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Will Ireland survive the Woke Wave? If your economy is ruled from California, then your culture will be too

Cancelled, cancelled, cancelled, cancelled, cancelled, etc etc Photo by: Geography Photos/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Cancelled, cancelled, cancelled, cancelled, cancelled, etc etc Photo by: Geography Photos/Universal Images Group via Getty Images


July 13, 2020   6 mins

Talk to an educated Irish person in a global city today, and you will quickly discover that they hold the twin ideologies of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland: a vague sentimental remnant of the Irish ethno-nationalism of the revolutionary period and the internationalist and multicultural open society values of Google.

Point out that these are contradictory in any way, like mentioning Ireland’s role as an international tax haven or asking why there are so many Irish nationalists living in London, Berlin and San Francisco and so few living in Dublin, and you will be met with defensive anger.

As a former colony, historically unsullied by the sins of slavery and imperialism, Ireland’s national identity has been largely free of the culture of pathological self-hatred found across most of the liberal West today. An uncomplicated sense of national pride has remained the default, even and sometimes especially on the political Left. But all of that is about to change.

“Toppling statues is just the beginning”, ran a recent Irish Times headline, if the goal is “How to make Irish culture less racist.” As self-flagellating stories about the Irish public’s racism are set to now become a daily part of life, Ireland’s elites can breathe a sigh of relief. Any populist pressure they sensed brewing while overseeing a deeply economically unequal society with skyrocketing homelessness, rents and outward youth migration can now be replaced with an imported moral narrative that turns the spotlight around on the reactionary masses who must, in the name of equality, learn to think of themselves as privileged.

While educated Irish young people in Dublin copied the Black Lives Matter protests from America, our culturally progressive and economically Thatcherite Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, recently singled out the statue of Irish Republican Sean Russell as a problematic target. Russell fought in the War of Independence and died trying to secure arms from Germany in 1940.

Wrongly thinking that historical facts could ever stand a chance against the wrecking ball of the current international woke cultural revolution, some Republicans correctly pointed out that he was not doing so out of any allegiance to Nazism, having tried to secure arms from any nations that might give them. Protesters still vandalised the statue anyway, painting it with the gay pride rainbow flag with added black and brown to mark their support for Black Lives Matter.

Having uncritically adopted the fashions of American academia, Ireland’s new young educated elite have started parroting the imported language of “white privilege” versus “people of colour”, and the dangers of nationalism versus the superior multinational capitalism-friendly values of openness.

There is little reason to think the cultural revolution sweeping across Europe from America will stop and listen to the “but we’re on your side!” pleas offered by Irish Republicans about how they supported the anti-apartheid movement in the Eighties or how our nationalist heroes were anti-imperialists or that our Republicans today are economically left-leaning and pro-immigration.

Anyone who thinks these details will matter, and that any remnant of Irish cultural nationhood will be immune, is simply not paying attention to the unstoppable internal logic of the current cultural revolution underway. This new generation of elite aspirants are already showing that they make no such distinction and simply recast the native Irish as “white people” whose privilege needs to be checked and ultimately dismantled.

It is worth asking why the woke cultural revolution sweeping Irish society would spare a single one of our national statues, monuments or heroes. One could go through the entire list of signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic and find cancellable and problematic thoughts uttered by each of them in different contexts. The deeply Catholic Constance Markievicz cited the “anti-Irish ideals” of “immorality and divorce” against the Anglo-Irish Treaty. Patrick Pearse explicitly wrote of blood sacrifice and the Irish race, saying that, “there can be no peace between the body politic and a foreign substance that has intruded itself into its system” which must be expelled or assimilated through war.

Why wouldn’t our literary heroes also be wiped from the canon and from the public space? The continued dominance of Irish literature in our universities is certainly open to the accusation of being exclusionary and too white. What about George Bernard Shaw, who once wrote that “Any competent historian or psychoanalyst can bring a mass of incontrovertible evidence to prove that it would have been better for the world if the Jews had never existed”? What about W. B. Yeats, who preferred fascism to democracy? Who will be left in our compliant little colony of Silicon Valley to defend any of these figures a few years from now after the woke cultural revolution has replaced the unsuspecting old guard with the new?

What about the special place given to the Irish language in state institutions, which it could be easily argued excludes and discriminates against foreigners? What about the explicitly ethnocentric Irish right of return policy, which grants people with Irish grandparents the right to citizenship? Irish liberal media used to love showcasing the young children of immigrants playing hurling or speaking Irish, which offered a vision of the future in which anyone could be Irish through adoption of the national culture, but what happens when those young people are filled with poison in the indoctrination camps of university and taught to fear and resent the native population as white racists?

Surely they’ll let us keep the Marxist James Connolly, one might think, who could be spared due to some often cited quotes that liberals love about the limitations of nationalism without economic equality or against the oppression of women. In fact, the Connolly statue was defaced by anarchists years ago. On May Day 2005, the statue of James Connolly in Dublin was graffitied, and a black bloc hood and mask — the kind associated with antifa today — placed on its head, supposedly in the name of “appropriating” and “reclaiming” the figure; and that was back when the anarchist cultural project was not yet indistinguishable from every elite institution, from academia to the NGO sector to the international capitalist class.

Connolly, the Catholic revert who fought and died alongside ethno-nationalists won’t stand a chance when they come for him next time.

Unlike the republics that can claim to be founded on abstract and universalist principles, sooner or later there is simply no getting around the brick wall of truth that the Irish nationhood envisioned by our revolutionary founders was fundamentally ethno-nationalist. How could it have been otherwise? Historians can offer all the contextualising explanations they like but this will be the awkward truth the woke internationale will use to bury it in shame.

Nationalists will no longer be dealing with a few scattered genteel revisionist intellectuals like Conor Cruise O’Brien, but the full tidal ideological force of the American Empire, with its sophisticated cold war psychological warfare tactics, its world dominating oligarchy and every elite institution at home and abroad on its side.

Ireland is uniquely vulnerable to all of this as a nation without a national economic base, wholly reliant on the whim and will of aggressively ideological multinationals temporarily parked there for tax purposes. After gaining national independence, Ireland had to embark upon the difficult task of making an agrarian economy, which had been shaped and distorted by its role as a colony of the British Empire, independent and backed by an indigenous industrial base. As trade union economist Michael Taft has documented, this project failed at key historical moments and was ultimately replaced by the easier route to modernity of inviting international capital to base itself there using tax incentives.

As a result of the low-tax policies introduced in the late Nineties, Ireland today is effectively a tax haven, hosting the European headquarters of Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter and many others. Some of these companies have been found to be paying as little as 0.005% tax. While this project gave Ireland the Celtic Tiger economy, it also produced a deeply unequal society totally subservient to the sovereignty and ultimately the values and culture of the corporations who today are its guiding force. For our obedience, we received surely the lowest of honours just last year when anti-yellow vests French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy congratulated us for being “a people who resist the winds of populism”.

It is a tragic irony of Irish history that, having fought a globe-spanning empire to build an independent Irish nation, and having fought the imperial landlords through agrarian peasant movements before that, giving the world the very word boycott, it stands today as a tax colony of American tech in which the native young leave because of its unchecked speculative landlordism.

