April 20, 2015

English nationalism could result in a united Ireland

Posted in Sunday Business Post · 53 comments ·

Birmingham is many things, but as a city to visit, I have yet to find its attraction. It is home to one of the biggest Irish populations in Britain. In the pretty run-down inner suburbs of south Birmingham, the Kerryman and the Dubliner pubs face each other on either side of the road from the airport. When my dad was a kid during World War II, most of the working population of Dun Laoghaire worked full time – but they worked full time in Birmingham not Dublin. Much to Mr de Valera’s chagrin, they worked in the factories of the RAF producing planes for the eventual Allied victory over Germany.

Most stayed on after the war and Birmingham absorbed one-third of the 500,000 Irish people who emigrated to England in the 1950s. In fact, the one really compelling tourist attraction in Birmingham, the canal tour, owes its existence to Irish workers.

The network of canals in Birmingham built in the Industrial Revolution spawned the term “navvies” to describe Irish workers. “Navvies” is short for the term navigators, and it was used to describe the soaking wet Irish builders who waded through the freezing water to dig the canals – the navigators who navigated the canal and never saw the sea.

The Birmingham they built was destroyed by German bombers as the Luftwaffe tried to flatten England’s industrial capacity in 1940-41 and, architecturally, the place hasn’t really recovered. Today, it is a vibrant, unbelievably multicultural place where the Irish form one proud section of a diverse ethnic quilt and it was Birmingham, not London that spawned the first popular multi-ethnic band in Britain, the Specials.

In this multicoloured city, where “going for a curry” is the local dish for everyone, it seemed odd to be discussing nationalism, yet nationalism has taken Britain by storm and it perplexes lots of the natives – who’ve never really contemplated what “Britishness” means until recently. Yet on Friday, here in the epicentre of the west midlands, former home to Britain’s formidable car industry, the upcoming election is making many people nervous.

The British are not used to coalitions and they are not used to nationalism either. The surge of nationalist and by definition, anti-British parties, is forcing the two big beasts the Conservatives and Labour to contemplate deals. These deals will have significant ramifications for Ireland, yet they are hardly being discussed in the media here.

The common thread in both nationalistic narratives is referendums. The first one is a re-run of the Scottish referendum, which the rampant SNP will demand if they hold the balance of power and twist the arm of Labour.

The second referendum will be the one on Britain leaving the EU and this is being driven by English nationalism and will be introduced by the Tories who could be propped up by Ukip and the DUP.

One thing is clear from the polls. If the Tories lead the next government, there will be a referendum on Britain staying in the EU and if Labour lead the next government there will be another referendum on Scotland leaving Britain.

In terms of what follows what, if Labour wins and Scotland leaves, following a referendum, the rump Britain of a withered union of England, Wales and Northern Ireland will almost definitely leave the EU in time. This is because of the political dynamic of the Scotland defeat. One form of nationalism tends to fuel counter-nationalism and if the Scottish leave, the English will want to have their say.

Unlike the Scots, whose target is Westminster, the focus of English nationalists’ ire is Brussels.

The fact that the Scots and the English have much more in common with each other than they have with anyone else matters not. Nationalism is a strange beast that gives the permission for miniscule differences between both close tribes to be amplified to the point where they become unbridgeable.

This development is what Sigmund Freud referred to as “the narcissism of small differences” – something we know all about in Ireland.

Speaking to investors on Friday, I was surprised at how concerned they were about the chances of a complete disintegration of Britain. Up to now, the average English person never really contemplated what it might be like to live in a post-British England. It seems far too extreme.

However, this is the thing about crises, whether they be political or economic: before the crisis, radical change seems just that, radical. However, as the crisis gathers pace, what was formerly radical becomes mainstream and what was mainstream becomes redundant.

In Ireland, we saw this shift happen in the two years between 1916 and 1918. Who is to say something like this could not happen in Britain in the next few years?

If Scotland left Britain, how long could the North remain in a union of Wales and England? Five years? Ten years?

Wouldn’t it be amazing if the 26-county Irish Republic on the 100th anniversary of the Rising were forced to contemplate seriously the implication of the 32-county state aspired to by Pearse and his lot, not because of the success of Irish nationalism, but because of the triumph of English nationalism?

  1. This is a political essay that should have been concluded with an economic agenda and we readers were denied that .

    The Elephant in the room was omitted namely becoming a member of the British Commonwealth . This inclusion would have made this essay an economic debate .

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hi John and David,

      “The Elephant in the room….joining the common wealth”.

      That’s not the Elephant in the room. The elephant in the room is the northern unionists. They don’t want to join up with Eire and this article hasn’t consider the status quo from their perspective.

      Nationalism is the result of failed economics. In the case of the UK it was the workshop of the world in the 19th century. And of course it was looted by feaudilists and financiers.

      “Wouldn’t it be amazing if the 26-county Irish Republic on the 100th anniversary of the Rising were forced to contemplate seriously the implication of the 32-county state aspired to by Pearse and his lot, not because of the success of Irish nationalism, but because of the triumph of English nationalism?”

      It is not the triumph of english nationalism but the failure of
      of the top down ideologically driven nutjobs to enforce one failed policy after another on a sheepish and disinterested european population from monetarism qe etc to USE etc etc. which will drive the dynamic in Ireland.

      What’s happening in the UK is the same as everywhere else. The centre isn’t holding. This is forcing the left and right parties in the UK as it has done here and everywhere else to go into coalition to keep out in our case the sinn feiners and in the UK case the ukip from the corridors of power.

      The UK will eventually only be England and NI. The IRA bombing campaign was the greatest own goal in Irish History. When the good friday agreement was signed from that point forward Ireland was partitioned because the people of Ireland said so. Prior to that it was the UK imposed Government of Ireland act of 1920 NOT THE TREATY which had partitioned Ireland.

      Basically the UK became a nation of money lenders and outsourced manufacturing at the end of the industrial revolution. It bankrupted itself fighting two world wars against a country who held onto theirs. This country is now as it has always been the driving force in Europe. The mighty Germans.

      We need more than ever David a citizen owned currency to trade with England and Wales and Scotland if the whole UK goes tits up. I am working on a newer iteration of my idea in this regard since the flaws in my first attempt were exposed here on the board.



  2. Colin

    I’m gonna vote UKIP. UKIP are the only honest politicians left. Tories have already succumbed to political correctness nonsense. Farage is right to question why the NHS pays for the expensive healthcare of economic migrants with HIV which costs £25,000 per annum and finds reasons not to pay for routine healthcare for people who have contributed to the funding of the NHS all their working lives?

    If some people want migrants to get free HIV treatment, then I suggest that they pool their own private donations into a fund and pay the NHS directly, if they feel that strongly about it. But I would guess they won’t do that, they prefer to ask the Treasury to put its hand into my pocket and take money out of it to pay for it.

    • bluegalway

      I’m also going over specifically to vote UKIP (I’ve dual nationality).
      Given the chance, I’d vote twice for UKIP. Anti EU and anti- mass immigration parties are not limited to reasons of austerity. It has little to do with austerity, as can be seen where it’s happening in countries in Western Europe where is there little or no austerity. It is about the mass import of unrecognisable ethnicities and cultures into our countries, where the native peoples were never asked if they wanted it.
      It is being engineered by Big Business (low wages), egged on by a supine, politically-correct (Left Wing) mainstream media, which have the ear of mostly corruptible politicians in Brussels.
      Soon time for the sans-cullottes.

      • DiarmaidM

        I love the idea of someone who is clearly an immigrant somewhere (Britain or Ireland) going to the effort and expense of a visit to Britain to fight immigration.

        • Colin


          Nigel Farage and most of the English do not view the Irish as foreigners – we are viewed as one of the home nations, and are welcome to come and go at any time. This relationship of freedom of movement of people between the two islands pre-dates the EU, EEC membership, WW2, WW1 and beyond the Act of Union 1801. The rural tenant class in Ireland knew they would get paid double in England for the same labour they did in Ireland in the nineteenth century.

