Conservative Woman readers

In response to Jane Kelly’s book review: Poetry, forbidden passions and the politics of violence, Uusikaupunki wrote:

I find it strange that a country so keen to obtain independence was so quick to surrender that independence within a few short generations, for pieces of silver.


  1. Scotland is in the grip of same thinking. So called Scottish Nationalists are in fact EU federalists. The EU has made some funny if worrying bedfellows with nationalist of most its member states.

    • Never understood the establishment think on that. Scottish Nationalists OK
      Welsh Nationalists OK
      Irish Nationalists OK.
      but English Nationalists bad, dirty words.
      Momentum ergo Communists OK.
      Its a real puzzler.

        • Surely, “as long as the (electorate) gift them power”?

          Couple of thoughts on the Irish question-I’m married to an Irish person, and we spend a lot of time there. The Irish people I know, nearly all rural, appear to be completely uninterested in politics generally. Any time we get together in a group, the English become animated about matters political, whereas the Irish I know take the attitude that, “Sure, what can you do?”
          I will say that cronyism, in the people I meet, seems pretty universally accepted. Politicians, business people, doctors and lawyers are invariably and uncritically judged, not by their abilities, but by how well they’re known locally, and I feel this lack of objective judgement reinforces a fairly supine attitude towards authority. It’s very reminiscent of Britain in the ’50s, when more obsequious attitudes prevailed towards those “in authority”.
          This might go some way towards understanding some of the views expressed above.
          One other point, regarding the ROI/NI border.
          The political fuss around this appears to be utterly at odds with the reality. What is Ireland going to do about the border between Irish ports like Dublin and Rosslare, and the UK? Every day, and without undue hindrance, hundreds of articulated trucks cross this border both ways. They are mostly Irish and UK registered vehicles, with other nationalities included. Similarly, the movement of people and private cars. When Brexit is finally achieved, will this all have to controlled with a so-called hard border? If not, why not?
          (I’m fully aware of the CTA.)

          • “It’s very reminiscent of Britain in the ’50s, when more obsequious attitudes prevailed towards those in authority”.

            Well, in the 50’s, the “authorities” didn’t have that insidious tool called Political Correctness, to bully and even criminalise people.

            You do raise some interesting points though, “from the inside” as it were.

    • Big Deal about Finnish independence from Russia on the Third Programme recently. Listening to Sibelius now – that well-known Swedish Finnish patriot.

      England, of course, has “always been a nation of immigrants”, as we were told by that woman with a Pakistani (?) name on the Home Service the other day.

      I find it rather strange. Unpleasantly weird.

      • You are not alone. And it’s all a bit too obvious to be palatable.

        The English as the people I grew up amongst in every town, village and city, seem to have disappeared. The moving, talking bodies are still there but the spirit of their unique identity is gone.

        • Where I live a good number of the moving, talking bodies are not there any more; in many places the English are a minority.

          But, then, you know that.

  2. I, too, have reflected on why the Irish, who had secured their liberty from England following the 1916 uprising, would, so shortly thereafter, cede that liberty to another foreign, controlling power (the EU).

    I suspect the answer is to be found in an examination of the psychological effects on a population who have been enslaved and starved into submission for 1,000 years by a colonizing power intent on wiping out their Celtic ethnicity and Catholic faith.

    Unable to sufficiently recover from the continuous and unrelenting abuse, the Irish population sought more of the treatment to which they had become accustomed…but from a different master. It is what they know.

    Irish leadership is responsible for facilitating this dysfunction. Instead of leading their people to healing and self sufficiency, they placed their people back under the iron fist of servitude.

    • “Liberty” was not obtained following the 1916 uprising but following the War of Independence from 1919-21. That was followed by the Irish Civil War 1922-23 as the republicans fell out over what the republic should be.

      Ireland succumbed to the EU not to cede its liberty but for the same reasons the UK did, because politicians incapable of managing an economy efficiently sought a financial crutch. The EU federalist erosion of liberty was incremental and either discounted or misrepresented, as it was last night in the House of Commons.

      All modern politicians seem ignorant that the economy should serve the nation and not the other way round. Too many corporate-minded wonks and bean counters immersed in trivia and tinkering with not a real strategic vision in sight.

    • I think it was Stanley Kubrick who is credited with the statement that great nations have always acted like gangsters, and small nations like prostitutes?

    • Please stop perpetuating the old Irish myths as other countries have been colonised by the Normans, and others, but get on with it whereas the Irish are so bitter that they blame the English for all their ills and will never forgive no matter what.

