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THE CHATTER BOX

 
  
  
  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
  
  
  
 
Messages 1 2 

Should the Irish Republic Have Remained Part of the United Kingdom. by tucsonmike on 10 October 2012 2:49am
 
Before Loretto has the IRA have me whacked, hear it out. I understand all the political issues. Economically, would Ireland have been better off?
 
Re: Should the Irish Republic Have Remained Part of the United Kingdom. by johnnyBgood! on 10 October 2012 2:53am
 
Yeah Mike, I think the Irish preferred when the British starved and subjugated them. Next question.
 
Re: Should the Irish Republic Have Remained Part of the United Kingdom. by Loretto on 10 October 2012 12:11pm
 
I know you are joking Mike, but I just want to be clear so that any new member reading that gets ideas: I have never been affiliated with the IRA. Phew!

Ok, John feels very strongly about the question. I once mentioned an article in the New York Post written by a British man who also is a history professor. His name escapes me, but I will post a link to that article which suggested that the Irish should have remained in the Common Wealth, even likening the UK to a caring nurse.

Though my own reaction was disbelief, there are a few, mostly based in NI, who support the idea. The article was called the Celtic Tiger has caught Mange. I will post link and my response to the article later.

Here it is:
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/beggared_by_euro_mnyQjfV06qusAacS4QWFMK

and here is my response to it:

In a world where the rhetoric inevitably involves the words recession, bailout and bankrupt, populations of once thriving economies now know that the old adage ‘hind sight is 20/20’ indeed holds true. Andrew Roberts is one of many geniuses who can look back and give counsel.


In reading Andrew Roberts entertaining account of the crisis in Ireland, (New York Post Nov. 22 Beggared By The Euro) I found myself drifting from the focus of Roberts’ article, the idea of Ireland abandoning the Euro and ‘returning to parity’ with the pound sterling, my focus instead was on his use of language. There was an indisputable joy in his choice of words to describe the current Irish situation.

“The ‘Celtic Tiger’ has caught mange and is scratching itself raw.”

“To whine about it afterward, as the Irish are now doing, is rather like complaining of the loss of one’s virginity after enthusiastically taking part in an orgy.”

“Ireland didn’t do too badly out of her connection with Britain. As an integral part of Britain between 1800 and 1922 it received the benefits of the Enlightenment.”

I will scratch at the “Celtic Tiger” comment first. Ireland’s experience of wealth and prosperity during the economic boom was long awaited for and well deserved. We opened our doors to many nations and shared the prosperity, and in so doing were praised for it. The issue in Ireland became one of too much too soon. Like the current housing economy in Florida, the Irish were sold an idea that they could have it all, only bigger and better. Having gone without for decades and centuries, the prospect of having it all was enticing. The Irish are not alone in this line of thinking. Global economies such as Florida and Dubai fell under the same spell. So the real issue is; who cast the spell? Construction companies, banks and political leaders who looked the other way. I laughed at the Celtic Tiger comment when I read it the first time.

Now I will whine about the Irish loss of financial virginity. Though I struggle to see the connection between the current IMF bailout in Ireland and the men of the 1916 rising, and, like Roberts, agree that Ireland gave up a certain amount of its independence in joining the Euro on Jan. 1 1999; it is important to keep in mind that not every Irish person was part of the orgy. That is to say, not every body in Ireland benefited from the economic boom. Being an ex-pat living in America I could see many changes when I returned to Ireland. Those changes were predominantly among those who already had money prior to the boom. People like my mother, a widow living alone, were struggling to meet the higher cost of living in Ireland when the Euro became national currency. Retailers rounded prices up, but salaries remained at the same level.

Not everyone enjoyed the orgy, because not everyone was invited. Yet, like the situation in Britain and Greece and Spain and Portugal, even those who did not benefit from the boom will be punished by the austerity measures.

Finally, “Ireland didn’t do too badly out of her connection with Britain. As an integral part of Britain between 1800 and 1922 it received the benefits of the Enlightenment.”

The Irish have a lot to be thankful for; We managed to rescue our culture and heritage despite the 1801 Act of Union and the brutality of the Penal Laws which forbade the Irish to speak Irish, be educated, practice Catholicism, be taxed for refurbishing their homes and made lawful the inheritance of homes to those who abandoned Catholicism and embraced Protestantism. Let us not forget the exportation of grain from the country during the years of the famine and Cromwell’s plantations.

To contradict Roberts’ assertion that the Irish could not stomach the prospect of abandoning the Euro in favor of returning to parity with the pound sterling, I will add that I have often wondered what would have happened if Ireland had remained part of the British Commonwealth. Canada, India and others seem to have benefited from their participation. Yet, if I might be granted the same backward glancing genius that the New York Post has permitted Roberts; I think it is not without difficulty that we should understand Ireland’s hesitancy to join the Commonwealth. We accepted the hand that fed us, so to speak.

