So there’s been a lot of debate in the last few years regarding a United Ireland. Usually it can become extremely polarising and at times incredibly toxic. Some people like to talk about the economic reality of a reunification of the six counties that make up the British Province known as Northern Ireland with the rest of the country; the Republic of Ireland.
Usually this logistical debate is shadowed over completely as the discussion dwindles down into a shouting match, furthering the discussion into ideological corners, meaning people pick or are pushed into sides that they accept for no other reason than they were born and raised in their intellectual borders. There’s an inability to see where the other side is coming from in Northern Irish politics, the Province’s history of Sectarian Conflict has alienated moderate voices and has alienated many voters.
So today I’m going to do my best to push ideology aside and talk about the logistics of reunification on areas such as the economy, standard of living and we’ll discuss in full detail the exact process for reunification. We’ll even give a few historical examples.
For full disclosure I am an Irish Nationalist, I believe there should be a United Ireland, but I’m going to do my best to present a nuanced perspective. If you find the article biased or incorrect please feel free to point out my mistakes here.
Now, before we begin I feel the need to give foreign readers a quick synopsis on the island’s history and political climate. Here we go.
Ireland is an Island in the North Atlantic, west of continental Europe and west of the Island of Britain which contains the three countries of Wales, Scotland and England. As you can see above, the island is the shape of a chicken nugget:
The earliest evidence of human presence is dated at 10,500 BCE. It’s not until about 8000 BCE where more sustained occupation of the island is found, meaning there were tribes of hunter gatherers which archaeologists and anthropologists refer to as “Mesolithic Communities“. They were basically Cave men who would continue to prosper until about 4000 BCE.
Neolithic (the later part of the stone-age) settlers arrived to the island bringing their superior weapons (sharpened stones) and their skills in agriculture such as using cereal cultivators (breeding foods that are ideal for human consumption) alongside domesticated animals like Cattle and sheep. This progress lead to what is referred to as the Agricultural Revolution, the process in which human beings moved from being hunters and gatherers to creating agrarian societies and eventually sophisticated civilisations.
The Bronze age began around 2500 BCE. Human communities now possessed the skills required for metallurgy, the process of obtaining the metallic ore found in certain rocks and melting them down to forge tools and weapons. This technology changed the way people lived their lives by creating innovations such as the wheel, harnessing oxen to transport heavy materials i.e. ploughing fields and pulling wagons, weaving textiles to create cloth which helped create clothes, brewing alcohol to get clean drinking water and get drunk (which some historians have argued was the reason for the agricultural revolution in the first place) alongside perfecting the skill of metallurgy which allowed people to create fine gold decoration and jewelry such as brooches and torcs (a neck ornament of a band of twisted metals) According to historian John T. Koch, Ireland was part of a trading system known as the Atlantic Bronze Age which lasted from 1300-700 BCE.
This trading system meant Ireland dealt with cultural and economic exchange with people from Portugal, Andalusia (Southern Spain), Galicia (North West Coast of Spain), Armorica (A portion of France, specifically the region between the two rivers of Seine and Loire) and the island of Britain. According to Koch in this essay the culture and language of the Celts emerged from this trading system. This theory contrasts with the traditional view that the Celts origins had emerged from mainland Europe with the Hallstatt culture.
Now understand, early human beings had language but it was nowhere near as complex as what we see today. Koch’s theory suggests that the emergence of Celtic culture and language came from the need to communicate with foreign nations or tribes. Instead of the simplistic communications required for hunting and gathering we needed a more diverse pallet of words and phrases to communicate interest or disinterest in certain topics such as trade, War and peace relations.
So in the Iron Age the Celtic language and culture emerged on the island of Ireland. There’s a lot of debate on exactly when the Celts emerged in Ireland, the traditional view was that the Celtic population emerged from four separate invasions by people from Britain and Continental Europe. However War doesn’t build civilisations, trade does. That’s why Koch’s theory is so plausible. There was likely invasions by people from different regions who would then breed with the indigenous populations but they’d usually settle these conflicts via trade, which lead to the creation of a Culture and Language they could all identify with.
The Celtic culture involved feast days, the declaration of sacred areas which were signified by boulders being planted in a specific pattern or sometimes a circle and the establishment of a Polytheistic Religion which contained a vast lore that was passed down via oral tradition. Most of these tribes were stationed around the coast or near rivers for access to water and fish.
The earliest records of Ireland came from Greco-Roman geographers such as Ptolemy, who referred to Ireland as “Mikra Brettania” which means “Little Britain” not to be confused with the British TV Show Little Britain. He referred to us as Little Britain because we were a small island compared to our neighbor “Megale Brettania” which means “Great Britain” which is plausible because as islands go it is quite great in size.
Huh, I guess I should apologies to Britain now. I always just assumed you were a bunch of arrogant cunts.
Unlike Britain, Ireland was never colonised by the Romans. Rome referred to the island as “Hibernia” which is Latin for “Land of Winter” meaning that it was too cold for the Romans to colonize. Though they did have some influence on the island. On a few occasions there seems to be evidence of some small scale invasions but most of their influence on the island came about through trade.
There’s even some evidence to suggest that Ireland had a Slave Trade network going on with the Roman empire so that the Romans could have people to complete the the heaviest labour in agriculture. This trade relationship lead to the Christianisation of Ireland, which can be seen by Saint Patrick, The Patron Saint of Ireland and the person who introduced Christianity to the island.
The Christianisation of Ireland occurred in 500 CE, this involved Christians (monks and priests) from Continental Europe emigrating to Ireland to spread their Religion like the Bible commanded. This process involved several techniques. The most notable was the conversion of leaders, who would then force their people to become Christians as well- or die. This of course was a hard pill to swallow for most people, so to make Pagans more susceptible to change Christians appropriated many of the Pagans festivals and feast days as their own.
Halloween was derived from the Celtic festival Samhain, Easter came from the feast celebrating the Goddess Ēostre who was the deity that the month of April was named after in Ancient England. Christmas was derived out of Pagan Festivals as well, the use of Christmas trees was appropriated from the people of Europe who worshiped ever green trees and considered them to symbolize eternal life. It was so Unchristian that when the Puritans colonized America they literally banned Christmas.
By the end of 800 CE Ireland was homogeneously Celtic in terms of Society, Culture and Language. The largest settlements of people were monastic towns of varying size but most people lived in rural communities. By the early 9th Century Ireland was almost entirely Christian, though Paganism had not yet entirely been stomped out.
The island was split up into different regions which were ruled by different kings. There was almost never a one King of Ireland (a High King), the best description I could give you would be the political structure observed by the Wildlings in Game of Thrones. Ireland consisted of many many tribes that were often fighting each other and would only ever unite under a common enemy. In this case the common enemy was Viking Raiders.
Now, the early Vikings were just raiders from Scandinavia who were just looking to steal some food, rape some women and kill some people and then fuck off back to where they came from. The later Vikings however decided that they’d build settlements in Ireland, resulting in the coastal towns of Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Cork and Limerick.
Viking invasions became such a problem that the tribes of Ireland unified, allowing Brian Boru to become the High King of Ireland until his death in the battle of Clontarf. Most Viking settlers were either killed, forced to leave or became Christians in order to fit into the society. Ah yes, the classic diplomatic method known as “Believe in my Guy or I’ll stab you in the fucking face” works like a charm.
On May 1st of 1169 an expedition of Cambro-Norman knights with about 6000 soldiers landed in Wexford at the invitation of Dermot Mac Murrough, the King of Leinster who in 1166 fled to France to get the support of their King (Henry II, who was also King of England) so that he could fight off his rivals after he lost a war. The Saxon invaders fought alongside Dermot against the armies of Leinster (A province he had forfeited when he fled) and the rest of Ireland. By 1175 a treaty known as “The treaty of Windsor” was signed to stop the conflict. The treaty meant that many of the Irish Kings had accepted that King Henry II of England would be the Ruler of the Province of Leinster, which would be sustained by Norman warlords.
The treaty broke down quickly as by 1177 Norman Knights decided to conquer other regions outside of Leinster. By the 13th Century Norman Feudal law had replaced the traditional Gaelic Brehon Law, Norman settlements would be characterised by the establishment of baronies, manors, towns and the seeds of the modern county system. The parliament of Ireland was founded in 1297.
Due to the Black Death Norman expansion dwindled, Norman and Gaelic Irish rulers intermarried and the Norman areas became Gaelicised. By the end of the 15th Century the central English authority in Ireland had almost disappeared and a new Irish Culture and Language with influence from the Normans emerged. The only place where English Authority remained unshaken was in Dublin, the territory was referred to as “The Pale” the name deriving from the Latin word “pālus” meaning stake or more specifically the stake used to hold up a fence. Beyond the Pale referred to people that lived outside the English territory, beyond the fence or border.
The title “King of Ireland” was re-created by King Henry VIII, the King of England of the Tudor Dynasty. English rule of law would be reinforced and expanded outside the borders of the Pale. This involved the Plantation of Ireland, the process of English, Scottish and Welsh colonists moving to Ireland and taking land from the Native People. The plantation began under King Henry VIII, who was known for founding the Church of England so all the colonists that came to Ireland were Protestant.