          So, you can chew on that idea and even love it if you like.

          • DiarmaidM

            Yes, I had forgotten how well the Irish always got on in Britain. We were the dirty immigrants in the past just like those who came from the West Indies and from India were too. Many of them are now against the latest immigrants just as the Irish in America are against new immigration there. It’s a cycle – once your group get in, get settled and feel they have something to lose then they see the next wave as a challenge to that. I have no doubt that there are plenty of Poles in the UK and Ireland who don’t want people from Africa coming in.

          • Colin


            I’ll let you into a secret…. The sober Irish always did well in England. The drunken Irish never did well, and it was the great number of drunken Irish in the 50s that generated the ‘no blacks, no dogs, no Irish’ reaction signs on the guesthouses up and down England.

        • bluegalway

          DiarmaidM – As McWilliams has pointed out before, we are all Atlantic races on these islands.
          And talking of ethnicity, all the people on the marketing and advertising for ‘The Gathering’ had a very distinctive look.
          And I bet you thought the whole thing was a great idea.

  3. bluegalway

    On the BBC on Sunday, David Cameron – first in History from Oxford – said of a Labour/SNP coalition: ““This would be the first time in our history that a group of nationalists from one part of our country would be involved in altering the direction of our country, and I think that is a frightening prospect.”

    That statement showed a lack of knowledge about Redmond’s Irish Parliamentary Party acting as the tail wagging the dog after the 1910 Westminster elections.
    It also happened twice in the 25 years before that.
    History repeats itself – Dublin 1916….Glasgow 2016?

    ps. Nationalism is rising in England due to mass immigration.
    Birmingham has a population of 1.2 million – bigger than Dublin, and it is set to be a MINORITY white city by the end of this decade. If it was an African or Asian country there would have been mass riots by now. This is happening all over western Europe. No wonder the natives are getting restless.

  4. The Trident EU Base will be located near Foynes together with a new EU Naval Base. Infrastructure is already agreed.

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hi John,

      Is this information for real?

      • New Motorway directly to Foynes to be agreed this year and completed soon….this is the start

        • Mine are pitchy pars guillotined from the waste paper baskets in Brussels and glued with vision.

          • jfcassidy95

            Little unsure what you mean about the ‘pitchy pars’.

            I cannot see a military relation developing with the EU.
            Medium long term my feeling is that we will edge further away from the Euro and EU (not least for reasons articulated by David above), and kindle more expansive relationships south and west. As the axis of the EU moves further east, the more isolated we become as well as John Bull’s Island.

  5. Good grief, it’s like Nuremberg in here today

  6. Maybe if someone as mad as Charlie was in charge, but I suspect even he wouldn’t touch the idea with a barge pole.

  7. Deco

    Actually, the elephant in the room – is debt.

    And Britain has an enormous amount of debt. And Britain needs to be very careful about the management of it’s finances.

    The SNP are probably correct about the costs of UK involvement in policing the world. Except it helps Britain sell weaponry to unsavoury regimes in the Middle East. But the rest of the SNP approach to economics is NOT grounded in economic reality. There simply is no money available to pay for SNP promises.

    Therefore the greatest disaster that could affect Ireland’s precarious “economy-sitting-on-a-debt-mountain” is Britain doing something really stupid with debt. And that is exactly what Nicola Sturgeon’s economic manifesto is pushing.

    The SNP will spend their way into losing Scottish independence. They are NOT mature enough, or rational enough to run an economy. They would turn Scotland into “boom and bust”. They simply have not grasped the concept of responsibility. [ neither for that matter have the BLP or the Con-Dem Coalition Party]

    The SNP are advocating what Kunstler called “Something for Nothing politics”, on an even more absurd scale than anybody else. They are bonkers.

    Does Ireland have a plan B for what happens if the SNP prop up a BLP PM who is curiously inadequate at serious decision making ?

  8. Deco

    Concerning a 32 county Ireland.

    It would mean imposing a chronically inept, inefficient, unaccountable, mismanaged state system in Dublin, on a chronically inept, dysfunctional, fear obsessed populace in six additional counties.

    And as preparation for this transition, there would probably be more demands to make that inept, dysfunctional, unaccountable, mismanaged state system even more dysfunctional, inept, and control freakish for the transition to be a success !!

    In other words it would be a living hell.

    If we were to have a 32 county state system, we would have to federalize authority on a scale that everybody who is currently in the authority business in Ireland would not tolerate.

    And that is before we see the usual manipulation of the debate by vested interests like IBEC, the public sector unions, the media, and the like.

    • Deco

      When West Germany merged/took over the DDR, it took 25 years to achieve the job. And there are still serious problems in the former DDR.

      But there was enthusiasm to make it work, and throw the legacy of the past behind, and build a common future.

      In NI, there are one million people who regard it as form of respectability to still continually reliving the Battle of the Boyne, the Battle of the Somme etc.. with militaristic marching bands, etc. There is an absurd commitment to being in reverse gear.

      They are intellectually screwed up. In the media it seems that the “answer” is that the society in the rest of the island becomes more like the North. This is absolutely unworkable. You cannot turn the whole island into a parasitic mentality, and expect matters to take care of themselves.

      The biggest head-scratcher of all will be NI. The Conservatives want them to get on a path of paying their way. The SNP seem to have no sympathy for them. And LP are not happy with the tribalism.

      And regardless of what the politicians down here say, Leinster will not want to subsidize them in addition to banks, vested interests etc..

      A 32 state is completely unworkable. If the Irish Institutional state cannot reform itself to get out of bankruptcy, then it will run away from taking on bailing out NI as well.

      And that is before we examine the potential of the state here to go back into bankruptcy again.

  9. Deco

    I find it fascinating that the public debate, in advance of the UK election, has avoided any discussion about debt.

    The media in Britain are pretending that there is no debt crisis. Yet there has been a debt crisis building in Britain every year since John Major got replaced. Major left Britain in good shape. In his aftermath came chancers.

    • paddythepig

      True. John Major was a very good prime minister who never got the credit he deserved. Blair & Brown were a disaster, UK’s equivalent of Bertie & Biffo. B & B …

  10. Howya lads. Wrote a comment, thrown in ‘moderation queue’. I thought you could have two web-links in a comment without going in the sin-bin? Anyway, that’s Part 1 of 2. My final comment on this website, for old time’s sake.


  11. Let’s try again, splitting comment as follows:

    Part 1:

    OK. Red flag to a bull. John Bull. Bullshit. I am forced to break radio silence to address the numerous calumnies in this article. However, I have The Mother And Father Of All Hangovers after painting the town (city) claret and blue last night with ‘the lads’ after AVFC’s sensational victory over Liverpool. I’m BCFC, with a side order of BrummieGooner, but last night, everybody was ecstatic that the FA Cup won’t, for once, end up in Liverpool or Manchester. Even my mates in the Red Army are clear: so long as it’s an epic match, there’s no bad outcom. Anyway! A few brief bullet points, bullets to put this article out of it’s misery then I’ll return later when the alka-seltzer has done the business. [Edit: Done it all in one blast]

    Birmingham, and the wider Mercia region could, would, and should have become the capital of England, if it wasn’t for rest of Britain conspiring in various treacheries. Lets start with how the genius of James Brindley set out the route-map.

    “Brindley believed it would be possible to use canals to link the four great rivers of England: the Mersey, Trent, Severn and Thames (the “Grand Cross” scheme).”


    The canal network was the start. If the railways and motorways had followed his visionary genius, then Brum would, indeed, be the epicentre of England. Please note that this didn’t, doesn’t and won’t invalidate London’s role as a trade-bridge to the Rhine, Ruhr, Pas De Calais, Paris, etc. But there’s absolutely no reason other than whinging from Jocks, Taffies and the rest why Trent (Grimsby-Hull) couldn’t also have blossomed into an east-facing hub for the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia. And Liverpool (Mersey-Ireland, America) and Bristol (Severn-Ireland, America) could also have developed into thriving mini-metropolises.