While its subservient relationship to the British Empire brought famine and hardship, Ireland’s subservient relationship to an American progressive tech oligarchy brought about the Celtic Tiger and as a consequence we were happy to ignore the truth of the arrangement: that we were simply passing from one form of colony to another. It will now be a second but no less bitter irony that the native Irish working class will soon find themselves in the same position as the British have — despised as reactionary by our own elites and morally and economically blackmailed into accepting their more enlightened values.

Like all doomed traditions, our banal ethno-nationalism has been passively held by the majority while the intellectual and moral foundations that once justified it have been slowly replaced and degraded while nobody was paying attention. When a full confrontation with the liberal internationalism we invited in during the Celtic Tiger years inevitably happens, those foundations will already be gone and we will no longer be able to explain why having any right to a national culture or national sovereignty is anything other than racist and exclusionary.

The small conflict sparked by the Sean Russell statue was a moment of escalation. Whether it was too soon to bring the wrecking ball in or not, to make the Irish too acutely aware of what is coming, remains to be seen, but the direction of the historical winds should be obvious.

The revolutionary generation that gave us the Irish nation understood that you cannot be culturally, intellectually or economically self-directed if you’re ruled from a foreign power. These recent events have started to reveal the irreconcilable and contradictory nature of the official ideology of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland, which tried to dress our colonial relationship to international capitalism as a national triumph. The Irish will soon learn that if your economy is ruled from California, your society will start to look like California, a nowhere of the very rich and very poor, but without the sunshine.


Angela Nagle is a writer and author of the book Kill All Normies.


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B David
B David
3 years ago

I’m American. It’s striking how much cultural damage and destruction America’s liberal radicals can achieve in tolerant & democratic countries. While as the failure of the Arab spring revealed, liberal values make zero headway in undemocratic and intolerant societies and have no power to influence them for the better

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  B David

Because those Arab countries have spines. The west unfortunately does not.

Anna Clare Bryson
Anna Clare Bryson
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Most Arab countries are up shit creek without a paddle because they, in their own way, do not have the conditions to develop democratic nationalisms. If the Kurds are ever allowed to get it together, they will have a better chance than most Arabs precisely because they are nationalists and so ultimately prepared to get over tribal and religious difference to build a state…and the most stable, prosperous, effective state in that whole neck of the woods is of course Israel, a model modern ethno-national state. The ME needs more (civic) nationalism, not less.

The problem of western progressives is that in deciding that not just extreme nationalism, but even civic nationalism – based on any even loose ethnic majority component, is always undesirable and racist, they have forgotten that while nationalism could turn against classic liberal values, humanity and tolerance, it was also in moderate form the guarantee of those values. In the old multinational dynastic empires, multinationalism – multiculturalism, was a given just because the system was not democratic. Some ethnic groups were privileged, but all were basically subjects. Democratisation to citizenship tended to imply some kind of nationalism because for a free individual to live in a free self-determining polity, that polity had to have a certain coherence. Obviously, in most cases the newly independent countries didn’t come in neat territorial units corresponding exactly to ethnic groups – huge problems and tragedies were caused by this and still are…but equally, provided that a state is tolerant enough to integrate minorities and the minorities are tolerant enough to be integrated, in an imperfect world the civic nation state with an ethnic-territorial consciousness, historical memory and set of institutions is probably the most stable form of polity. Societies that reject borders as immoral, may be saving themselves from the threat of extreme nationalism (or there again, they may actually be setting up the conditions in which malignant nationalism thrives), but they are also rejecting civic community, civic memory, the possibility of self-determination, of collective choices – and to run such a society with a minimum of harmony probably requires a great deal of authoritarian control of individuals.

tos00n99
tos00n99
3 years ago
Reply to  B David

liberalism knows no boundaries. Capital must have freedom to reign. As for arab countries they still have religion while we Irish have nothing to rally around.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  tos00n99

You still have your sense of humour, BIFFO for example.

stephen17891789
stephen17891789
3 years ago
Reply to  tos00n99

Given the crimes committed by the catholic church in Ireland, isn’t that a rather good thing?

Andrew Russell
Andrew Russell
3 years ago

Excellent article. In response to the previous post, it’s clear that multinational corporations love liberal democracy because it’s weak and easily manipulated. It won’t end well.

Carol Scott
Carol Scott
3 years ago

I have visited Ireland since the 60s, my first husband was from Dublin. I always loved it there, it was really different. My last visit two years ago I could have been in any multicultural city, that unique sense of irishness was lost. Sad but inevitable I suppose.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago
Reply to  Carol Scott

It’s odd that ‘diversity’ doesn’t include maintaining the diversity of separate nations.

Dan Poynton
Dan Poynton
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Yes, or perhaps more accurately: every nation/culture/ethnicity/race is “diverse” and rich except for white/European/Western ones. And yet if the “impoverished” Western culture dares even look admiringly at the diversity of other cultures it is “appropriation”.

Neil Mcalester
Neil Mcalester
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Diversity is but a stepping stone to homogeneity.

Colin Sandford
Colin Sandford
3 years ago
Reply to  Carol Scott

Interesting your observation. We spent two weeks in the South and West of the ROI fours years ago and found it was fairly multicultural but not as much as the UK.
The multicultural mix was predominantly white Europeans or North American, BAME were conspicuous by their absence.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago
Reply to  Carol Scott

My family’s home was in Ireland in the 40’s and 50’s. We didn’t spend much time there and had to sell, but they were happy days and I remember the ‘flavour’ vividly. During my most recent visit, I was pleased with the prosperity compared with the earlier time, but most of that unique atmosphere had evaporated. It had become much more like England but without the overpopulation.

donlindsay8
donlindsay8
3 years ago

I grew up in 60s/70s Ireland but have spent my subsequent life living in developing countries, where most of the world’s population lives. From the perspective of life in these largely survivalist polities, the whole woke trend looks like so much navel-gazing by wealthy, super-privileged but bored developed-world youth elites. It’s like social diabetes caused by a surfeit of wealth and leisure time.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  donlindsay8

That’s a really really good analogy.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
3 years ago
Reply to  donlindsay8

Totally and for their biggest social concern to be about micro aggressions towards blokes in frocks ! Hardly surprising that Xi thinks the west is done for

fitzangus
fitzangus
3 years ago

When you get past American academia’s self induced insanity it comes down ot the raw truth of race relations:
Average over six consecutive years: Sexual Assault DOJ stats White on Black: 0 Black on White: 22,534 Black on Black: 24,730 T]here were 593,598 interracial violent victimization’s (excluding homicide) between blacks and whites last year. … Blacks committed 537,204″ of them. (Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics) A Asian a ‘White” aor a Jew is not safe in any predominantly Black neighborhood. Black women are not safe either since they suffer a ridiculous amount of rape easily double the rates per 100k of other ethnicity’s.
.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
3 years ago
Reply to  fitzangus

And over here after WW2 it’s as though our elite stood on the coast of Cornwall looking towards America .’Look what a terrible race problem they have over there ‘

‘Yes indeed Let’s see if we can get something like that over here’

JACK Templeton
JACK Templeton
3 years ago
Reply to  fitzangus

A Truth rarely spoken – To Quote Professor Glen Loury eminent African American Academic and Commentator: ‘I like to remind people that the United States is a country of 330 million people. We are a continental nation, sprawling over dozens and dozens of urban areas of concentrated population that are racially heterogeneous. There are tens of thousands of encounters between police officers and American citizens daily. About 1,200 Americans are killed by police officers in a year, of which maybe 300 are black. That means that most of the people killed by police officers are not black, and the majority of people killed by police officers in the United States are white. For every George Floyd or Tamir Rice or Eric Garner, there are whites like Tony Timpa who have died in exactly the same manner, but we don’t hear about these stories because they don’t get reported in the press. So I try to keep things in perspective.
This does not excuse bad policing. Police need to be trained properly. They need to be held accountable when they violate rules of engagement with citizens. There are bad police. There are racist police. But these kinds of incidents are not, in my view, representative of the day-to-day life experience of African-Americans, and the extent to which Black Lives Matter and others have said that every African-American must fear for his or her life upon stepping from their door, this is a gross distortion of reality.’
 