The Plantation lead to the Anglicisation of Irish Towns, Counties and Provinces. For example Beilfeiste became Belfast, Doire became Derry etc. Irish Plantation lead to the industrialization of certain communities. Belfast became known as a Cotton town because it produced so much cotton, Draperstown became a town for Drapers, Cookstown for butchers etc.
You’ll find that in Ireland there’s a town for pretty much everything. If you want to get some poems you go to Limerick, if you want to get a rim job from an ant colony you go to Antrim, if you want to get something cooked or catch Gonorrhea you go to Cookstown, if you want to eat a chicken drumstick out of a whore’s lime green vagina then you go to Drumahoe, if you want to say in exhaustion “That’s it, I’m done- I give in!” then you go to Dungiven, if you want to join the IRA (colloquially known as “The RA“) then you go to Maghera, if you want to feel bad about your time in the RA in the Past Tense then you go to Magherafelt and if you want to lose the will to live- you go to Derry.
This expansion of English control from the Pale lead to many Ulster Chieftains consolidating forces and starting a conflict that would be known as the Nine years War. Over 100,000 Irish people died and at least 30,000 English soldiers died from their injuries or of disease. Despite the Irish lords best abilities they were unable to fend off the English army, they conceded to defeat in 1603. The Irish Earls decided to go into exile, heading to Spain and hoping to return with an army to fight off England but they never did.
The land once occupied by the Irish Earls would be confiscated by English and Scottish colonists in the Plantation of Ulster. There were plantation settlements throughout Ireland but the most intense efforts were exhibited to Ulster, since it was then the most Gaelic and Rebellious region on the Island so it needed to be snuffed out. Within a few generations the English Government obtained all previous land from Irish Lords and bred a Protestant Majority in Ulster, thus nullifying it’s threat to England.
The island would see much more conflict in the coming years. After the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell lead a conquest of Ireland to reclaim territories that had been lost during the 1641 rebellion, which resulted in the many deaths of Protestant planters in Ulster and the complete destruction of the plantation efforts in Munster. The fighting resulted in an eleven year long war with the Irish Confederacy and Protestant colonists, it would later be stopped by Cromwell’s invasion and the atrocities he would commit to the Irish people.
The fighting between Catholics and Protestants on the Island of Ireland created a culture of sectarianism, as both sides feared violence from the other.
Ireland was used as the battleground for the Williamite War. One of the most notable events was the siege of Derry by Jacobite forces that went on so long that citizens of the city started eating people, yet they would not surrender to the Catholic forces-hence where the Loyalist rallying cry “No Surrender!” emerged. The siege was unsuccessful and the Jacobite armies would be defeated by Williamite reinforcements.
After William of Orange defeated King James II at the Battle of the Boyne, England would never again have a Catholic monarch. The Protestant victory at the Battle of the Boyne would lead to the formation of the Protestant Ascendancy which would later become the Orange Order, a Protestant Fraternal group based in Ulster and celebrates sectarianism- since it was formed to celebrate a king who’s biggest contribution was the persecution of Catholics and the removal of a Catholic Monarch.
In fact after William became King he initiated Penal Laws in Ireland which persecuted the Catholic Majority and Protestant dissenters, taking away their civil rights such as their ability to stand in the Irish Parliament, serving in the army and owning property.
These Penal laws lead to the Protestant Ascendancy, the political, economic and social domination of Ireland through a minority of landowners. The Ascendancy persecuted against Catholics, Presbyterians and other Protestant domination’s that were either too poor or, in the Ascendancy’s mind, not the right kind of Protestantism. The order created much resentment in the Catholic Majority and was the driving force to many Irish Rebellions against British Occupation.
By 1740 the island had a population of about 2.4 million people, most of whom depended on grains such as oats and wheat alongside potatoes as their food supply. In December of that same year, Europe was hit by a terrible Winter known as “The Great Frost” a Winter that would trigger a famine in the island. The winter ushered in winds so cold that indoor temperatures fell to -12°C, its said that temperatures outside could reach -30°C- alongside blizzards and the extremely cold North Winds.
The Winter destroyed most of the Potato crop, a Harvest that was so bountiful that it could have fed the entire island for seven months straight. Temperatures were so cold that lakes, rivers and waterfalls froze over. Killing the fish and thus restraining the food source. The cold triggered food riots which upset the social order and lead to the deaths of many people. By January the blizzards had gone but the cold remained and with it a drought that would prevent crops from growing.
Livestock such as sheep and cattle died of the cold and crops such as wheat and corn failed. Grain subsidies got so low that the Catholic Church was forced to allow Catholics to eat Meat four days a week during lent, which in a normal year would have been forbidden.
However most Irish people couldn’t afford meat subsidies, in fact before the famine most people could barely afford food while it was in abundance. It also didn’t help with the fact that the price of coal and turf had skyrocketed and food such as bread had increased in price even though the size of the portions had decreased.
The cold winter would return at the end of 1741. Trade was cut off from most countries and the only exports allowed were to Britain. Britain exporting vital food out of Ireland during famine times would only add more reasons why the Irish resented British Occupation. Blizzards devastated the coast, followed by intense rainfall that lead to massive flooding and then ecstatic temperature drops lead to water freezing over. The following year temperature returned to normal and the food supply eventually regrew to it’s previous abundance.
The famine lasted two years and killed about 38% of Ireland’s 2.8 million inhabitants, meaning that 1/3 people died of starvation, of cold, committed suicide or were killed during food riots. The year is known as “Bliain an Áir” which is Irish for “The Year of the Slaughter“.
In the aftermath of the famine an increase in industrial production and trade allowed for the population to soar through the latter part of the 18th century. By 1782, Poynings’ law had been repealed which allowed Ireland legislative independence from Britain for the first time since 1495. However, the British Government still had the right to nominate the government of Ireland without the consent of the Irish people.
During the 1780’s, Liberal members of the Protestant Ascendancy founded the Society of United Irishmen which was initially dedicated to the Parliamentary reform of the Irish Parliament with the goal of an Independent republic free of British interference. Inspired by the American and French Revolutions, the Society of United Irishman attracted both Catholic and Presbyterian supporters as it offered genuine representation for both peoples in Government and not just the Island’s elite.
The movement was successful in Uniting both Protestant and Catholic citizens under one message; Parliamentary Reform, equal representation and the eventual relinquishment of British Occupation in Ireland. The most notable member of the party was Theobald Wolfe Tone, an Anglican Protestant and Irish Nationalist. The movement gained support from the rural secret society known as “The Defenders” which fought against British Occupation but also lead to the massacre of many Protestant Communities.
The Irish Parliament grew ever more worried with the rise in Irish Republicanism, so in an attempt to sway voters they repealed some Penal Laws. But to no avail, the Society of United Irishmen grew stronger everyday.
The British would not abide this peaceful political revolution and soon enough they shut down newspapers that supported Irish Nationalism and would eventually capture the political leaders of the Society of United Irishmen and would soon after executed them. When Wolff Tone was refused a soldiers execution (death by firing squad) he took his own life, slitting his own throat to spite the Hangman.
With the persecution of Nationalist Supporters underway, that meant the Society of United Irishmen was forced underground. There were already some dissenting voices in the party. The Presbyterian’s were feeling alienated due to the Party’s Nationalist Agenda, since many of them were Middle Class Ulster-men they depended on British industries such as the linen factories for employment. A Republic of Ireland would have meant that these British Industries would have to move back to Britain.
It also didn’t help that the Orange Order had just been formed and was helping the British Government get intel on the Society’s movements. By 1798 Britain was at war with France, the Paramilitary sects of the United Irishmen were planning on using French forces to fight off British troops. But these French troops never came and so in impatience some Paramilitaries attempted an uprising. The rebellion was unsuccessful due to the infiltration of Spies who sabotaged the Rebel’s efforts by sending intel to the British.
Sectarianism grew as the party fell to shambles. The Defenders committed several massacres against the Protestant Community, most notably in Wexford. While the Orange Order and British Government tortured and murdered Protestant dissenters who supported Irish Nationalism.
The Orange Order and British Government used these murders as a Propaganda tool to create a Culture of Sectarianism and distrust between Catholic and Protestant Communities; Divide and Rule. The British incorporated this technique when they occupied India by setting the Muslims and Hindus against each other. A people that is too busy fighting against each other would never be able to fight against their Occupiers.
By 1800 the Irish Parliament had been disbanded and resulted in the act of the Union that created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. This meant that Irish Political Interests were represented in Westminster instead of local Government. Playing on the “Catholic Vs Protestant” mentality present throughout the Island the British managed to destroy any prospect of any unilateral revolution with both Catholics and Protestants at the helm. The Presbyterians pleased with the prospect of British Industries staying in Ireland supported the Union and would even identify themselves as “British” instead of Irish.
Outside of the Linen industry Ireland was pretty much left out of the Industrial Revolution, which was the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This was due partly to the fact that it had no Coal or Iron resources and the recent Union with Britain meant that it was little more than a source of agricultural produce. An Island only good for growing Potatoes.