  12. It wasn’t just the Luffwaffe who bombed Birmingham, it’s been the explicit policy of the British elites for centuries. Anyone doubting that please read this article entitled “How To Kill A City”:
    Birmingham itself was second only to London for the creation of new jobs between 1951 and 1961. Unemployment in Birmingham between 1948 and 1966 rarely exceeded 1%, and only exceeded 2% in one year. By 1961 household incomes in the West Midlands were 13% above the national average, exceeding even than those of London and the South East.

    Declaring the growth in population and employment within Birmingham to be a “threatening situation”, the incoming Labour Government of 1964 sought “to control the growth of office accommodation in Birmingham and the rest of the Birmingham conurbation before it got out of hand, in the same way as they control the growth of industrial employment”. Although the City Council had encouraged service sector expansion during the late 1950s and early 1960s, central government extended the Control of Office Employment Act 1965 to the Birmingham conurbation from 1965, effectively banning all further office development for almost two decades.

    Up until the 1930s it had been a basic assumption of Birmingham’s leaders that their role was to encourage the city’s growth. Post-war national governments, however, saw Birmingham’s accelerating economic success as a damaging influence on the stagnating economies of the North of England, Scotland and Wales, and saw its physical expansion as a threat to its surrounding areas – “from Westminster’s point of view was too large, too prosperous, and had to be held in check”.

    A series of measures, starting with the Distribution of Industry Act 1945, aimed to prevent industrial growth in the “Congested Areas” – essentially the booming cities of London and Birmingham – instead encouraging the dispersal of industry to the economically stagnant “Development Areas” in the north and west. The West Midlands Plan, commissioned by the Minister for Town and Country Planning from Patrick Abercrombie and Herbert Jackson in 1946, set Birmingham a target population for 1960 of 990,000, far less than its actual 1951 population of 1,113,000.

    This meant that 220,000 people would have to leave the city over the following 14 years, that some of the city’s industries would have to be removed, and that new industries would need to be prevented from establishing themselves in the city. By 1957 the council had explicitly accepted that it was obliged “to restrain the growth of population and employment potential within the city.”


    • Welcome to the revolutionary implications of ‘Mercianomics’ ! “We are the youngest city in Europe, with under 25s accounting for nearly 40% of our population.” Unlike the dire demographics of Dublin, for instance. Brum will reap all the economic benefits and possibilities which that population sure suggests ‘going forward’, whether or not HS2 happens. Though if it does, it probably won’t go beyond Birmingham, why would it? As HS2-Brum would create the Tokyo-Osaka megacity with a few silly Green Belt holdouts. Birmingham and Bristol are becoming synergistic via the M5. Nottingham is another powerhouse. Mark Carney understands all this:

      UK should follow the West Midlands’ lead, says Mark Carney


      The attraction of Birmingham which the author failed to decode is the culture. The resolute debunking of airs and graces, the mordant wit and wisdom. As Hitler found out, you can bomb a city, but not a culture of resistance. And Birmingham will resist any further bleating and special interest pleading from the Celtic fringes. Scotland claims to be a country, but why should a country have more influence and power than a region or a city state? And Mercia was once the most powerful tribal kingdom on the island of Britain. There’s no reason why it can’t be reborn. In fact, that’s what I’m planning. Europe can drop dead, too. The idea that Britain needs to be in Europe makes as much sense as saying Japan needs to join currencies with China. Sheer nonsense.

      It’s worth remembering that Padraig Pearse’s father, James, was an Atheist from Birmingham. And the BBC2 ‘magical-realist re-imagining’ of my home hood, Small Heath is as much about the Feinian Shire Irish as it is about Brummies. The real Brummies are ready to rise up. Again. They don’t suffer fools gladly, whether it’s a Royal or Winston Churchill. Let London have it’s ridiculous ponzi housing scheme. When it all comes crashing down, we’ll be LOLing in our moderately prices suburban dream homes.

      I spent 10 days in Amsterdam in January for some Kraftwerk shows and a blast of Van Gogh. It’s a deeply boring city compared to Birmingham, full of fossilised relics and tiresome weekender tourists. It’s finished. Dublin is also largely boring now after the latest wave of emmigrants robbed it of youthful energy. What’s so fantastic about Birmingham as a base for operations is your as near to London as any sane person would want to be but can be at the Welsh coast in equal travel time, or less. Cities aren’t about gormless tourists wandering around looking at historical detritus that mean nothing to them other than to tick off a list. They are about culture,humour and ‘soul’.

      The implications for the island of Ireland in discussing the future rise of Birmingham is as follows. The SNP insist that they have the right to a nation-state free of what they simplistically label English hegemony. However, Scotland is bifurcated between the Celtic west and the Edinburgh North Britons. ‘England’ is also a mosaic. The SNP couldn’t give a toss about poor people in ex-industrial areas of ‘England’ and now plan to hold the ‘English’ Neu-Labour party to ransom to avoid a second referendum, or ‘neverendum’ as folk in Quebec label this phenomenon. If Scotland can assert the right to a separate state on the island of Britain, what are the implications for the North of Ireland on the island of Ireland? Irish war-lords invaded Britain and took St Patrick hostage and also invaded Scotland, and on and on and on. Presumably, the North of the island of Ireland would have to decide whether to join the Republic Of Ireland with it’s lamentable 100 year history of obsequiously bowing to Rome first, now Brussels, Paris and Berlin. Or to create and independent state. Like Scotland aspires to. However, ‘Geography Is NOT destiny’, certainly not in the C21st. I will be prosecuting a revolutionary agenda of a mosaic of federerated republics consisting of regions and city-states on the island of Britain, free of Norman Royalist hegemony, though they can be part of it if they want or admit they are actually a foreign power called The City Of London on this island.

      I’m kind of done with the whole Irish heritage malarkey, now full-on World Citizen like Adam Abyss of this parish. Ireland no longer exists other than as a tourist relic, having sold it’s soul to yet another foreign power. I’m glad my Mom and Dad fled ‘The Emergency’. I have great love for Laois-Kilkenny and culchie Garth Brooks culture, but other than that, I’m just tired of all the excuses for selling the ordinary Irish citizen into debt peonage like some sort of Biblical disaster.

      If I’d known the celebrated author-economist, David McWilliams, was in Brum, I’d have camped out to get his autograph! [sulks. raises eyebrow] What a shame. Oh, well. Maybe one day I’ll actually get to meet this mysterious, reclusive celebrity.[LOLs!] Oh, David, The Specials came from Coventry, not Brum, though the anti-racist 2-Tone-ism did actually start with the Zulu Warriors on the terraces of BCFC. You could get yourself in serious trouble in Coventry is you insinuate they are part of Brum. Ditto Wolvo.

      I was going to return here with a new name, my confirmation name of George-Patrick, but as I say, I’m bored of all this nonsense argumentation about a failed state previously known as The Republic Of Ireland. It was lovely to meet some of you in Dublin and Kilkenny and if you’re ever in Brum, get in touch and I’ll show you the mysterious hidden Dantean levels of the most important city in human history after Babylon. But it’s a bit like The Matrix movie, red-pill/blue-pill. David was probably with some eejits at the Convention Centre.

      Enough! I need a slash and a cup of tea to ease my throbbing head. Arsenal vs AVFC, whoever wins, so long as it’s a great game, it’s irrelevant. Ditto the troubled history and current relationship between these Isles of Wonder, Ireland and Britain. It’s time to up the ante and start shaking the habitual.

