Wednesday, 17 November 2010

But His Heart Lies There

It may be lost on the infra dig sort of Conservative backbencher who lionises Margaret Thatcher and imagines her to have been some kind of Eurosceptic, but the heir to the Osborne baronetcy (of Ballentaylor, in County Tipperary, and Ballylemon, in County Waterford) knows exactly what he is doing in making an offer, which cannot really be refused, to reassert Ascendancy over what has never ceased to be an integral part of the British economy, for decades complete with a currency pegged at whatever happened to be the value of sterling, its almost identical coinage produced by the Royal Mint, as that of many Commonwealth countries still is. As the euro collapses, expect that state of affairs to be restored.

Would we have to do this for anyone else in Euroland? Only if anyone else in Euroland speaks English, has vast family ties to Britain, has always had the right to vote and stand in British elections, has never stopped providing recruits for the British Armed Forces, watches British television, listens to British pop music, has three political parties that are flagrant creatures of British intelligence (just ask Sinn Féin, not that they have been in any position to comment for a long time now) and one of which is openly funded by trade unions headquartered in Britain, and so on, and on, and on, not least including practically total economic integration with Britain, which is why we are making this offer.

They can keep their flag, their anthem, their President, their totemic use of Irish, their metric road signs, and all the rest of it. But someone, somewhere is killing the fatted calf tonight. Probably Sir Peter and Lady Osborne, of Ballentaylor, in County Tipperary, and Ballylemon, in County Waterford.


  1. Garret Fitzgerald tells a story that after the anglo irish agreement he wanted to arrange with Thatcher to get funds for Northern Ireland from Europe. Thatcher responded "who these people what about my people?". He concludes that she was no unionist.
    Like all british prime ministers really. Attlee told Sean McBride on holiday in Ireland in 1948 that he hoped for a united Ireland.
    The anglo irish have been much reduced since land reform. If you can't milk the farmers for rent whats the use really. My local aristocrat is reduced to living in bungalow when she grandfather lived in a grand house. You don't support plutocracy do you David?A distributist would think Irelands land reforms were a model of how to do it.
    I doubt the people of Tipperary know about the baronetcy except for the local historical society.

  2. But the heir to it knows about. And the people of Tipperary are about to have very great cause to be grateful for that.

  3. They are most fortunate to have an Irish aristocrat running the British Treasury in their hour of need, but this way he gets to own them all over again and this time it is forever, at their own request. The Unionist case that the British Isles are a natural economic unit is now incontrovertible.

    M.P. O'Regan, who ever said that Thatcher was a Unionist? Attlee first recognised the principle of consent and there was no comeback from the many Labour and union branches that were largely Irish Catholic at the time. None when Wilson sent the troops in, none when Roy Mason was Northern Ireland Secretary, nothing.

  4. Aristocracy is not plutocracy.

  5. Osborne usually wants to be a plutocrat, with his socially liberal capitalism and his corresponding neocon hawkery. But thankfully, he is an aristocrat after all.

    Anonymous, the partition in 1922 was that of the United Kingdom and of the Irish Catholic ethnic group throughout that then-existing single state; much or most of that ethnic group was never asked.

  6. In the Irish case aristocracy was plutocracy. Lords who lived in the high life in London used Irish estates as cash cows. This was the preeminent Irish grievance of the 19th century. The imposition of foreign aristocracy of another religion was in my view the main driving force of Irish independence.
    The idea that this archipelago is economic or even cultural unit does not mean that there should one centralised state. Europe makes a economic and cultural unit. The EU is recognition of this fact. The EU was a way of replacing the UK without the nasty humus of historical grievances and associations.
    David I wouldn't proud of most of Britain's cultural exports.

  7. Oh, well, we cannot expect gratitude just because we are literally about to save your bacon. Nor, specifically, can the Ascendancy. As for the driving forces behind Irish Nationalism, one was not Catholic, and the other was not rural, nor even based in Ireland very much.