There would be several more Irish Nationalist Uprisings triggered by Political turmoil such as a knee jerk reaction to the Act of the Union. But all these rebellions failed due to infiltration of spies and Britain’s superior military strategy.
The reformation of Penal Laws eventually lead to the Roman Catholic Relief Act in 1829 that allowed Irish Catholics to again sit in Parliament. Ireland sent 108 Representatives to Parliament and these representatives went on to send 38 Irish representatives to the House of Lords. The majority of these Representatives were landowners or the sons of Landowners.
By 1840 the Irish census shows that the Island of Ireland had a population of well over 8 million people. Most of whom were farmers living in extreme poverty. They were living in fear of their landlords who were callous, charging excessive fees that ensured that these families would remain in poverty. They were only given 1-5 acres of land, exhausting the soil to such a degree that the only plant that could grow was Potatoes. The only type of Potato they grew was the Irish Lumper Potato.
The Potato Blight arrived in Ireland around 1845 and soon devastated the Potato crop. Although the potato blight, known as the disease “Phytophthora infestans”, was prevalent throughout Europe it disproportionately affected Ireland. There’s much debate on how exactly the Blight arrived in Europe, the best theory suggests that it came from Potato seeds or fully grown potatoes that were being transported from the Americas.
Over 1/5 people were dependent on the Potato as their main food supply. The spread of the blight ravaged the Potato Crop, which was made increasingly easy to do considering that there was only one strand of potato and the soil had become exhausted of its nutrients.
Once the Potato Crop failed many impoverished families were evicted from their homes due to the inability to pay their rent (they had no product to sell) and that lead to an over dependence on workhouses. A Victorian conception designed to take care of the unemployed. It was a place where those unable to support themselves were offered accommodation and employment. Working and living accommodations were abhorrently bad, the lack of food meant that many people either starved to death or were so malnourished that they fell susceptible to disease.
The epidemic was made worse by the fact that the British Government kept exporting food out of Ireland and towards Britain, again helping Irish resentment to British occupation. I recall reading a book about the Potato Famine in Primary school. It was called “Under the Hawthorn Tree” it was about this family who were evicted from their home. The father had to leave to find work and after a while they stopped hearing about him so the mother went to look for him. When nobody heard back from her the children decided that their best option was to travel south, 500 miles, to their closest relative in Cork.
I remember this quote from this chapter that followed the son as he observed the appalling conditions at an Irish Workhouse; “There is no God, and if there is- he’s a Monster” …Yeah, I’m surprised they let Catholic kids read that too.
John Mitchell was an Irish nationalist activist, author, and political journalist. He was very critical about Robert Peels Tory Government and the following . Blaming them for the famine due to their insistence on exporting remaining unaffected crops and poorly providing relief efforts to the famine. Peel used the famine to dwindle down the Irish population from over eight million to barely four million people- many whom either died of starvation or emigrated.
As Mitchell put it; “The Almighty, indeed, sent the potato blight, but the English created the Famine.”
The famine lasted from 1845-1851. Over one million people died of disease or starvation, over two million emigrated- mostly to America or Canada, travelling in overcrowded ships that were festering with disease. They’d come to be known as “Coffin Ships” because of the amount of people that died and were later thrown over board. It was hell.
The population of Ireland has never reached as high as 8 million since.
Eventually the cure to the Potato Blight was discover by a French inventor after he put a mixture of baking soda in the soil and discovered that it prevented potatoes from turning to blight. I can’t remember the name of the inventor but if you know who he was then contact me here.
The Famine changed a lot of things in Ireland. For starters it paved the way for larger farms which owned tens or hundreds of acres of land to grow crops on and herd livestock. Each field was given a few years each to regain the nutrients it lost in producing crops. This ensured there’d never be a famine as severe as this one and also helped raise the general population out of severe poverty.
Tony Blair apologised on behalf of the British Government for their role in the Irish Potato Famine in 1997.
If you ever come to Ireland the one thing you’ll notice about the entire country is how rural it is. I’ve talked to many foreign people visiting the island and they’re surprised at the amount of tractors you see driving about. They’re so common that being late for work because you were driving behind a tractor is a valid excuse. But despite the majority of Ireland being rural, only 10% of the Islands surface area is covered by trees and forests- infact, Ireland has the second-smallest forest level in all of Europe. Now this is largely due to the agricultural revolution, to have agriculture you need fields and to have fields you need deforestation but most of the severe deforestation was committed during the plantation era.
Deforestation leads to a lot of issues, for starters it effects ecosystems which may lead to the extinction of valuable species but it also leads to floods being significantly more harmful than they otherwise would be. In the Great Frost there was reports of severe flooding, which was aided by deforestation. The water washes away the nutrients in the soil and kills the crops in the process- causing famines.
There was several more Nationalist rebellions, all of which were failures so it seemed the only viable option for progress was via politics. This came as soon as Irish Catholics were allowed to vote. There was several attempts to break up the union that failed tremendously, the most notable was the “Home Rule” bill that allowed Ireland to govern itself outside of Westminster while still remaining in the UK- basically it’s a local parliament in Ireland.
This was spearheaded by Charles Stewart Parnell, a Protestant Nationalist for the Irish Parliamentary Party. He was such an effective politician that Home Rule was almost guaranteed to happen during his tenure as MP. Unfortunately Parnell had an affair with a Married woman so the Catholic Church withdrew their support of him, meaning that they bullied their followers into abandoning him. He retired in disgrace.
The bill was so sure to pass by 1914 that Unionists grew really concerned, worried that a Home Rule Governing System would favour the Catholic Majority’s interests over the Protestant Minority (“Home Rule is Rome Rule“) and by 1912 they started running Guns into Ulster and formed a militia to fend off Home Rule, known as the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). However to ensure Home Rule would go into fruition the Nationalists started running guns of their own into the Province and started up their own Militia; the Irish Volunteer Force (IVF).
All this gun running was ultimately pointless as the Home Rule bill was put on hold as Britain joined World War One. In order to gain troops in Ireland the British promised the Unionists that if they fought on their side then they would withhold Home Rule, however they also promised Irish Nationalists that if they fought on their side then they would give them Home Rule.
This offer split the Irish Parliamentary Party in half as many followed John Redmond who supported the war while many dissented from the party believing the war to be pointless as both a conflict and as a means to achieving a political goal; Home Rule.
The British Government never did give the Irish Home rule, they decided to honor their agreement with the Unionists. Citing the Unionist battalions brave sacrifice at the Battle of the Somme (they cited this through Crocodile tears) this lead to uproar for the Nationalists and the formation of a Radical New-Irish Nationalist Party; Sinn Féin.
For those of you confused about how to pronounce that it is not “Sin Fine“. No, it’s pronounced “Shin” like the lower part of the leg and “Fain” like the word Pain but with an F. Sinn Féin is Irish for “We Ourselves” as in we alone will Govern ourselves.
In 1916 Irish Republicans started Running Guns and started planning an all out assault on British Troops in Dublin. With the combined efforts of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), the Irish Volunteers, the Irish Citizen Army and the Cumman na mBann (The Irishwomens Council) they occupied several buildings in Dublin and proclaimed independence from Britain.
The British soon replied by sending troops alongside artillery and even a gunboat. The conflict lasted five days, from April 24th-29th of 1916. Most of the conflict was accomplished via sniping. One Irish combatant got shot a total of 22 times- and lived. Unfortunately their efforts were not successful, due to the British’s superior numbers and firepower the Rebels were forced to surrender.
As the rebellion took place in the week of Easter it would be known as “The Easter Rising“. 485 people were killed in the conflict. 54% being civilians, 24% being British Troops and only 16% were Irish Rebels. The general public were outraged by the Rebels attempts at accomplishing independence through violence. Though public opinion quickly shifted after the British issued martial law throughout the island, then executed the leaders without a fair or Public trial and then proceeded to arrest 3,500 people- most of whom had nothing to do with the Rising and 1,500 were sent to internment camps in Britain.
Initially the public’s opinion of the Irish Rebels were sour, it had brought violence back into the pursuit of independence that had been absent for fifty years and had caused grave casualties, including the destruction of most of Dublin. But it’s important to recognise the British Military’s extreme force in all of this. If they really wanted to prevent the loss of life they could have starved out the rebels and prevented the death toll from getting over a hundred. Instead they opted to use unnecessary artillery such as the gunboat and literally blew Dublin to Kingdom Come.
Sinn Féin won the following election in a landslide, but they didn’t take their seats in Parliament. Instead they opted to form their own Parliament known as the Dáil. Fuck, how do I explain how to pronounce that? Ok. So “Dáil” isn’t pronounced like “Doll” No, it’s pronounced like “Da” a shortening of Dad and “I’ll” a contraction of I will. OK, so say “Da-I’ll” OK, now remove the hyphen “Dai’ll” and one more time for good measure “Dáil” there you go.
Get a pint of Guinness in you and pick a fight with a Gypsy and you’re halfway to becoming Irish.
Despite their internment the rebels of the Easter Rising were eventually released, reforming the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) into the Irish Republican Army. The IRA.