      With every good wish
      AndrewGMooney aka ‘MadPaddyFromBrum’ aka “BrummieBoy”

      “I’ve been dreaming of a time when, the English, are sick to death of Labour and Tory, and spit upon the name of Cromwell. And denounce this Royal line who still salute him, will they salute him forever” ‘Irish Blood, English Heart’ Morrissey

      “There’s a country, you don’t live there. But one day you would like to. And if you show them what you’re made of,Ah, then you might do.” ‘The National Front Disco’ Morrissey

      • cooldude

        Very interesting history of Brum Andrew and like all your posts very amusing. I have come to the same conclusion as regards becoming a world citizen although it is difficult to get there with all the 1916 wrap the green flag around me balloney going on here at the moment. It is difficult to keep a calm detachment from all this nonsense but it is worth it. Gandhi is a far superior role model than Pearse with his love of blood sacrifice which bordered on the looney side. Anyway keep posting Andrew under whatever name you like. Always appreciated.

        • That’s very kind of you,cooldude.

          The horrors of the Nazi bombings were followed by deliberate sabotage by civil servants, politicians and ‘architects’, but Birmingham will never accept defeat. The first episode of ‘Peaky Blinders’ has Winston Churchill turning up at Moor Street station to quell an insurrection of communists and feminists in my home suburb, Small Heath. They were pissed after WW1 and wanted change. They burnt pictures of the King in the streets but the media never reported it. When the Paddies arrived it was an unbelievable, amazing place. In Sparkhill next door, there were 10,000 people at mass on a Sunday. Then 21 November 1974 happened and it all went tits-up. The worst decision the IRA ever made was to take on Birmingham but all that’s healed now. Most 2nd generation, like me, remember the good stuff and just ditch the absolute bollocks that is the conventional narrative of 1916 till now. The Brits have their Queen, the Irish have had a line of delusional, corrupt Taoiseachs, clan lords who, like Haughey would have made royals of themselves if they could have. The idea of the current shower of FF/FG/SF eejits having anything to do with it is sheer effrontery, but it doesn’t upset me anymore as I said goodbye to it all in Glasnevin last summer. I no longer define myself as ‘Irish’, ‘British’ or ‘English’. It makes sense that immigrants from all over the ex-Empire come to Britain, after all the Brits turned up without explanation all over the world. LOL! In Small Heath now, it’s not Peaky Blinders or Paddy Blinders, it’s Punjabi Blinders and they’re going through exactly the cultural dislocation that we all did. I hope it all works out, but I’m in an idyll in The Shire so it’s easy for me to be optimistic and ignore the many problems of the city.

          I see the UK disintegrating and that is a good thing. The Scots will be complaining until they leave, then they’ll complain even more. Enough of their nonsense. The first oil find in South England suggests there may be more elsewhere so that will probably give rise to calls for an independent Wessex. And on it will go.

          Ireland has decided to be Europa’s slave, so there really isn’t much more to discuss about the failed dream of an independent Ireland. It doesn’t exist and within a decade of ECB dictates it will be just another satrapy of the EU Empire. I suppose there’s an outlier chance that the centenary of 1916 will give rise to a cultural and political resistance to Europa hegemony, but I doubt it. It will now have to wait until the EU/ECB vanity projects collapse in one of the coming financial crises, giving a strong leader the chance to make a last-ditch bid to save the soul of Ireland by leaving the EU/ECB and joining a patchwork of independent nations with their own Sovereignty and currency, including whatever mosaic of tribes formulates on this island of Britain.

          After this article I won’t be posting here again as I have a new ‘autofiction’ after ‘AndrewGMooney’. I think it might be amusing, but it’s under wraps for now. ‘AndrewGMooney’ isn’t me, it’s an Autofictional hyper-exaggeration, but things are so crazy in life that just being a ‘normal’ person doesn’t cut it anymore, especially online. I’m of to Copenhagen for a few weeks/months soon. I see things in Danish culture that are simply light years ahead of anything on these islands, particularly humour, so I want a piece of the action. And remember, the Danes built Dublin! Thanks to you all for fantastic fun over the years, but it’s time to say goodbye. I’m glad you were amused, ‘cooldude’ because that’s my next project. Comedy. I think I can take it further than Frank Hvam, but we’ll see.

          Good luck everyone.


          “Hello, my name is Frank Hvam – Autofictional humor in the Danish TV series Klovn”


    • corkie

      The subjugation of Birmingham is also evident on Google maps. Their UK map (at a scale that gets the whole counry on your screen) notes such lesser centres as Derby, Scunthorpe, Srewsbury, Leicester and Corby. But Birmingham is curiously absent. The reason why (yes there is one) is perhaps a lesson. Sometimes being in the middle of everything has it’s disadvantages.

  13. DB4545


    It’s good to get your perspective Andrew so don’t go anywhere and most of what you say is true but can you edit please life is too short. Brum can’t be the centre of the universe because whatever the wit or other merits of its inhabitants that accent is woeful. I can listen all day to cockneys or geordies or that nice west country burr but I’m afraid the West Midland accent is pure torture on the ears. I don’t know which was worse the Luftwaffe bombing the place or giving its inhabitants that accent.

    On a different note I don’t want to see our next door neighbour falling apart. We’ve had enough nonsense with nationalism in our recent history and it certainly doesn’t serve the common man. As Brendan Behan said it doesn’t matter if it’s the lion and the unicorn or a harp on your eviction notice. Maybe it’s time to think about a Federal Republic of the North West Atlantic Islands, we’ve more in common than the petty bullshit that is used to separate us.


    • I’m a trained stenographer. I type and post, it’s up to anyone else to scan and focus on anything of interest. Learn to speed read!

      Birmingham IS indeed the centre of the universe, or at least the epicentre of the birth of the Industrial Revolution, the spin-offs of which are now threatening to destroy this planet.

      The accent is a force-field to keep out intruders or to banjax their attempts to appropriate the culture. This has been going on since 1066 when the Normans first tried to quell Mercia. The current accent is another act of Resistance against the Normans and especially effective in limit the refugees fleeing Shoreditch and Clerkenwell who might otherwise over-run the emerging digital-cultural hub around places like the Custard Factory in Digbeth. It’s light, precise engineering innovation that’s the future of this emerging hub.

      The accent is ancient and has morphed over centuries, particularly with the input of the Shire Irish who were shipped over to English Norman/Saxon war-lords by Irish Norman/Saxon war-lords. From Cork, Waterford and Wexford, to Bristol and Cardiff, the Shire Irish were then swept off their hobbit homes in the Shire and driven into the cauldron of Mordor, when the industrial revolution began. The accent hardened to tune in with the metallurgy of the technologies that built the canals, roads and railways, ending up with Ozzie Osbourne as World Ambassador until the recent arrival of Cillian Murphy as the Shire Irish lead star of ‘Peaky Blinders’.

      We don’t want you to like our accent. We don’t want to be gentrified to death by Norman Southern public school phags. We have Shakespeare, Tolkien, Black Sabbath and….me! Name another culture that can compete? It doesn’t exist, though Ireland comes close.

      I can see a North West Atlantic Islands federation of the Isles of Wonder, including Iceland and the Faroes. Denmark kept it’s currency and culture so they’re in too, even though Jutland is technically a peninsular. Newfoundland will probably join at some stage and, who knows, maybe Barbados. Sadly, Ireland has decided to abandon all ambitions of authentic nationhood and has twice voted to submit to domination by foreign powers in Europe. The Lisbon Treaty was probably your last chance for freedom, barring revolution after a future economic collapse. Which may well happen.

      Thanks for the invitation to stay but my work here is done. I see no purpose in commenting on the affairs of my ancestral tribal homeland under the current conditions of egregious betrayal. I want the fictions of The British and England to collapse. And I also want the fiction of Ireland to disintegrate in a culchie uprising expressing revulsion at the betrayal of not just 1916 but every decent person who gave so much for the dream of a free culture, currency and nation. Your reference to Brendan Behan is apposite.