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago

I lived and worked in the Republic of Ireland for nearly 40 years “š at Trinity College Dublin; for most of that time I also wrote extensively for the newspaper of record The Irish Times, which is quoted in this article’s fourth paragraph. Given that experience I could express quibbles about details of Angela Nagle’s closely argued reasoning. But I fear that her general conclusions are all too close to the bone, and are likely to prove prescient.

That is because of several factors unique to Ireland’s history, and to recent developments within its borders and within its astonishingly rich culture. The precipitous decline in the respect accorded to the Roman Catholic Church, and the consequent decline in its power, have not been replaced by anything coherent other than individualism moderated, to some extent, by remnants of Catholic morality, and by the fact that, on the whole, Irish people and hence Irish society as a whole, have a benign disposition in which an abiding motto might be “live and let live.”

Is that any different from the UK? Unfortunately it is, and not in any way that is likely to prove advantageous to Ireland. The country’s history as a colony, and the essentially ethnic nature of its nationalism, have rendered it far more vulnerable than is the UK to the power of woke thought, morality and practice ” though heaven knows, things are getting bad enough here in the UK.

That vulnerability rests partly on one of the most instantly recognisable facets of Irish cultural history. It might be termed the MOPE factor ” the Most Oppressed People Ever. I don’t know the origins of this apt acronym; but it leapt to prominence with the publication in 2016 of Liam Kennedy’s collection of iconoclastic historical essays Unhappy the Land ” The Most Oppressed People Ever, the Irish?. I won’t rehearse Prof. Kennedy’s arguments, except to point out that the MOPE factor is everywhere, and has been for a very long time. Out of it have grown misery memoirs such as Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes and countless others that, almost invariably, deserve a subtitle such as “Weren’t we good when we were poor?”, or “Suffering and the growth of personal virtue”. Then there are the countless books, plays and other things that denounce the evils of Britain’s relationship to Ireland, or that feed, gloomily yet powerfully on Ireland’s very complicated relationship with the land, especially in farming ” captured with compelling and disturbing insight in John B. Keane’s 1965 play The Field (filmed 1990).

In short, Ireland has set itself up as the most virtuous of victims. What does woke ideology feed on most vigorously? A sense of victimhood.

Of course, British institutions, political structures and social structures are flawed; but at least they offer the UK ” well, Great Britain anyway ” some kind of coherent counterbalance to faux liberalism’s totalitarian power. But Ireland’s institutions do not have that historically rooted resilience. I fear that this paragraph by Angela Nagle might prove all too prophetic:

Like all doomed traditions, our banal ethno-nationalism has been passively held by the majority while the intellectual and moral foundations that once justified it have been slowly replaced and degraded while nobody was paying attention. When a full confrontation with the liberal internationalism we invited in during the Celtic Tiger years inevitably happens, those foundations will already be gone and we will no longer be able to explain why having any right to a national culture or national sovereignty is anything other than racist and exclusionary.

Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Adams

Ireland was never a colony. Certainly never as oppressed as African American or Native Americans. What Ireland does in spades is grievance everyone remembers the slightest grievance from centuries past, even if they are myth. I had a hindu girlfriend from Leicester, when she talked to people the first thing they would ask was whether she was protestant hindu or a catholic hindu.

cormac.mcsparron
cormac.mcsparron
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Doyle

Ireland was not a colony, legally, but the experiences of the bulk of the people were as if it was one. Ireland lost half its population in a decade through famine and migration. However, only the proximate cause of this famine was a potato fungus. The underlying cause was a landholding system in which rents were so high that 90% of a farmer’s income was needed to pay his rent (paid in kind in crops typically), leaving 10% of the farm’s output to feed the farmer and farmer’s family for the next year. This landholding system was one which had been established by the government in London in the 17th century and enforced by law, and at the point of a gun, from that point onwards. No individual was at fault, no one designed the system to be so unsustainable and so cruel (although many were happy to watch the consequences play out), and certainly any blame game is futile, but this entire edifice was maintained by Britain, and it is with Britain that ultimate responsibility (as opposed to fault) must lie. Of course communities within Britain were similarly treated on occasion, especially in Scotland, that really does not absolve the systemic guilt. But the working out of all this is that sometime after 1847, the Irish became fed up with the whole UK thing, and who in their right mind can blame them?

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago

A fair-minded and, as far as I can tell, an historically accurate summary of the position. Thank you.

Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle
3 years ago

The edifice was maintain by the rich and the aristocracy equally in Ireland as any other part of the UK at the time. The working classes starved in London and Yorkshire. The famine was an example of capitalism at it’s worse. If you have a problem with that sort of thing become a socialist and change the system.

Irish soldiers built the empire, irish traders profited in it and irish administrators ran it as much as other nation in the UK.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Doyle

“Irish soldiers did not build the Empire” What utter tosh! Who told you that?

For a start the majority, who were Catholic, were excluded, for all too obvious reasons.

Kit Read
Kit Read
2 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Being Catholic did not stop Irish men joining the British Army and rising the highest ranks .

cormac.mcsparron
cormac.mcsparron
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Doyle

Ahhh… the millions that died under capitalism/ communism argument. Yes, by that account the UK government stands along with Stalin’s USSR in the dock. What is your general point? Yes some Irish partook in building empire, some profited by it, everyone knows that, and I think few Irish people would deny it.
Also people died of starvation and disease through poverty in Britain too, I just said it above, but show me a country which sees its population half in ten years during a famine and I’ll show you a country which isn’t being governed, but eviscerated. If your comment comparing it to poverty in Britain had validity it would imply that Britons are a much more supine lot than the Irish who took on the big landlords, and won! I do not think the British are supine, by the way, it is just that Britons (with the possible exception of Highland Scots) in no way faced the same level of hardship as the bulk of the Irish did in their own land. If half of England’s population had disappeared in a decade of famine in the 19th century, I might expect that today would be a lot fewer people in England who can trace their lineage back to 1066! In which case your government would doubtless have made a much better show of Covid and Brexit.
So Jack what, exactly, are you actually getting at?

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Doyle

Yes, not a colony in the sense you describe; though during the 40 very pleasant years I spent living in and near Dublin I often heard people use that word.
Oh, I so believe your story about your Hindu girlfriend. My secretary from work went to a Humanist funeral ” which even then, ten years ago, was quite a rarity in Ireland. Giving her friend a lift home, she said “I went to a humanist funeral today.” Reply: “Really? Now was that a Protestant Humanist or a Catholic Humanist?”
I love it!

