoria can be seen as lacking in her response to the famine, if all context is stripped out.

  • Oggins

    I think your doing me a disservice, when referring to my point having no depth or context. I could come back and say the your context is one sided.

    As I highlighted do I blame QV for the famine, no. It was purely down to the government and its landlords. The whole reason so many died was down to the management of the government, the landlords and the views of Irish peasants within class and race.

    My whole point is that as the head of the state, she could of done more. Absolute Monarchy or not, having visited Ireland and seen the affects of the famine, she recognised donated a sum (asked the Ottomans to reduce the donation). Where was the follow up? Where was protest?

    QV did highlight the plight of the irish, a lot more than others, but age, experience is no excuse for the head of state to not to do more.

    Do you think that she did enough? Do you think that the response of the head of state, to visit a country ravaged, is to donate a small sum, meet the people and move on?

    Is it fair to her to be labelled the famine Queen. No it’s not. She was not directly responsible, but it needs to be remembered that the head of state after seeing first hand the problems, paid lip service to the problem. Guilt by association

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    The Duke of Wellington, outside the GOMA.

  • Starviking

    Firtsly, as I mentioned, it’s also addressing a more general condition, one that we’re all guilty of in life.

    One thing I’m guilty of is narrowing-in on the points I want to respond to – fair to you, you did not blame Victoria for the famine.

    One thing I’d like to point out, she visited Ireland in 1849, 2 years after her donation, and after the Whigs (Liberals) declared the famine over.

    At that time had been at least 2 years involved in promoting aid to Ireland – one letter to the Times in January 1847 leading to the raising of around £170,000. As for protesting, she was a constitutional monarch, with limited powers over the government, a government which believed fully in the primacy of parliament. She did what she could: kept the issue in the public eye.

    So, she donated before seeing things personally (and even then, her trip was stage-managed).

    By the way, I’m not sure what you mean by “she recognised donated a sum (asked the Ottomans to reduce the donation). “ As I pointed out in my prior post, it is unlikely that she would have any involvement in, or knowledge of, any puported Ottoman negociations.

  • William Kinmont

    Copenhagen !! I didnt realise id had a ride on such a famous horse. Delighted.

  • Oggins

    Fair enough, hope no offense was taken from my response.

    Even with the wigs declaring the famine overs an gort mór lasted seven years. Even after her donation, it lasted another three years. Where was the follow through? This is the pivot point. She witnessed this first hand.

    In terms of protest,she had zero powers but she could of been vocal in the issue condemn the situation. Embarrass the government and landlords. Support the Irish politicians who were vocal. I can’t take the point that a constitutional monarch doesn’t have power. Yes it’s not direct or legislation, but it is certainly power of influence and bringing it to light.

    I recognise your point that it was unlikely as there is no official document quoting so, but there is plenty of published books indicating this as the case. Something we won’t or can’t argue which is right.

    I ask again, do you think she did enough? Do think she had a moral duty after witnessing? Where was the follow up visit? This was a country in which she was the head of state.

    This is why she is labelled the famine Queen. Rightly or wrongly,she didn’t do enough to protect her people, when she witnessed and saw the island.

  • Blamigo

    A sparkling fountain on a hot sunny day would be nicer to sit around and admire compared to another morbid reminder of the 19th century. When parts of the world are looking at how to build infrastructure for the transport of tomorrow, Belfast City Council is looking at ways of how to build daily reminders of the past. That’ll be something cheery to look at on the way to work.

  • Korhomme

    Carson standing in front of Stormont sends out all sorts of ‘wrong’ messages today. It should be moved to a quiet corner. Don’t forget him, but have him in a less public place.

  • 05OCT68

    A wee plaque stating Carson’s opinion of partition would help.

  • mac tire

    Personally, I can see both sides of the argument but I am wavering on the side of leave statues alone. Of course, removing any statue doesn’t remove the history. Hell, the history existed before any statue existed – otherwise there would be no statue – and that history will continue thereafter.

