August 21, 2013

"Get the British out of Northern Ireland and on that happy day, all would be well with the world"



The conservative philosopher Michael Oakeshott always wanted to take the world as it is: to enjoy present laughter over utopian bliss. As someone born in the north of Ireland/Northern Ireland I've never understood the Irish republican narrative, that if we can just get the Brits/colonists/imperialists out, all will be well in the world.

I never actually heard it said. But I knew it as the unbending belief. And here's the second but, at 3 minutes 40 seconds into the video above and here, a former IRA member gave expression to this simplistic narrative. He said:
"We thought we could make change here and the change we wanted to make essentially was to get the British out of Northern Ireland and on that happy day, all would be well with the world." 
He then finished by saying:
"It (Brits out) was as simple as that for most people."  

As I wrote in an earlier blog post here, the matter was not as simple as get the Brits out. Nor was it a simple majority sentiment. Many socially aspirant Catholics on the island were unionists pre-partition and protestants almost unanimously, as a religious minority, did not want to live in a country whose affairs would be directed in-large part by the Catholic church. And so by default were almost totally unionist.

And the matter was not as simple as, get the Brits out and "all would be well with the world". Clerical bullying, lecturing, interference, social illiberalism, de Valera's idealistic anti-industry, pro-agrarian society all contributed to the creation of an incredibly bleak and oppressive state, as I wrote about here (again on Fintan O'Toole).

More recently, Fintan O'Toole said at the 2013 MacGill Summer School here, that partition was inevitable and that the three pillars of the Irish state failed massively since partition.
"Partition, which was both inevitable and tragic, and produced perhaps two failed states, he (O'Toole) said. “The North failed in obscene violence but the South failed in a slower fashion and the southern State has also lost legitimacy."
Previously, O'Toole has said that 2016 should be a time for "national embarrassment" by the measure that such a degree of sovereignty has been exported to Europe since 1973 and to the troika since November 2010.

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