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Adams

Surely woke societies are characterised by a sense of guilt indulged in by wealthy white people in relation to the past (statue toppling etc)
Won’t Irish MOPE culture allow them to bypass all that nonsense (except in relation to the English across the water)

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

Hmm. Thank you. I hadn’t thought of that. I’m not sure if Ireland has a substitute; but I would not be surprised to see romantic nationalism ” which was alive and flourishing for most of my 40 years in Ireland ” become a target of their moral opprobrium.

That’s a thought-provoking question. And I don’t yet have an answer. Thank you.

JACK Templeton
JACK Templeton
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Adams

That question is not as illogical as you might think. If this interaction occurred in Northern Ireland the Humanist Celebrant will in all likelihood have come from either of the two traditions. They will have been educated either in a state school (protestant) or the Catholic School System. Their humanistic ideals will probably have developed in adulthood.

Paul Dobbs
Paul Dobbs
3 years ago

Angela Nagel, you allude to Ireland’s “subservient relationship to the British Empire” My understanding is that the word subservient means “Prepared to obey others unquestioningly.” My perhaps inadequate understanding of Irish history is that Ireland was dragged kicking and screaming through centuries of British occupation and colonization.
The word subordinate has a less complicated meaning. Would it not suit your purposes better here?

Robert Flack
Robert Flack
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Dobbs

The animosity between us was based on religion. We became Protestant and Ireland remained mostly Roman Catholic. Therefore it placed itself into direct conflict with us. Sadly religion seems to work that way.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Flack

Yes, up to a point. But it’s also based simply on the English and Irish being very distinct people with a history of very one-sided conflict from the Middle Ages onwards. For instance, Richard II did a lot of campaigning there in his youth. And that was well before the 16th century’s religious schism.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Flack

The Irish were asinine enough to invite the English to invade in 1169. Thus they failed the first Darwinian test, and quickly found themselves at the mercy of group of particularly aggressive English freebooters. A fate they so richly deserved, but are apt to forget. Hence the current “victim culture”.

By 1366 the English had overrun most of the best bits of the country, with the exception of Ulster. At that time the population was described a being divided into three groups, The Wild Irish, The Loyal English and that wonderful group, The Degenerate English. The country was the most castellated in Europe (with the possible exception of Sardinia). If you enjoyed being a feudal thug, these were halcyon days indeed!

Religion only really ‘kicked in’ with the ruthless conquest of Ulster in the 16th and 17th centuries. The rest is ‘History’ as they say.

Alan Healy
Alan Healy
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

“The Irish were asinine enough to invite the English to invade in 1169”

Don’t you mean the Frenchmen who had already done the same to England and Wales ?

Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Wales is the most castellated in Europe.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Doyle

Nonsense.

Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Google it.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Doyle

I don’t wish to sound patronising but you cannot believe everything you read on Google.

Wales claims to have about 600 castles scattered over an area of about 8,000 square miles. Thus one Castle for every 13 square miles.

Ireland has between 3000 Castles
( Harold Leask) and 7000 Castles
(Terry Barry). Even at 3000 Castles, scattered over 32,000 square miles, that works out at one Castle for every 10.6 square miles. QED?

Where Wales fails in quantity, it however triumphs in quality. The is nothing in Europe to compare with the Edwardian Castles of North Wales, or with that jewel of a Castle, Caerphilly, in South Wales.

With the exception of Trim, Roscommon, and perhaps Ballymote, Ireland has nothing to offer in that field.

JACK Templeton
JACK Templeton
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

I presume you are aware Carrickfergus Castle.

chrisjwmartin
chrisjwmartin
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Flack

This is not true, as it suggests that Anglo-Irish relations were sweetness and light until the Reformation.

Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle
3 years ago
Reply to  chrisjwmartin

They weren’t particularly any different to any other part of Europe.

johnofbahrain
johnofbahrain
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Dobbs

Ireland may have been “dragged kicking and screaming through centuries of British colonisation” but not so many of the Irish. Visit any imperial graveyard or war memorial and count the Irishmen. Irish history is far more complex than a simple “colonisation” narrative; after all it was the Norman’s, conquerors of the Anglo-Saxons, who at the invitation of an Irishman first occupied Ireland (if you ignore the Vikings who preceded them). Seamus Heaney’s Act of Union is interesting if pessimistic – there’s violation and violence but there is also, of a sort, union.

Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle
3 years ago
Reply to  johnofbahrain

Ireland wasn’t a colony that is false historical narrative created by nationalist extremists like De Valera. Who is a good example of the toxic influence of the US on Ireland.

cormac.mcsparron
cormac.mcsparron
3 years ago
Reply to  johnofbahrain

There was little actual occupation of Ireland by the Vikings, yes they did found some towns (or possibly took over and expanded pre-existing ones) but these were quite quickly taxed by Irish overlords, in the case of Dublin from the mid 10th century each Norse plot had to pay one ounce of gold per year to the King of Leinster!

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Dobbs

There was a little “kicking and screaming “, but far too much unctuous subservience and downright toadyism, as there still is, east of the Shannon.

Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Dobbs

Ireland was never subserviant it was an equal owner of the British Empire. Wellington who conquered India, before defeating Napoleon, and expanding the British Empire as Prime Minister was Irish.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Doyle

Nonsense! What do think the Penal Laws we all about?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Doyle

Wrong again I’m afraid. Try doing some serious research into Wellington and you will find he despised the Irish. He called them a “nation of scoundrels”, and always
maintained he was English, despite having the misfortune to be born in Ireland.

When he was awarded his Dukedom, why do you think he picked Wellington, Somerset?

Incidentally, Wellington did not “conquer India”, another gross exaggeration.

Even Daniel O’Connell, didn’t regard Wellington as Irish, hence the rather amusing quote of ” just because you are born in a stable etc”.

Mark S
Mark S
3 years ago

The idea that Ireland doesn’t have an association with empire is simply ridiculous. Here in Hong Kong, as is the case in Singapore, there are streets and buildings named after Irish servants of the empire – Hennessy, Kennedy etc. Patricia O’Sullivan’s excellent book ‘Policing Hong Kong: An Irish History’ probably needs no explanation. And in the grounds of Royal School Dungannon in County Tyrone you’ll find the statue of John Nicholson, a man utterly reviled in the former Raj for his harsh treatment of the natives. The list goes on.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark S

Both a number of Irish and Scots have done a quite a miraculous job in revising history, rewriting the narrative for their own political ends and effectively absolving their nations almost completely in any complicity in the British, er sorry, I mean ‘English’, empire.

In this frenzy to paper over these unsightly, inconvenient historical cracks, the ultimate prize must go to those Scot Nats today who seem to have complete amnesia about Scotland’s very specific role in the plantation of Ulster under the instructions of a British Stewart King, and the fact that Scotland actually had the highest rate of colonial slave ownership in Britain.

Still, never let the facts stand in the way of a good story, I say.

cravant1423
cravant1423
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

On the contrary both Scotland’s ongoing relationship with north-eastern Ireland and her participation in the slave trade have been subjected to extensive study. The slave trade is a staple of the National History qualification (for 15 year olds).

Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark S

This is absolutely correct but Irish nationalists try desperately to rewrite history, to avoid coming to terms with the fact Ireland was a substantial part of an Imperial power.