    For every Carson at Stormont, there is a John Mitchell in Newry. Yet, each tell a story of Ireland. I don’t always agree with statues I see in Ireland, but that is that part of who we are. What if I suggested we pull down statues of Mary or even Jesus?

    Where do we start or where do we stop?

    I’m an Irish Republican, as many of you know, so I have a small suggestion (and because of that will use Edward Carson as an example of what I mean)… Instead of pulling this statue down we could put Carson’s quote at the base or added to it…

    “What a fool I was. I was only a puppet, and so was Ulster, and so was Ireland, in the political game that was to get the Conservative Party into power.”

    We could put similar beside the Michell statue I mentioned about his support of slavery.

    Or should I just get me coat?

  • runnymede

    I wasn’t trying to argue against your use of ‘great hunger’ – my point is rather that the Irish ‘famine’ is not in any way unusual in being able to be described as a ‘great hunger’. That description would fit with the vast majority of ‘famines’.

  • Oggins

    Hmm nope. We have clearly identified the meaning of famine. Another definition is a wide spread scarcity of food causes a by several factors including crop failures, population imbalance or government policies. The crux of my point is even those factors are correct, there was enough food on the island. History evidence has proven this. You can’t argue the facts, you can (are) ignorr them.

    It wasnt a famine as in the definition, thus to be referred to as the great hunger, an gorta mór.

    Try discussion the points I raised rather than ignore them.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Well, it would be a interesting juxtaposition. Carson’s statue embodies a message that is unrepresentative of the person. His entire identity was hijacked, claimed, re-ordered and a ‘father of (Ulster) unionism’ image was very quickly established. It could be argued that all he did was accept and carry out very effectively a barrister’s brief. In addition, someone with a less prominent lower jaw and less baleful eyes might not have been such a good ‘cover girl’ for the new 6 county statelet.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    I think your understanding of a role of a constitutional monarch in the 19thC and particularly the British one is mistaken. Essentially VR was an irrelevance.
    You undermine your argument quite considerably by repeatedly misconstructing the conditional perfect tense. ‘Of’ (sic) is not a modal verb.

  • The worm!

    Are you sure that you’re an “Irish Republican”?

    That sort of talk does not equate to what we normally hear from those under that title.

  • Oggins

    Apologies on my grammar Ben, it isn’t the best. I think it’s a bit of a dig, and you and star haven’t answered the questions I have repeated a couple of times. I am being told that we need to understand the context, which I am trying to do, but no one will answer the question, did she do enough?

    In terms of understanding the role I think I have made it quiet clear in response with Star. I accept she had not any legal authority, but neither of you have addressed my points or questions in terms of influence that the head of state has. You and Star haven’t responded on this.

    Do you think she did enough? If so, how?

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Of course she didn’t do enough and no-one would have expected her to donate what she actually did. An Gorta Mòr was so colossally and heartlessly mismanaged by so many key figures that it’s a massive stain on British history. The whole episode stands testament to vested interests over-riding human life.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Or erect a less aggressive statue?

  • Oggins

    I agree, my whole point was to put Stars response into context.

    It’s actually got some some relevance today, in relation to the housing crisis and but to let crazy that has taken over the UK and Ireland.

  • Korhomme

    I don’t like the physical concept at Stormont. There is a large ‘palace’ on a hill from where our ‘leaders’ can look down their noses and sneer at us plebs. And a very long avenue to emphasise just how important those who occupy the place are.

    And that statue! Move it somewhere less threatening.

    I do like your suggestion of adding the quote to the plinth.

    And, if you replace ‘Ulster’ with ‘vote Leave’ you see that some things haven’t changed.

  • Korhomme

    Perhaps. But less conspicuous.

  • Granni Trixie

    I would like to see “what a fool I was” on hunger strikers memorials.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    We have enough ‘voices from beyond the grave’ to drown out the speech of the living. But you’re right. It’s public knowledge since Richard O’Rawe’s ‘Blanket Men’ and the publication of British cabinet meetings that the hunger strikers were lied to for political opportunity.
    If there is an afterlife I wonder what the Hunger Strikers are saying to each other, provided that the dead can acquire knowledge.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    There’s a café in Paris with a massive statue of Joan of Arc on horseback. You’ll only encounter her on your way to the lavatory.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    How about moving statues à la Ballinspittle? Kids could connect their XBoxes up to them.