      I won’t be monitoring this thread for further replies as I have to crack on with learning Danish. I’ll leave you with a 4 minute video showing how Shakespeare spoke ‘Shire Irish’, not Norman Received Pronunciation. The influx of culchies fleeing persecution in Ireland for the bliss of The Shire has been going on for centuries. My parents came in the 50s, more will come when Ireland collapses in the next crisis. Here’s ‘Shakespeare On Toast’ which compares the Norman appropriation of Shakespeare with the Original Pronunciation of The Shire. You will hear Irish and Devonian and all the other elements of the 400 year old accent that morphed into modern Brummie. As I say, we have Shakespeare, what has anywhere else in the world got to compete with Shakespeare, Sabbath, Tolkien and…..’AndrewGMooney’? I hope one day my culchie ancestral home of Osraige will Rise up against the Normans from Kilkenny Castle who now hide in D4, but until then….we Mercians will carry on with our covert rebellion which is signified and communicated by our accent.

      Thanks again, and goodbye to all of ye!


      “May the road rise with you
      May the road rise with you
      May the road rise with you
      May the road rise with you

      Anger is an energy
      Anger is an energy
      Anger is an energy

      Public Image Limited – “Rise”

      “Ben Crystal, actor & author of Shakespeare on Toast discusses the differences between performing Shakespeare in Received Pronunciation, and in the accent of Shakespeare’s time, Original Pronunciation…”

      RP vs OP – Shakespeare on Toast


  14. Praetorian

    Pertinent article.

    The political consequences for Ireland of what looks like the inevitable breakup of Britain could possibly be a united Ireland, however, the flip side may also be a Westminster inclined to hold N. Ireland in the face of Scottish independence. Ultimately the fate of N. Ireland will be decided by the people who live there as agreed by the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent all-Ireland referendum.

    The economic consequences of interest to Ireland would be the impact of a) Scottish independence (& break-up of Britain) and b) a yes vote to England/Wales exiting the EU given the extensive trade between Ireland and Britain.

    The comparison with Ireland’s period 1916-1918 is an interesting one, a couple of years which saw rapid political change, but then that was the case for so many countries and Imperial entities in Europe during that time with at least 3 monarchies permanently removed from the scene (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia).

    Britain’s geographical decline, started in the post-WWII period looks set to continue, which the the major world powers must be following. This seems further confirmed by a shrinking army (down from 102,000 to 85,000). England may well look to its abilities such as political support for the US, geographical location, intelligence gathering structures, the role of the City, research and development capability and Commonwealth structure to make up for any perceived decline.

  15. Grzegorz Kolodziej

    David’s article correctly identified two trends we can observe in British politics: Scottish nationalism which may potentially pair up with Labour (even though Mr. Miliband opposed the idea of the next referendum Scottish during the leaders debate) and English nationalism which may potentially lead up to England’s withdrawal from the EU. He stops short of considering further consequences of those two referenda by concluding that wouldn’t it be amazing if the 32-county state emerged because of the triumph of English nationalism.

    32-county state is a great vision which I support. However, what intrigues me even more than the possibility that it may be the result of English nationalism but the fact that so much time is invested in talking about that being a political goal and so little on thinking of how this 32-county state should be organised and what foreign policy should it pursue.

    The first obvious problem the united Ireland will encounter is how to assimilate the loyalists within its borders and, should they not want to assimilate, what’s next? I have been listening carefully to Sinn Fein’s statements for a decade (hay, I even went to one of their televised meetings in 2006 when Mr. Adams expanded south of the border) and I have never heard of any serious answers to that question. All there was were some platitudes that everyone will be equal in united Ireland. Very well, except what if the loyalists do not want to be in Ireland, what if things go the Ukrainian or Yugoslavian way and they want to separate in areas where there is a majority of them? Mind you, they will refer to democracy and self-determination so it is far from certain that the public opinion in the world will not be on their side (just think of Kosovo).

    There are two basic ways of going about the expanding country – the nationalist approach and the imperial approach. The imperial approach would be to expand and create a federal state comprising of different nations – the dominant Irish and the Ulster Scots ruled by Dublin or perhaps even the confederation of Ireland and Scotland.

    The independent Ireland has only one tradition: that of nationalism. This is fine as long as you do not have to make a decision whether to include or exclude a larger group of non-nationals – not the likes of Chinese, who do not want to assimilate, but mind their own business and mark their presence in a rather friendly way of colourful festivals; not Poles, part of them are those who want assimilate (to an extent) and the other part mind their own business, hoping they will be able to come back after the glass ceiling for insiders in Poland caves in due to some coup d’état; not loud, but harmless Spaniards, not coveted Scandinavians but non-nationals from the North who would rather blow themselves up (and everybody around them) than surrender to Dublin rule.

    I am not saying that civil war in Northern Ireland is inevitable after the reunification (after all, one of my ex-girlfriends, who was from Derry Bogside and who not only was from a staunch Provo family but against the Good Friday Agreement too, now lives with a loyalist guy in East Belfast), what I am saying is that Ireland will have to find a different way of thinking in terms of what defines the Irishness if it is going to include the loyalists to that definition – in a way that is acceptable to both sides – and this is going to be very tough with no other tradition than that of nationalism (I am not even sure the non-nationalistic approach is desirable in Ireland, but that’s for another discussion).

    The absent tradition of the Irish empire (ruled from Dublin, not London) would offer a solution to such problem: Irishness would be the allegiance to the Irish state and the Irish constitution, possibly with help of army conscription, which I am not in favour of, but which usually is the strong unifying factor in federal states (the examples would include the now eroding United States, the pre-WWII Poland which even had some small group of Russians fighting against the Soviet Army and the tradition of the multicultural Austro-Hungarian empire – at some stage they had a Polish prime minister in Vienna, Polish foreign minister and Polish speaker of the Parliament, all at the same time; Poland had recently two ministers – the finance minister and the foreign minister – who were British citizens – and it was electing mainly foreign kings because it thought they would be impartial – can you imagine that in Ireland?). But as we would have to go back to first millennium to encounter Celtic imperialism (and this was largely cultural), it is largely academic.

    So there is a second solution: to exclude the loyalists from the united country. This seems unacceptable to most, but I am trying to go through different scenarios. Many people from the republican circles I spoke with were so naïve that they thought that those who will not accept the new state will just leave. Dream on, boys – this is as naïve as Sinn Féin’s wishful thinking during WWII that the Nazis will liberate Ireland from the Brits and then they will leave.

    It would rather lead to a secession of those areas with prevailing loyalist population. Even more likely, it will lead to a state of an ongoing anarchy with other states getting involved, like in the Ukraine. And guess what – the world will be as little interested in it as the Irish media are about the Ukraine.

    Furthermore, even if the modus vivendi between the loyalists and the nationalists is somehow found, this may haunt the new united state should there be any major war in Europe.

    Pre-WWII Poland offers a good example of what happens when a country chooses the nationalistic approach over the imperial approach. When Poland defeated the Soviet Union in 1920, the Soviets offered more territories (of what has historically been the union of Poland and Lithuania) than Poland accepted. In brochure entitled ‘La frontiere Polono-Sovietique’, published in London in 1943, the nationalist negotiator of the Polish government, Stanis?aw Grabski, reminisces about returning the Soviet offer of 120,000 square kilometres and justifies it by referring to a doctrine that no country can assimilate ethnic minorities if they constitute more 1/3 of its population.

    The imperial approach of the ousted monarchists would have been different – they would demanded a federation of different states with different official languages, ruled by Warsaw (the communists were against Polish independence) and the dominating force, the Polish Socialist Party (led by the future Chief of State Jozef Pilsudski, who had Irish roots – his coat of arms was Butler) was in between the monarchists and the nationalists which I believe was the worst policy at the time.

    The result of this restrained imperial appetite was a growing resentment of some nationalities, such as Ukrainians and Belarusians (and horrible fate 1,000.000 Poles who had been pushed back to Soviet Union by the Polish state) because they felt that they had been left in the clutches of the Soviets. Poles could no longer count on Ukrainian and Belarusian nationalism with their fight against Russia. Pre-WWII Poland was still too large to assimilate all ethnic minorities (35% of Polish citizens were non-nationals, in case you think Ireland has too many; in regions like Wolyn the non-nationals constituted 84.3% majority). Poland, or rather the dominant force after 1926 – the Polish Socialist Party – did not want to grant an autonomy to those nationalities (it did not even want to grant an autonomy to some regions in Poland) for it feared that would dismember the state. At the same time Poland was too small to be a federation.