The argument that Irish people were badly treated always seems laughable as so were poor English, Welsh, and Scottish people. Working class people were starving to death in London in the 19th century. You just have to look at the works of Dickens and Marx to see their plight.

caleaves
caleaves
3 years ago

When I was a teen, I read a book about the Red Guards in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. It haunted me for a long time & I never dreamed it could happen closer to home.

lindie.naughton
lindie.naughton
3 years ago

Constance Markievicz was not deeply Catholic. She converted to Catholicism because she was impressed by the faith of fellow revolutionaries such as William Partridge. At root, she was practical rather than spiritual in her approach to life; she fought for the rights of men and women from all classes and faiths and looked forward to a socialist Ireland based on egalitarian principles. She was deeply disappointed by the bourgeois and undemocratic nature of the Irish Free State which, in 1924, centralised power in the Dail. The chaotic results of that power grab from local authorities you can see everyday in this country.

johntshea2
johntshea2
3 years ago

Interesting but:-

We Irish didn’t just topple statues. In 1966 we BLEW UP Admiral Nelson’s statue on his column in Dublin. “WE” then possibly being the IRA or its sympathizers. The regular Irish Army then blew up the column itself, wrecking much of O’Connell Street in the process.

But Leo Varadkar is very far from an economic Thatcherite. Like his predecessors for the last decade he presides over a raft of jealousy taxes, including a 55% top income tax rate which is far from limited to millionaires. The “low tax policies introduced in the late Nineties” were all reversed after the 2008 crash, except for the 12.5% Corporation Tax. A tax haven for huge multinational corporations but a tax hell for individuals.

As for George Bernad Shaw, he was a devoted Stalinist to the end of his days, as well as an anti-Semite. So good riddance to bad rubbish!

Unlike Ms Nagle, I see great value in Ireland’s Foreign Direct Investment policy, partly because I remember what Ireland was like before she was born. A popular joke of the time was to ask that whoever left the country last should please turn off the lights! The slightly-independent Irish state was in fact dependent on the vast safety valve of unlimited emigration to Britain for the first half century or more of its existence. We were NEVER economically independent.

As for the current “Wokism” of US tech corporations, that could change in a moment. It is very much an anomaly for corporations rather than anything endemic or inevitable in them.

maico61
maico61
3 years ago

The Irish were involved in the Atlantic slave trade. After the slave trade act of 1808 the Royal Navy set up the West Africa Squadron which between 1808 and 1860 captured 1,600 slave ships on the high sea and freed an estimated 150,000 African slaves. Most of these traders were privateers from numerous countries including Irish owned and captained vessels.

Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle
3 years ago
Reply to  maico61

That is true Irish traders outnumbered English, Scottish and Welsh in the trade. Irish MPs and Lords also fought hardest against the abolition of the trade

roberthaynes450
roberthaynes450
3 years ago

Very good article, although English I can see that Ireland was badly treated for centuries, in many ways like a colony, but what I have never understood is the last 100 years.
Why have Irelands brightest and best continued to leave Ireland since independence in 1922.
Every generation does this and if a 100 years of freedom has resulted in another American led hegemony taking over, then its because many talented Irish don’t really seem to like the reality of Ireland (a beautiful country) very much do they and build a life elsewhere.

johntshea2
johntshea2
3 years ago

Unherd’s unholy comments system is glitching again, or is its weirdness deliberate? This version has 30 comments but omits a comment I made. The other version has only 3 comments but includes my first comment.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  johntshea2

I’ve often wondered about that, John. Same thing has happened to me, as if there is more than one version of an article floating around on the server. And then one comment I made disappeared entirely without explanation.

Basil Chamberlain
Basil Chamberlain
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Adams

See my explanation just above. The vanished comments usually get reinstated if you complain, by the way.

chrisjwmartin
chrisjwmartin
3 years ago
Reply to  johntshea2

I’ve messaged them about it, they’re looking into it. For now, make sure that the version you comment on has only the simple title in the URL, e.g. https://unherd.com/2020/07/

johntshea2
johntshea2
3 years ago
Reply to  chrisjwmartin

Many thanks!

Basil Chamberlain
Basil Chamberlain
3 years ago
Reply to  johntshea2

I worked this out after a while. There’s a version of the article you reach if you click on the bulletin that comes to your Email inbox which includes the usual web address, followed by a lengthy appendix beginning with the word “inbound”. That’s the version with three comments only. If you access the site directly, you get what most people see, so that is the version with thirty comments. I’ve pointed this out to the webmaster but it hasn’t been addressed. If I come through from my Email account, I always adjust the website address before commenting.

johntshea2
johntshea2
3 years ago

Well spotted!

Derek M
Derek M
3 years ago

I can only quote that famous Irishman Oscar Wilde (albeit for something very different), “you’d have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.” I absolutely agree that western European countries are suffering from this ridiculous wave of self hate and destruction and the author correctly points to some of the reasons for this in Ireland but her eulogising of Irish ‘anti-imperialism’ is playing the same game. Also, eulogising Sean Russell who was a Nazi collaborator is ridiculous.

Joss Wynne Evans
Joss Wynne Evans
3 years ago

Let us look at the basics. Who is behind BLM, and do they give a damn for you me or George Floyd? Do they worry that anybody’s history (least of all their own) is “problematic”. This is not about blacks, liberals or marxists. It’s about money and power using the leverage of the identity politics climate they themselves have promoted for decades to use people who have bought into collective concepts that allow them to believe that they can change the world for the better by abuse and breaking windows. Those broken windows represent the civil unrest by which they intend to recover the track to power they were on until the American people bloodied them in 2016. And the mysterious, hard-to-isolate, hard to accurately test for CV19 virus are part of the same path of intent. You have to hand it to them – brilliantly conceived and executed at vast expense to them and vaster expense to us – but the plates are slowing down and the juggler is going to lose the crockery.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

A very interesting perspective.

johnmadden86
johnmadden86
3 years ago

Ireland was not fundamentally founded by ethno-nationalists, but rather a variety of nationalists. This is what has shaped our political landscape to this very day.

Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle
3 years ago
Reply to  johnmadden86

Not really because of world war I most of the moderates were gone, so it was just the extremists like De Valera left to found the state. He would later basically turn it into a Catholic Theocracy.

uztazo
uztazo
3 years ago

“Talk to an educated Irish person in a global city today, and you will quickly discover that they hold the twin ideologies of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland: a vague sentimental remnant of the Irish ethno-nationalism of the revolutionary period and the internationalist and multicultural open society values of Google”

Blimey. How can individuals hold such paradoxical views?

Dominic Hendron
Dominic Hendron
3 years ago

We still haven’t dealt sufficiently with our own guilty secret: the travelling community. Then there’s the pesky nordies who everyone thought they were finished with through the GFA. That’s not to mention the latest problem. One pandemic at a time.

andrewdevinerattigan
andrewdevinerattigan
3 years ago

Were the 1916 militant nationalists really ethno nationalists? Pearse was half English. Casement was from the Anglo Irish ascendancy. Often with Irish Republican extremists they overlook or deny the British strand in Irish identity.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

What about good old Erskine Childers? He of Beggar’s Bush Barracks fame.
Surely the most remarkable of all, and one you paid the ultimate price.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

A sad eulogy for the grande finale of the Celtic Tiger.

Thanks to the EU, the Irish agricultural economy will soon be sacrificed on the altar of Brussels orthodoxy. There will be “much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth”.
California can offer no consolation.

No longer the vaunted Celtic Tiger but rather the Celtic Weasel, the Shriekers of the Dublin Dail will rejoice on their grotesquely generous EU pensions, and pretend it isn’t happening.