  • Granni Trixie

    My point was more general – that I do not think it a good idea to encourage anyone to kill themselves as a solution (though agree that RoRs account sounds like an authentic challenge to the usual narrative).

  • Hugh Davison

    Would love your take on the diplomatic problems (‘On the rejection of his £10,000 offer, sadly diplomacy is a very real factor in real-life, and such a donation might have caused diplomatic problems far in excess of any benefit to Ireland.’). The only diplomatic problem I can see is the conflict between ordinary Christian charity (from a Moslem nation) and British government policy (Trevelyan: God sent the famine to teach the feckless Irish a lesson).

  • Hugh Davison

    ‘thankfully’? Are you a supporter of Fascism?

  • Brian O’Neill

    A lot of politicians hate the place. It’s boring and out of the way. They would prefer somewhere in Belfast city centre that had a bit of life about the place.

    But hey at least there is free parking…

  • 05OCT68

    Fully emancipated in law yes, but in the minds of many no. I was appalled watching Fox News Tucker Carlson explain how slavery was part of some African, Native American, South American & Arab cultures This was in context to Donald Trumps statement on Americas founding fathers being slave owners. Of course Tucker said slavery was wrong but the sub text was “we didn’t start it”.

  • Korhomme

    For once I’d agree with those politicians. Stormont is a grotesque, grandiloquent statement of power, control and triumphalism that is totally out of place with the realities of NI today. If I had my way, I’d raze it to the ground.

  • Starviking

    Hi Hugh. If the donation was accepted at the start, it would have painted the head of state of the UK in a bad light – that would have affected diplomacy between the UK and Ottoman Empire, something that the Ottomans would not want: they had cultivating ties with the UK to support their Empire against both internal and external threats.

    Additionally, some might have made political points in the UK about the disparity of contributions between the Queen and the Sultan, and as 1848 is just around the corner, that could have lead to incidents having serious diplomatic consequences.

    Finally, a point on the purported £10,000 offer, and the ships of grain – if both are true, perhaps the diplomatic solution to the Sultan’s offer was for him to provide £1000 in cash, and grain equivalent to a value of £9000? That would certainly make it a non-story, but then again, with Irish politics old gripes are never let go of.

  • Hugh Davison

    Indeed. Can’t have Her Majesty exposed, especially by Wops, Wogs and Dagoes. As for her loyal subjects…..
    Star, Have you ever thought about trying for Bojo’s job. I think you’d make a great Foreign Secretary :).

  • Starviking

    Hugh, it’s obvious that we’re conversing from two different viewpoints, I’m trying to keep things as academic and even as possible, you’re going for dismissiveness. That is your perogative, of course – but I won’t waste any more time on you.

  • Hugh Davison

    That’s fine. I suggested a career possibility but of course it’s your call. God bless.

  • Starviking

    Please Hugh, you asked me for my take on the diplomatic problems I foresaw, I gave them, after some investigation of UK-Ottoman relations in the time period you responded like an arse, with insults.

  • Croiteir

    No

  • Croiteir

    They overthrew a barbaric regime which was intent on murdering their own citizens and no one should be apologising for supporting those who resisted them

  • Tochais Siorai

    Nonsense. They overthrew a democratically elected government and replaced it with a bloodthirsty regime led by a Fascist who retained power by dealing with his opponents in a manner which Stalin would have been proud.

    Anyway those Irish who went to fight for Spanish Fascism with Eoin O Duffy seem to have spent more time drinking and fighting with each other than fighting Government forces. They were a liability to their ’cause’ and Franco sent them back to Ireland as soon as possible. Where having picked up a few chancers along the way, they had the unusual distinction of arriving home from a war with more soldiers than they left with.