    So what is the Irish strategy for the united Ireland: to assimilate the Ulster loyalists, to grant them an autonomy and have a federal state or to expel them (and would you go about the latter)? I do not see any serious discussion about it in republican circles in Ireland.

    That leads me up to a second problem: policing of the united Ireland. Ireland is a country which is basically defenceless, I am sorry to say. Not only it tolerates some Russian military planes with nuclear capacity flying over its territory (where are all those people who protested against American planes in Shannon?) but it is also a country which has – unless something has changed – six armed Garda detectives patrolling the city of one million. Its supply lines and public services are likely to be more disrupted by a smidgen of snow than they were disrupted in some other countries after the combined attack of Wehrmacht and the Red Army as it cannot operate buses, schools, hospitals and airport with the smallest hint of the white stuff (and David’s favourite means of transport – Dublin Bus – offers, unlike the private Aircoach, less predictability in times of moderately bad weather than the Russian roulette).

    If we are serious about the united Ireland – and everyone seems to be – then we should start considering the increased levels of police and army spending at the cost of insiders salaries and training people how to behave during the civil unrest or war-like situations – and noone does. Just think about it: with the unwanted PSNI and their equipment gone after the reunification, who is going to fill the gap and control Belfast’s streets after dark: drug dealers? The Russian mafia? And who is going to offer help should the situation go the Crimean way – the weakened England, as De Valera hoped during WWII, or the re-embracing the Nazi past Germany (plenty of evidence for that, but you would not hear any of it in the Irish media; first of all because of their insular character and secondly because no Irish journalists understands German television), as Sinn Féin hoped (by the way, because Germany was until recently actively seeking the alliance with Russia so it has abandoned its military spending to an extent that only 1 of their 4 submarines is operational, only the 7 of the 43 of their navy-fleet helicopters are flight-worthy, their aircrafts break down so much so that it stopped their soldiers from coming back from Afghanistan and their Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen has admitted that the countries military is facing equipment shortages so severe that it cannot meet its NATO commitments)?

    Which brings up another aspect that David did not touch on. The United Kingdom consisting of England and Wales will no longer play its role of balancing out the influence of Germany and France in Europe. This will also further increase the already strong Russian influence in small countries (I am talking about countries like Greece, Cyprus, recently Italy and possibly soon Spain, but also countries like the independent Scotland for Russia tries to support every political party that wants to weaken Europe’s defence capability), with the outstretched and disinterested US engaged in the Ukraine, Asia and Middle East.

    Now, as to some specific points made in comments below. First, Colin writes that:

    ‘Nigel Farage and most of the English do not view the Irish as foreigners – we are viewed as one of the home nations, and are welcome to come and go at any time. This relationship of freedom of movement of people between the two islands pre-dates the EU, EEC membership, WW2, WW1 and beyond the Act of Union 1801. The rural tenant class in Ireland knew they would get paid double in England for the same labour they did in Ireland in the nineteenth century.’

    Nigel Farage is a clever politician and he would change his views (apart from on the EU) depending on where the wind blows. Currently he does not view Irish as the immigrants but mind you, he is soft on Germans too (despite his rhetoric in the EU parliament). All of this is when the United Kingdom is a federation and Mr.Farage hopes Ireland will join the union this way or the other after Britain’s EU exit (he tentatively started with Ireland joining the Commonwealth).

    If England was on her own and a nationalist state, his views would possibly change. If Ireland was trying to suppress a loyalists separatists uprising in the North after the Irish reunification, his views would certainly change. And then you might start to see in UKiP pubs those horrible signs about the Blacks, the dogs and the Irish you could see in some English pubs up to the 70s.


    UKiP is a certain proposal in the European Parliament (though it is not the most Eurosceptic party there) for it offers lots of good sense of humour, but when it comes to UKiP in England comprising of England and Wales – well, I am not so sure the position of the Irish in England will be so strong (but hopefully I am wrong). Irish are seen as very pro-Brussels like to start with; not something to be advertised in UKiP circles…

    Besides, who said that England would accept the loyalist as citizens if Ireland stayed in the EU and England left? Perhaps, if there is any bone of contention between England and united Ireland, England would prefer to keep the loyalists in Ireland and create anarchy, same way as President Putin does not want most separatists regions to join Russia?

    As to Deco, you hit the nail on the head: German experience with DDR is not encouraging. Yes, it achieved its goal after 25 years, but Ireland does not have the resources Germany had and let’s not forget that Germany’s reunification was partly financed by massive capital flight and penal interest rates in peripheral Europe countries. Even after all of that they still ended up with nazis and communists in power in some local councils in East Germany. And you are right that debt is time bomb in Britain. And as to independent Scotland, the gist of I could hear from Mr. Salmon is that they will finance their independence by oil. Well, oil prices are so low now that they are too cheap to be profitable for Scotland and good luck with defending their country from Russian planes using trade unions.

    As to AndrewGMooney’s comment that ‘Birmingham IS indeed the centre of the universe,’ – but you are wrong ;-). Tamworth is the centre of the universe, primarily because another ex-girlfriend of mine lives there (she also happened to play for the Welsh national rugby team so be careful how you phrase things ;-)

    • That’s a superbly comprehensive overview, Grzegorz Kolodziej. And yes, you are right. Tamworth was the capital of Mercia long before Brum existed. The Welsh still claim lands up to the Severn at Worcester near where I live. If they try anything we’ll blow up those 2 bridges across the Severn. LOL!
      Right, I’m off! Forgot to unlick the email notification for comments so picked this up. For the third and final time: goodbye, thanks, and good luck with the whole ’1916/Ireland/Irish’ thing.


      “Offa`s Dyke Many of the Welsh kings were his allies, though he warred with others. Bands of lawless raiders had swept in from Ireland, through Wales, to harry unprotected villages, and more came from Scandinavia and the continent, and Offa set about securing his kingdom with defensive boundaries. He built the huge dyke, a bank. This is still described as a wall to keep out the Welsh, which it was not! Missionaries and traders from either side crossed the boundaries by the various gates. Mercia was full of Welsh people, and others of mixed culture,and ditch, from Dee to Severn, the full scale of which archaeology is only just beginning to realise. ”

      “Offa vowed to regain them however, and during his reign which was nearly as long as that of his predecessor, he did so, and made Tamworth the capital of Mercia and of a nearly-united England.

      His attempts to hold together a united England however met with some obstacles. Mercians fought alongside other kingdoms, such as that of Kent, only to fight against them in some further struggle. ”


    • Colin


      In all my time living in London, I have not experienced any anti Irish sentiment. That’s zero, zilch, Nada.

      I don’t know how you can misconstrue an anti IRA march as being anti Irish. I’m Irish and I would go along to an anti IRA march any day if it was near me. IRA murdered innocent English children near Liverpool 25 years ago. The IRA claim to do this in my name. No way will murder, thieving, kidnapping, extortion, racketeering, intimidation, knee cappings, rape, child abuse and cover ups be done in my name.

      Cheers mate.

      • Grzegorz Kolodziej

        Dear Colin

        I sort of suspected that
        1) You have been living in London (which is so multiculti that one of my friends from London said that London is not England any more)
        2. You are young enough not to have lived in England in the post-war period (and intelligent enough to have a job paid sufficiently to live in London :-).

        Well, in fairness I am young enough not to remember 70s England too, but I know plenty of people who do and the ‘no blacks, no dogs, no Irish’ signs on some houses and pubs is a very well known thing (there is lots of photographs too).