Just to take a pause for a second, I just want to commend the name change. Like, the IRA is a pretty great acronym- it sounds so cool and threatening. Unlike IRB which sounds shit. Like, don’t even pronounce the individual letters- just pronounce IRB as if it were an actual word. IRB. It sounds fucking shit. Good job with the name change, I say.
The IRA declared a three year long guerrilla war which would be known as “The War of Independence” the declared president (Eamon De Valera) spent most of the time in America, trying to gain enough influence so that the American Government could help out with the war. To no avail.
The IRA was lead by Michael Collins, who some would say is the greatest Irish Patriot…well, ever. I’m not going to go into much detail about him, if you’d like to I’d recommend checking out this documentary by produced by a Mad Welsh Bastard.
After World War One wrapped up Britain was capable of sending in more troops. Winston Churchill had the bright idea to get all the soldiers from World War One- who had PTSD- and instead of giving them a heroes welcome back home, send them to a Country that openly despised them. These veterans were officially known as the Royal Irish Constabulary Special Reserve, however the locals referred to them as “The Black and Tans” due to their uniforms comprising mostly of Black and Tanned colours, most likely the uniform they wore during World War One.
The Cruelty of the Black and Tans were infamous. Alongside the Essex Regiment, the Black and Tans terrorized the Irish People. One of the most infamous incidents was the retaliation on 21st of November 1920, after the IRA assassinated a group of undercover British operatives known as “The Cairo Gang” the Black and Tans retaliated by opening fire at a Gaelic football match, killing 16 and wounding at least 60.
Some sects of the IRA had a mutual respect with certain British Regiments, an example of this would be Tom Barry’s West Cork sect of the IRA who had a mutual respect for the Liverpool Regiment. If they captured a soldier from this regiment they would treat them kindly, harm not a hair on their head and in some cases give them beer to drink. Whenever the regiment came across the Black and Tans however they almost always shot them dead on sight, due to their history of burning villages to the ground and torturing and murdering innocent civilians.
The Guerrilla War lasted for three long years, there was reported to be some disagreement between Michael Collins and Eamon De Valera. Eamon had the stupid idea in his head that they should stop the guerrilla warfare tactics and engage in a proper battle like what you’d see in World War One. Collins’ ignored this idiotic idea because the British had superior numbers and military experience; if they fought them in an actual battle field they’d lose easily.
The War grew to a halt by 1921 when a Peace Treaty was signed, with the condition that several counties in Ulster remain in the UK because of it’s Protestant and Unionist majority. Collins negotiated the deal known as the “Anglo-Irish Treaty” which ended the war for independence. Meaning that 26 Counties of Ireland would be independent from Britain while six counties in Ulster would remain in the UK.
This treaty was very controversial, splitting the Sinn Féin party. Many of the people who fought for independence felt that the treaty was an insult to their efforts while others accepted that this was the best deal they could get. If the island didn’t accept this treaty then Britain would continue the war, this time sending in the full force of its Army (a potential bluff because the army was spread out all across their other colonies) meaning Ireland may never have gotten independence at all.
In one of his letters that he wrote in his time negotiating in London, Collins admitted that by creating and signing this treaty he had essentially “Signed my own Death Warrant“.
Some complained that the threat of war didn’t allow for a genuine vote, like voting with a gun to your head. Eventually a civil war broke out, Michael Collin’s on the side of Pro-Treaty while Eamon De Valera was on the side of Anti-treaty. Of course with Collin’s superior artillery and military expertise the civil war was won by the Pro Treaty Camp, but it came at the price of his life as on 22nd of August 1922 Micheal Collins was assassinated during an ambush by Anti-Treaty fighters in his home county of Cork.
Soon after that the Anglo-Irish treaty came to fruition. And with it, the formation of the last semblance of British Occupation; Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland remained part of the UK due to the “Opt Out” Claus it was given during the Anglo-Irish treaty. The province has a Presbyterian and Unionist majority so it was expected that they would use this clause to remain in the Union. The region contains six out of the nine counties of the Province of Ulster. The region has a population of over 1 million people. It’s also shaped like a Mangled Donut:
Being part of the UK, Northern Ireland was part of WW2. In fact Belfast was bombed heavily during the Blitz. The Republic of Ireland however was completely neutral. Winston Churchill tried to get the Republic to fight alongside the allies for the war, even going so far as to offer returning Northern Ireland to the Republic. Six counties for an Army.
The then Taoseach (Pronounced “Teashock” it’s basically Ireland’s Prime Minister) Eamon De Valera denied the offer, probably due to the fact the last time the British pulled this trick was during WW1 with the Home Rule bill. The British Government aren’t very good at keeping their Promises to the Irish People.
Churchill never told the people of Northern Ireland about his offer to De Valera, there would have been massive uproar. We only know of it now because the documents of their discussion were disclosed in the 70’s.
Conscription wasn’t expanded to Northern Ireland and despite the Republic’s neutrality- there was an equal amount of volunteers to fight for the British army on both sides of the island.
The South of Ireland was known as the “Free State of Ireland” until 1949 when it officially became a Republic, removing the last ties it had with the British Empire.
The Catholic church had significant influence over the Government, which contributed to the island’s already restrictive and dogmatic culture. Abuse by the Catholic church went unpunished, ranging from the Child abuse scandals to the appalling living conditions in Magdalene Laundries-institutions that held and abused women who had sex out of wedlock and in extreme cases; murdered their children,as they were born out of wedlock.
Fortunately the Catholic church has dwindled in its influence, which can be observed by the Nation’s Legalisation of Gay marriage in 2015. Becoming the first country to pass Gay marriage into law by Popular vote.
After the second world war, Europe was in financial ruin (one of the reasons the US economy boomed throughout the 50’s was because Europe’s industries were exhausted, leaving the US to become the World’s leading manufacturer) and Ireland becoming a recently independent Republic was financially struggling.
Many people emigrated to England, Europe or America to find work. Ireland largely being a rural society was struggling to compete in an industrialised world. It was made worse by the fact that the Republic closed trade to everyone. There was no foreign investment in the island, meaning there was no money.
The Government would later do a complete 180 on their economic policy, creating a free trade deal with the UK and then proceeded to join them in the Economic European Community (later renamed the European union, an institution that consolidated trade between European States, the logic being that nations who trade with one another are less likely to go to war with eachother- as most wars are started in order to acquire land and resources) Ireland also lowered it’s corporation taxes to attract foreign investment.
After working out the kinks to income tax and after Irish industries became international commodities, the Irish economy boomed. In the late 70’s the average Irish household earned 1/3 of their UK equivalent. By the mid 90’s they were earning significantly more. Entering into an era of economic prosperity that would be referred to as “The Celtic Tiger” which would last for thirteen years.
Of course it ended during the financial crash of 2008. The banks had fucked up. Unemployment rose to 14% and many people emigrated to find work. After almost a decade the economy is slowly recovering.
Despite the economic hurdles and living under some kind of Catholic twist to Sharia law, the Republic of Ireland in the latter half of the 20th century was relatively peaceful.
For Northern Ireland however, it was a completely different story.
Northern Ireland was always the most heated province on the island. During the plantation of Ulster under Queen Elizabeth I and King James I, Catholic land had been acquired by Protestant Colonists. This created resentment which soon lead to Violence. Violence that would seal a culture of sectarianism, one that ensured the failure of the Society of United Irishmen and the formation of the Orange Order.
Northern Ireland had it’s own government and legal system (Turns out Unionists love Home Rule so long as they’re the majority) there was a lot of issues in the province. For starters Gerrymandering was common practice, leading to a one party state controlled by Unionists. Catholics were unrepresented in Government and to make matters worse they were discriminated against at work, lack of well paying jobs meant that Catholics were forced to emigrate in droves.
Relations between Catholic and Protestant communities were at an all time low. Riots were common place and in extreme cases Catholics were burned out of their homes. The British government were forced to send in the troops to keep the peace. Initially both communities were pleased by army presence, thinking that they would protect each community from the violence of the other.
This opinion didn’t last long, soon both sides started accusing the armed services of favouring the other Community over their own. Peaceful protests by the civil rights movement were constantly interrupted by violence from Loyalists and the British army.
A sect of the IRA became involved in Northern Ireland and was known as the “Provisional IRA” which was the first of many Republican Paramilitaries to be formed in the latter half of the 20th century. In response the Loyalists formed their own militias such as the UDA and the Red Hand Commandoes (Let’s ignore the Irony that people who Identified as British and fought against the Irish decided to adopt the symbol of an Irish Earl who fought against the English) and many more in the latter half of the 20th century.
On a personal note, I’d like to commend the Red Hand Commandoes on having a cool sounding name. I mean it. Out of all the Loyalist Paramilitaries, you’re the only one that sounds somewhat intimidating. I mean, the UDA sounds like an STD. Not a Terrorist Organisation. But, alas, you don’t sound nearly as cool as the IRA. And you never will.
The British state started arresting suspected Republicans, holding them in internment without trial. By doing this the British state had essentially arrested thousands of innocent people with no charges. This outraged the most moderate Nationalists and strengthened the radicals support. Internment lead to the protests and riots that were prevalent in the region.
One of the most infamous events that took place during this time was on the 30th of January, 1972 where British armed forces opened fire on peaceful protesters, killing 13. The day would be referred to as “Bloody Sunday”.
