Friday, 22 July 2016

"How Did Conor McGinn Ever Get Elected In England?"

He couldn't in Surrey or somewhere, of course. But there is a lot more to England than that.

But I am very surprised that he talks about his background now that he is a national politician, or at least he wants to be one.

It is notable that Irish Republican connections have always gone down worst in the areas that were least affected by anything to do with them.

Right through the Troubles, Londoners cheerfully voted for Ken Livingstone, John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn whenever they were given the opportunity to do so.

Meanwhile, right-wing Fleet Street types who got the train back to the Home Counties every night forced those Londoners to pay the price of those types' principles.

No bombs ever went off where they lived, or were ever going to.

Those papers ended up more Unionist than the actual Unionists, which was the long-overdue point at which everyone finally stopped paying any attention to them on this issue.


  1. As you know the working class movement in England has always regarded itself as a kind of twin anti-colonial struggle with Ireland's, in this case against the theft of England itself, the very land of England, in 1066. The Panama Papers brought all that out again, with people asking when the root cause of the whole problem was going to be tackled.

    1. There was an article on that a few years ago that is still well worth a read:

      Earlier this year, Giles Fraser also set out how important the continuing understanding that England was subject to "the Norman yoke" has remained through every stage of social and political radicalism ever since. He does not mention it, but the concept was still powerfully deployed into the twentieth century by those seeking the completion of the franchise, and by the Labour Movement.

      Of course, you can date the problem to various events: the Norman Conquest, the Dissolution of the Monastaries, the Enclosure Acts. You would be correct to do so in every case.

      The feeling on this is very profound, although of course it is lost on people who got the Michael Gove pub quiz version of history. That does seem to be most people who grew up in the South, whatever their backgrounds. Tory councils, I suppose. But who votes for them?

      Even those, though, have never been able to quell the popular memory of, and anger at, perhaps the greatest of all the yoke's crimes, the pointless mass slaughter of the First World War. The ongoing responses to the centenary of that suggest that it is the nearest thing to a national mythos, indeed that it was one entirely, defining its entire people by its oppression at the hands of an essentially alien power. That power was not Germany.