    • I’m Irish and I find your version of Irish history whilst partially true extremely simplistic, very similiar to SF & IRA propaganda. It doesn’t account for complexity & nuance or the positive dimensions in relations between Britain and Ireland. Also the 1916 rising had almost no support amongst Irish nationalists and involved militant extreme nationalists along with their communist allies shooting dead Irish UK soldiers & police. We should have never cut complete ties with Britain in the south. Home Rule would have sufficed complete independence was a disaster for Ireland. Decades of economic stagnation, cultural insulation and a near Catholic theocracy which treated Protestants as lesser Irish than their Catholic neighbours.

      • The problem with home rule, was that there was a long track record of poor faith by the British. Right up to and including playing the orange card in the treaty. Subsequent isolationism was in large measure down to De Valera, and didn’t that only really finally end with opening up to Europe? You are absolutely right about the theocracy. As a Northerner I honestly couldn’t blame the protestants in my family for the horror with with which they viewed the South.

    • Compare and contrast: Eire and Poland.

      I would suggest that Poland has had a rather more extreme experience of the “psychological effects… of enslavement and starvation” by a “colonizing power”. Indeed, Poland’s history is that of a bone being fought over by very large dogs. There are many Poles still alive who have experienced concentration camps, the Gulag, or possibly even both.

      I suspect that the Soviet Union was rather more intent on wiping out the Catholic faith in Poland than Britain ever was in Ireland.

      We should note that Poland’s territory has changed very substantially over the centuries, especially after WW II. Much of present-day Poland used to be Germany, and much former Polish territory is now part of the Ukraine and other eastern neighbours. The Soviet Union was the cause of this.

      Poland freed herself from Soviet dominance in 1989 and from then until 2004 was fully independent. Eire had a much longer period of freedom from foreign control.
      The first post-Communist government in Poland took advice from the IMF and others and restructured their economy accordingly. They invested in essential infrastructure such as a new telecommunications network rather than in vanity projects. Poland’s recent economic growth has outperformed the EU and in the period 1989-2004 the economy roughly doubled in size.
      Eire, having been neutral in WW II and therefore free of the devastation the war caused should have been able to capitalise on this, supplying food and goods to war-ravaged Europe from 1945 onwards. Whiskey until the 20th century was spelled with an ‘e’ as Irish not Scotch whisk(e)y dominated the market. Whisk(e)y is produced almost wholly from domestic materials but is a very good source of foreign earnings. Scotland has about 90 distilleries, Eire 2, one of which is relatively recent (a former government-owned industrial ethanol plant bought at a fire-sale price by a group of business people). A combination of bad government policy and poor management did for the Irish whiskey industry.

      The Poles, although they receive EU money and are very conscious of the ‘bear’ lurking in the east seem much less ready to prostrate themselves before the EU Commission than the Irish.

  3. When we leave, and have free trade deals elsewhere,,Ireland will have no option but to leave.
    They know it, and Brussels knows it.
    One reason for all the ooh aah.

    • Ah the old sunny uplands of free trade deals. The problem in trading with, for example, the USA is that we don’t make anything they want. Tinkering with tariffs will not change that.

          • Actually, we are, according to HM Revenue and Customs the October numbers are 10.2 billion with US and a surplus as well. Germany is second with 9.0 billion with a rather large deficit. Export only numbers are US 4.1 Bn.; Germany 3.0 Bn. You had a very good month exporting to the States.

          • Now lets not be coy about this. You know perfectly well what I’m getting at. We export about five times as much to the EU as we do to the US. Although we trade under the same conditions as Germany our exports to the US are considerably less than theirs. Cause they make all those beamers and porches and mercs that people love. My point is it will take a hell of a change to tarriffs to alter that, especially from an administration that says it is putting America first. Our real problem – like the US actually – is that we do not have a manufacturing base.

          • Let’s be really fair – we don’t either except in some niche markets, we build stuff from kits the Germans and Japanese send us, just like you do.

            Other than that, we are back to pretty much what we were when Jefferson was President, and exporter of raw materials and food. The EU is either not a country, or you do not export to yourself, you don’t count Scotland as an export, but you do Germany.

            There’s no reason for us not to give you a very favorable trade status, you’re our friend and we cooperate on many things, not to mention that most of us are Anglophile, including our president, Germanophile, especially Imperial Germanophile, not so much.

          • Depends how ‘favourable’ is defined. The Special Relationship is nonsense. If any relationship exists, it’s between the peoples of our countries, not the governments. So, whilst I don’t doubt that many Americans would be very amenable to a fair trade deal (and vice-versa), I don’t expect that a fair one will be offered by Washington. It’ll probably be lop-sided in favour of the U.S.