There was an inquiry held after the massacre called “The Widgeberry Tribunal” which largely cleared the soldiers and the British government of blame. It also portrayed the protesters as being incredibly violent and thus “justifying extreme force” by wielding guns and throwing bombs-which was blatantly untrue. The whole event had been recorded for the whole world to see, they were clearly unarmed.
Fortunately another enquiry was issued in 1998 to reinvestigate what exactly happened. The “Saville Inquiry” lasted for 12 years until it was released to the public in 2010. The inquiry concluded that the protestors were unarmed and that the violence they received from British forces was unjustifiable.
Then Prime Minister David Cameron made an official apology on behalf of the British government.
The massacre was one of the most significant events throughout the entire Troubles. Support for the Provisional IRA was at an all time high and violence was becoming more and more common place. A conflict that was only ever supposed to last six months instead lasted thirty years. Killing over 3,500 and wounding over 45,000.
Violence from the Troubles was largely contained to the confines of Northern Ireland but it also spilled out onto the Republic or Ireland, England and even mainland Europe as the IRA attacked British Barracks and attempted on many occasions to sabotage Power Stations. Although the IRA had the largest death toll (well over 1,000) it’s important to acknowledge that most of the casualties were Soldiers and Police Officers, legitimate targets during the war and whenever certain members went too far the IRA honed them in.
This cannot be said for Loyalist Militias who actively tortured and murdered innocent civilians, most of whom were Catholics. The Police were fairly corrupt as well and on many times they actively aided Loyalist Paramilitaries in their ethnic cleansing, an example of this would be the Glennane Gang who consisted of members of the UDA and Police Officers from the Royal Ulster Constabulary (The RUC, an Organisation comprising 90% of Protestants and was incredibly Sectarian in their treatment of citizens) who carried out shooting and bombing attacks on Catholics and Nationalists, they were responsible for 100 murders.
Peace was difficult to achieve as so many had died and so many had been hurt, Unionists and Loyalists hated moderates like John Hume (one of the founders of the SDLP, a Political Party in Northern Ireland) more than they hated people like Gerry Addams and the IRA because Hume was in open dialogue with these people trying to secure peace.
Without Moderates like John Hume talking to both sides of the war and Lobbying in America in order to gain enough influence in Washington to pass helpful legislation and convince the British Government to not be a dick- there may have never been peace at all.
By the 1990’s a ceasefire was called, Paramilitaries such as the IRA decommissioned their arms and the Peace Process was underway. The Good Friday agreement was ushered in under then US President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair with the support off all the major politicial parties of Northern Ireland, excluding the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) who actively opposed the agreement but didn’t give any alternative to it whatsoever.
A referendum was held in 1998 and passed in a Landslide, it was passed into Law in 1999. The Agreement meant that there would always have to be a nationalist and unionist coalition to represent both interests of each community. It also meant that the border to the Republic would essentially become invisible, unlike how it was during the troubles where it had a lengthy military presence. The agreement also guaranteed the mutual respect, civil rights and religious liberties of everyone in the community. An example would be respect for the Irish Language.
For the first two decades of the 21st Century Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland has been fairly peaceful. Occassionally there’s a few riots now and again over some flags (This is one of the only places in the world that sells fire proof flags) and Bonfires around the 12th of July celebrating the Battle of the Boyne (Loyalist Celebration the victory of a Sectarian king) and the Internment Bonfires, usually these Bonfires cause a lot of controversy because the perpetrators deliberately antagonise the other side (i.e. putting election posters and flags onto the bonfire to burn) and often times the perpetrators house gets caught on fire because of the bonfire.
I mean say what you will about Bonfires, and I will, but I just can’t help but admire the effort that these people have. I mean imagine having the sheer willpower to build a wooden pallet laden monstrosity such as this:
I mean that is objectively impressive. Stupidly dangerous but impressive none the less. But I guarantee you one thing, you will never be more happy than this man right here:
Like, do you realise the amount of effort he had to put in to accomplish this feat? He had to climb up like roughly ten or twenty stories- one a bunch of wooden pallets that could break easily under his weight (especially if the wood was soggy after the rain, which is common) and on top of that he carried a big fucking Union Jack- without a harness.
And he probably trained for this as well, look at him. He’s wearing shorts and a tank top with finger-less gloves. The amount of effort…how can you not laugh and applaud at the same time?
We can learn a lot from the history of Ireland, the most relevant is around the subjects of identity and moderation. Like, what exactly makes someone Irish? Is it associated by birth or is being Irish a Choice? Unionists like to refer to themselves as British (which I’m perfectly happy to refer to them as, so long as they respect my wish to be referred to as Irish) but if you asked a foreigner what they meant when they say British they’ll tell you that they actually mean English and if you ask an English person what they mean when they say British they’ll tell you that they actually mean English.
We also learn that as far as indigenous people go, there’s not really an indigenous Irish. Not really. All of my ancestors came from somewhere else, whether it be Europe or the island next door. We also learn that fear of change is ultimately pointless, because as people and as a society we need to evolve and adapt to the times so that we can continue to live together in peace.
A species that does not adapt is a species that does not survive. Whether it be language, Religion, Culture or the ethnicity of the island- change is coming. Change will happen and it should happen. All you can do is mould its shape, one day at a time.
We also learn in the numerous examples throughout Irish History that Moderation is crucial to peace. Moderation and freedom is integral to peace, the Society of united Irishmen never would have turned to the means of violence if their voices had not been actively suppressed through the British state i.e. the shut down of Nationalist Newspapers and the unwarranted arrests and execution of all their leaders.
As John F. Kennedy said; “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable” and though violent conflict may be crucial to ushering in change it still costs too much.
If the IRA never took up arms then Northern Ireland would still be run under a One Party Unionist state with a corrupt police force. Change through peaceful means would have almost been impossible so armed conflict was inevitable. But it is heartbreaking none the less because if people were more nuanced in their view of the world, more empathetic to their opponents then 3,500 people would still be alive.
This photo below is of Spanish tourists in Omagh, 1998. That red car contained explosives and would go off moments after the photo was taken. Miraculously the adult and the child in the photo survived, the photographer wasn’t so lucky. Neither was 29 other people.
This photo always made me sad. Because if it were just Catholics and Protestants dying there would be nothing exceptional about that. But when a foreigner, who has nothing to do with it, dies in your war… I don’t know. It’s just sad. The whole conflict was failure of the Irish republic and the British Government, but it was also a failure of the people of Northern Ireland. I think in some way, we’re all to blame.
Fucking hell, we’re at 9000 words and I haven’t even begun to get to get into Brexit or the prospects of a United Ireland. This is by far my longest article to date. Like, this is longer than most essays and most news articles and you’re probably tired. Y’know what? take a break, get a cup of tea, eat a bagel or something and we’ll reconvene in ten or so minutes. Sound good?
Ok, I’m not going to explain the logistics of Brexit in entirety so if you require background to it I’d recommend looking up a reputable journalist or economist well versed in the logistics of Brexit, the best examples I could give would be journalists like James O’Brien, Fintan O’Toole and Legal experts like David Allan Green. All of whom are staunch remainers, but I couldn’t find a Brexiteer who…well, believes in an objectionable reality.
So the whole thing started out with the formation of the United Kingdom Independence Party’s (UKIP) formation in 1993, their only real policy was to get the UK out of the EU because…I don’t fucking know. They say sovereignty and the fact that the EU is run by people that are unaccountable to the electorate and is super bureaucratic which, I mean, it is Buerechratic but it does have democratic elections (why do you think Nigel Farage is a member of the European Parliament?) but they’ll cite that the European Commission is undemocratic and they’re not wrong, they’re not right but they’re not wrong.
The EU commission is run by civil servants. Civil Servants are basically the people that run the government, they’re the people that carry out government policy and they’re selected by the government. Each state puts forth civil servants to carry out the labours of the EU commission (which makes sense because MPs and the PM don’t have time for all the paper work) so these civil servants are chosen individually by our elected representatives. They’re not voted in by the public, however they’re picked by our elected representatives such as the Cabinet- who are our elected officials and thus are carrying out the business with governing.
UKIP also claims that being in the EU means that the UK and other member states don’t have control of their borders which is horse-shit because under EU laws the UK is allowed to expel EU nationals if they fail to find work within three months. They don’t exercise this right because it’s too expensive and pointless because EU immigrants and immigrants in general are a net benefactor to the economy. Also, UKIPs policy with leaving the EU states that they want a trade agreement like Denmark and other European nations that aren’t part of the EU but get all the benefits of being in the EU- those benefits however mean that said country has to agree with Freedom of Movement for citizens across Europe, meaning that their position on Immigration is sketchy at best.
Anyway, UKIP became more and more influential in the UK as the far right party that appealed to people who wanted to “shake up the system” and people who believe there are too many brown people in the country. They were fairly successfully, got 14% of the vote in the 2010 General Election but only got one MP in Parliament, the other seats went to the Tories (UK Conservative Party) who were forced to go into Coalition with the Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems, for short) which people like Jacob Rees-Mogg fucking hated cause that meant they had to behave themselves, for the most part.