        What makes you so certain that this will never come back? I do not think it is likely, but I would not be so sure as you are – not in the UK, but in out-of the EU England consisting of, well, England and maybe Wales: surrounded by hostile Scotland and 800-years of Irish-English history.

        As to your observation that:

        ‘This relationship of freedom of movement of people between the two islands pre-dates the EU, EEC membership, WW2, WW1 and beyond the Act of Union 1801. The rural tenant class in Ireland knew they would get paid double in England for the same labour they did in Ireland in the nineteenth century.

        So, you can chew on that idea and even love it if you like.’

        I am not sure if you are aware that in pre-WWI Europe virtually everyone bar the Russian tzar subjects could move freely and work wherever they wanted, so there was nothing special in that respect when it comes to freedom of movement between Ireland and England (which was one country at that time anyway). Hindus could also move freely in the British empire. A lot of Germans and Dutch emigrated to Poland (and even some Irish). So what is exactly your point?

        As to anti-IRA march. When there was an anti-Irish sentiment in England, do you think they cared whether you were pro- or anti-IRA? Not one iota. You just had a wrong accent and that was it. Remind of any Irish presenter in BBC up to 70s.

        That’s why, although I think that Mr. Farage is right on many points – and I would probably prefer him to both Mr. Miliband or Mr. Cameron (and actually, one of my college professors sits beside him in the EU parliament, so with all due respect, I would probably know a lot more about him than you), he is letting the genie out of the bottle.

        • Colin

          Dear Grzegorz,

          I’ll take my chances with Farage, thanks very much. He’s on the record for saying the Irish have contributed to improving the UK.

          Getting back to those signs that I never doubted existed – I’m sure there are photos of ‘no dogs, no blacks, no Irish’, I’m sure if the class of Irishman looking for entry into these places was behaving himself, then there wouldn’t have been any need for the signs. Like I said earlier, the drunken Irish never did well in England whereas the sober ones did.

  16. DB4545


    Good points on police,(lack of)defence and the world as it exists and not as we imagine it to be. The protesters at Shannon conveniently forget that the Ireland and the US negotiated the stopovers. I don’t see them with placards at the Russian Embassy complaining about the flyovers. We have a police service of approx 13,000 largely unarmed, a defence force of approx 13000 with no real air defence capabilities. We depend on the UK and UK institutions for Air/Sea rescue and a defence umbrella. If we really pissed someone off any Country with modern jet fighters and a couple of bombers could fly over in the morning bomb us into the stone age and be back in time for lunch. That is the reality approaching almost 100 years of Independence. The US said that Britain lost an Empire but hasn’t found its place in the world. A fragmented UK is dangerous for all the peoples who live on these Islands. The energy and competence which the UK has demonstrated in making London a global financial centre needs to focus on reshaping its Regions and Nations into a federation. You can’t run a modern State and dish out all the wealth inside the M25 and tell the rest of the UK to go f**k themselves because something has got to give. The UK needs to consider modelling itself on the federal system in Germany and stop pretending to be an Empire and it might return to being to being at peace with itself.


    • Praetorian

      Interesting points.

      From what I know of the Irish defence forces, the army is well trained, equipped and professional, small as you indicate but probably meets the needs of the nation. The Navy equally has a few ships and is upgrading but I guess with our coastline a couple more could be useful especially combating the drugs trade (Ireland seen as a soft point of entry to the EU, which again is unacceptable). The air corps situation does strike me as quite disgraceful especially on the Search & Rescue front, no serious State should ever find itself relying on the resources of another for that service especially an island nation like ours.

      As for the UK, I think the horse has bolted, the Scots are under no illusions about the Westminster mile which serves a tiny handful, the Welsh are not too far behind in that realisation, the greed and myopia that doomed an empire seems on course to doom the UK, the gap between rich and poor in the UK is rather staggering, social mobility is at an all time low, some commentators have noted that the UK is moving back to Dickensian times with an explosion in the number of people using food kitchens, the pressure over there with its population and socioeconomic issues is something we fortunately don’t have to deal with. The Germans are renowned for long term solutions to their problems, the opposite is the case in Westminster which inevitably produces a backlash from the populace. Some voters in the North of England like the message the SNP has, I think they get the fundamentals especially when they talk about scrapping Trident.

      Rather than in engaging in ruinous wars in the Middle East, the UK should have concentrated on strengthening its union, looked to redistribution and investment but as Kenneth Galbraith said ‘the elite would rather risk destruction than give up any of their privileges’, in a country that masterminded the class system topped off with a monarch old habits die hard. London is the tail that wags the UK dog, a strategy that was successful for the few but not for the many.

      • Grzegorz Kolodziej

        First of all, I share your view that the UK should have concentrated on strengthening its union instead of engaging in Middle East, out of all places. 95% of UK’s economic activity depends on maritime trade and because it is not a superpower like the US, China or Russia, overstretching its military activity as far as Middle East is probably a mistake – especially in view of the fact that the UK does not own an aircraft carrier (which would make a potential attack a little bit easier).

        Secondly, by engaging in places so remote as Middle East (which brought no economic or political gain to the UK and anarchy to the indigenous population), the UK may be neglecting not only its NATO commitments but even the defence of its own territory (though currently there has been a U-turn and UK, Poland and Scandinavian countries are the only European countries which are serious about NATO for Germany’s policy is to negotiate good deal with Russia regarding the division of Eastern Europe, with German Ukraine once again). So far the great asset they have is the ‘continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent’, as they called it in their army when I worked with SAS officers in Co. Powys where they have their military base; this however did not prevent the Russian planes venturing into British airspace, although unlike in the Irish airspace, at least the Brits can send the welcoming committee to the Russians.

        I would like to address some valid points you made about the Irish defence forces; again I agree with you that the Irish army seems to be well trained and equipped for the needs of nation. However, the needs of the nation may change if David’s scenario comes to fruition. You were right to mention the drug trade is one of the main targets of the Irish defence in general and G2 in particular (by the way, why will the Gards not do anything about the junkies in tourist places, while at the same time they had been so effective in removing people for dubious reasons during the anti-Shell protests, is beyond me – it does convey an impression of Dublin as a drug capital of Europe).

        But if England becomes a country surrounded by independent Scotland, Wales and 32-counties Ireland, things may go very hot in the North very suddenly and the needs of the nation may change. To that you may rightly point out that we do not know what is going to happen and if the situation changes, so will the size of the Irish army (which has meanwhile shrunk to below the 9,500 minimum level because of the retirements and it is at it’s lowest since the 1970s, while the number of call outs for the Army’s bomb disposal experts has increased – but David would rather spend money on transport monopolies than on the army); but the problem is that we won’t have time. Add to that the potential game of chess Russia may play in independent Scotland and suddenly you will end up with events spiralling out of control – which might be a signal for foreign powers to intervene (and there are certain provisions for such intervention in the EU law) if the enlarged state is not able to rule the whole island of Ireland.

        The Russian influence on the Scottish referendum campaign – and, on the other hand, we already have UKiP politicians as a frequent guests on Russian TV – is more than a sheer speculation as Russia is already financing Front Nationale in France and it financed the campaign of Milosz Zeman in Czech Republic; now there is Greece and Italy is not far behind; not that the US or Germany are any better or worse in planting their puppet governments to their hearts content – the US, a country I admired during Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton reigns, but which is now pursuing economic policies not that dissimilar from Zimbabwe; so the US’s biggest success in recent years has been stealing gold from central banks of other countries while Germany (itself a victim of the US clandestine gold deals) preferred to rather start the war in Yugoslavia than allow Poland to implement its project of the so called Hexagonale, which would have made their reunification more difficult because they had to make Eastern Europe their colony first in order to sustain their stagnated economy in the 90s– in one case even threatening to use Stasi files they had on the Polish Foreign Minister should he push Germany to recognise Polish western borders.