            I’d be content enough if no specific deal were agreed. We seem to have done just fine without one all this time!

          • Well, the only reason for it to be unfavorable to you is if you negotiate as weakly with us as you do Brussels. Yes, we will negotiate for our own benefit, but as the President said in Asia, we expect everybody else to as well. Sometimes we win, sometimes, as in Asia, we don’t. That’s life in the big city.

            We should be negotiating it now, so it could go into force when you leave the EU, besides if you did a good job, it would be a nice stick to beat the EU with.

            But yes, we’ll both do fine with or without a specific agreement.

          • We WILL negotiate weakly, though! Our politicians are crap and don’t believe in this country. They also believe that they’re ‘honourable’, which means that even though there’s no legal basis that bars our negotiating (only barred from signing) trade deals before we leave, they won’t actually do so.

            Regarding your first statement – surely, two states of long-standing friendship should offer each other a fair deal, and not try hard-bargaining? Or am I just being hopelessly naive?

          • I fear that is true. Hard to say why that is honorable to my mind, at least if “Brexit means Brexit” then getting the best deal one can for Britain becomes the honorable course. (Yes, I Know!)

            I doubt that we’d be looking for anything overly one sided, as you say, we are friends of long standing, not to mention tested in many fires, but that doesn’t mean that we’ll start from weakness and get weaker, but I’d doubt we’d press very hard, or at least, I hope not. We are the people who cheered Brexit, after all. Trump amongst us. Britain does have a certain charm here, as well.

          • In all seriousness there is a huge issue for the US with the enormous trade deficit with China, which Trump rightly highlighted. Problem is, there is no quick fix. The UK has a similar problem, we rely on services, we don’t make stuff.

            As far as a favourable trade deal for the UK, even if Mr Trump is as good as his word, it requires much else to deliver it. I just do not see there is a fast track, certainly not deliverable in a first Trump term, and not at all if he doesn’t get a second.

          • Advanced economies rely less and less on manufacturing. That’s the nature of trade, each trades on his strengths. As the developing world catches up so their costs rise and we may well see some manufacturing return, but don’t hold you breath for 1000s of jobs – that’ll be done by robots. So if we’re good at services, and London is arguably the worlds most important financial centre, then we can trade on those strengths. Funny that in the EU the sector that still suffers from significant barriers is in services – always to our detriment, funny we’d want to leave isn’t it? Everyone gets to flog us their stuff but we’re hindered in our area of strength.

          • You lead in financial trade (along with New York and Singapore) for one very important reason. The Common Law, as you always have. The banks aren’t going to the EU en masse, if anything they’ll come here and to Asia.

          • We have a rather convenient time-zone too, with UK markets straddling the open and close of most major markets in the East and West.
            Re: common-law: If we can wrench ourselves from the grip of the Eurocrats we might stand a chance of preserving it too!

          • Taxes dear boy, don’t forget them. Freedom from EU “aligned” taxes gives us an opportunity to exploit the upsides of the laffer curve – just like Ireland does and as DTrump is about to do with corporation tax.

      • You really do talk a load of crap, sanctimonious too. No one cares about your 1972 bus trips around Ireland. Take another one maybe, Circle Line style.

          • I don’t buy that because almost every left wing “monitor” sitting on conservative websites says exactly the same thing. Apparently only conservatives have “echo chambers”. The Guardian, for example, even though it ruthlessly expunges any “off message” comment, is not, apparently, an echo chamber but is there “to inform”, even though a majority of its articles encapsulate the barmier side of left wing propaganda.

          • The Guardian moderation can be a bit odd sometimes. But you can express a dissenting view there, and plenty do. In most instances if you have a comment removed there it doesn’t take a lot to workout why.

      • I know a foreign gentleman who insists on buying only English-made hats and shoes. I doubt that he is unique in the world or that he does not have American kindred spirits.

        • He’s not. My hats are uniformly Stetson, but that is in part because of the sun. But shoes, other than Lucchese Boots, are almost all Churches, or Clarks. Best I’ve found for comfort and durability. Sadly at least one pair of Churches I have were made in Italy. I’d bet there are quite a lot more of us.

  4. Exactly. But the Scots appear to be even crazier, at least Ireland got something to start with, but the Scots apparently want to replace what they regard as English domination by EU domination which certainly won’t give them such an easy ride as the English.

