7. May, 2018


Effie Deans with a brilliant piece dismantling the ugly anti-British prejudice of Irish nationalism.

A quote: "The essence of the problem between Ireland and the UK is that while the Brits tend to look kindly on Ireland, the Irish tend to view Britain with hostility. It is this that is fundamentally behind the diplomatic difficulties at the moment. If there were good will, the border would not cause much of a problem, but there is very little good will at all coming from the Republic.

The reason for this was very ably illustrated to me the other day, when I pointed out on Twitter that if it had not been for the Brits, the Irish today would be speaking a language (Irish), that could be understood nowhere outside of Ireland apart from perhaps in the Outer Hebrides. This was met with fury, even though it is self-evidently true. Irish people overwhelmingly speak English as natives, because for many centuries they were ruled from London. If you don’t think it’s an advantage to speak English as a native speaker, then by all means cease doing so. It wouldn’t bother me in the slightest if the whole population of Ireland spoke Irish and only Irish, but it might hinder your trade rather more than Brexit.

No doubt great wrongs were done in Ireland. But frankly great wrongs were done in Britain too and throughout Europe. The nobles conquered and the peasants suffered. Kingdoms expanded and contracted. Wars were fought. But you weren’t the only victims. It wasn’t Irish people alone in Europe who suffered from famine. The ordinary Brit had no more say in who ruled him than the ordinary Irish person. Each could die for a stupid reason or because it was the whim of someone more powerful. We are not at a fault for every bad thing that ever happened in Ireland. Get over it. No-one now was alive when the New Model Army crushed you. We don’t even blame present day Germans for the sins of their grandparents, but you would blame us for what happened between 1649 and 1653 as if it happened yesterday.

Lots of Brits moved to Ireland during the period when we were joined together. But then again in prehistoric times Brits were the first settlers in Ireland, and you repaid us the compliment by first sending the Scoti to settle in Scotland and then during the nineteenth century moving here en masse. Many Scots moved to Ulster in the seventeenth century and their descendants still form a majority there. But if Scottish Protestants were planted in Ulster, is it equally correct to say that Irish Catholics were planted in Glasgow or Boston? We have been moving between our two islands since history began. When do we have plantation and when do we have the benefits of migration?

The failure of Irish nationalism is that it could never take with it the whole of Ireland. The reason for this is that it has zero appeal for Ulster Protestants, for the simple reason that they are still treated as if their presence is unwelcome. They are still settlers more than three hundred years after they settled. The Irish treat unionists as if they arrived on the Windrush fifty years ago and should jolly well go home. Until the Irish cease to hate the Brits they will have no chance whatsoever of having a united peaceful Ireland because those Brits live in Northern Ireland and why would they want to be part of a state where they are hated?

What have the Brits ever done for us? Well out of all of the most notable Irish people I can think of the vast majority were descendants of the British. That is what we did for you, even though you hate us for doing it...

My family were from Ireland. Some of them are still there. My grandfather was Anglo-Irish and he found it rather tough to remain in the land of his birth because of the prejudice he encountered at the time of Irish independence. But he didn’t blame Ireland for anything, rather he always loved it. He made a successful life here in Britain. You see, when you spend your whole life blaming someone else it give you a wonderful excuse for failure. If you give someone a reason to fail by always blaming someone else, do not be surprised when they grasp at failure and embrace it. It is this above all else that hinders Ireland.

Britain remained friendly towards Ireland even when you bombed us, even when you blame us and even when you hate us. Blaming us for everything damages you, not us. We moved on a long time ago. We find your hatred rather baffling, but we are used to it and quite indifferent to it. Most Brits no longer even notice you (did they really elect Dame Edna to be their Prime Minister? We shrug quite unaware of whether Fine this or Fine that or indeed Fine Fair is the party that you chose).

But your hatred of Britain damages not merely your relations with the UK. It means that you can’t quite join the Anglosphere. The “five eyes” of Canada, UK, USA, NZ and Australia, have a trust and friendship that means we cooperate in security. But Irish hatred of Britain means we could never quite trust you. To whom would you divulge a shared secret just to get back at the land that gave birth to Cromwell? It’s you that loses from this, not us.

Accept who you are. Every Irish person is to a lesser or greater extent a mix of the British and the Irish. Hating the British is simply a rather odd way of hating yourself.

The chippiness on the Irish shoulder has damaged relations between our islands for too long. Most Brits have Irish ancestors, most Irish have Brits in their family tree. We are the most closely related countries in Europe. Let us work together and accept that for all our faults we are what we are because of each other. If we could overcome the hostility we might just find a mutually beneficial way of living together."

There is something dispiritingly similar about Irish nationalism and Scottish nationalism. This is n