When the next election came around in 2015 the Prime Minister (David Cameron, leader of the Tory Party) said during the campaign that if UKIP voters voted Tory this time round then he’ll hold a referendum on the UK leaving the EU. The Tories won a majority in the election and David “Pig Fucker” Cameron decided to uphold his promise and held a referendum.
Cameron and many other Tory members were staunch retainers, people like Boris Johnson and Michael Gove campaigned for Leave but they’re career politicians who believe in nothing but whatever will get them in power. The only people that genuinely believed Brexit was a good idea was Nigel Farage and maybe Jacob Rees-Mogg. Maybe. For Boris it was just his way of securing the UKIP vote for the rest of his career, he was hoping to be Prime minister some day.
The whole campaign cycle was just abysmal. There was no real debate in the UK, no one really understood what the fuck was going on- why would they? Why in the name of FUCK would normal civilians have a comprehensive understanding of the trade agreements they have with the European Union? Have you met a normal person? They’re fucking idiots. They’re too busy watching TV or getting drunk or having unprotected sex to be paying attention to debates in the European Parliament.
Granted, I’d rather be getting drunk or having unprotected sex instead of wasting my days researching the EU and writing extensive articles like this. But we don’t always get what we want.
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party- the Leftist Party in the UK and the main opposition to the Tories- was put in a weird place because he had to campaign for Remain even though he adamantly despised the EU.
That’s the thing you’ll find with politics, people on the far left and right agree on a lot of things. It’s kind of like the horse shoe effect. Farage hates the EU because he says it’s run by authoritarian bureaucrats who want to create a Globalist Superstate, while Corbyn hates the EU because it’s run by greedy bankers who favour the will of CEO’s and Multi National Corporations over the welfare of the people.
Yeah, he didn’t talk that much. Just smiled for some photographs. The whole fucking thing was just one big mess. Like, there was a bus that had a gigantic lie on it and the whole thing just devolved into “You’re a Racist!” and “You’re a Cuck!” it really got out of hand.
An MP was murdered for christ sake.
But, somehow the Leave side won. Nigel and Mogg rejoiced, Boris and Gove shat themselves. Pig-Fucker-Cameron resigned, probably cause he thought “Yeah, I’m not going to be steering this ship when it’s sinking” which lead to a cabinet shuffle and so Theresa May became Prime Minister.
God I pity her. Like, I don’t know why exactly I pity her I just know that I do. Perhaps I’m being sexist, being more sympathetic because she’s a woman. I imagine if Michael Gove was Prime Minister I wouldn’t give the slightest fuck about his well being, I’d even go so far as to refer to him as an obese squirrel who looks like someone grabbed his nuts.
But the main difference between Gove and May is that he was an integral part to the Leave Campaign, while She was an adamant Remainer. In fact, the majority of the cabinet consists of Remainers. Which infuriates people like Nigel Farage, which always makes me happy.
There’s so little in this world that I enjoy but seeing Nigel Farage get all huffed up about the inadequacies of his elected representatives carrying out legislation they know to be harmful because of a referendum that wasn’t even legally binding and was more full of shit than a silage tank- well, I can’t help but smile.
Theresa May said that she wouldn’t hold a snap General Election after she came into office, then she declared that there would be a snap general election months after being in office.
The idea was that the Tories would win in a landslide cause they perceived the opposition to be complete and utter shit and at the time the Prime Minister’s approval rating was at an all time high, she was almost guaranteed a majority.
Which she would have then used to help her in Brexit negotiations, it’s speculated that her majority would have ushered in a Soft Brexit which makes sense considering her stance as a Remainer.
If you’re confused, it’s understandable.
Let me explain what a Soft and Hard Brexit means. A “Soft Brexit” is a deal that ensures that the UK leaves the EU but they still have some trade agreements in place which will be upheld by the continuation of free movement (which is ideal for EU residents in the UK and UK residents in other EU states) so the UK would be apart of the Customs Union (CU) and the EU’s Single Market Economy (SM) which is ideal if your main concern is jobs and trade.
A Hard Brexit, or as it’s supporters prefer to call it “A Clean Brexit” means that the UK leaves both the Single market and the Customs Union, no freedom of movement and so the UK will revert back to the World trade Organisation rules for its trade agreements with the EU. Which is restrictive at best.
So there we go. A Soft Brexit is like a flat Diet Coke while a Hard Brexit is like a cup of tea with Cholera in it.
A suitable analogy would be this; a Soft Brexit is like taking a big, lengthy, wet shit that causes a mess but doesn’t cause much harm. While a Hard Brexit is like taking a Shit that is rock hard, three inches in diameter and rips a tear in your asshole on its way out. Meaning you can’t sit comfortably for at least two weeks.
Soft or Hard, Brexit sure as fuck won’t be Clean.
Anyway, that whole general election was pure unadulterated cancer. The Tories refused to participate in public debates, Jeremy Corbyn accidentally ran over a camera mans foot- even the Jeremy Paxman interviews were shit! How the fuck do you ruin Jeremy Paxman?!
Results day came and Theresa May “won” the election. She lost her majority. Jeremy Corbyn didn’t even fucking resign, unlike the Lib Dems leader Tim Farron, the trendy vicar who smokes weed cause he’s uncomfortable with sitting next to a Gay on the bus.
The Tories were forced to go into a coalition with the DUP, it’s been a riot ever since.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is a Far Right Wing Political Party in Northern Ireland. They’re the only people that didn’t support the Good Friday Agreement (even though they now take credit for it) and spend the majority of the time pandering to their voters biases against Nationalists by constantly bringing up “Sinn Féin has links to the IRA” even though they have links to Loyalist Paramilitaries such as the UDA, so their stance on terrorism is a bit hypocritical (Also lets just take a moment to appreciate that the supposedly super christian Party in Northern Ireland doesn’t believe in Forgiveness) and they’re responsible for the whole collapse of Stormont (our local government) because the DUP sponsored a botched energy scheme that pretty much bankrupted the province.
When confronted with this, Arlene Foster refused to step down citing “I will not bow down to this blatant misogyny” which…didn’t go over well with people, to say the least. She refused to resign because of her fuck up, so her Nationalist counterpart (the late Martin McGuinness, Deputy first minister of Northern Ireland) stepped down which triggered an election.
Then another election happened because May called her election and the DUP lost their Majority in Stormont, which is inconsequential because Stormont has been shut down for almost a Year and now the DUP are snuggling up with the Tories in Number 10.
They were also one of two parties in Northern Ireland that supported Brexit, the other Parties were thinking “You do realise we live on the same island with another EU country?” It also doesn’t doesn’t help that the Good Friday Agreement requires the two governments to be part of the EU or else the whole thing falls apart… which is less than ideal.
The border with the Republic of Ireland is one of the more complicated issues with Brexit. Actually, fuck that. The Irish border is the easiest fucking issue- but the British government is being run by a bunch of Jingoistic morons.
As one Twitter user noted; “If the Brits had this kind of Negotiating Team back in 1922 during the Anglo-Irish treaty negotiations; we would have got Northern Ireland and Probably Wales along with it.”
So the UK is leaving the EU, the whole UK. That means Northern Ireland is leaving too, which is less than ideal because for one thing all the businesses here (the ones Bill Clinton pressured to set up here after the Troubles, they found the place was actually a gold mine as far as tech was concerned) and it’s made worse by the fact that we live on an island with a fellow EU nation; the Republic of Ireland.
So the EU allows us to maintain a border that is pretty much invisible, in fact you’d only be able to tell what side of the border you were on by the road signs as down south they include it in Irish. This is a big change from what it was like twenty odd years ago, where the entire border had a heavy military presence and it was a complete and utter bitch to cross.
So the way Theresa May and the DUP want to leave the EU is (or at least was) looking like a hard Brexit; in which the UK leaves both the Customs Union and the Single Market, which causes a lot of issues with the border because if Northern Ireland leaves either then a Hard Border would be required to check goods crossing the border, which isn’t necessary if NI is in the CU and SM.
And if NI leaves the CU or the SM then the Good Friday Agreement is made redundant meaning that peace has been put at risk. Which the Tory government has said that they don’t want, but they’ve been ignoring the border issues since Article 50 (EU regulation that allows Member States to exit the EU if they want, so long as they do it properly) so the Republic of Ireland was forced to issue a veto, essentially throwing a spanner into the Brexit works bringing the whole thing to a stand still until they sort this out.
The British weren’t very happy about that, British Tabloids have been attacking the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar- which is inconsequential but it’s pissed off the Southerners, if it carries on with this Anglo-Irish relations will plummet to Potato Famine levels. Leo’s been handling the whole thing well, being calm and collective. His approval rating is up, then again anyone would look good compared to Theresa May.
Ok, so the Brexiteers (I still don’t like that name, they sound fucking French) don’t want a Hard Border in Northern Ireland, but they still want to leave the CU and the SM which…results in a Hard Border for Northern Ireland. So they could give special status to Northern Ireland, meaning that the province remains in the SM and the CU to avoid a hard border but they don’t want that because the DUP won’t have Northern Ireland be treated any differently to the rest of the UK (Except in the cases of Abortion, Gay Marriage and Corporation Tax- we only get Special Status for stupid shit) which, if they get their way, results in a Hard Border.