        • Failing that I’d like an England which is collectively represented in the UK. We have a British Parliament where the Scots, Irish and Welsh are collectively represented and get to say a lot and where a British government, ever obsessing about what the Celtic fringe has to say, speaks for England in terms of its regions. We also have a Scottish Parliament, a Welsh Assembly and a Northern Ireland Assembly.

          What is missing seems obvious.

  5. Brussels has long been keen on breaking Europe up into “regions”, as a means to destroy the nation of the nation-state. I think this policy is biting back, as some “regions” turn out to have designs on national status. This works in the eurocrats’ favour only if the EU-friendly élites retain their influence after fragmentation. Brussels is now trying to cram some of the crumbs back into the biscuit jar.

    Where Ireland is concerned, Brussels treats the whole island as a region, which may seem like a victory for Irish nationalists, but is nothing of the sort. It just means some cartographer in Brussels thanked the Lord for creating a conveniently sized blob on the edge of the Atlantic.

    There are currently independence movements in Spain, Italy and Belgium, along with hints of such a movement in Bavaria. Having long depicted Catalunya as a region, Brussels firmly opposes the idea of it as an independent state. Italy, Germany and Belgium are all nineteenth century confections. A certain Austrian and a certain Georgian showed how flexible German borders could be. While a reversion to the pre-1866 map of Germany is never going to happen (a map of Prussia looked like a bad case of chickenpox), Bavaria is undoubtedly viable as an independent state.

    As for Italy, that is also a recent creation. The Romans thought of northern Italy as part of Gaul. The Veneto was an independent state until 1797, ninety years more recently than Scotland, and did not become part of Italy until decades after that. When Italy hosted football’s World Cup in 1990, people in the Mezzogiorno had divided loyalties. On the one hand, southerners reckoned they had more cousins in Buenos Aires than in Milan, or Rome; on the other, Totò Schillaci, that competition’s highest goal-scorer, is from Palermo.

    The EU promoted “regions”, to destroy nations, but failed to study any history.

    • Politicians, mesmerised by their own Utopias, seldom study any history. They have always – and will always – represent the most dangerous continuous threat to mankind.

      For the sake of our future they should be more concerned with limiting their own power rather than limiting our freedoms.

    • Ireland isn’t treated as a region it’s the RoI and N.I. still.
      The EU hate the nation state, Herman Von Rumpoy, said some time ago “The biggest enemy of Europe today is fear. Fear leads to egoism, egoism leads to nationalism, and nationalism leads to war,” in his attempts to salve anti EU feelings. I believe they have a statement in their museum that Nations case nationalism and nationalism causes wars.
      There is also the fact that the bureaucrats hate that Germany can call the shots when they believe it should be them doing that, and that other nations just want what is the best topping on the pizza and not the whole range of toppings the EU hands them, fecal matter and all straight from the cooks unwashed hands.
      Look at the Arc Manche region which is SE England across the channel into France and this is what EU regions will be like to dilute any nationalistic feelings, Catalonia will never be an EU region as they feel Catalan and could revert to national feelings when the EU starts to bite. All regions will be across old borders (diluting old national instincts) as they cant have regions 13, 14 and 15 reunifying as say Italy to snub the Commission with a cohesive national sentiment behind it, divide and conquer, even the history rewriters who suggest WW2 was the European Civil War know that one.

  6. You are correct as, before the EEC/EU, Ireland was akin to a third world country as illustrated by the road network which was deplorable, the first motoray being constructed as a short section bypassing Naas, utilising EU funds, in 1983.

  7. I wonder if the chap who posted this comment has ever been to Ireland? Most Irish people are pretty keen on EU membership, and would consider his comment somewhere between puzzling and two stops past barking. Probably more so than ever watching the omnishambles that is Brexit.

    • Not sure why you have such distaste for his comment.
      It would seem they are quite happy to be a vassal state, just not under the English; much like Scotland. It would seem so long as they are the recipients of vast sums of other peoples money they really don’t care.
      As for the so called omnishambles that is Brexit, it would probably have helped had the majority of the establishment not been trying to scupper it from day one and the people charged with enacting it were acting in good faith.

      • The old ‘Brexit is fabulous, they just aren’t doing it right!’ My distaste is because the comment reflects an abject lack of understanding of Ireland.

        • So you consider the omnishambles as doing it right, or is it that you consider there is no way of doing it right so we shouldn’t try? Just give in to the warm embrace of collectivism and apathy. It would seem you do not understand the English.
          You have also not actually given any insight into why his comment lacks understanding of Ireland?

