SALUTE THE IRISH REBELLION OF 1916
I am the son of a Scottish mother and she the daughter of my Irish grandmother so
maybe it is from this source that I get my profound sense of fairness and justice and propensity for rebellious belligerence? Can such character traits be inherited? I have absolutely no idea!
A courageous band of brave patriots took up arms and fought for what they believed in. Sadly, they could not enlist the support of the majority of the people of Ireland and were put down by the superior military might of the men of the British army whose comrades were dying in their tens of thousands in the mud of Flanders 'For King and Country'.
Now, if anyone interested in reading this fears they are to be subjected to a potted history of the Irish republican struggle against the rule of British colonialism then relax - far better persons than I, with superior literary ability and greater in-depth knowledge of the historical events of the time to that which I possess, have produced a wealth of informative material on the subject. Every revolutionary situation and struggle for emancipation has its own parables and romanticism in narratives, poetry and song. The Struggles produced a wealth of material that is now available to anyone who is interested - thanks to the wonder of the internet.
I believe in the right of all nations to enjoy the freedom of self-determination. British rule over Northern Ireland, just like the royal family, is an anachronism that the people of Britain ought to have abandoned long ago. (Incidentally, reading Julie Burchill's feature:'Once we had anarchy in the UK. Now all we have is monarchy in the UK' Observer newspaper, Review Section, 8th April, made my Sunday!) Am I an English republican nationalist, then? Only in as much as I hold that the people of my country should be able to decide, by fair democratic means and without interference by any other country or external influence, its economic, social and political direction and development.
And it was always my wish that my fellow country men and women would choose to adopt and maintain a system that would not permit one person to exploit any other person or persons and that it would be through a sense of pride and honour that individuals would choose a moral code by which we cared for the weak and disadvantaged in our society, one in which we shared equal responsibility and where collaborative endevour for the good of society made competitive greed obsolete. Altruistic? Certainly, but I was young in those days.
Do I still have the belief that men and women can bring about mutually beneficial change in society? Yes, I do - but only if they possess the political will do so. However, before they can have the political will to change society for the betterment of all, they must first become politically educated so they are able to chart the correct course and able to consult older charts which show up historically recorded dangers, concealed entrapments and potentially lethal cul-de-sacs. And they must have strategies to cope with any unexpected storms that drive them from their true course so they are able to swiftly resume their direction.
Do I see any desire on the part of local people to become politically educated? No, I do not. If, in the 1990s they were 'reluctant' and in the 2000s they were 'resistent', then here in the 2010s they are positively antagonistic - many, seemingly, 'do not wish to know'. As for those workers who profess to have a reason for voting the way that they do I've heard the lot - including "If the Tories were good enough for my father, then they're good enough for me!" and "The worst that Labour does is better than anything the Tories do." And then, of course, we meet that Ship of Fools otherwise known as Barrow Trades Union Council which, it is said, suffers severe constipation - not for many years has a motion of any substance been passed.
So what of the republican aim of a united Ireland? The economic runaway boom time period of the Celtic Tiger was always a bubble waiting to burst, for such development was unsustainable. I cannot see how having already endured four years of crippling austerity measures, the emigration of almost one million of its inhabitants in the past twelve months alone and yet worse austerity measures in the pipeline will assist Irish Republicanism unless Republicans, leftwing political organisations and progressive workers join together to present a united front against the European Union and the remnants of British colonial rule in the six counties of the north.
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