Then they went as far to say that if a Hard Border were to be established in Ireland, the UK wouldn’t pay for it, wouldn’t set it up and wouldn’t enforce it which…is fucking delusional.
I thought these fuckers wanted to control their borders?
It’s become increasingly apparent that the people in charge, and I mean this is the nicest way possible, don’t have a fucking clue what they’re doing. They don’t understand their Nation’s History with my country (which would explain why the Irish would resent being told what to do by the British) and it seems strikingly clear each and every day that most people in Britain actually forgot that they still owned Northern Ireland.
Which can be exhibited in this video Channel 4 News did, where they walked about an English high-street and asked people to draw out the Northern Ireland border with the Republic. This is one of the most notable results:
Now unlike most people I’m not that upset about this, I mean the British people aren’t taught this shite in School. Fuck, I can’t even tell you where Somerset is. And if you’re genuinely upset about this, please, try and look me straight in the eye and tell me that you knew that Gibraltar was in the fucking UK.
Actually I think Theresa May threatened to go to War over that fucking island. Or at least one of her MP’s said she was keen for a fight. Which is maybe worse, because you’re hyping up a fight that literally nobody wants.
She really is like Thatcher, but stupid and bad at everything.
Ok, so as I report to you the whole Brexit thing is in a stand still from last week. Leo Varadkar threw a spanner in the works, Tories and the DUP had a shit fit, started bickering about the border in that “We don’t want it and we don’t understand reality” kind of way. The best way I could describe it is like that Meegan Sketch by Key & Peele. In which the guy is trying to be the voice of reason but the girl isn’t having it, but he keeps bringing up the jacket because it’s the one intrinsic thing that she has to address because if she doesn’t have her jacket she will have lost the jacket and will be cold.
It’s funnier when I don’t explain the joke, I realise that now.
Ok, so last Monday Theresa May met with Leo Varadkar to negotiate a deal (which they were really close to sealing special status for Northern Ireland, thus avoiding hard border) but then the DUP heard about it so they held a Press Conference and talked some shite, which grabbed Theresa May’s attention so she was forced to call Arlene Foster before/half way through her meeting with Leo and Arlene told her to “fucking drop it” or something along those lines, so Theresa May was forced to drop it.
Then on Tuesday the DUP kept shit talking and suggested that the Republic of Ireland told Theresa May to go behind their back to negotiate the deal (which they didn’t, they said they didn’t, the Tories said they didn’t and the whole deal was public knowledge the day before because of a leak so literally the only people that didn’t know about the deal was the DUP who are supposed to be in Government) which is just posturing to their pretty damn impressionable voters.
Tuesday also allowed for the rest of the UK to hear about Northern Ireland’s special status deal and their argument that because Ireland voted 57% to remain in the EU that granting special status is democratically appropriate, or some shit like that.
So when the rest of the UK Remainers heard about this they were pissed off, which lead to people like Nicola Sturdgeon and Sadiq Khan tweeting something along the line such as “If NI gets special status cause they voted largely remain then so should my place cause we also voted largely in remain” which, if Scotland stayed in the CU and SM would have lead to a one way ticket to Independence within fifty years and if London managed to find a way to do the same then they might become a city state. I don’t know, that’s like a 4% chance of ever happening.
The whole thing was pretty damn surreal. One twitter user described Sadiq Khan’s proposition as such; “Sadiq Khan is a Bad Bitch who lives for the Drama” I…I’m sorry. I need a moment.
Never thought I’d ever live to see the Mayor of London be referred to as a “Bad Bitch” but here we are.
On Wednesday David Davis, the man who’s supposed to handling Brexit, revealed that the government hasn’t carried out any impact assessments on how Brexit will affect the UK economy. Despite having the last eighteen months to get it done, at the very least the last six after they triggered article 50.
Now, this news about David Davis failure to do any fucking work what so ever suggests two possibilities:
- Brexit is being handled by people who are both incompetent and lazy.
- Brexit is being handled by people who did carry out these impact assessments, but found the results so appallingly bad that they were too afraid to release them to the public.
If the second option turns out to be true, that means they’d rather be seen as the people who were incompetent and lazy than the people who ruined the British economy while trying to keep a straight face.
A suitable allegory for the whole shit stained kerfuffle would be a Man, screaming at the top of his lungs;
“How was I supposed to know I had AIDES when I fucked You?!”
Then on Friday the DUP conceded to the deal that was proposed on Monday and then bragged about ensuring a bright future for Northern Ireland, even though they threatened that same future four days earlier. Then Ian Paisley Jr, a Pathetic excuse of a man and a Failure to his Father’s Legacy, was talking shite about Leo saying how he bowed down or broke under pressure or some shit. Leo didn’t respond, presumably because he was too busy running a country.
Then throughout the weekend the Tories and DUP for some fucking reason kept bringing up how the deal they made on Friday wasn’t legally binding (which is correct, neither was the referendum or the Good Friday Agreement- they’re Politically binding) and the EU conceded to this saying that the deal on Friday was a “Gentlemens Agreement” so it’s like any political agreement; it’s only as good as the word of the people who said it.
So I’m expecting this deal to unravel within the next two weeks. No other reason than the Tories incompetence and the DUP’s constant desire to posture and pander to their voters. I think that’s what the whole Ian Paisley Jr’s dumb-fuck statement on Leo Varadkar was about, he’s trying to look like he’ll stand up to them dirty Irishmen. Because Arlene Foster is a fucking goner (She’s most likely the reason why the DUP lost their majority in Stormont) so the DUP will need a new leader.
It’s most likely going to be Emma Little-Pengelly, but please don’t tell Ian that. Don’t want to make him think that he’s been making a fool of himself.
So that’s how I understand the DUP, or at least try to understand them. They’re power hungry vultures that have to pander to their voters jingoistic tendencies and blatant bigotries. You’ll be surprised to find how many voters actually dislike most of the DUP’s policies but still vote for them because:
- They’re super duper Unionist and the only ones to protect them from the Evil and Conniving Sinn Féin
- They’re not too fond of the Gays and the DUP are a stones throw away from throwing them off of the fucking rooftops
So, that’s it. That’s Brexit. This whole process is a dumpster fire and I fucking love it. To be honest, I’m just glad they’re talking about us again. It feels nice, even though most of it is laced with otherism and resentment. Brexit seems to bring out the Xenophobia in people. Like Lord Kilclooney, a former member of the Ulster Unionist Party (the moderate Unionists, compared to the DUP) and MP. He tweeted this a few weeks back:
Simon Coveney is the Tánaiste (Deputy Taoiseach, meaning he’s Deputy Prime minister) and he’s an unabashed Irish Nationalist, which is a good thing for people like me but it’s also good for Unionists because he respects their identity and only wants a United Ireland if it’s politically viable. The “Indian” he’s referring to is Leo Varadkar, who’s half Indian.
Kilclooney defended himself by saying that he referred to Varadkar as “The Indian” because he wanted to save characters. Which is understandable, Twitter only allows around 250 characters per tweet including spaces. But “The Indian” is about nine characters and a space, while “Varadkar” is only eight characters with no space and “Leo” is just three characters.
Now, either the Right Honourable Lord John Kilclooney can’t count or he deliberately referred to the leader of Ireland by his ethnicity so that he could point out that “he’s a Foreigner” so that his followers would then assume “He’s not a Real Irishman” which would be an attempt to diminish his position and dehumanise him- which would be racist.
Personally, I think it’s the latter.
But if things carry on like this it will be detrimental to Unionism. Because remember, throughout Irish history moderate Unionists have only ever really opposed Nationalism on the grounds of economic vitality. Which is understandable because in its first few decades the Republic faced extreme poverty and was in financial ruin, because Eamon De Valera was a goddamn moron that didn’t know how economics worked. That’s why Presbyterian Middle Class Ulstermen drifted away from the Society of United Irishmen; because they didn’t provide an economic alternative to what the British economy were providing.
As much as Politics seems to be divided into Ideological borders, most people are reasonable and vote on policies that would effect them and their children financially. That’s why Unionism is appealing to many because it’s same-old, same-old. There’s no threat that their economic security might be jeopardised.
However Brexit was not a beckoning call for keeping things the same. Well, it was to some degree. I guarantee you some people voted Leave in the hopes that it would return Britain back to “The Good Old days” where Germany were the bad guys, polio was second nature, the tea and biscuits tasted better (it didn’t), you didn’t have to look confused at Halal meat and you never had to wonder if the tellitubies were secretly Paedophiles.
Most people who voted Leave used it as a protest vote. Because their lives sucked and all Remain offered them was “Everything will stay exactly the same” which is unappealing to those who want to change everything. Because although the change is likely to make these peoples lives worse, there was an uncertainty. And in that uncertainty there was hope that the change would turn out for the better.
Unionism doesn’t do too well with Change, that’s why the DUP opposed the Good Friday Agreement (that or they didn’t wan’t peace) and now they have to keep a straight face while they talk about Brexit, saying shite like; “The Only thing we have to lose is our chains”
…I’m sorry, I’m just giggling over here. Chains? So you think that the UK joining an economic union with other European nations, which they consented to be apart of, is the equivalent of being a Slave?