Perhaps it is time for “Britannia’s Huns, with their long range guns”, to offer an alternative,
in the unlikely event we can ‘afford’ one.

Sharon Peters
Sharon Peters
3 years ago

Unsullied by slavery? The Vikings frequently raided the Welsh coast to rustle cattle and capture the locals to enslave them.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

A great piece. Really interesting, and one that helps to reinforce the long established arguments against the neoliberal agenda that is coming to dominate our lives and increasingly undermine all our democratic politics.

Ireland’s elected politicians and thus, by extension, its people have chosen to walk with the Devil in order to cross the bridge in double quick time, and the question remains to be seen as to how much it has quietly sacrificed socially in this expedient process, and quite how much its own body politic has been irreversibly infected by it.

Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle
3 years ago

The history this article basis itself on is more nationalist myth that accurate truth.
“As a former colony, historically unsullied by the sins of slavery and imperialism”
Ireland was a never a colony. It was a medieval kingdom that came into personal union with the crowns of Scotland and England. Then it was formally unified in 1800. Its MPs and Lords state in the British Parliament. Irishmen were ministers, generals and diplomats of the UK and were highly involved in building and expanded the British Empire and the slave trade.

Ireland is deeply sullied by the sins of slavery of empire, yet this nationalist mythology tries to hide that, tries to hide that Dublin was built on slavery. The deep racism that Varadkar faced is an aspect of that.

I would really recommend the author of this piece read Irish Freedom by Richard English its the excellent primer for the beginner in Irish History.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Doyle

A modicum of truth ruined by factual inaccuracy. Up until 1537, (back in 1170 the Pope would not acknowledge it as a Kingdom), Ireland was a Lordship held by the English Crown. In that year Henry VIII declared it a Kingdom, and as such it had its own Parliament

Fast forward to 1800, this Protestant Ascendancy Parliament had so mismanaged the country, and was so manifestly corrupt that it was abolished and Ireland came under the direct rule of Westminster.

Whilst the Protestant Irish may have just been acceptable to the English, the Catholics never were. Hence all the ongoing fuss. Surely you don’t deny this?

Finally, “Ireland is deeply sullied by the sins of empire of slavery” (sic). You don’t seriously believe that? If you do you have been in the Confessional box for far, far too long.

cormac.mcsparron
cormac.mcsparron
3 years ago

Good to see Unherd sticking up for Free Speech- Not! I posted a lengthy comment addressing the specifics of this article and suggesting evidence based alternative viewpoints, as well as a psychological interpretation of some typical rightist opinions. It has been removed as spam. I would be delighted if Unherd contacted me to explain their policies on this matter.

For those who missed the original, here it is again.

A weak piece full of unspecific claims, half truths and veiled polemic. If there is any core to this piece it is that Irishness is in the 21st century ill-defined. That is not a problem, as the author seems to think, but a strength. Some of the most potent and durable things in the contemporary world are those things which have fuzzy definitions. Consider a flag or an emblem, different people can see a symbol and place upon it, within fairly wide parameters, different interpretations based on their own beliefs, experiences or even prejudices. Symbols are frequently very durable because of this mutable quality. Look how the hammer and sickle has survived in modern Russia despite it being that most crony capitalist of countries. The fact that Irishness has a fuzzy quality may help it compared to more rigidly defined groups, as Confucius said, “the green reed that bends in the wind is stronger than the great oak that breaks in the storm”.

The piece also makes the tired claim, beloved of the Brexit right, that Ireland is, economically, ruled by California (that is of course when they are not claiming it is ruled by Brussels). The Irish Central Statistics Office calculates that foreign owned companies account for about 15% of Irish economic output, not trivial by any means, but a swift corrective to those who like to believe that the RoI is simply a parasitic host for a commercialist Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

When we look under the bonnet of this piece, and similar pieces, however, it is possible to detect a set of themes, often contradictory, which seem to circulate around a few concerns about Ireland. One is agency. There seems to be a deep desire to suggest that the RoI is devoid of any real agency, that it is a captive, or hostage to stronger international forces. A second related theme seems to be dependence. There seems to be a desire to believe that somehow the RoI is dependent on others for its survival. This takes many forms, an example is the foreign investment delusion, or as this author says the ” nation without a national economic base”, another is the dependent on the EU for funds delusion, the RoI stopped being eligible for most funding over 20 years ago and now of course is a net contributor.

These two themes of lack of agency and dependency are interesting as minimal analysis shows them to be untrue, or at least no more true than for any other developed western country. So why does it happen? Sometimes these perspectives are shared by British right wingers. Irish survival post-independence has always been a jarring insult for the British right. Irish survival is, in fact, an existential threat to the Union, it is encouraging to the Scots for a start. The handmaiden of this inconvenient survival of the RoI are narratives to explain this embarrassing persistence. The “Irish only survive because of American FDI” or “it is the Eu paying for everything” are the special pleading of purveyors of a narrative contradicted by evidence as plain as the nose on your face.

But there is a deeper need being addressed by these narratives of lack of agency and dependency, a desire by England (and it is England’s not Britain’s desire) for relevancy and leadership amongst these islands, a nostalgia for a position of dominance which has been slipping for a century and which (sorry Brexiteers) seems to be slipping and sliding much faster than ever before.

The author of this piece is not British, of course, but Irish. What is her game, surely she knows her polemic does not stand scrutiny?

Sinéad Ní Fhearraigh
Sinéad Ní Fhearraigh
3 years ago

Wonderful article Angela, as an Irish zoomer who was always a feminist socialist AND a nationalist, you seem to be the only sane person around.

Please make a Twitter tho!! We all feel like the travelling monads trying to find your new articles!

mark taha
mark taha
3 years ago

I share the sentiments- except doesn’t being a tax haven bring in the money , which must be a good thing?

S Trodare
S Trodare
3 years ago
Reply to  mark taha

As long as you know where to draw the line, so that adequate tax is collected. You can be sure that the American tax experts ran rings round the Irish Revenue Authorities who were inexperienced in such matters.

Mark Wilson
Mark Wilson
3 years ago
Reply to  mark taha

Precisely. When you’re a nation of 5m, with little in the way of natural resources, what is the alternative? You invite in Big Corp, they employ your people, you tax the people and secure a reliable income. If you impose cororation tax, as the EU insisted Ireland do upon Apple, they’ll up and go elsewhere. Ireland could be said to have played it quite well, though I also accept that they may have had to sell their soul in the process.

Liam Ó Maoilíosa
Liam Ó Maoilíosa
3 years ago

[deleted]

Robert Flack
Robert Flack
3 years ago

What happens next year when the UK reduces tax? Will Google et al remain in Dublin or prefer London?

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Flack

They clearly want to be in the EU

J D
J D
3 years ago

A great article. Right on the money about how it suits the establishment for the general population to suffer guilt. Now where has that been done before…

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
3 years ago

I’m Canadian, and while I would hate to see Quebec secede from Canada, French is the majority language there, so you can see many people there see Quebec, not Canada as their country and want independence. Viewed from that linguistic prism Irish independence in 1921 made little sense then and even less now. According to the 2016 Irish census, while 1.76M people claimed they could speak Irish, less than 74 thousand spoke it every day. Without the sectarian divide between Protestants and Catholics the Republic would not exist. Splits based on sectarian allegiance are seldom happy ones. You only have to look at the madness of the dissolution of Yugoslavia to see that. The problem with the British Isles is that federalism never really took root there as it has in so many English-speaking democracies abroad. That doesn’t mean that it won’t do so. It would be better to go back to a United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, reorganized as a proper federation with an English parliament. How many Home Nations it would have is really up to the people of the British Isles to decide.