          • Leaving the EU is complicated. Blimey who knew? I consider a portion of the omnishambles due to the chronic infighting in the Tory party. The view many have of doing it right – Farage for example, leading from the sidelines – is to ‘just bloody well leave’. Which is naive in the extreme.

            In Ireland people generally embrace Europe and in no way feel that membership of the EU diminishes their national identity or their independence, but rather enhances it. I can’t be bothered to look it up but I’m pretty sure that is supported by polling too. Even the North voted remain. So I think the commenter is speaking for himself there.

          • So you generally agree with my first comment on the Brexit issue?
            Strange that people tend to have a positive view of systems that are throwing other peoples money at them!

          • The way it works is that you take a poor backward country – for example like Spain used to be. You provide investment for them to modernise. Then when they have modernised, you sell them lots of goods and services. They get rich, you get rich. Personally give me rich over some spurious nonsense about sovereignty any day. And since you ask, witnessing an incredible act of economic self harm, I think I will never understand the English.

          • I love the way you just blithely assume that the people who provided the investment will get their money back with interest in the end. It’s as if you think that governments of the world have a successful track record of investing their peoples’ money for them. 🙂

          • You’ve finally got there: Sovereignty. That is the crux of where many of us Brexiteers diverge from, and would have no truck with, project fear. It was never about the economy, but it was about self-rule. Like many here I’m surprised an Irishman can’t understand that. That you would sell your own freedom cheaply may be your personal viewpoint, that you cannot understand why anyone else might value liberty above other values suggests you’ve never read any history at all. These are the values that define nations and peoples. Values that people have fought and died for, repeatedly throughout history. “I wanna be rich” or “I wanna quiet life, now just tell me what to do” just doesn’t cut the mustard in a wealthy country like the UK where poverty is only relative and not absolute.

          • That is exactly what Americans saw, that it was mostly about sovereignty, and like the Irish we fought the British for ours, but somehow, we’ve long forgiven that, and yes, we do take pride in the British leaders that we have contributed too. Something the Irish should learn.

          • It’s not naive at all. The key to any negotiation with a bureaucratic edifice like this to take the initiative from the outset. They rely on the panoply of rules, laws, men in suits and self proclaimed procedures to cow weak and bureaucratic politicians into submission. Yannis warned about it, and he was right.
            You talk about You get rich, they get rich: just like a Ponzi scheme, eh, and you end up destroying a generation or more through unemployment, eg, Spain, Portugal, Greece. Unless of course you can find a sucker like the UK to act as a job creation/ benefits scheme.

          • Of course Ireland wants to stay in the EU – it benefits from all the dosh which German and UK tax payers are contributing, while its industry is feather bedded. Don’t forget that when the Celtic Tiger came a cropper, the EU bailed it out. In other words it’s simply a form of prostitution with the EU taking on the role of pimp.

        • Where is it wrong? Is it wrong that the Irish, most of them, at least, strongly desired independence from the United Kingdom? And is it wrong that they are now dependants of the EU, and have gone from one to the other in living memory (just about) ? Or that they receive significant net funds from the EU?

          All those things seem to be fair observations.

        • Do Irishment like you understand England? Many of your countrymen and women seem keen to live here whilst slagging it off for its past and present and opinionating on how it ought to be run. They expect impeccable manners from the host but no obligation for themselves to tread softly around its own nationhood myths. Try that in China, for example.

    • Now come on, S T, you don’t REALLY believe the “membership” myth, do you? Or have you started believing your side’s propaganda? UK Citizen, below, rightly calls it “vassal state”, I prefer to refer to “absorption”, which is what it is/will be. I do feel sorry for poor Ireland – all those centuries getting free of Britain, then a few decades of being an independent nation – then, a “vassal state” again. I heard an Irishman, interviewed soon after his country was shamefully forced into a second referendum, saying: “We fought off the British – you don’t think we’re goung to be scared of a few **** Belgians do you!”.

    • A very large number of Irish people seem keen on EU membership for the UK too and vociferously opinionating to that purpose. A people who have thrown off the yoke of a “colonising power” and are still trying to do so through the shedding of so much blood might be expected to have a little more sensitivity for the right of a nation to determine its own future. Instead a rather grubby “what’s in it for me” prevails.

  8. As both an English and an Irish citizen, I made the same comment to a series of Irish people on Twitter who were slagging off Brexit. How you can be for Irish independence from the UK, but against UK independence from the EU, when both are the democratic wishes of their peoples, is beyond me. And if the Irish think their neutrality is going to protect them from serving in the EU Army, God help them.

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