Like, you were in a Union in which you got your way 87% of the time– but somehow it’s also super dictatorial and doesn’t protect the interests of their members?
Now the DUP has ensured that Unionism is now counterintuitive to Brexit, and the UUP has sealed that- despite originally being on the side of remain they now support Brexit because…I dunno, Democracy or some dumb shit like that.
Because keep in mind, they initially botched that deal with Theresa May and Leo Varadkar that would give Northern Ireland special status. Which means they chose to forfeit economic prosperity as all the jobs in London move to Belfast- but no, we have to suffer with all the rest of the cunts.
Oh and a word to everyone in Britain who are like “Why can’t I get a special status?” well, for starters you don’t live beside another EU country. Secondly, you don’t have a history of violence or live in a polarising political climate like we do. And thirdly; because I don’t want you to.
Get to fuck.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Britain. I like Doctor Who, I like Sherlock Holmes, I like Harry Hill, I like James Bond, I like Ant and Dec, I like David Attenborough, I like the Bill – I fucking Love Basil Brush.
I just want you to suffer. Suffer just enough. I want the EU to drag you face-down in the mud and toss you about like he little bitch that you are. I want that Jingoistic, Imperialistic, Narcissistic, Unrealistic, Delusional Fuck-Wit-tism beaten out of you through an economic depression that you voted for.
But sadly it seems like you’re only going to get worse. Ireland’s abusive step dad will have progressed from its mid-life crisis to senility.
You will one day elect Jacob Rees-Mogg as Prime Minister, thinking he was Churchill come back from the dead.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. So the DUP are fucked either way because if that “Gentlemen’s Agreement” unravels then a hard Brexit will occur, hard border brought up and the economy will be in such tatters that the moderate Unionists will think to themselves; “Huh, United Ireland doesn’t look Half bad” but if the DUP are smart enough to keep the deal intact and we do have special status then we will have an economic union with the Republic, which will be lucrative as Britain self destructs in the background. So again Moderate unionists will look how good things are and think to themselves “Huh, United Ireland doesn’t look half bad” which means one thing;
They’re fucked, either which way.
Violence may return to some degree or another. I can imagine some riots if a United Ireland bill is passed, maybe a few Loyalist attacks. The same could be said about republican Paramilitaries if they see the need to launch any attack but from right now it’s difficult to imagine. People have suggested that if a United Ireland does come about that it would be worth investing in a Counter Terrorism program that incorporates both army officials and local police to prevent violence, but it’s import to get local police with an awareness to the community because they’d be the people that prevent abuses by the program upon citizens.
As violent conflicts go the Troubles wasn’t just about sectarian divides, it was largely economical. When John Hume was Lobbying in America, US Senators were astounded to hear that the unemployment rate in Derry City was over 40%. Meaning that you had a lot of angry young men on the street with nothing better to do.
A lot of shit has to go wrong for people to start killing each other again. So hopefully violence will be avoided this time around.
So we are currently just over 14,000 into the article. I’ve done my best to be nuanced (most likely failed, so you can accuse me of bias here) on history and the current political climate. Now I’m going to discuss exactly what a United Ireland means.
Well there’s a lot to discuss. For starters there needs to be a referendum as the good Friday states, a United Ireland cannot happen without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland.
At this very moment we do not have the support for a United Ireland, personally I’d wait at least fifty years before holding a referendum. The last referendum was held in the 70’s and 98% of the votes were for remaining in the UK (Catholics/Nationalists boycotted the vote seeing it as unfair at the time, the vote only had a 55% turnout) but I believe that if you have the opportunity to vote and you do not, you cannot complain about the result.
That’s why I take issue with people claiming that referendums such as the Catalonia independence referendum was illegitimate because of the low voter turnout. I say No, hats bullshit. You were given a chance to make your voice heard but you forfeited that right. Just because you didn’t want to vote doesn’t mean the result is illegitimate.
If (and that’s a strong if) Northern Ireland gets a special status in Brexit then the island will be united economically. This can be used as a stepping stone for other regulations that would need to be dealt with in a referendum. The Northern Ireland court system is independent (all countries in the UK have their own court system, that’s why NI didn’t pass Gay Marriage when England did) so it would be significantly easier to merger into the Republic’s court system, a defence of this would be to save money and to have a single court system to settle trade disputes from north to south.
The Previous Taoiseach Enda Kenny advised the EU that they should “Prepare for a United Ireland” which is advisory because EU law will have to be adjusted to compensate for the reunification of Northern Ireland, despite the comparisons Northern Ireland is not exactly like East Berlin. that’s why I think it’s best to hold of the referendum for fifty years, while northern Ireland’s special status in the UK the Republic can gradually add and alter legislation in the EU courts that would allow for a merger with ease.
Can you imagine having to handle all the legislation if we had a referendum next year? It’d take us five years before we’re officially reunited.
Northern Ireland will cause a deficit in the nation’s economy, no one is denying that. However economic models have been carried out and it’s shown that after being reunited, the North of Ireland will have contributed over €30 billion to the Irish Economy within eight years.
And there’s an incentive to the UK for getting a United Ireland, because the British have to spend over £20 billion a year to keep northern Ireland in the UK. Imagine what you could do with £20 billion? Personally, I’d fix up those housing estates and block f flats that are built of cheap, flammable materials. We don’t want another Grenfell happening.
I will concede, those first eight years there will be some difficulty. We’ll have to change all the plug sockets to fit the republic’s regulations, we’ll have to add an extra million people to the republic’s health care system and for a while there will be some economic difficulty. I concede to that, there will be problems.
But the republic and many economic experts have already constructed models to see what the economy would look like after reunification, which are now available to the public.
While David Davis is too afraid to show his own citizens the results they collected from the economic models they made for Brexit. At least one of them has the balls to answer a question.
But I promised you I’d be fair and balanced, so here are some reasons to remain in the UK:
…Fuck, this is harder than I thought it’d be. The National Health Service (NHS) is nice, it’s free too unlike the deal down south (although there’s are better quality and there’s no waiting lists) but the Tories are planning to sell it off in a few years and even if Corbyn becomes Prime Minister it’ll still be fucked because Brexit left the economy in tatters, meaning that there’s no money to fix it.
I’ve predicted before that a Corbyn Administration in this Brexit climate wouldn’t be successful because he couldn’t raise taxes on the rich or multi national corporations because they’d literally only be staying in the UK out of pity. I also predict he’d be bullied into repealing most of the Environmental Regulations so that he could attract more businesses. We’re also likely to see a brain drain (mass emigration of academically qualified citizens) within the coming years, meaning the population of young people will plummet.
That means Corbyn’s main supporters (which are mostly young people) will have dwindled away. The Tories could pass legislation that doesn’t allow UK citizens abroad to vote in elections so that means Corbyn would be fucked. The entire country would be left with angry pensioners and impressionable voters who’ll end up voting for someone like Jacob Rees-Mogg.
So, if you want to live in a country in which Jacob Rees-Mogg could be your Prime Minister. Then staying in the UK is a good idea.
Maybe you’re fond of the new One Pound coins, like this one:
Mmmm. Yeah, that’s definitely more aesthetically pleasing than the Euro. I mean, do you want your children to use that dirty Euro? The same currency that they Use in France?
No thank you!
I mean the Pound will be worthless after 2019 and the UK’s negotiating position will have been destroyed. I mean, they keep saying that they want a No Deal (even though a No deal results in a Hard Border in Ireland, which they don’t want to pay for) but neglect the fact that a No Deal is just as bad as a Bad Deal. They’ve fucked up in their negotiations so much that it’s hard to see them get a trade deal with anyone reputable in at least ten or fifteen years.
Another reason to stay in the UK is identity. Some people feel British and I doubt we’ll ever be able to make them feel anything but British. But it’s also about the European identity. Personally I don’t feel European, I’m about as European as I am British. Which is not at all.
Maybe it’s cause of the language barrier, maybe it’s cause I grew up in the UK outside of the Eurozone but I just don’t feel European. I’ve met many Europeans in my short life and they’re all, for the most part, lovely people- I just don’t think of myself as being European.
I mean, in Europe they drink Tea without Milk. Yes, you heard me- Tea without Milk. What kind of fucking Barbarians drink raw tea? I mean the British are a bunch of arrogant cunts but at least they drink their tea properly.
I imagine these “Europeans” are the same type of people who have sex during the day on the sofa. Unlike us, who have sex in a Pub Toilet at two o’clock in the Morning- as God intended.
Maybe if we get Special Status that’ll gradually ease us into using the Euro (might be handy) and I guess I could maybe see myself someday as European. But at this moment I don’t.
Ok, any more reasons why we ought to stay in the UK?
Well, the only real reasons I can think of for staying in is that I like James Bond and I’m very fond of the BBC. I think they’re one of the Britain’s more redeeming qualities.
It’s also worth noting that if we leave the UK, we’re essentially leaving Basil Brush.
…Actually, now that I think of it, maybe that Ian Paisley boy has a point.