Ray Hall
Ray Hall
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Baldwin

That presumes that England would want such an arrangement . The Scots certainly would not , and I suspect that the reply from the ROI would be short , negative and blunt .

John Nutkins
John Nutkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Ray Hall

You are quite right – England today does not want any union or arrangement with Scotland and Ireland, and I only wish it would become fact.

ianmac3801
ianmac3801
3 years ago

Well said Angela.
A simple solution to Google tax would be for Ireland to have a double taxation arrangement with USA that allowed Google to claim a credit for tax paid in Ireland. Ireland could tax Google at say 15% and Google would still only pay 21% total tax on repatriated profits. Ireland is happy. Trump is happy – he gets the money back in USA and clips the ticket for a little bit on the way through.
Google needs to be in Europe. Where else would they rather be than Ireland. Give them a tune up with their tax and call their bluff when they threaten to move to France or Germany.
Spend the tax money on education and soon you will not need Google because you will be smarter than them.

maico61
maico61
3 years ago
Reply to  ianmac3801

London.The Google technical Centre is in London and if the UK had the same tax dodges their HQ function would be in the same building.

Bob Olde
Bob Olde
3 years ago

This article pulled me up short and made me think.

john smith
john smith
3 years ago

Whatever righteous cause the author had in this article has been drowned out by the defense of Nazi Stalinist Bernard Shaw. If there’s anybody in Irish history that cancel culture needs to go after it is people like him and Seán MacBride.

Miriam Uí
Miriam Uí
3 years ago

Interesting article. I do feel Ireland is closer to Boston than Berlin as our culture is increasingly Americanised. Any real distinctives with rest of the West have been erased, undoubtedly the consequence of globalisation. Yet now the Irish languageschools are becoming more popular and the young are drawn to Sinn Féin and the dream of a United Ireland. 13% of the population were born outside the country ~ mainly from the EU, even as our own young continue to emigrate. We are dealing with some level of racist reaction to this influx, but the main sore point is our profit based Direct Provision system for asylum seekers, where people can languish for years.

Miriam Uí
Miriam Uí
3 years ago

Yet now the Irish language schools are becoming more and more popular and the young are drawn to Sinn Féin and the dream of a United Ireland. We have to deal with our own sectarian past as well as the systemic racism in Direct Provision today, whether we like that or not. So perhaps Ireland may yet resist the worst of woke, and prove strong enough to forge a modern Irish identity, which can include the new Irish.

davidsliney
davidsliney
3 years ago
Reply to  Miriam Uí

Please, there is no systemic racism in Direct Provision, the only reason so many are still there after all this time is because they have lodged appeal after appeal at tax payer expense, many do not meet the criteria for asylum having traveled through so many countries, asylum shopping to get here, in the first place, and even when granted residency and eventually citizenship they go on holiday back to their country of origin.
And what would replace Direct Provision? putting them in the community I imagine is going to be the answer, a situation that benefits only Landlords at the expense of our own people.

Immigration from the developing world is the biggest threat facing Ireland, unfortunately the wokeness inculcated in our universities have blinded people to the realities of Race, and the pertinent fact that the Third World exists in the condition that it does to a large degree, by the type of people that produced it in the first place.

There is no reason, bar, in a few exception why asylum should be permanent. The security of a Nation is the first responsibility of a government, but, by turning a blind eye to who enters and stays here, we have failed that task.

stephen17891789
stephen17891789
3 years ago

To be honest, the only people I see going on about “woke” and using that term are whining right wingers. I’d never even heard the term until I saw the tsunami of outrage from the denizens of Tunbridge Wells. Curiously the real Tunbridge Wells is rather liberal but it’s still a useful literary shorthand for puce faced incoherent reactionary outrage

John Nutkins
John Nutkins
3 years ago

Then you should get about a hell of a lot more than just mooning about in Tunbridge Wells so that your insults are tempered by reality.

cormac.mcsparron
cormac.mcsparron
3 years ago

A weak piece full of unspecific claims, half truths and veiled polemic. If there is any core to this piece it is that Irishness is in the 21st century ill-defined. That is not a problem, as the author seems to think, but a strength. Some of the most potent and durable things in the contemporary world are those things which have fuzzy definitions. Consider a flag or an emblem, different people can see a symbol and place upon it, within fairly wide parameters, different interpretations based on their own beliefs, experiences or even prejudices. Symbols are frequently very durable because of this mutable quality. Look how the hammer and sickle has survived in modern Russia despite it being that most crony capitalist of countries. The fact that Irishness has a fuzzy quality may help it compared to more rigidly defined groups, as Confucius said, “the green reed that bends in the wind is stronger than the great oak that breaks in the storm”.

The piece also makes the tired claim, beloved of the Brexit right, that Ireland is, economically, ruled by California (that is of course when they are not claiming it is ruled by Brussels). The Irish Central Statistics Office calculates that foreign owned companies account for about 15% of Irish economic output, not trivial by any means, but a swift corrective to those who like to believe that the RoI is simply a parasitic host for a commercialist Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

When we look under the bonnet of this piece, and similar pieces, however, it is possible to detect a set of themes, often contradictory, which seem to circulate around a few concerns about Ireland. One is agency. There seems to be a deep desire to suggest that the RoI is devoid of any real agency, that it is a captive, or hostage to stronger international forces. A second related theme seems to be dependence. There seems to be a desire to believe that somehow the RoI is dependent on others for its survival. This takes many forms, an example is the foreign investment delusion, or as this author says the ” nation without a national economic base”, another is the dependent on the EU for funds delusion, the RoI stopped being eligible for most funding over 20 years ago and now of course is a net contributor.

These two themes of lack of agency and dependency are interesting as minimal analysis shows them to be untrue, or at least no more true than for any other developed western country. So why does it happen? Sometimes these perspectives are shared by British right wingers. Irish survival post-independence has always been a jarring insult for the British right. Irish survival is, in fact, an existential threat to the Union, it is encouraging to the Scots for a start. The handmaiden of this inconvenient survival of the RoI are narratives to explain this embarrassing persistence. The “Irish only survive because of American FDI” or “it is the Eu paying for everything” are the special pleading of purveyors of a narrative contradicted by evidence as plain as the nose on your face.

But there is a deeper need being addressed by these narratives of lack of agency and dependency, a desire by England (and it is England’s not Britain’s desire) for relevancy and leadership amongst these islands, a nostalgia for a position of dominance which has been slipping for a century and which (sorry Brexiteers) seems to be slipping and sliding much faster than ever before.

The author of this piece is not British, of course, but Irish. What is her game, surely she knows her polemic does not stand scrutiny? Anne Applebaum has an interesting perspective. She noted that populist movements do not like first raters in fields like academia and journalism but give an opportunity to “crackpots and fools whose lack of intelligence and creativity” was a guarantee of their loyalty. What do you think?

maico61
maico61
3 years ago

There is a detailed article on Wikipedia titled ‘Ireland as a tax haven’ which is worth reading.