        So coming back to the Irish army, Ireland is relatively well equipped for the peace time and it is taking some necessary steps to modernise its small army; for example, it has been modernising its 6,000 assault rifles (which is the Austrian Steyer Aug A1) to bring it into line with those used in the UK and the US (and equipping them with COWS), which was followed by signing a breakthrough agreement on defence co-operation between Ireland and the UK (this will provide the Irish Army the British army surplus equipment free of charge). Furthermore, Irish army is better prepared to peacekeeping operations than the British army (therefore British soldiers went to Mali with 8 Irish soldiers). It has recently purchased new anti-riot equipment at the cost of 300,000 euro and many Gardaí have received training in how to deal with riots, which may be useful in united Ireland. It has also been upgrading its missiles (the RBS70), apart from acquiring – after 9/11 – 12 radar-guided AA guns capable of shooting planes within 50 miles (as used in recent exercises in Grangegorman). I also admire the Irish army for what seems to be a very good record on corruption (it is not wasting money) for when Poland was purchasing its fighter jets from the US, it actually ended up with buying obsolete versions of them for more money than Greece spent on more modern versions and it is now paying billions of dollars for the missile system which does not yet exist (the Americans promised they will offset the former by sharing some of their technology by moving some assembly lines to Poland but then it turned out this was all in jest; the main proponent of the Swedish fighter jets in the Polish army has conveniently died in a friendly fire accident over the Baltic Sea).

        However, in times when the Russian planes going through the Irish airspace like knife goes through butter, this is a different game altogether. The RBS70 is perfectly fine for helicopters and passenger or cargo jets (in 1992 Venezuela used it to shoot down OV-10 Bronco), but not for Mr. Putin (let alone the AA guns), if he fancies exerting some geopolitical pressure on Ireland in the context of David’s article about the new UK, bereft of Scotland and possibly Northern Ireland. The weakness of RBS70 is that it can only engage targets visually. Does the Irish army have enough target acquisition and tracking radar to use it its full potential? I hope I am wrong, but the main Irish strategy seems to be that RAF will take care of them jets because they might be heading for the UK. Well, this may be more problematic if England is deprived of her military bases in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (I assume that in David’s scenario of Northern Ireland leaving the UK England will take away all their equipment). And this is all assuming that Ireland and England will always play in one team (but what if England leaves the EU and teams up military with China – as it recently did economically and in terms of nuclear power – and Ireland teams up military with Germany, or rather it becomes colonised by Germany (forget the US with their gigantic debt and their loony, narcissistic President who in 2008 defined the main goal of his presidency as slowing down the rise of the oceans – no, seriously, he really did say that).

        But hoping that Ireland and the UK will play in the same team… I know that the Irish army cannot afford the Eurofighter Typhoons with their estimated cost of 63 million euro; however, could yous not ask the Brits to lease you a couple of their Tornado fighters (they recently upgraded their avionics and A2A capability)? That would probably be cheaper than Dublin Bus fares (currently second most expensive in the world).

        Given the tightening cooperation between the two armies and Russians sauntering down the British Isles like adventurous prostitutes, they would probably allow Ireland to use their service facilities and parts stores for a song.

        Make no mistake, Tornados are no match for Russian planes (but nothing is – the RAND corporation in the US has recently prepared a report to assess the JSF’s in close range combat with Russian and Chinese jet fighters and stated that JSF has ‘inferior acceleration, inferior climb, inferior sustained turn capability’; this report has been verified in the simulated war exercise called the ‘Pacific Vision’, where in a mock battle the JSF, F-22 Raptor and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets were dubbed the ‘Blue Team’ and had to defend an attack of a ‘Red Team’, made up with Russian SU-27SM, Su-30 and Su-35 fighters; in an e-mail from Peter Goon to Dr. Steve Gumley, head of the air-force organisation, from 28 August 2008, the defeat of the American fighters was described as ‘it was like clubbing baby seals’ […] ‘hundreds of Blue Force aircrafts were lost in the first 20 minutes’), but Tornados in the Irish army would be SOME DETERRING FACTOR nonetheless – even with such technological superiority the WILLINGNESS to defend homeland still counts – it is well known in NATO that the Russian planes are trying not enter NATO’s airspace when it’s turn for Polish F-16s to protect the airspace of the Baltic states because Russians know that unlike disgraceful Dutch army which forever shamed itself for having the blood of thousands of civilians on their hands in Yugoslavia they failed to protect, Polish pilots are likely to be take out the intruders.

        This is why Russia is having all those flights – to check the defence systems and reaction times in European countries. Unfortunately, in Ireland there was none and do not be mistaken and think that the Russians have not noticed that, and with them all potential terrorists – the only people who did not notice that are those clowns who always talk about Irish neutrality and Irish independence, which obviously means nothing to them if it is not G. W. Bush or the Queen who are violating it (Russian call them ‘useful idiots’).

        • Grzegorz, your post is interesting, and well researched and written.

          It’s also way beyond the understanding (or interest) of most, if not all, of the Irish military command.

          You’re coming from a Polish background with more exposure to (central European and other) militaristic history, trends, knowledge, experience and mindsets etc.

          Let me give you a newsflash from an Irish perspective: Russian planes can fly up and down the Irish coast for the next 10,000 years if they want – the Irish military won’t be doing anything about it – EVER.

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            You are very kind to me, Adam. Yes, we used to play with gunpowder as small kids :-)

          • I lived in Hungary for 5 years. Grzegorz, so I think I have a reasonable understanding of how you Central Europeans think.

            A healthy paranoia is a valid defence mechanism.

            Nem, Nem soha!

          • I lived in Hungary for 5 years. Grzegorz, so I think I have a reasonable understanding of how you Central Europeans think.

            A healthy dose of paranoia is a valid defence mechanism.

            Nem, Nem soha!

  17. DB4545


    I wonder if the establishment in the UK (largely based within the M25 and the “home” counties) grasp what is at stake. I found most English people I’ve worked and socialised with to be easygoing and pragmatic and upfront. A lot like ourselves but more ruthless with their politicians when they step out of line. They also like black and white(which is the culture in most Protestant Countries I’ve worked in).They have a weird fixation with the whole Class system which I don’t get but we also have a different kind of snobbery. When I think about the kind of English person I admire I look at Michael Mansfield or Gareth Peirce. Gareth Peirce defended the Birmingham Six. Imagine the pressure that woman was under from the establishment but she never faltered and delivered the goods. The only people I can think of on this side of the water who had the same balls in standing up to our establishment is Vincent Browne and David McWilliams.

    The French say the British have no permanent friends or enemies just permanent interests. I’m hoping that the British establishment have people of the calibre I’ve just mentioned and that they see that their long term interests are served by radical reform towards a Federal system. If they had developed regional government like Germany would the West Midlands, Merseyside, Newcastle and Merseyside have been allowed to slide into the post industrial wasteland that exists in large areas north of Watford?

    That wasteland also exists on a smaller scale in the North and outside Leinster and we ignore it at our peril too. There are some people in this Country who seem to take a malicious glee when England is in trouble. It doesn’t serve our permanent interests to have a Balkans situation to our East or North. I hope the so called smart people are paying attention because if they don’t reform they’ll be going the way of the French monarchy.

    • Grzegorz Kolodziej

      ‘The only people I can think of on this side of the water who had the same balls in standing up to our establishment is Vincent Browne and David McWilliams.’

      I would add to those two Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev (who is largely ignored, even though he is one of two people in Ireland who did any estimates on NAMA when it was starting) and prof. Stephen Kinsella; maybe Brian Lucey too.

      Prof. Kinsella, who is a very gentle person, was actually shouted at during his meeting in one of Dublin hotels a few years ago. ‘On yer bike, you muppet’ – I shouted back at the guy who shouted ;-)

  18. [...] currently coming up in England calling for the United Kingdom to pull out of the European Union(http://www.davidmcwilliams.ie/2015/04/20/english-nationalism-could-result-in-a-united-ireland ). Barlow wrote how depressing it can be to teach Irish history because of how complicated it is [...]

You must log in to post a comment.
× Hide comments