    First, the one that was not Catholic. The Orange Lodges opposed the Act of Union of 1800, the best thing that ever happened to Ireland, which incorporated one of the most backward countries in Europe into what became in the nineteenth century the most advanced country in the world.

    The consequent improvements in Ireland’s agriculture, industry, education, infrastructure, welfare provision, honest and responsible administration, and so on, were almost incalculable, and enjoyed the strongest possible support of the Catholic Church, without which many, most or even all of them could not have happened, especially at local level.

    But to the Orangemen, the Union meant Catholic Emancipation, and indeed the necessary Unionist majority in the former Irish Parliament was secured on that very basis, by Protestant Emancipationists who secured the votes of the Catholic commercial class by promising to deliver the Union that would deliver to those voters the right to sit in Parliament. Those voters delivered that majority, that majority delivered the Union, and the Union delivered Catholic Emancipation, which the old Irish Parliament would simply never have countenanced.

    Protestant pioneers are sometimes produced by Republicans as a sort of trump card. But those believed their own Protestant, “Saxon” nation to be the only nation, as such and with all national rights accordingly, on the Irish island. They had no more interest in or regard for Gaels and Catholics than their contemporary, Thomas Jefferson, had either for the “Indians not taxed” or for his own slaves.

    They viewed those other inhabitants of Ireland as anti-monarchist opinion has regarded the Australian Aborigines from the Victorian Period to the present day, as Hendrik Verwoerd regarded the non-white peoples of South Africa, as Ian Smith regarded the Mashona and the Matabele, and as Golda Meir regarded the Palestinians when she denied that they existed at all, a view still widely and deeply held.

    Such notions have been ridiculous when viewed from east of the Irish Sea at least since Dr Johnson asked “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of Negroes?” But when the Stormont Parliament and its supporters opposed integration because integration meant Civil Rights, then they were in no way out of keeping with the anti-Unionist thinking of their ancestors.

    In the meantime, separatist leaders as late as the Gladstone years had seized on the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, with all its implications for the system of tithes, as a nullifying breach of the Act of Union.

  8. The other main stream feeding into Irish separatism arose out of the urban Catholic bourgeoisie that the Union had so greatly expanded and entrenched. But it was largely directed from outside Ireland, and very often from thousands of miles away.

    It was, and is, the wannabe leprechaun pretensions of those who, if they had ever seen what they saw as the pure Gaelic folk-culture at all, had only ever done so from their carriage windows, so that they had no understanding whatever of people whose circumstances compelled them to live like that, people who warmly welcomed the drastic elevation of their condition by the alliance of Throne and Altar, however many tears that may have brought to the eyes of those whose wholly detached world had by then passed from Jacobinism to Romanticism, and who for the most part did not live in Ireland.

    When those fantasists seized their moment during the international distractions of 1916, almost no one in Ireland had ever even heard of them, and barely any more people took them remotely seriously. By the time that the Home Rule legislation, with its built in delay until after the War, actually came into effect, then even the “official” reasons given for it by its proponents no longer applied.

  9. DL wants to stride the Emerald Isle in a safari suit, jackboots and a bull whip.

    "by Protestant Emancipationists who secured the votes of the Catholic commercial class by promising to deliver the Union"

    Standing aside his ignorant declaration that Catholics could vote for the Irish House of Commons before the union when Catholics did not have the vote. DL is an ignorant wretch.

    DL you are an example of the ignorant, arrogant English demagogues that in the past did Ireland and many other countries much harm.

    I bet you even revel in the mass execution of the Mau-Mau. More people executed in that conflict by the British than a hundred years of capital punishment in the UK.

    You are proud of that, you bigoted, fantisicing snob! I hope one day you find yourself in bondage to a foreigner. You already whine enough about the EU. I hope you are worked into the ground and have to give your treasure to an Indian master - and I hope he would make you work all day on Sundays.

  10. "Catholics could vote for the Irish House of Commons before the union when Catholics did not have the vote"

    I stopped reading at that point. You genuinely haven't the faintest idea what you are talking about.