In my 5 decades living in England I can’t recall anyone, not Irish, ever talking about Ireland or bringing it up in any shape or form apart from in International rugby when I was playing for my University 2nd 15! Your prouncement ” a desire by England” shows a breathtaking self-centred conceit you seem unaware of…

cormac.mcsparron
cormac.mcsparron
3 years ago
Reply to  maico61

I am not denying that Ireland has utilised its sovereignty and ability to set its tax rate to game the system in many ways. I am restating the Central Statistics Office view that FDI is much less important to RoI than popularly believed. Interestingly the tax haven article you mention does not reference its claims that 80% of corp tax is payed by a small number of foreign multinationals, it does reference a number of articles showing how individual corporations route profits through Ireland but, never a citation for the 80% claim. The CSO, in contrast, claims less than 1/4 of irish corporation tax is paid by multinationals, https://www.irishtimes.com/
So really choose what you want to accept, cliches perpetuated via a number of populist outlets, or the Central Statistics Office. I am not claiming any special place for the RoI economy however, merely that the stereotype is incorrect, and seems to be incorrect with some puropse.
I am sure you did not regularly discuss Ireland regularly at university. For a start it may simply evidence that you do not have that particular neurosis! Hoerver, university chat is not where these delusions show themselves. Check out any story in an English newspaper relating to ireland. Look at the comments section and you will find that you can sift the comments into a few easy piles….

Liam Ó Maoilíosa
Liam Ó Maoilíosa
3 years ago

Joke of an article. If this utterly yankified garbage is the kind of critique we are going to get of the NGO left in Ireland, then we might as well give up. Each paragraph more ridiculous than the last. A mirror image of the 2D reductive understandings of Ireland’s revolutionaries and revolutionary tradition held by the radical liberals and NGO academics. You can’t seem to fathom the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist tradition without essentialist ethno-nationalism despite it existing right under your free stater nose the entire time you lived here. You might impress your american friends with this but your bastardisation of the legacy of Tone does not go unnoticed by those of us you left in order to carve out your career as a grifter in the states.Americanised content for an Americanised audience to lap up. Ag tnúth go mór leis an athghabháil gan do chuid bleadracht.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago

Can you be addicted to bein g American, and if so how do you recover?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

Simple, ignore the Shriekers.

gavinhoey
gavinhoey
3 years ago

I think you may have misread the tone of the article entirely.

Dan Poynton
Dan Poynton
3 years ago

You miss her point entirely. It was refreshingly anti-corporate/woke America. A beautiful warning to all of us in the Anglo world to start unyankifying in earnest, to borrow your rather nice word.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Dan Poynton

Apologies, but what a terrible word “unyankifying”. It sounds like something the Catholic Church would use to describe ‘self abuse’.

Perhaps ‘defy the Shriekers’ should be the battle cry. It is precise, devoid of malice, and apposite.

Dan Poynton
Dan Poynton
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Quite right – much better battle cry, thank you. And my apologies for creating such a horrifying word. I remember at the time I felt a vague repulsion coming over me, but I thought I might get away with it. Not so in the discerning Unherd pages!

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago

Surely she is pretty much arguing against the Americanisation of Irish culture. Specifically the importation of “whiteness” as an ideological idea. This is in fact being taught, right now, in Irish universities. What is being taught is that whiteness is something manufactured for the last 500 years to oppress non whites. To say that doesn’t explain Ireland in 1846 or Northern Ireland in 1970, is to put it very politely, nonsense. It may have some use in the US. Not anywhere else (no, not even Britain. Rhodes wanted the Anglo Saxon race or the English race to dominate. He was clear this was not the “low class Irish or Germans” who he regretted had sullied the US).

As for Tone, sure he wanted to unite Protestant and Catholic but both were part of the Irish nation, both there for centuries.

Ireland was founded as a ethno state. No two ways about it. That wasn’t a problem until the redefinition of whiteness to include all white skinned people, which had never been the case.

Liam Ó Maoilíosa
Liam Ó Maoilíosa
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

I fully agree the importation of American concepts of race to Ireland makes no sense and there is no attempt to integrate it properly with our history of colonialism and imperialism. But it doesn’t take distortions about ethno-states to recognise this.

Tell me when exactly was “Ireland” founded? We had a British defined Free State for catholics and an Orange state run by the political wing of the Orange Order. Neither of these are the Republic declared by the revolutionaries in 1919 or 1916. Neither was it an Ireland where Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter come together under the common name Irishman as Tone saw it. Who are the Irish people as an ethnic group that this supposed ethno-state was founded on? Are the Anglo-Irish part of this ethnic group? Are the Ulster-Scots? Are the Nose-Gaels? Are the Gaels themselves the only group that counts for this ethno-state? What defines a Gael is it ancestry or is it the language they speak? Today we call those Irish speaking areas the Gaeltacht but Gaeltacht means place of the Gaels. Only Irish speakers today still refer to themselves as Gaeil and historically gave that title to any who spoke Gaelic be they of this island or not. Not to mention this supposed ethno-state did little to try to stop the decline of Irish speaking communities. The earliest use of the word Éireannach was to refer to the distinct groups of Gaeil and Gaill together as a collective noun for people of this island. The Irish nation is complex and hybrid which is to be expected from a failed settler colony.

Any attempts by modern day ethno-nationalists in Ireland to answer these questions have lead to bizarre conclusions ranging from including any O’Brien today with a four leaf clover tattoo and a Boston address status as part of the Irish nation no matter how long ago their ancestors left, to claiming that only those of certain precise genetic groupings are the Irish nation. These bare no resemblance to the Irish nation espoused by Wolfe Tone or Thomas Davis and those who followed in that tradition (And remember much of the planter population of Ulster arrived merely 100 years before 1798). To see the Irish revolution as nothing but ethno-nationalism is to view it just as the woke brigade who know more about the Democrats in America than they do about Irish Republicanism. The woke brigade can be marginalised without twisting the legacy of our own history to mirror their own distortions.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago

The free state was founded in 1921. The republic post war. When I say Ireland that’s what I mean. I agree with civic nationalism by the way but with a core of the ancestral people (I did reword that phrase a few times). The problem is we are importing American ideologies whether we like it or not. Critical race theory is being taught as applying to Ireland and that theory sees whiteness as supremacist and intends to deconstruct or dismantle it. Which in effect in Ireland means rewriting all of Irish history to fit in with the 500 years of “white supremacy” narrative and discrimination in the form of affirmative action against the white Irish (and presumably the polish, Romanians etc) going forward.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

What choice do you have? Given the history of slaughter since Robert FitzStephen & Co turned up in 1169, at ‘your’ invitation.

We, the dreaded “Saxons”, destroyed your culture, exiled your aristocracy, and then left you to the tender mercy of the Catholic Church.

When you finally broke free in 1922 what did you get? The “Kerrygold Republic run by that deluded romantic De Valera.

Now, perhaps in desperation, you listen to the siren nonsense of Californian and European Shriekers!

Surely you can do better? Develop an identity that has more depth than just fiddle music, Guinness, and whatever the Craic is.

However, do not despair, one of your countrymen Andrew Devine, writing on UnHerd in reply to Peter Franklin’s essay on the anti-nationalism of the Guardian, on the 28th April last, encapsulates the problem perfectly, when describing the phenomenon of ‘Irish exceptionalism’.