If Ireland’s greatest mistake was wanting prosperity, then it may join the ranks of many other nations, England included. To deride a nation for wanting more is to ridicule your own countrymen Mister Roberts. I wouldn’t dare scorn the English people for the current situation in Britain, for it is not the English people who caused the recession, but banks and greed. Upon seeing students rioting in the streets of London I mused that it was only a matter of time before the Irish did the same. Compassion it would seem is part of “the ever-charming” Irish.

We are all in this together. To deliberately use language to mock the current crisis in Ireland and use incorrect historical statements to support your argument is damaging in the least and divisive at the worst. At a time when populations should be united in a quest to discover what went wrong and develop strategies to prevent it from ever happening again Roberts’ article encourages a Victorian view point of division.

To the people of England and Ireland I would strongly urge continued peaceful relations. We have more in common than we have that differentiates. I will thank Roberts’ for his remark that the Irish are ‘ever-charming,’ when it is genuine and less condescending than it appears in the context of his recent article.
 
Re: Should the Irish Republic Have Remained Part of the United Kingdom. by tucsonmike on 11 October 2012 2:41am
 
Very clever Johnny. Yes that was in the 19th Century. I meant in the long run today. Now,let me read Loretto's response. Loretto, I owe you an apology. The regulars knew I was being tongue in cheek,but I was dumb enough to forget about people who just read and do not post and the fact that this is a British website and the IRA and "The Troubles" are still a touchy subject in the UK.

As I stated, Johnny, I know the poltical history of Ireland and how tragic it was. I had in mind with major hindsight what MIGHT have been.

What brought this up? When I read New Europe, when Mr. Palin was in Macedonia, the singer he spoke to said at least when Yugoslavia existed,she had an audience base of 25 million. Macedonia has two million. The Irish Republic has,what five million? The UK 60 million? Why I thought of it.

Loretto,after reading the article,I understood much of what you explained to me about the Celtic Tiger. I wonder what the IMF thinks Ireland should specialize in to build its economy? I understand the idea of Ireland with its small population being pegged to a more powerful currency.

Would like permission to build some of this on my blog.


 
Re: Should the Irish Republic Have Remained Part of the United Kingdom. by Loretto on 11 October 2012 12:16pm
 
No need to apologize Mike! I knew you were joking but just in case anyone thought there might be a connection.

Do whatever you would like with information posted. It is a legit question, should Ireland return to the commonwealth? But most of us remember hearing parents tell stories of what their parents lived through during the 1916 rising and after so very few, in the south would embrace the idea.

Now I have to be fair and say the Irish in some instances reacted foolishly to English occupation in Ireland. By the banks of Lough Derg in the town where I grew up you could see what used to be a railroad track. My brother says that the locals destroyed the English built track and made sheds out if it!
 
Re: Should the Irish Republic Have Remained Part of the United Kingdom. by Loretto on 11 October 2012 11:04pm
 
Mike, the Irish could be heard shouting violently from the open half doors of their cottages:
"Hurry ap, or I vill taunt yew a ssekund taaymme!!"

and even worse:
"Yer muddar was a hamstar, and yer fadder smelled of elderberries."

We scared them off with that one.

:-)
 
Re: Should the Irish Republic Have Remained Part of the United Kingdom. by tucsonmike on 12 October 2012 2:35am
 
Thanks Loretto!
 
Re: Should the Irish Republic Have Remained Part of the United Kingdom. by TERRY S on 18 October 2012 5:38pm
 
Can't answer this question, even though I'm part Irish. my best guess is who knows! Speaking of Ireland etc. Have any of you read (or seen the film adaption of)Tom Bradby's book ShadowDancer, yet? If, not, I really recommend it. i just finished reading it. Very good.
 
Re: Should the Irish Republic Have Remained Part of the United Kingdom. by irishmanufan on 25 October 2012 1:05pm
 
the best article i ever read about the collapse of the Irish economy was in vanity far of all things .

read it here: http://www.vanityfair.com/business/features/2011/03/michael-lewis-ireland-201103?currentPage=all

tucsonmike could i ask you for the address of your blog . as an Irish person i would love to read what you are saying .

due to bad government and the fact we have been sold out to the IMF i don;t believe we could afford to be reunited with the north right now . also i am certain the north would not welcome being joined to a country run as badly as this one is .

 
Re: Should the Irish Republic Have Remained Part of the United Kingdom. by Loretto on 25 October 2012 1:31pm
 
Hi irishmanufan. I read this article sometime ago. Another startling fact about the state of affairs in Ireland was a map that I saw from the Irish Census 2006-2011 online.

http://breisebreiseleighgoleire1969.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/vacancy-by-ded.jpg

The dark blue and blue areas on this map of Ireland depicts areas where 20% to 25% of dwellings are vacant.

The dark green and light green areas show where 10% to 20% of the homes are vacant.

Yellow depicts 0% of vacant dwellings.

At one point in Ireland, they were building more houses than there were people! Terribly greedy when you think about it.

http://breisebreiseleighgoleire1969.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/that-is-no-country-for-old-men/

That Vanity Fair article was great, thanks for sharing.
 
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